Dynamite Entertainment 2017
Written by Anthony Del Col
Illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera
Coloured by Stefano Simeone
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Hard times have fallen upon Frank and Joe Hardy. Their once-perfect family has fallen
apart with the murder of their father, Fenton Hardy, and even worse, they’re now suspects in the crime. And whom have they turned to for help? An old friend from years past…
What I really like about this iteration is the fact that Anthony doesn’t dismiss or ignore the past he simply says it’s time to catch up to the present. So “modern life” crashes the trio’s seemingly idyllic lifestyles in the harshest ways possible. So basically he stays true to the characters while bringing them, kicking and screaming maybe, into the present. It’s a nice way to do this actually and I appreciate the effort and the skill and talent that we see from Anthony in all this. Oh and if you haven’t been paying attention he’s already written some incredibly good mysteries already including Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini.
There’s a natural progression here to think of Nancy Drew as the more mature one of the group. I mean after all don’t girls supposedly mature faster than boys? That she’s more or less like Veronica Mars doesn’t hurt either it just adds a new dimension to her other than being that sweet wholesome lass rooted in the past. Also it makes sense that the trio grew up together and have a long history as spending summers together solving mysteries, real and imagined. This backstory that Anthony brings us this issue is greatly appreciated in determining not only how they know each other but why and to what extent their trust goes. Oh and we all wondered which if either Hardy boy Nancy fancied and we’ll probably still wonder after all this is said and done but that she’s their intentions is delightful.
The interiors here have what I like to think of as a modern day noir. Gone is the black and white stuff, which is a shame to be honest, and instead there’s pages with bright bold colour and there are some with muted tones and heavy shading. All of which conspire to bring the mystery of the moment to the forefront. Werther and Stefano work beautifully together to keep the mood tone and feel suited to what’s going on in each panel. The use of page layouts through their angles, perspective and even backgrounds gives the book it’s flow that really moves along nicely leaving the reader wanting more when it’s finished.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the kids are in that 17-19 year old range, still teenagers but also adults at the same time. This gives them the freedom of movement and independence we think they have along with being able to get into real trouble and come up with intelligent ideas for discovering the truth. Also the ages are hinted at here so it’s an easy guess to make. It also explains how they are with one another in those years where discovering oneself is sometimes a difficult place to be.
With a great premise and stellar writing to go along with strong interior artwork this is the way a modern take should work. Couldn’t recommend this more for longtime fans or for those who discover them for the first time.