Review: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – The Big Lie #4
Writer: Anthony Del Col
Art: Werther Dell’Edera
Colours: Stefano Simeone
Letters: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
The Nancy Drew of yesteryear is almost unrecognisable in Dynamite’s new series of the franchise. This is a modern take which drags the quaint adventures of a part-time teen sleuth into edgy and life-threatening investigations, and it’s a far cry from the 50210-stylings of the ’80’s and ’90’s. This Nancy is street-wise, tough and, dare I say it, kinda grown up. But does it still work? The modern, younger reader should find the action elements pacy enough; take with this the suggested violence, not enough to worry a wholesome parent, but enough to taste the blood, and you’ve potentially gained a new readership. For those longer in the tooth, the series doesn’t quite hold enough of the nostalgia factor, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The reader might just wonder, though, why revamp the franchise if it’s, in part, unrecognisable.
In this issue, the plot hinges further on finding Fenton Hardy’s killer, after his untimely death earlier in the run. A brutish Frank and Joe Hardy team up with the heroine to trawl the city’s underworld for leads but in doing that, unsettle the sediment that is home to these bottom dwellers. The result is danger for our intrepid team, and with the danger, Del Col insinuates bloodshed and more. The writing is standard genre fare with moody informers and tight-knit cops who clearly know more than they let on. It’s a caper with a few attempted twists.
The artwork keeps with the crime caper feel, but does, with questionable success, attempt a darker, noirish feel through the colourists use of a darker palate, especially during the interrogation and late night sequences. The dark blue hues do help to create a grittier atmosphere, especially with strangers lurking in the shadows, but overall, the art lacks the detail of bigger named artists. Other than Nancy’s face, which is instantly recognisable, others’ features become samey, or at worst, lost. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not dreadful, but is maybe aimed at a less discerning eye. The lettering is clean and positioned well. We’re not overloaded with text boxes and their sizing is a little smaller than average, in my opinion. For what it’s worth, I really liked the font used as it gave a mature edge to the look of the book.
Overall, the issue continues the series with pace. I loved the threat of violence and how it was used to keep the street-wise feel to these reworked characters. If you like your crime with a hint of nostalgia, give it a go.
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Review written by Arun S.