Tandy Bowen was a sixteen-year-old girl who grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland where many wealthy people live. Bowen's mother, Melissa, was a celebrated but self-centered model who had become rich not only from her own career but also from receiving her previous husband's estate. Tandy's father left for India seeking "spiritual rebirth." Subsequently Melissa married Phillip Carlisle. Although Phillip was kind, Tandy was still deeply hurt by her father's departure and did not accept Phillip. Feeling unloved, Tandy turned to an older teenager named Rob Daltry for affection. But when Rob left for college shortly thereafter, the despondent Tandy left home on a bus for New York City. While wandering the streets a man tried to mug her, but she was rescued by Tyrone Johnson, a fellow runaway teen. She bought Tyrone food and the two grew to care about each other.
Simon Marshall and his men rounded up a number of the city's teen runaways, offering them food and shelter. Being naive, Tandy agreed to go; Tyrone went with her because he was suspicious of Marshall's motives and wanted to protect Tandy. Tyrone's suspicions proved to be correct; the runaway teens were knocked unconscious by Marshall's men and injected with a designer drug the Maggia wished to use as a replacement for heroin. Due to genetic factors Tyrone and Tandy managed to survive the drug, but the other teens died due to the drugs' effects. The two surviving teens escaped by jumping into the river, and both soon began manifesting superhuman powers. Tyrone found himself swimming alone in what appeared to be total darkness. He believed Tandy somehow escaped away from him until he saw her glowing brightly with white light. He felt himself drawn to her and made his way over.
Once the pair reached the shore they were attacked by Marshall's men, but the men were consumed and defeated by Tandy and Tyrone's new-found powers. The two runaway teens became known as the super-duo Cloak and Dagger, pledging to protect other young people from the dangers they had encountered. Tandy became fiercely loyal to Cloak. The two being runaways, they often found themselves hungry and homeless and ended up moving into a church where Father Delgado resided.
Dagger first appeared alongside Cloak in Spectacular Spider-Man #64 in March 1982 and was created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan.
Writer Bill Mantlo conceived both Cloak and Dagger characters after a visit to Ellis Island in New York. He has stated that their powers, attributes, origin, and motivation all came to him at once, and that they embodied between them "all the fear, and misery, hunger, and longing that had haunted me on Ellis Island." He envisioned the characters as physical opposites of each other to reflect the dichotomy of their dark vs light powers: Cloak was a tall black youth, while Dagger was a pale and petite blonde girl. Artist Ed Hannigan collaborated with Mantlo on their appearance, deciding that a skin-tight white leotard for Dagger made a perfect contrast with Cloak's dark billowing cape. Hannigan also came up with the revealing dagger-shaped cutout down the front of Dagger's costume, which was considered quite daring for comic book superheroines in the early 1980's. The dagger-shaped cutout plunges all the way past her navel, giving Dagger arguably the most plunging neckline in comics. Dagger's daring costume has withstood the test of time and has remained virtually unchanged for over three decades.
Major Story Arcs
Cloak and Dagger were manipulated by into tracking down the six runaway children of the Pride, a secret criminal organization. The two heroes eventually learned the truth about the Pride and promised to help the children, but the Pride caught up to them and erased their memories of the truth.
Cloak and Dagger were later revealed to have been members of Captain America's team of heroes who apposed the Superhuman Registration Act. Cloak was shot down by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents when trying to teleport a large number of heroes a chemical plant. Once at the chemical plant, Iron Man was waiting with the heroes who registered with the Superhuman Registration Act, where Dagger was hit by a bolt of lightning dispatched from a clone of Thor. Cloak and Dagger were later jailed in the Negative Zone, which then they were freed by Hulkling who was in disguise as Hank Pym. This then led them to a brawl between Pro-Registration and Anti-Registration.
In Secret Invasion #1, Luke Cage called Cloak, who dropped the New Avengers at the top of Stark Tower to steal one of Tony Stark's quinjets. When Cage offered to take Cloak with them to find the downed Skrull ship, Cloak refused, and vanished.
Dagger was approached by Norman Osborn, who offered her a chance to have her criminal record sealed, but only if she went along with his offer of joining his Dark X-Men.
She and Cloak accepted, and became incorporated into Osborn's personal team of X-Men. Fighting alongside veterans like Emma Frost and Namor, Dagger's performance was exemplary, coordinating quite well with the rest of the team as they helped to keep the peace in San Francisco. Siding with Osborn didn't sit well with the young heroine or her partner, and she once more felt the urge to flee from the situation. Cloak stopped her, saying that if they ran away again, they would always be running. She and Cloak stuck around, despite witnessing some of the more unsavory practices of Osborn's team. Thus, when Emma and Namor betrayed Osborn, revealing their siding with the HAMMER director as part of a ploy by Cyclops, both Dagger and Cloak were invited to join the true X-Men in their exodus from San Francisco. Tandy and Ty accepted this more readily than they accepted Osborn's entreaties, and thus the two runaway mutants were finally part of a team, and among their own kind.
While on Utopia, Dagger befriended many of the younger X-Men. But when Dr. Nemesis told Dagger that she really wasn't a mutant and her power had originated from a drug, she was hesitant to stay, even though the others accepted her. During that time Cloak visited his old home and met some old friends but later became trapped. Dagger went to rescue him alone because the other X-Men were on a special mission. She almost failed, but Dr. Nemesis, Rockslide, and Anole came to the rescue. Afterward, Cloak and Dagger decided to leave Utopia and returned to their former living space.
Fear Itself: The Deep
Attuma has become one of the Worthy and is transformed into Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans after he comes into possession of one of the mystic hammers. Nerkkod would bolster his army and prepare to conquer the oceans but is confronted by Namor and company. Dr. Strange would conjure up a spell and call upon the Defenders from the past and present including Dagger for reinforcements. Nerkkod is forced to retreat and his army is defeated.
