|For alternate versions of Melissa Bowen, see Melissa Bowen's Character Hub|
- "I've always been good at excuses. Rationalizations. Ever since I was a little girl -- just pull one out of thin air if I needed to. Nathan... All I did was make excuses for him. I didn't just turn the other cheek, but a blind eye as well. And when he died, I could have stopped. But I kept it up. Kept lying to Tandy."
- ―Melissa Bowen[src]
Melissa Bowen is the mother of Tandy Bowen and the widow of the late Nathan Bowen. Despite having suffered from abuse by Nathan, which she never disclosed to Tandy or anyone else, Melissa did her best to clear her husband's name, hoping this to be the first step to rebuild a decent life after the Destruction of the Roxxon Gulf Platform. She began a relationship with Greg Pressfield, a lawyer who helped her against Roxxon Corporation, but ended it shortly before he was murdered. Despite this loss, Melissa received the support of her daughter, whose efforts finally revealed Roxxon's accountability just like Melissa had hoped for.
In an attempt to reconcile with each other after years of being estranged, Melissa and Tandy went to a support group to talk about Nathan's history of abuse. However, their relationship remained punctuated with arguments about how Melissa had remained with Nathan without ever attempting to leave him, while Melissa insisted that she was doing this for Tandy. Eventually, Melissa was among those kidnapped by D'Spayre, who attempted to feed on her own life troubles to ease his migraines, but Melissa was ultimately saved by Tandy and her best friend Tyrone Johnson. Following her rescue, Melissa was told by Tandy that her daughter would leave New Orleans for a time.
- "I read this article that said that girls with abusive fathers most likely find abusive partners, so I thought that lying was a way to break the cycle."
- ―Melissa Bowen[src]
Melissa fell in love with a man named Nathan Bowen, a Roxxon Corporation engineer who soon gave her a daughter, Tandy, who Melissa deeply loved. However, Melissa's family life was far from ideal due to Nathan actually being an abusive husband, who sometimes hit her. Keeping herself in a fantasy of a perfect family, Melissa kept hiding Nathan's true nature, especially to her daughter Tandy, since Melissa feared that telling Tandy the truth about her father could result in her finding an abusive partner as well. Therefore, Melissa always find a way to justify her husband's violent behavior she never reported to anyone.
Melissa eventually lost her husband who died in a car crash due to being surprised by the Destruction of the Roxxon Gulf Platform. Shortly afterwards, Melissa was visited by a group of Roxxon's executives, including Peter Scarborough, who came to seize all of Nathan's belongings as they scapegoated him for the explosion, claiming that it had been caused by a rogue project of Nathan. Melissa tried to oppose, asking Trip for help, but to no avail.
In addition to her husband, Melissa also lost her house, being forced to live in a new one far less wealthy than before. Grief and unemployment eventually slowly led Melissa towards alcoholism and drug abuse, which further drove her daughter Tandy away from her. In the end, Tandy simply left the house, and mother and daughter became mostly estranged, barely seeing each other in weeks, while Melissa tried to find comfort in men who quickly ditched her, adding to her misery.
Attempt to Justice
In 2017, while she had not seen her daughter Tandy in weeks, Melissa was surprised to find her at home as she returned from work, having been fired from her job. Melissa told Tandy about her new boyfriend, Greg Pressfield, and expressed her belief that he could help her against Roxxon Corporation, although Tandy was doubtful about it.
Melissa then noticed that Tandy's hand was bleeding and offered to help. By doing so, she touched Tandy's skin, which activated her Lightforce-based hope perception powers, enabling Tandy to read Melissa's hopes of building a happy family with her. Melissa, however, was largely unaware of what had happened, and when asked by Tandy whether she had seen the same thing than her, Melissa did not know what to say and got even more worried for Tandy.
Melissa was surprised when Tandy returned in the next day, explaining that she needed to pick up a few things. Melissa felt embarrassed to let Tandy in, as Pressfield was present at home and they had found Tandy's secret stash of money and drugs, using the money to file an injunction against Roxxon Corporation. Melissa was unable to admit what she had done to Tandy before she found out by herself.
