So Maybe Cloak and Dagger Are Mutants After All?

In every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without actively retconnng away the previous story. Feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Reader Ken B. saw my article yesterday about whether Polaris was still a mutant or not and wanted to know what the situation was now with Cloak and Dagger. I had covered this in the past for a Comic Book Questions Answered, but, well, obviously it appears things have changed.

The mystery started when Cloak and Dagger made their debut way back in "Spectacular Spider-Man" #64 (by Bill Mantlo, Ed Hannigan and Jim Mooney), as it really wasn't made explicit what the deal was with their powers, besides experimental drugs playing some role in their new powers. The confusion was whether it was that the drugs gave them superpowers or was it that the drugs just kickstarted something latent in them already?

Heck, when the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe came out, even they were a bit confused. They talked about how there was a presumption that the drugs gave them their powers, but they also note that there are some mysteries about their abilities, like how they interact with each other.

So yeah, it was all a bit confusing.

In 1985, Cloak and Dagger finally got their own ongoing series by Bill Mantlo, Rick Leonardi and Terry Austin. Leonardi was off the series by the time it ended in 1987, at which point Marvel decided to try a new anthology approach, something they hadn't done in years and put Cloak and Dagger and Doctor Strange into their own shared book, Strange Tales.

Cloak and Dagger inker, Terry Austin, took over as the writer. During Austin's run, it appeared as though they were mutants, which seemed to be particularly clear in Strange Tales #18, when Dagger turned evil and X-Factor was called in for help (by Terry Austin, Dan Lawlis and Kevin Nowlan)...

Marvel ultimately decided to spin both Doctor Strange and Cloak and Dagger into their own titles. Now, this point in time in the Marvel Universe was when the X-Men were booming in sales. Like, BOOMING, so suddenly lots of books were playing up the mutant angle in their characters. Remember how, a couple of years back, it seemed like everyone was discovering that they were Inhumans? Well, that was the same thing back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. People kept discovering that they were mutants. Which makes sense, since calling yourself a mutant would often lead to some extra sales.

Thus, when Cloak and Dagger got their own new series, which directly continued from Strange Tales #18 (like, oddly so), it was specifically titled The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger...

The book makes it clear that they were latent mutants when the drug kicked in...

So that seemed to be that. However, then they eventually came into the orbit of the X-Men during the period in time when the X-Men set up shop on their own private island nation of Utopia.

They then had a one-shot in 2010 (by Stuart Moore, Mark Brooks and Walden Wong), where they finally decided to give a definitive answer on the whole "are they mutants?" thing...

So there ya go! They're not mutants!

This is comics, though, so things are never that easy.

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