Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Jenn St-Onge
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Dynamite

Review by Melissa Prange

In River Heights, Nancy Drew’s talent for deduction is in high demand. With her sidekicks, Noah and Mia, she finds more than enough cases to keep her busy (including one involving a missing goat mascot). On the anniversary of her mother’s death, however, Nancy Drew receives a mysterious letter. The letter hints at a secret surrounding her mother’s accident, so Nancy abandons her caseload and heads back to Bayport.

It’s been years since Nancy visited her hometown, and a slight bitterness has brewed between herself and her old friends. While Bess tries to welcome her with open arms (and her spare bed), George is less than thrilled about Nancy’s abrupt return. Still, Nancy will have to learn how to work with her old friends once again if she hopes to solve the mystery of the letter.

Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom is a colorful update to the classic Nancy Drew stories. The tone of the comic and its characters feels very reminiscent of Veronica Mars and have more than a little in common with newer comic detective, Goldie Vance. All of this works in its favor as Nancy and her friends (including The Hardy Boys) work to solve a case involving multiple murders.

The comic adds several new characters to the Nancy Drew universe, including Dani, George’s girlfriend, and Pete, Nancy’s possible love interest. These two characters add a little diversity to the comic. Hopefully, their role expands if the series ever returns.  

It’s unfortunate that if the comic does return Kelly Thompson will not be back as writer. If you’ve read Thompson’s work before, you’ll know what to expect with this series. The pace of the comic is quick, without any real filler, and its quirky characters are absolutely lovable. There’s humor, heart, and a decent amount of action — which makes it an excellent read for all ages.  

The art by Jenn St-Onge completely complements the story (and might even be the best thing about the comic). The colors by Triona Farrell are gorgeous and give the characters a modern and hip look. I particularly love that each individual character’s design and style adds a lot to their characterization. Also, the fluidity of the movement on the pages brings so much life and urgency to the story that reading the comic almost feels like watching an animated TV series. Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom definitely makes me want to pick up more comics illustrated by Jenn St-Onge.  

The Verdict: Buy it.

If you’re tired of waiting for the new Veronica Mars series, you should definitely pick up Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom. The comic balances fun characters with emotional depth in a way that makes it a fantastic read. Fair warning though: after the case is solved, the comic ends on a cliffhanger.  So, prepare yourself not to know what happens next.  

Melissa Prange

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