Things thus went from awkward to clearly tense and escalated into an argument, with Melissa confronting Tandy about the origins of the drugs and refusing to get lectured by her daughter about morality. This caused Tandy to angrily leave, and Melissa commented on her daughter's tendency to run away as soon as the situation became too dangerous. As Tandy slammed the door, Melissa claimed that Nathan Bowen would have been heartbroken by Tandy's behavior.
Melissa once again found Tandy home in the next day in the bathroom, and discovered that Tandy was once again bleeding, this time in the head. Before she could know what happened, Melissa heard NOPD Detective Brigid O'Reilly knocking at the door. Melissa opened the door and was told that O'Reilly was looking for Tandy. Melissa was reluctant to let O'Reilly enter, and was told that Tandy could have been a victim of an assault.
Although surprised by this information, Melissa decided to lie to O'Reilly, pretending that she had not seen Tandy in months and that her daughter was probably far away. Melissa was then given O'Reilly's card before the detective left. She returned into the bathroom to tell Tandy that O'Reilly was no longer at the door, but found out that Tandy had already left the house.
Melissa was once again visited by Tandy, who brought her coffee and apologized for her previous behavior. Melissa was then asked by Tandy to tell her about the case against Roxxon Corporation, even though she had never believed in it before. As they discussed Nathan, Melissa asked Tandy what she remembered of him, and once again maintained the lie that her husband had been a great man, whose expertise could never have led to the Destruction of the Roxxon Gulf Platform.
Asked by Tandy what they could do against Roxxon Corporation, Melissa insisted that Pressfield could be of great help to them, disagreeing when Tandy stated that Pressfield was only interested in having sex with Melissa without any feeling behind whatsoever. However, Pressfield entered the house at this moment with food for enjoying a family dinner at home, thus proving Tandy wrong much to Melissa's satisfaction. During dinner, however, Pressfield received a phone call from his wife, and Melissa urged him to answer as it might have been important. Still, Melissa was upset by how dinner had turned out and went to bed early, claiming that she had a job interview in the morning.
Troubled by the recent events, Melissa chose to end her relationship with Pressfield in the next day, believing Tandy to be right about him in the end. In the evening, when Tandy got home, Melissa admitted that she had lied about the job interview and told her that she was no longer with Pressfield. Nevertheless, Tandy seemed to have changed her mind about him and now considered him a good person due to have worked on the case with him. This pressured Melissa to try and call Pressfield to resume their relationship, leaving several messages on his voicemail. However, Pressfield had actually been murdered by Roxxon Corporation earlier in the night, thus putting an end to Melissa's legal efforts against the company.
On the eighth anniversary of Nathan Bowen's death, Melissa was visited by her daughter Tandy, who noticed how pretty Melissa looked. Melissa was then surprised upon hearing Tandy announcing that she would join her for the small memorial ceremony Melissa traditionally held at this date, and let Tandy find a balloon to celebrate. Then, Melissa was asked about Nathan's safe deposit box. Melissa admitted that she had looked for it but to no avail, and was told by Tandy that she might know where it was. They then went through a box to find the key, and Melissa fondly told a story about a date with Nathan, although she claimed that they had been at the ballet instead of the movie theatre like her daughter believed.
In the evening, Melissa was joined on the shore of the lake by Tandy, and was introduced to Tyrone Johnson, a friend of Tandy's whose brother had died on the same night than Nathan. Melissa offered her condolences to Johnson and suggested that he could say a few words for his brother, but they eventually chose to have a moment of silence instead for Nathan and Johnson's brother. While commemorating, however, Melissa held hands with Tandy and Johnson, causing them to be able to review one of Melissa's memories of abuse by Nathan. Although unaware of what had happened, Melissa felt a little strange, but continued the ceremony, lighting up the lantern Tandy had brought instead of a balloon.
