By Marc Strom
With the release of DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 on June 24, writer Matt Fraction and legendary X-artist Marc Silvestri begin one of the most eagerly anticipated stories of the summer.
As Norman Osborn continues to extend his Dark Reign, he assembles a group of Dark X-Men loyal only to him. This week, Marvel.com presents the Dark X-Men Dossiers, bios on each of the team's members straight from Cyclops' personal files, along with writer Matt Fraction's thoughts and exclusive art from Terry Dodson.
A Chance For Exoneration
Unlike most of Osborn's other Dark X-Men recruits, Cloak and Dagger have typically
Dagger sketch by
fallen into the category of the Marvel Universe's heroes. But while their actions have sometimes landed them on the wrong side of the law, fans shouldn't taken their new roles as a sign that Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson have developed more villainous tendencies.
"They're here presented with a chance to have their reputations exonerated and their records sealed [if they join the Dark X-Men]," explains Fraction. "Osborn presents it to them as the ultimate public service, [where] they can work off their past indiscretions—[such as] Cloak's dealings with the Avengers during the [Skrull] invasion."
Cloak and Dagger have always maintained a reputation as loners, and Fraction admits that fact made it all the more appealing to see how they would react in a team scenario.
"They're fish out of water because they're not team players, and suddenly they're on a team," the writer points out. "They're taking orders and they're in front of cameras and everything they've spent their lives avoiding they're [now] forced to endure in the interest of being able to stop being hunted. And of course, like every deal with the devil, there's a price."
And that price may have the two questioning their involvement with Osborn as the story goes along, as Fraction admits that "they each have moments of asking themselves
Cloak sketch by
and asking one another, 'Is this a good idea?'"
Beyond what they bring to the team dynamic, Fraction also wanted to make them a part of the Dark X-Men and "Utopia" in order to shine a larger light on the two characters.
"I think they're tremendous characters, I think they've got a great history and I think they're ripe for this current era we're in," expresses Fraction. "I wanted to use this as an opportunity to dust them off and put them front and center."
According to Fraction Cloak and Dagger don't feel a part of the mutant community that has recently become so concentrated in San Francisco, but that may begin to change with the upcoming crossover.
"No, they don't [think of themselves as part of the mutant community], and that's the thing: in a time when there are so few mutants left, can they afford to not at least acknowledge the existence of this community, this family?" asks Fraction. "I mean, they're not 14 and 15 years old anymore. They're a little older and beginning to sense that living like teenage runaways
maybe isn't the wisest, most advisable, [healthiest] way to live a life. And then suddenly they're presented with this opportunity [to join the Dark X-Men]."
Cyclops' Strike File: Cloak and Dagger
Though Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, also known as the duo Cloak and Dagger, have never officially been confirmed as mutants, following the M-Day Event we can hardly afford to overlook them any longer.
Because their powers did not manifest until an agent of the criminal Maggia organization injected them with an experimental drug, many have designated them mutates rather than mutants. However, several former X-Men—including Sunfire, Polaris and Thunderbird—also required specific external conditions to awaken their respective mutant abilities, thus allowing for the possibility that Cloak and Dagger could yet claim their status as mutants.
While many heroes have fought side-by-side with both Cloak and Dagger, the two have frequently found themselves on the run from authorities, going back to their status as runaways when they first met and continuing today with their involvement in Captain America's anti-registration faction during the super human community's Civil War.
Through his ability to access the dark dimension, Cloak has demonstrated great ability in the past as a teleporter, allowing himself and his allies to approach their opponents without warning. Bowen's powers allow her to create "light daggers," from which she derives her costumed alias. Furthermore, these daggers fall completely under her will so she may direct them as needed and, upon striking her intended target, they sap the individual's strength.
As such, neither Johnson nor Bowen can be ignored in a combat situation, and any group with Cloak on its roster would have a strong tactical advantage over their opponents. However, it should be remembered that Cloak and Dagger's primary allegiance has been and will always be to one another. Consequently, eliminating either one of them in a group scenario would cause the other to break ranks with their team, both isolating them and disrupting the group's dynamic.
DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 launches one of the biggest events of the summer on June 24, but be sure you check back here tomorrow for another Dark X-Men Dossier on Weapon Omega!
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