Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie is a modern update starring the classic book characters. Even if you have never read a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book, this suspenseful noir will hook you with its compelling characters and unpredictable story.
Set in the sleepy town of Bayport, Frank and Joe Hardy have just been accused of their father’s murder. Their only hope for redemption and to clear their names is Nancy Drew. She is beautiful, blonde, and one step ahead of everyone else. Nancy and the Hardy boys have been friends and solving mysteries since they were kids, but became estranged after Nancy’s mother died. Now they must team up to solve the case and prove the innocence of the Hardy boys. After some digging, mostly thanks to Nancy, they end up right in the middle of Bayport’s seedy crime underbelly, where they meet another set of siblings: the Rover boys, who may be able to lead them to the murderer.
With crooked cops, sibling rivalries, and unexpected twists, this is not the classic mystery series from decades ago. It is sleek and modern, but also has a dreary noir feel. The illustrations are dark and detailed, showing how the picturesque town has some dirtiness to it. Dell’Edera has created a fictional town that feels and looks real. Many characters hide in the shadows, alluding to the shady dealings they are wrapped up in.
Nancy Drew is the standout character and an empowering female figure. She is clever, smart, and knows just how to manipulate the people around her and get the information she needs. It’s fun to see a woman as the lead in a mystery, solving the crime instead of being the victim. Yet she still has her vulnerable moments, especially when dealing with the death of her mother and her current relationship with her father. This helps make her feel even more realistic and relatable.
The only issue I have with this story is the lack of diversity. Nancy and the Hardy boys are white just like in the original stories, as is the majority of the town. For being an updated and modern version, it seems like including people of color should have been a priority. Fortunately, the characters are likable, but flawed and realistic, making you root for them to find the truth.
This first volume collects issues 1-6 and comes to a fulfilling end. However, it does set up the next storyline enough to make readers want to continue. Teens who enjoy mysteries and realistic stories will enjoy this. No prior knowledge of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys is needed and this graphic novel stands on its own.
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie
by Anthony Del Col
Art by Werther Dell’Edera
Dynamite Entertainment, 2017