Cloak and Dagger (#14 – 16) – Steve Gerber, Terry Kavanagh

2 out of 5

No idea what was happening here.

There’s much more history here, which suggests that Steve was brought on to shape up the title’s flagging sales, only to leave after he’d just gotten started, perhaps due to deadline pressures.  He wasn’t working on as many titles at this point as he would back in the day, when dropping in / dropping out of books was a semi-common event for him, but he did have Foolkiller and She Hulk going on, the latter of which was a big ol’ mess of Steve trying to reclaim Howard the Duck in the modern age, and the former being one of the darkest and most compelling – and maybe personal – things Steve had written, so I can imagine it was just a tough time for him, and Cloak and Dagger may not have held his interest.

The first of his issues still holds some promise, though, with a good dose of Steve weirdness as mysterious murders around the city – kids impaled on huge spikes – crossover with Cloak’s darkness powers becoming corrupted and some mystic Nazi nonsense.  The script is a bit clunky in trying to find a good tone, and the Nazi concept just doesn’t come across as a logical inclusion, with Dagger proclaiming herself as a mutant to a skinhead and being recruited for their ranks all the same (I’m assuming that mutants wouldn’t fall in line with master race qualifications.); it seems more likely that Steve included the concept / imagery just to darken up the book a bit, which is how it ends up somewhat falling apart: torn between whatever strangeness he was building toward and this grim and gritty 90s stuff.  But nonetheless, as is usually the case with Gerber, there was enough going on to make his start on C and D intriguing.

The next issue splits off and invests in both directions – digging in to Tandy and Ty’s diverging relationship as his powers continue to change; shipping Tandy off to Nazi homeland ‘Schamballah’ for more mystic mumbo jumbo – which just further ups the ‘where is this going…’ quotient.   …And then suddenly it’s just Gerber on plot with Terry Kavanagh (who would take over the title until its cancellation a few issues later) scripting, and no clue if Terry continued with what Steve had planned, or if he knew, but issue 16 is just a slog of trying to shove our story to some type of resolution-able point.  Ty’s and Tandy’s personalities, and / or whatever evolution on those Steve was trying to enact, fall by the wayside for some confusing (art-wise) action sequences, plot churn, and a completely shoved-in-there-for-no-reason Spider-Man appearance.

Rick Leonardi applies his usual loose, limber style to things.  I like Rick, but his character models morph from page to page, occasionally unrecognizably, and as inked by (in 14 and 15) Al Williamson, sometimes the art just looks messy.  When Keith Williamson and Joe Rosas assist on inks in 16, things shape up a bit.  Rick Parker’s letters, throughout, are a bit too thick and close together for printing quality at the time, leading to a lot of hard to read dialogue.

Blips of interest, nothing too horrible, but definitely not a recommended read to seek out.

Note that the story doesn’t conclude here, but I’m only here for Steve’s stuff.

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