Review: NANCY DREW #1

Written by Kelly Thompson
Artwork by Jenn St-Onge, Triona Farrell, and Ariana Maher
Edited by Nate Cosby
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 13, 2018

Since the beginning of time, humans have told stories about countless characters. The best of those are cherished and passed down generation after generation.

Nancy Drew, already almost a century old, is one of those characters that will continue for many iterations.  The most recent version of the detective, in Nancy Drew #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, further cements that.  The creative team gives us a Nancy Drew that is brand new but at the same time the same headstrong, smart, quippy young woman she has always been. Of the “reboots” that have come out in recent years Nancy Drew #1 is among, if not the, best to be made.

On the first page of the issue, Kelly Thompson captures the essence of Nancy Drew with an inner monologue that has her questioning herd mentality, Taylor Swift, and life in general. Thompson gives us a young woman that is amateur psychologist, smooth mentalist, and expert quipper all in the same breath.

In some of Nancy’s earliest adventures there were efforts made by the books editors to tone down her independence and tone. However, here Thompson, gives Nancy the voice that she deserves. Though in the first pages, Thompson seems to be reminding readers that things change, the most important parts and the spirit of the young detective are the same. Thompson keeps the timeless aspects of the character while updating her surroundings and partners. Smartly, though, Thompson brings back all the familiar things from the classic mysteries as Nancy heads into an adventure that may have serious repercussions for her in the future.

The story moves at a quick pace, which is due in part to dialogue that is funny, flows off the tongue, and is character driven. Everything that is said fits each character perfectly and shapes their identity. The reader will immediately want to be a part of Nancy’s crew if only just to hang out with them and laugh. It’s this very smart dialogue that continues to prove that Thompson is absolutely one of the best comic book writers of this generation.

The story is constructed exceptionally well taking the reader on a pleasant emotional roller coaster of cliff hangers throughout the book. Thompson introduces some great story tensions that clues readers into a Nancy’s adventures will be more than just tracking down missing school mascots. The issue ends much as it begins, though, Nancy seems to have begun to formulate answer for the questions she poised in the beginning. The story overall is so good that it will have readers smiling the entire time and if you are a childhood reader (as this reviewer is) doubly so.

Jenn St-Onge assists in bringing Nancy Drew back to life with her friendly eye pleasing style. Her art is accessible for both the young and young at heart. If the reader has an old heart then the artwork is sure to it young again. She excels at giving each character their own unique look that is fitting for their personality. Nancy Drew’s crew is made immediately likeable and believable that they have been friends forever. St-Onge accomplishes this with the comfort they show around each other and their responses to each other’s comments.

Every single one of the character’s expressions are 100% pure fun and accurate for the scene. It’s always a pleasure to see an artist that let’s their characters act instead of purely relying on the writing to convey feelings. The happiness and warmth that Nancy has for her friends/partners in crime solving leaps off the page and becomes infectious in real life. St-Onge has also got a great eye for fashion and makes everyone look comfortably stylish but not in a fashion model way.

Triona Farrell provides depth and mood for Nancy Drew #1 with a smartly chosen color palette. The planning for the colors are near perfect and carefully fit the mood of the story as it progresses. Bright happy colors kick the story off until we move into the warmer nostalgic tones as Nancy heads home and then drier darker tones as the story heads into danger.

Though the story starts off light and fun, it is clear by the end that there are some challenges for Nancy to face. Farrell captures and renders lighting beautifully throughout the issue preventing the colors from being too flat. The colors play a big part in the story and the likeability of this issue.

Nancy Drew and her crew have a lot to say and Ariana Maher handles it with ease. Speech bubbles are placed without filling overcrowded and the lettering is very expressive.  It subtly matches the voice of the book and that is how it should be done.

Overall this book is an instant classic and joy to read. If you are not a Nancy Drew fan then you will be one by the time you get past the first three pages. The story is fun, the artwork full of heart and the lettering brings it all together to make it a practically perfect issue. You will be reading it more than once and eagerly anticipating the next issue.

The Verdict: 10/10

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