On this week’s episode of “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors,” our hero meets fan favorite heroes of the 1980s, Cloak and Dagger. Throw in the Mindless Ones, Doctor Strange, and the dread Dormammu, and you got yourself a party. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Cloak and Dagger.”
Cloak and Dagger
In the comics, Cloak and Dagger were created in 1982 by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #64, and quickly moved from guest appearances to a mini-series to finally an ongoing. The duo was extremely popular. Later they shared a title with Doctor Strange, which this animated episode could be assumed to be a nod to.
Cloak and Dagger were mutants whose powers if light and dark were activated by drugs introduced into their systems. They fought vehemently against the drug dealers and crime lords responsible for putting those drugs on the street and harming other young people. No mention of drugs in this episode, but Dagger’s possibly objectionable cut-out costume is filled in with fabric. Too much (or not enough) for the kids, I guess.
The Doctor Is In
Nick Fury sends Spider-Man to fetch Dagger, but not Cloak, as a young agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He finds the almost anime Dagger pretty quickly but is soon attacked by Mindless Ones sicced on him by a possessed Cloak. The Mindless Ones, for the comics folks, have most recently caused havoc in Marvel’s Original Sin, and are usually in the employ of the dread Dormammu.
In this instance, Disney XD Spidey is just like comics Spidey. When confronted by magic, always see the doctor, Doctor Strange, that is. The sorcerer supreme has appeared before in this and other Marvel Animated Universe shows, obviously prepping for his coming movie debut in Phase Three. The Strange seen here is the scraggly long hair Brian Michael Bendis Doctor from New Avengers.
The Spider Supreme
At Doc’s house, notably usually magically hidden from view (one Bendis innovation I do like), the Mindless Ones are on the attack as well. Spidey and Dagger arrive to help Strange in the fray, but unfortunately, like Iron Fist and White Tiger before him, the sorcerer supreme is taken by the monsters into Cloak’s dimensional doorway cape – presumably into the dark realm of Dormammu. However, Strange has a back-up plan, a rather ridiculous one, but a plan nonetheless.
Before the cloak (ha) closes on the Doctor, he sends the Eye of Agamotto, along with his cloak, to Spider-Man. And thus he becomes the spider supreme, complete with magical purple webbing. With the Eye’s help, he and Dagger travel to the dark dimension to battle the baddies and save their friends. Oh, and Spidey also gets a snazzy new costume featuring the best parts of his and Strange’s suit, but he’s not the only one with new threads.
Okay, you’d have to be waaaay old school for this, but who remembers when Wally West was Kid Flash and wore a copy of the Flash‘s costume instead of an individual design of his own? Now remember how he got his most well known yellow and red outfit? Yeah, unexplained magic technology. Flash Fact. That’s apparently what happens here as well.
When White Tiger and Iron Fist are freed from Dormammu’s control by Dagger’s purifying light, their costumes change. Not better or worse in my estimation, these costumes are just different. If anything should change, I’d much rather have an adult Danny Rand, but I doubt that will happen. For a few seconds, Strange also sports his late sixties masked look. I liked that costume too.
Those of you who have read my reviews on the marvel Animated Universe here before know that I am not fond of “Ultimate Spider-Man” on Disney XD. For most of its first two seasons it got a bit too silly for me. I like my superheroes just a bit more serious, not grim and gritty, but not cartoony either. “US-M” has always hit me as just this side of a bad videogame cartoon – there have been times when the juvenile-looking “Marvel Super Hero Squad” was more realistic and closer to continuity than this.
That said, “Ultimate Spider-Man” has surprised me on more than one occasion, and this is one of them. It’s not a great cartoon, and it’s muddied with unnecessary changes, but it’s not bad either. Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age. And I’ll probably be watching next week, will you?