Cloak and Dagger #2 // Review
Some pairs work better as a pair of solos. Some don’t. Cloak and Dagger need each other. The two of them go together like...Cloak and Dagger. At the beginning of the second two-chapter issue of the Negative Exposure mini-series, the two aren’t exactly on good terms. The two experience further turbulence in an issue written by Dennis Hallum with art by Ruairí Coleman and colors by Giada Marchisio. Though it’s moving through kind of a predictable plot, the delivery of the action and drama holds more than enough interest to carry through the issue’s two chapters.
As the issue opens, Tandy is a hero of white light fighting demons alongside her policeman boyfriend. She knows he’s not right for her, but she doesn’t know how to relate to that knowledge. He wants to protect her, but he hasn’t exactly gotten any superpowers and she’s always saving him. Meanwhile Tyrone is a dark hero finding a darker side of himself as he has found a thrill-seeking girlfriend who delights in throwing herself into life-threatening danger, assured that her boyfriend will always save her. So naturally his relationship isn’t exactly healthy either. Amidst it all the villain Mr. Negative emerges to confront the chaos.
While there’s some novelty to the pairing of characters coupled against Cloak and Dagger, the arc of the plot in the third and fourth chapters of this story follows exactly the way a story like this would turn out in the third and fourth chapters. Hallum keeps it quite compelling throughout. The Tandy and Ty are rendered as compellingly flawed people. The cop and the thrill seeker never really develop into much more than opposing plot devices, but they don’t have to be anything more than what they are in a story of remarkable balance that carries the series through to the end of its second issue of three.
Coleman’s delivery of action in an action-packed story can feel a bit stiff in places, but he’s got the intensity down beautifully...which is particularly dramatic in supernatural moments. Mr. Negative has a cold menace about him as the central villain. Complex emotions seem suitably prominent on the faces of the two heroes in contrast. Coleman also has a really nice sense of the horror of the story with shambling monsters given just enough humanity to look the right shade of disturbing.
Marchisto plays well with negative and positive elements in the color. A fair amount of Mr. Negative’s impact is brought to the panels directly from Marchisto’s colors. The blacks and whites accompanying the title characters are nice enough, but Marchisto’s blues are appealingly radiant this issue as a pack of seemingly bioluminescent blue creatures accompany Mr. Negative. Marchisto is also given some beautiful textures to work with. We see space, the moon and even the subtle surface tension of a rooftop pool lending an ethereal aesthetic to the issue.
Hallum and company are delivering a story with a shrewd sense of composition which should play well when the three-part Marvel Digital series materializes on paper in comic shops late this coming March. One more two-chapter issue awaits in February as the conflict with Mr. Negative will likely be a predictably satisfying conclusion.