The world of Nancy Drew has welcomed plenty of unique interpretations in recent years, from squeaky-clean movies to a television procedural to a series of Afterlife with Archie-eque comics. While many have tried to bring the iconic character to new audiences, few have succeeded as well as Dynamite's new Nancy Drew series.
The inaugural issue of the series introduces us to an updated version of the plucky teen hero, one who is in the middle of solving a case (involving the most adorable animal sidekick) at her high school. Almost from the first panel, this new Nancy is every bit as curious and headstrong as her older incarnations, remarking that she follows the "shark philosophy" of continuing to move or die.
After solving that case, and introducing readers to her adorable crew of sleuthing friends, Nancy's world is quickly turned upside down. A ransom note, addressed from Nancy's sleepy hometown, confronts her about her past, and sends her on an adventure with way more twists and turns than you would expect.
While the series is only one issue in, there are the roots of a genuinely interesting mystery here, one that doesn't feel easy to predict just yet. The cliffhanger at the end of the issue is almost so jarring that it adds to confusion even more, but in a way that will hopefully make readers continue.
At moments, the issue does feel a bit exposition-heavy, but it's done in a way that makes a heck of a lot of sense. For those who grew up on the earlier Nancy Drew books, the amount of Easter eggs and character introductions will surely be a delight, but there are a few reveals that will even make entirely new readers smile.
At the heart of it all is Nancy, a protagonist who is way more charming and magnetic than average readers would probably expect. This new version of Nancy occasionally slips in a swear word or two, has an amazing ombre hairstyle, and (depending on how you interpret certain panels) could be queer, something that would probably make past generations of Nancy Drew fans clutch their pearls. But there's never a moment where it doesn't fit the essence of her character, and make her feel like someone readers would want to hang out with or be like.
The series' side characters have a similar sort of quality to them, making you feel like you've just been welcomed into an awesome, diverse group of friends. And considering Kelly Thompson fantastic past works -- from the eclectic ensembles of A-Force and Jem and the Holograms, to the female-led adventures of Hawkeye and Captain Phasma -- none of this should come as too much of a surprise. Ariana Maher's lettering helps present Thompson's in a quintessential Nancy Drew way, with just enough modern flair.
Tying it all together is the art of Jenni St-Onge, who does a perfect job of bringing the issue's world to life. Each of her panels has a surprising amount of depth and movement to them, something that's only elevated by Triona Farrell's colors. St-Onge's character designs are especially wonderful, bringing a refreshing amount of body types to life in such a cohesive way, and giving them outfits that you'll absolutely want to add to your wardrobe.
Nancy Drew #1 is even more of a spunky, feminist delight than you might expect. Bringing Nancy and her world into the 21st century is certainly no easy task, but Thompson, St-Onge, and company have absolutely hit the mark with this debut issue. Some "purists" will probably find a way to scoff at or dismiss the series, but there's just too much here for new and old fans alike to enjoy. Between the intriguing mystery, the delightful character designs, and the series' entire ambiance, fans will surely find a reason to add this to the top of their pull list.
Published by Dynamite Comics
On June 13, 20180comments
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Jenni St-Ogne