Books for Babes provides info on the sort of comics that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This week we recommend the debut issue of ‘Nancy Drew’, in stores now from Dynamite Entertainment.

Nancy Drew

Cover to ‘Nancy Drew’ #1. Art by Tula Lotay/Dynamite Entertainment

By Stefania Rudd. Nancy Drew has captivated young adult readers since her debut in 1930, her influence spanning generations and inspiring countless people to be curious, brave and to take no guff. Dynamite Entertainment furthers her legacy with a new series by an incredibly talented all-female creative team: writer Kelly Thompson, artist Jenn St-Onge, colorist Triona Farrell and letterer Ariana Maher. If this first issue is any indication on how great this series is going to be, then, my friends, we are in for an amazingly fun ride.

Bringing Nancy into the modern age could be a very daunting task considering how beloved she is. Thompson is a strong writer of characters who happen to be teenagers/young adults; her track record with Jem and the Holograms (as well as The Misfits), Hawkeye and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink have encouraged fans both long-time and new to fall in love with the power of female-driven stories. Thompson has also made it clear that she’s a fan of Nancy herself, and that level of care for the character really comes through in her writing.

As for the story itself? Here Nancy is 17 years-old, and the defining traits from the book series remain the same (deceased mother, resides in River Heights, amateur sleuth). The issue begins with her saving a school mascot goat and reprimanding the perpetrator behind the crime in true Nancy fashion — with kindness. Her friends, Mia and Noah, act as a support crew for Nancy’s sleuthing, and we also meet her pals Bess, George, and the Hardy Boys when Nancy returns to her former home of Bayport due to a menacing letter she receives concerning her mother’s death.

Thompson’s dialogue is fast-paced and flows naturally between the characters. She provides Nancy an internal dialogue that fills us in on background and clarifies information, the captions for which are shown in a very cool diary-format. Jenn St-Onge’s artwork and Triona Farrell’s coloring combine into arresting sequentials and, at times, lovely visuals. There are character-enhancing details in almost every panel, which helps convey the mood of the story and gives this world depth. I liked how there were moments when you could actually sense danger, like when Nancy lowered herself into a cavern with but a single stream of light to guide her. (It’s so realistic you can see, and almost feel, the warmth and the dust particles circulating around her.) I was also super impressed by all the little flourishes this art team applied to each character, like how Nancy and Bess’ ombré hair coloring gives off a glorious sheen. St-Onge’s distinctive style comes through the characters, with expressive faces and body language — it’s recognizably St-Onge, yet she still keeps things fresh.

With Nancy Drew #1 we’re provided just the tip of the iceberg (or should I say stalagmite — Nancy does find herself in a cave in this issue after all) but there’s the sense that there’ll be plenty of twist and turns as Nancy and her pals delve deeper into the mystery of the ominous letter and who’s behind it. Nancy Drew is one of those cherished, timeless characters who through the generations always finds her way into the hands of youthful, curious readers. It’s really exciting to see her live on through this Dynamite series, inspiring a new wave of fans as well as remind those of us who love her that she is still capable of achieving great things, armed with little more than her wits and empowered by true friendship.

Dynamite/$3.99

Written by Kelly Thompson.

Art by Jenn St-Onge.

Colors by Triona Farrell.

Letters by Ariana Maher.

This book contains advanced vocabulary.

Age range 12-15; 16+

Enjoy this five-page preview of ‘Nancy Drew’ #1, courtesy of Dynamite!

More Books For Babes…

‘The Joe Shuster Story’ gets to the heart of one of comics’ greatest pioneers

All-ages ‘Sheets’ an impactful, nuanced look at loss, perseverance, and hope

‘The Cardboard Kingdom’ an insightful and inspiring book for readers of all ages

 

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