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 living a perfect life with their family in Bayport, a small, New
England resort-town on the Atlantic —until an unexpected death threw their entire existence into turmoil. Now the Hardy Boys are headed down a much darker path — one that will lead them right into the seedy, crooked heart of their hometown — and with a mysterious figure from their past as a guide...These are the teen detectives as you’ve never seen them before!
Well the trend is to update a classic franchise and make more “modern.” I’m not sure if by modern we mean turn it into a sex crazed murder fest but trends are trends right? Just look at Riverdale after all. I was kind of excited for this because I grew up with both the Hardy Boys in books and on television and of course with Nancy Drew as well. Honestly I hadn’t anticipated that this would be what it is here however. This is definitely not the kids I grew up with and while part of me thinks okay let’s see what they can do with this.
So that Anthony has decided to flip the script as it were and go a much darker route than anything I would have thought possible definitely has it’s moments of intrigue. The way we are introduced to the story in the police station, the reason the boys are there and how we see them being treated all really do go to show that this is going to be quite the experience. I do like that the boys still have a reputation and that solving crimes and such are still a part of who they are, or were. This gives us that basis so we can kind of see why characters react the way they do throughout this issue. I found the interaction shocking and what I saw to be something of an all too common corrupt police force.
Werther and Stefano do a wonderful job on the interiors here keeping it dark, brooding and then the flashbacks brighter and more optimistic. The use of page layouts with the angles, perspective and use of backgrounds flesh out the story beautifully. Plus I really appreciate that the boys look like high school teenagers and the adults like they should. So the mood, tone and feel they set for the story carries it perfectly.
By the end of the issue i’m completely on board with what Anthony is doing here. Suddenly i’m okay with his direction and what he’s got planned. He does an exceptional job in shocking the reader then getting them to back a thousand percent. Also there’s a reference to another book series I used to read here that I adore so thanks for that as well! I like the darker new tone, twist and way that not only the town but the police see the Hardy Boys and what they are going to have to do moving forward.
This might be the best “modern” approach to updating a franchise like this that I’ve seen. It works on every level and still fully embraces the heart of who they are.