Dynamite Entertainment 2017
Written by Anthony Del Col
Illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera
Coloured by Stefano Simeone
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Frank and Joe Hardy were devastated when their father committed suicide – but Nancy Drew, a childhood friend, suspected foul play. To investigate, she and the Hardy Boys have gone undercover with the Rover Boys, small-time crooks with knowledge of most of Bayport’s criminal activities. Completing a successful heist on the police evidence locker secured their reputation with the Rovers, but it’s also unearthed more mysteries. Now they’ve got to figure out what’s really going on in Bayport if they ever want to find Fenton Hardy’s true killer…
I’ll be honest if I were a pre-teen early teenager and I had discovered this was a novel i’d be completely and utterly engrossed in it. As it stands as a full grown adult i’m fully engrossed in it. The way that Anthony has been able to take the classic characters and update them is astonishing to see and i’m not just talking about making this in the present day. That kind of thing has been done from time to time it’s about taking their base personalities and making those fit with modern sensibilities. That’s much harder to do and you get the sense that these characters are who we grew up with but slightly modified to make them feel like they were born so that at this age this is right.
Granted i’m not sure i’d be using the Death of Fenton Hardy as my catalyst or opening salvo to introduce the series of stories but then again i’m not these fine folks. However it does make all the parents here seem more in tune with the times as well, from disgraced cop who wouldn’t bend and needed to be taken out to stubborn single father mourning to much loss to notice his daughter’s grown up and more a sleuth than he could imagine. Remember when Latch Key kids were a thing now who knows what we’d call kids anymore but the characterisation and development of this series has been absolutely amazing to experience.
Werther does some very fine work on the interiors here. His style makes this that cross between the old school noir that made detective stories so good with a more modern sensibility that allows us to feel like a part of the story. The use of page layouts through the utilisation of angles, perspective and even backgrounds help tell the story more completely. I like that the facial expressions help further the characterisation and bring emotion to the table.
For longtime fans of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys this is going to be a much darker take on a beloved classic. For new fans it’s going to feel like it’s very hip and now, wait does anyone even say hip nowadays? Either way it is a very strong mystery/detective thriller in the vein of black and white movies or serials when storytelling was paramount and you felt like the characters were real, flawed and had the best of intentions.
Dynamite has found a stellar team in Anthony and Werther to relaunch something nearly forgotten and bringing it back to the spotlight to thrill readers young and old.