Targeted by Roxxon
Although Melissa had dropped out her fight against Roxxon Corporation, her daughter Tandy actually continued her efforts on her own terms. This eventually caused Melissa to be ambushed in her house by Ashlie, a hitwoman sent by Peter Scarborough. Melissa was held at gunpoint by Ashlie until Tandy arrived home as well. As Ashlie fired at her, Melissa could do nothing but scream to her daughter to leave. Ashlie then threatened to kill Melissa if Tandy did not come out of hiding.
However, Tandy was able to play for time by mentioning some files Ashlie would have failed to recover after murdering Greg Pressfield. As she approached Ashlie and Melissa, this distracted Ashlie long enough for Melissa to break free and to grab a kitchen knife she used to cut Ashlie. This enabled Tandy to attack the hitwoman while Melissa hid under the table until Ashlie was forced to flee. Melissa was then instructed by Tandy to call a man named Munney. As Tandy left the house, Melissa asked her where she was going, prompting Tandy to hug her mother and tell her that she had to help some people.
In the aftermath of the Terror in New Orleans, Melissa saw her daughter returning home with a New Orleans Gazette newspaper confirming that Roxxon Corporation was being held accountable for the mayhem which had broken out in New Orleans since the leaking of Lightforce and Darkforce due to their drilling activities.
Along with her daughter Tandy, Melissa joined a support group coordinated by Lia Dewan for victims of abuse at the hands of other men. During a session, Melissa openly spoke about her marriage with Nathan and admitted that she had always made up excuses for him. She also explained that she had lied to Tandy about who her father truly was, as she feared that her daughter would end up with the same kind of man as she had. Melissa was then pleased when Tandy, who had been asked by Dewan, expressed understanding towards her mother and even called her heroic.
Melissa and Tandy then returned to their home and began cookin together. As they worked side by side, Melissa expressed gratitude towards her daughter, thanking her for what she had said during the support group's session. She also recalled how lost Tandy had been in her own way and expressed relief at the idea that both of them were building new lives on solid ground. However, Melissa was unaware that she actually caused Tandy to feel awkward by mentioning her past. Eventually, Melissa remained alone at the house as Tandy left after pretending that she has a ballet class.
Melissa and Tandy later attended another session of their support group, during which they listened to the story of Mikayla Bell, who had a complicated history with her boyfriend Jeremy. Melissa listened to Bell as she told that Jeremy had been attacked by thugs and that she had realized that he needed her, and she expressed surprise when Tandy, who actually was responsible for the attack, expressed doubts about the story Jeremy had told her girlfriend so she could repeat it to the support group.
During another session, Melissa once again listened to Bell who planned on returning living with Jeremy. Melissa did not weigh in, but when Tandy abruptly stated that Bell was foolish to believe that Jeremy had changed, Melissa disapproved her daughter's behavior. Once the session was over, Melissa confronted Tandy about what she had said and claimed that she had driven Bell back to her abusive boyfriend. As Tandy insisted that Bell would have returned to Jeremy no matter what, Melissa retorted that Tandy had made Bell more isolated than before by leading her away from the support group.
Melissa later joined the other members of the group to spend the night in a bar. Even though she knew how risky it was, Melissa had a couple drinks, and met with a doctor who asked for her number. Melissa was pleased with this night, but could not help but notice that she had not been in contact with Tandy for a while. She repeatedly texted her daughter to know whether she was all right, unaware that Tandy actually was on a mission in the Dark Dimension, where Melissa's messages had no chance to reach her.
Therefore, Melissa expressed relief when her daughter finally returned home. She told Tandy about the previous night, but it actually caused Tandy to grow upset, as Melissa was accused by her daughter to return to her old bad habits. The argument escalated into Melissa being blamed for having stayed with Nathan over the years. Melissa calmy attempted to explain how scared she felt at the time and that she wanted to protect her daughter, taking full responsibility for her actions. Melissa then tried to convince Tandy that leaving someone is not as easy as Tandy thought, but Tandy disagreed and bluntly left.
