By Dustin Cabeal
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this comic book. The story is fundamentally sound, the art is detailed and consistent, and even the coloring is a nice match to the tone and style of the story. There is also nothing exciting about Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys… nothing.
It’s a murder mystery being solved by people that aren’t the police. It may have well been any procedural TV show starring a cop and a partner that knows everything, except for how to get a badge. Granted, that’s how both of these franchises have always been, but the catch is that it’s a TV show clone more than it is a comic adaptation of the stories.
If I had to fault one thing, it would be the Hardy’s narration. There is absolutely no point of having clever narration if the character is then going to say said clever dialogue out loud. That and how many times have you stopped and thought in your inner monologue, “Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.” Personally, I’ve never had that thought, and I doubt I would while being interrogated by the police.
The story is this, the Hardy’s are being investigated for their father’s murder. Their lives were apparently great, like in the books, before their dad was booted off the force for being a corrupt cop. Instead of moving towns like any normal person would do, they stayed and were ridiculed and treated like garbage. The boys are interrogated individually, and we see how clever they are as one of them spouts off interrogation techniques that actually works, while the other makes a threat of retaliatory violence if he’s hit. My biggest problem with any story that spouts off the name for actual interrogation techniques followed by a dialogue bubble summing up that technique is that it shouldn’t then break the law twice in one scene.
Question, can a minor be interrogated without their parent present? Yes, they can, but it’s also completely illegal. Both boys are questioned without a parent present, and while it doesn’t explicitly state their age, based on the illustrations, I’d say it’s safe to assume they’re minors. The other illegal move is when the interviewing officer slams one of their heads against a table. Do I even need to ask you if that’s illegal? A minor being stuck by an officer of the law, while in custody and being interrogated without a parent present. Yeah, no the Hardy’s are smart, though… or something. What’s even worse is that our detective is smart enough to figure out what’s driving the two boys apart and yet he can’t crack this case… fucking brilliant.
That’s the thing, when you look at how boilerplate this mystery and setup is, you ignore the details of the law being broken because it’s all just backdrop to explain why the Hardy’s are going outside the law to clear their name and find their father’s real killer. I suppose that’s exciting. I’m sure the CW would love to make this show.
As a comic book, it doesn’t particularly try to utilize the medium. It’s a comic book for sure, but it reads like a TV pilot. While that won’t bother, or be noticed by a lot of people, to me as a comic reviewer, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s cool if it’s a TV script that you altered for comics but just say that. Remember Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet? Dynamite didn’t hide that it was based on his unproduced movie script. Now, I’m assuming which is probably a bad thing to do, but I can’t help but feel that this is more TV than comic.
All this said, and it’s still not a bad comic book. It works as a comic, but it misses on two important aspects. It didn’t feel or remind me of either book series, nor did it entertain me enough to make me want to come for more. Maybe if the approach had been more like Archie Horror or even Scooby Apocalypse and less creepy alien eyes Nancy Drew and the Boring Boys.
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – The Big Lie #1