- Height: 5' 5"
- Weight: 115 lbs (52 kg)
- Hair: Blonde
- Eyes: Blue
- Unusual Features: After Dagger's powers manifested, a pale circular outline appeared around her right eye. This circle often glows when she uses her light powers.
- Citizenship: American
- Place of Birth: unrevealed
- Marital Status: Single
- Education: High school dropout
- Occupation: Adventurer, Vigilante
- Known Relatives: Melissa Bowen (mother), " Lord of Light" (father), Phillip Carlisle (stepfather, deceased), Father Michael Bowen (uncle, deceased)
Powers and Abilities
As a mutate, Dagger has the ability to create psionic light daggers which travel wherever she wills them, and which drain living beings of vitality ("life-force") when struck. Her light daggers also have the capacity to cure certain persons of drug addictions, and can alleviate Cloak's hunger for light. Her powers can be used for a variety of effects:
Living Light Generation: Dagger generates a form of living light which is actually life-force. She produces much more than normal humans do, but is usually conservative in the use of her powers. Overuse of her powers could be fatal. Dagger generates and stores this life-force energy automatically. If she goes for more than a week or so without using her powers she will become fevered and delirious, and eventually discharge her energy involuntarily.
Light Daggers: Tandy can form 6-inch light daggers which she can throw from her fingertips. Her daggers may automatically form under certain conditions, such as another person in danger. The maximum effective range is unknown, but the daggers seem to weaken with further distance. Tandy has a limited ability to control their flight and reinforce them by compelling them to seek targets. They can track a being, but it is most effective when searching for Cloak. Those hit by these knives have their own life-force disrupted. Dagger can then drain a portion of their life-force; enough to kill if she wishes. Normally she chooses to leave them in a state of shock where they will see a vision of how their life might be different. The experience is powerful enough to make most individuals rethink their choices, although a hardened criminal or evil being is unlikely to change their ways.
Living Light Detoxification: Tandy's light energy can also purge a person, removing all manner of toxins, drugs, and other malignant substances from their system.
Living Light Manipulation: Nonliving objects are unaffected by her daggers; sometimes Tandy can redirect the daggers after they ricochet, other times the daggers are dispersed if they hit a non-living thing. She can project her life-force energy in a diffused manner, allowing her to illuminate dark areas as if by natural light. Tandy can also project her 'light' into Cloak's dimension to feed his 'hunger.' She is unharmed when traveling through his dimension and can pass this protection to others.
Other abilities: Dagger is naturally quite graceful, agile, and acrobatic, and received formal training a ballet dancer prior to running away from home. She then gained considerable experience at street-fighting during her time on the streets. She uses her physical skills in combination with her light powers to maximum effect when in battle.
The Age of Apocalypse versions of Cloak and Dagger were members of the Sinister Six. They were mentally manipulated into working for Sinister on his team. Once under his control he used them to attack the X-Men. Dagger was one of the few survivors of the ensuing battle. Sinister's mental control over Dagger was then psionically broken by the telepathic ninja, Psylocke.
On Earth-6215, Dagger is a member of a super-team called the League of Losers. In this reality, a future villain named Chronok stole a time machine built by Reed Richards and used it to travel back in time and somehow destroy all of Earth's major superheroes. Dagger joined a ragtag group of surviving lesser-known heroes ( X-23, Darkhawk, Arana, Gravity, Sleepwalker, and Terror) in order to travel to the future and prevent Chronok from stealing the machine.
A seemingly non-powered Tandy Bowen has made several appearances in the Ultimate Universe. Tandy was a popular student in Peter Parker's high school who ran for and won an election to become class president. She showed up again when Peter's entourage of girls ( Kitty Pryde, Mary Jane, and Gwen Stacy) were giving him a haircut in the girl's bathroom. In this encounter Tandy revealed herself to be strongly prejudiced against mutants, telling Kitty that she belonged "in a cage" rather than in school. When government agents later came for Kitty, Tandy seemed pleased, suggesting that she may have called them herself.
In a separate story arc, two women dressed like Earth-616's Cloak and Dagger were shown handcuffed by the police for an unknown offense. It was revealed they were merely non-powered civilians playing dress-up.
The real Dagger of Earth-1610 appeared in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol.2, during the "Spider-Man No More!" story arc. Tandy Bowen became Dagger when a delivery truck hit the rented limo that she and Tyrone Johnson were riding in on their way to prom, putting the two into a coma. They awoke to find themselves within a Roxxon facility where they were experimented on with dark matter and given strange abilities. After escaping from the facility, they started to look for answers, thus meeting Bombshell in the streets, thinking that she might know something.
In this reality, where Marvel characters are anthropomorphic animals, Dagger is called "Badger" and she has the appearance of one as well. Her partner is a frog called "Croak."
In Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness, Cloak and Dagger, both zombified, are seen in a narrow alley devouring a hapless victim.
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994):
Dagger appears as a "special weapon" NPC in the game. She and Cloak can be summoned by the player to attack and damage every enemy on the screen.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009):
Dagger appears as an NPC boss character in the game, which loosely follows the Civil War storyline from the comics. Both Cloak and Dagger are featured as bosses who fight against the pro-registration side, accurate being that she was anti-registration in the comics. If the player chooses to be pro-registration, Dagger attacks the heroes alongside the X-Man Colossus. Dagger's voice was provided by America Young.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Dagger is featured in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Lady Light] Dagger
- [First Steps] Cloak & Dagger
- [Living Light] Dagger
- [Light in the Dark] Dagger
- [Healing Light] Dagger
- [Lifeforce] Dagger
- [Inverted] Cloak & Dagger
Dagger is a non-playable character in the game. She is voiced by Tara Strong.