Noir Mystery is at the Core of Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #2 Review
Writer – Anthony Del Col
Artist – Werther Dell’Edera
Colorist – Stefano Simeone
Letters – Simon Bowland
Covers – Fay Dalton, Dave Bullock
Publisher – Dynamite Entertainment
Issue #1 set the stage – the father of Frank and Joe Hardy has been murdered and the Hardy Boys are the prime suspects, but an old friend name Nancy Drew is determined to solve the case and prove their innocence. Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #2 picks up directly where the first issue left off, the brothers are meeting with Nancy to work out a plan. This isn’t your grandmother’s mystery book, this revival is darker and grittier and has a lot less of the feeling of innocent teens stumbling on a case. While this may not have the quirk of its source material, if you enjoy a noir mystery then you may become hooked.
However, we’re still playing set up in this issue so there aren’t any leads or advancements to the plot. This issue is told from Nancy’s perspective and she gives a brief history of how she knows the boys and her family life. Fans of Ms. Drew will also enjoy the cameo of from her gal pal George though only in flashbacks. The Hardy Boys are following her lead as they try to dig up information on who might have actually killed their father but the sibling rivalry is strong and introducing a pretty girl into the mix does not help at all. Everything has a serious tone and the characters act much more mature than versions I’m personally familiar with, the brother’s rivalry is the only source of humor and quite frankly realism since for a small town and three teens things become very grimy and serious. Even the best laid plans hit a snag sometimes as Nancy, Frank and Hardy find themselves in a pickle that will be resolved next issue -darn those cliffhangers!
The artwork is dark and matches the tone of the story being told. I’m personally not the biggest fan of the style, however, I know can appreciate that it works here. The colors are muted, there aren’t many bright colors to be found and everything in general is rather dark. Except for Nancy’s flashbacks to happier times which is a great shift to match the tone of the narrative. There is a great use of shadows and shading as well, despite being set in modern day with a few shifts the same artwork could easily make this a 1940’s noir. My two issues are the details, sometimes the faces don’t have much but expressions are still solid and the backgrounds at times end up forgotten. My second issue is personal preference- I wanted Nancy to be a brunette.
Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #2 provides us with a good background on our main three characters though I’m sure there is more to their story that will unfold while on this case. Despite being smart and crafty, they’re still teens and not above getting in trouble. As this issue is told in Nancy’s voice, we find out she’s very perceptive and can keep up with the brothers, I found her to be well written. The mystery has only just begun and the teen sleuths still have more work to do, I look forward to seeing how things play out and do hope they let us, the audience, play detective as well.