Review: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – The Big TPBK

I am of an age where I remember reading the Hardy Boy books as well as watching the show on TV.  I was never a massive fan of either to be honest, only really paying attention when Nancy Drew guest-stared which added something new to the mix.  Pretty much the same way the introduction of Batgirl had in the Batman TV show.  Ah, great TV times in the 70’s in the UK.  When I heard about this series, effectively mixing things up with Nancy in charge and the Hardy’s being the sidekicks I was quite intrigued. Unfortunately, with the numbers of books I see on a weekly basis, it kind of got lost in the shuffle.  Looking at this trade paperback, that was an error on my part.

The Hardy boys are in trouble; their dad has been murdered and they are in the frame for the crime.  The pair are recalcitrant in their innocence.  Given a pass, for now, the pair team up with their old summer holiday friend, Nancy Drew.  Now, Nancy is a couple of years older then the boys and despite not being from Bayport, seems to have an eye on what is behind the sleepy little town.  Nancy has a plan to help the boys find their dad’s killer, but the smoke and mirrors will lead the detective three into all sorts of scrapes and dangers.

Anthony Del Col is a creator with many talents, including film feature producing.  His comic writing skills include writing an co-creating the Joe Shuster Award nominated comic book Kill Shakespeare.  Here Del Col gives the old version a kick in the ass, turning the triumvirate around so that Nancy is the star and the boys are the handy and somewhat hardy boys.  The story has a crime noir, even gum shoe style of writing that shouldn’t really work in contemporary small town USA.  But work it does, with Del Col carefully giving each of the titular characters their own voice.  Sure the addition of a beautiful woman into a brotherly dynamic is always going to cause some ripples and ripple they do, with both boys vying for Nancy’s attention.  Del Col uses this as a means to propel them into Nancy’s schemes before they mature it out to make decisions for themselves.

Originally advertised as a femme fatale book, the art by Werther Dell’Edera did catch me a little by surprise as it didn’t match my own perceptions of what a femme fatale should look like.  However, taking a second look the art whilst not traditional, certainly works with the tone of the book.  Dell’Edera provides a strong pace throughout the book, not losing sight of the big reveal in the myriad twists and turns of life in the fringe in Bayport.  The colors by Stefano Simeone work well in conjunction with the art as does the letters by Simon Bowland, who has turned into quite the lettering find for Dynamite.

When this trade hit my desk, I planned to do a quick review based on what I had read the first time around.  Instead, I got caught up in the mystery, the whodunit and the overall quality of story which kept me hooked through all 162 pages.  This is a testament to the creativity shown by everyone through out the book.

Writing – 5 Stars
Art -4.5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

Written by; Anthony Del Col
Art by; Werther Dell’Edera
Colors by: Stefano Simoene
Letters by Simon Bowland
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

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