Publisher - Dynamite Entertainment
Writer - Anthony Del Col
Artist - Werther Dell'Edera
Colorist - Stefano Simeone
Letterer - Simon Bowland
Growing up, the Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys books never appealed to me from a passing glance. They seemed like kids who had little problems, when compared to the characters in book series like Goosebumps, and Animorphs. When I saw a copy of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie at my local library, I was intrigued. The kid detectives have found themselves older, and in noir territory trying to clear Fenton Hardy's name. This had the potential to be an awkward tale, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I had read.
Anthony Del Col does a great job of moving the plot forward, while rewarding readers for following the story. Stuff that happens later on compliments what came before it. The way that trust factors into the narrative is satisfying. There is a sense that things are predictable, but there is enough doubt built up in the story to second guess those assumptions. On top of that, Del Col's script knows what it is at heart. He knows what readers might expect , but he does not use that knowledge cheapen the action.
Where the writing faults in spots is with the villains, and the Hardy Boys. The dastardly forces that work against the heroes have plausible explanations for their actions, but they are not too terribly fascinating internally. The same can be said for the Hardy Boys, as they work better as a duo than as individual characters. Some of that can be attributed to Nancy Drew outshining the two in the story, but the guys felt like were lacking an edge internally.
The art by Werther Dell'Edera, and Stefano Simeone is well done. Dell'Edera's work is reminiscent of artists like Marcos Martin, while still having an identity of its own. He elevates the action with inspired layouts, and appropriate body language. Simeone's colors give the world a noir feel without looking like a copycat. He uses various shades of blue, red, and green heavily, but effectively leans on other colors to make things visually interesting as needed.
Bowland's lettering works nicely with the tone of the story. Caption boxes are effectively used to denote who is narrating, and who is speaking. At certain points, the narration is continued without the boxes to enhance the mood. The sound effects that Bowland uses mesh well with the hand-drawn ones created by Dell'Edera.
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie entertained me more than I expected. Even with its flaws, it is still a clever comic. I would say it's worth a look if you're a fan of the main characters' past stories or someone looking a noir tale that's not as dark as something like Criminal. Even if you are just a little curious about it, there's something to like within the pages.