Story: Anthony Del Col
Art: Werther Dell’Edera
Colors: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Simon Bowland
What They Say:
Nancy Drew has a killer plan. In order to clear their names from accusations of their father’s murder, she and the Hardy Boys will have to infiltrate a family of petty thieves — by beating at their own (card) games! The classic characters dive deeper into the seedy underbelly of a tourist-town — and they begin to find out if they’re really able to go bad in order to do good.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Anthony Del Col and Werther Dell’Edera delighted me in the opening installment of this series with what they crafted. While it does angle somewhat in the direction of the Archie Horror books in taking old school material and darkening up, especially with the artwork, this book hit all the right notes and delivered some great artwork that made it feel rich and endless in all the right ways. That book spent its time introducing us to Bayport and its setup through the separate interviews with Joe and Frank, making it feel fully realized and showcasing both of their personalities in a really strong way so that you knew who was who and why they are who they are. Having grown up reading the books from both franchises, it clicked well enough on the nostalgia side but also held its own without needing to know any of it.
With Nancy showing up at the end, that made it easier to shift into her story for this issue. Her time with Frank and Joe is intriguing all in its own as she’s using them for her own ends but there’s also a strong backstory there between them that we see from their time as kids some ten years ago. It has a rose-colored view of things that shifts into her own tragic story with the loss of her mother, her father not being there, and then reconnecting with him and bonding for years as they only had each other. The nod to her renewed and modern detective skills is nicely done but it also expands her tragic backstory with more material in learning that there was a real rift between her parents, assumed for something he had done, and was something he kept from her all these years making her all the more intent on staking out her own ground on things and putting distance between them. And what better way than to help the Hardy brothers as their father is being prosecuted by her father.
With her master plan at work to eke out more information and set things in motion, she’s now worked the boys to learn some top shelf card tricks for a game she’s set up with Sam, one of three brothers that operates some shady things in town. This has her putting a lot of trust in the two to not be as outgoing as the usually are and it’s a real treat watching the game unfold with her commentary throughout it, especially in acknowledging how they’re trying to curry favor with her by overperforming at times – even if it means putting the other in a bad spot. It all serves to put them closer to the seedier side of Bayport and those that operate out of it and the narration really makes it feel like they’re walking right into a trap, though I suspect it’s more that Nancy has laid a bigger trap for these guys in order to achieve her goals.
Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie is exactly the kind of modernized interpretation of these characters that I didn’t know I wanted. The team here expands the story and gives Nancy Drew center stage and really does some great stuff in giving her a compelling backstory to explore with new motivations while also tying in the innocence of youth that all three of them had at one time. With sharp writing, great characterization, effective narration, and some utterly fantastic artwork that just captures everything so perfectly, this is quickly becoming a must-read series that has me anxious for more. Very recommended.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: April 12th, 2017