It was great to see Matt and Jeff Hardy return to the WWE at Wrestlemania 33…wait- it’s not THOSE Hardy Boyz? I was wondering how Nancy Drew fit into this review, but now it all makes sense.
This isn’t the sibling tag team from the squared circle, but instead the return of the mystery solving twins, Frank and Joe Hardy and their longtime confidante Nancy Drew. In full disclosure I have not read any of the previous works that involve these characters. I know that there is a litany of material out there that most young readers have picked up, but this wasn’t in my wheelhouse growing up. In fact this is my first taste of the Hardy/Drew universe. Not bad!
This issue picks with Nancy unfolding her master plan to help solve the whodunit in the murder of the Hardy boy’s father. It involves implicating the boys as suspects in their dad’s murder, catching a card game with some local low lives, and having everything that she has planned backfire in her face. It’s during all of this hoopla that we get flashbacks to how the three teens grew up together during sun filled summers.
It’s also during these flashbacks that we are treated to a makeshift origin story of how Nancy came to be a crime solving teen, how her mother passed away, and just how tangled her past is with the Hardy family. Right from the jump it’s a knotted and mixed up series of events that tie these characters closer together than I could have imagined. This series proves right away that it’s not the same kid’s stuff that you might remember. It has sex, violence, and a seedy underbelly just like any good crime drama; it’s just that the content is muted in this series instead of turned up to eleven.
The artwork in the book was solid and at time reminded me of Tim Sales’ work on projects like Batman’s “The Long Halloween”. It’s the simple and stylized approach to the art that gave the story an added gritty feel that fit the narrative well. It can be hard for some artists to provide decent visuals on a book that is low on action and high on drama that is not the case here. Dell’Edera does a great job.
I also have to give kudos to the author. Anthony Del Col provided a surprising twist on these characters. While he is not reinventing the wheel he has certainly added a nice rim and hubcaps to the preexisting one. This is a property that has taken its cue from the current revitalization in the Archie titles and brought their characters forward into the 21st century, by updating their look, their content, and their readership.
I never thought that I would type this in a million years, but you need to go check out Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Wow! That felt somehow weirdly right.
Final Score: 4 out of 5 Stars
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys #2
Story: Anthony Del Col
Art: Werther Dell’Edera
Colors: Stafano Simeone
Letters: Simon Bowland