Writer: Anthony Del Col
Artwork: Werther Dell’Edera, Stefano Simeone (colours)
Release Date: 8th March 2017
While my familiarity with the Hardy Boys is limited at best, I do love a good crime mystery, and that’s exactly what writer Anthony Del Col delivers in this brand-new series from Dynamite Comics
For those who may not know, Frank and Joe (no, not Matt and Jeff) are the titular pair of crime-solving brothers whose amateur detective exploits have thrilled readers since the late 1920s. While they’ve certainly evolved in various ways over the years, the core appeal of the brothers has remained the same over the last nine decades or so, and it’s that winning formula which Del Col taps into here.
Fair warning, this first issue moves at an almost glacial pace, but manages to do so without ever feeling too frustrating as Del Col takes his time to introduce (or re-introduce) us to the brothers, laying out the grim reality of their current situation as they find themselves being questioned in relation to their father’s alleged suicide.
Visually, Werther Dell’Edera does a solid, understated job for what is essentially a ‘talky’ issue, even if his level of detail is a perhaps little inconsistent from page to page. Despite this, he still manages to pack an impressive level of expression into both the brothers and the detectives interrogating them, and does some impressive work during the intentionally twee ‘picture postcard’-esque flashbacks. Granted, he isn’t given any real opportunity to cut loose and flex his creative muscle – not yet, anyway – but he still does a commendable job here of keeping things flowing smoothly and hitting all the key beats of Del Col’s dialogue.
The issue has something of a hard-nosed feel to it, providing a noticeable departure from the children’s detective stories of yesteryear. As I mentioned before, my familiarity with the brothers Hardy is somewhat limited, but I don’t think I remember a book where one of them has their face smashed into an interrogation room desk by a burly detective. I could be wrong, though. It all serves as a gradual build-up to the final page reveal, a reveal which – unfortunately – is already given away entirely by the title of the series. That said, the execution is impressive, even if the element of surprise is sadly lacking.
A solid opening then for what promises to be an exciting mystery series, although it remains to be seen just how Miss Drew’s inclusion is going to affect the tone and style of the story, if at all. Definitely one to keep an eye on, regardless.
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