Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1
Writer: Anthony Del Col
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Colourist: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Matt Idelson
A review by Amelia Wellman
The Big Lie #1 is a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery inspired by new crime classics to bring the iconic teen detectives into the modern age! When the teenage brothers Frank and Joe Hardy are accused of the murder of their father – a detective in the small resort town of Bayport – they must team up with the femme fatale Nancy Drew to prove their innocence (and find the real guilty party in the process) in a twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete with the three big Ds of the noir genre: double-crosses, deceit, and dames.
I’m crazy for Nancy Drew. The teenage sleuth has been one of my idols since I was about ten years old. She’s got a blue sports car and no desire to play by the patriarchy’s rules! Then there’s the Hardy Boys. I never cared much about them, personally. I mean, it takes two Hardy Boys but only one Nancy Drew to solve a mystery. Just saying.
The Big Lie #1 centers on the Hardy brothers as the mystery that this arc will solve is set up: the murder of their father. Like any good noir story, there are untrustworthy cops, secrets being kept, and a woman with beautiful blonde hair. A police interrogation serves as a way for Joe and Frank Hardy to poke some holes in the old noir formula without popping it entirely, shaping it into something a little more modern for people unfamiliar with either the characters or the genre. The line: “This isn’t some sort of little teen adventure… This is real life” as Frank has his head smashed into a table by the cop interrogating him is just the right amount to show us as the readers that these are characters we know, but we’re going to see them different here. Think what Riverdale is doing for Archie characters and that’s what Del Col is doing here for Drew/Hardy.
But therein lies the only big problem of The Big Lie #1. Between the gritty crime and the Easter egg mention of other classic mystery solvers (ie the less popular Bobbsey twins), there’s not much else if you’re not a fan of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, or the overall genre of noir. I suppose you could say that about any genre, but this always involves a crossover and a reimagining of classic characters. Hopefully Del Col is up to doing the series all the dark, gritty justice The Big Lie is hoping to achieve.
The art of The Big Lie #1 is what I expected from a noir story. It’s not an overly detailed piece, and very dark and shadowy, especially around faces. But that’s fine because those shadows cast on a character’s face tell you more than their physical expression. Definitely a plus with a genre that likes to spread tension and suspense as thick as it can.
You see very little of Nancy in this first issue, but her character design? She is ready to kick ass and take names and I couldn’t be happier! The colours by Simeone are also very pleasing. Each panel is either mostly cool colours with splashes of warm for details, or warm with splashes of cool. It’s not an even distribution of colours but it’s perfect for showing intense changes in mood or picking out little details here and there that might be worth your notice. It is a mystery after all, paying attention to everything might be in your best interest.
I’m going to go half way between buy it and wait and see with a Check it out. I’m not usually a fan of noir unless Humphrey Bogart is there, but for Nancy Drew, I’m willing to try. The Big Lie #1 has a solid base for a reimagining of one of my most beloved childhood heroes, and two dudes she occasionally lets tag along.