Because of her past traumas of her life with Nathan Bowen and the lack of encouragement from her daughter Tandy, Melissa soon relapsed into her excessive consumption of drugs and alcoholism. This made her an ideal prey for D'Spayre, Lia Dewan's colleague at the support group, who manipulated her emotions from the Dark Dimension in order to kidnap her. Along with several other inhabitants of New Orleans, Melissa fell into an unresponsive state, listening to D'Spayre playing music and feeding off her despair to ease his migraines.
Melissa was then taken into the Dark Dimension like the rest of the unwilling audience when Cloak and Dagger attempted to stop D'Spayre. Sitting next to Mikayla Bell in a recreation of the Club Delight, Melissa kept listening to D'Spayre's music, unable to do anything until she was hit by a Lightforce dagger sent by her daughter. This caused Melissa to regain consciousness and, alongside with Bell and Mina Hess, she helped restrain D'Spayre, enabling Cloak and Dagger to defeat him for good.
In the aftermath of this battle, Melissa returned to her home and helped her daughter pack her stuff as she planned on leaving New Orleans for some time with her best friend to find others who might need their assistance. Melissa thus hugged her daughter goodbye before letting her go live her own life.
Years of abuse at the hands of her husband Nathan made Bowen quite withdrawn and shy. She sacrificed her well-being to her marriage and her family, enduring Nathan's outbursts without ever trying to retaliate and maintaining their daughter Tandy in the illusion that her father was a good person. Bowen would later admit that she had a part of responsibility in her own situation, as she kept making excuses for Nathan. She considered leaving him, but felt that this would only worsen her situation and put her daughter at risk, and therefore she chose to stay by Nathan's side to protect Tandy as best as she could. Even after Nathan died, Bowen defended his name to the public, trying to clear his name and to have Roxxon Corporation being held accountable for the Destruction of the Roxxon Gulf Platform, and not disclosing to Tandy how horrible a husband Nathan had been.
This horrendous life left Bowen vulnerable to addiction of all sorts, and she quickly felt into alcoholism and drug abuse, which caused her daughter to leave her behind, even though Tandy also ended up being a drug user. Lonely and in need of affection after her terrible marriage, Bowen also often fell prey to men who desired nothing but have sex with her and had no interest in building a real relationship with her. The only exception was Greg Pressfield, with whom Bowen began to have a glimpse of a viable future, but she eventually ended their relationship because of Tandy, which proved to be a mistake as Pressfield and her actually shared a genuine love and Pressfield died shortly afterwards.
Despite these major ordeals in her life, the acknowledgement of Roxxon's accountability and the start of a better relationship with her daughter eventually caused Bowen to begin building a sounder life, joining a support group along with Tandy to talk about their issues and figure them out. Bowen never once attempted to hide the mistakes she had made by the time she lived with Nathan, only emphasizing the difficulty of her situation then, and doing the best to fix the errors she had made. As such, despite having hugely suffered in life, Bowen retained enough inner strength to work on her issues and try to improve herself. Nevertheless, her pain made her an ideal prey for D'Spayre, who manipulated her and briefly caused her to relapse into her old bad habits of alcohol and drug consumption. Still, Bowen was saved from his hold by her daughter and Tyrone Johnson, and found the power to fight him back, and restarted her life for good after he was defeated.
- Bowen Residence: Forced to abandon the wealthy house she used to live in with her husband and daughter, Bowen found shelter in a small and poor residence from which her daughter quickly left, leaving Bowen alone in the house. Bowen often spent time in her house, alone or with men who she attempted to build relationships with, drinking alcohol and using drugs, sometimes even using money and drugs hidden in the residence by her daughter. By the time she got better, Bowen continued to live in this small house, but largely improved its state to make it a better place of living, even managing in convincing her daughter to return live with her for a time.
In chronological order:
- Cloak & Dagger
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.01: First Light
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.08: Ghost Stories
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.01: Restless Energy
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.02: Suicide Sprints
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.03: Stained Glass
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.04: Call/Response
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.09: Back Breaker
- Cloak & Dagger: 1.10: Colony Collapse
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.02: White Lines
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.05: Alignment Chart
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.08: Two Player
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.09: Blue Note
- Cloak & Dagger: 2.10: Level Up