River Heights’ Darkest Hours: ‘Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Death Of Nancy Drew #1’ Review

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Nancy Drew is dead. Her car went over a bridge in River Heights and Joe Hardy has returned to the small town to investigate what happened. The authorities say it was an accident caused by a recalled part in her car, but Joe doesn’t believe it. Nancy helped take down the Syndicate not too long ago and Joe believes that they are responsible for Nancy’s demise. Frank doesn’t believe Joe and Nancy’s father, Carson, is too torn up to be of help. However, that doesn’t stop Joe from conducting his own investigation into the death of Nancy Drew. Before long, he finds a lead.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #1 cover by Joe Eisma
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #1 cover by Joe Eisma

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #1 finds Joe Hardy investigating and trying to cope with the apparent death of the legendary Nancy Drew. He had drifted apart from her and feels guilty for not being there with her at the end.

It’s a very grim comic. It starts with Nancy Drew dying in what seems to have just been an accident and Joe Hardy is left in a depression spiral while trying to put together the pieces of what actually happened.

Kelly Thompson and Jenn St-Onge put out a Nancy Drew comic back in 2018, and I had thought that this book may connect to it in some way. It doesn’t, which was a bit of a disappointment. Thompson and St-Onge’s Nancy Drew was charming, fun, and cute. 

The Death of Nancy Drew starts with Drew already dead and is thoroughly dour as a result. It takes Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys so deadly serious and it’s hard not to find some humor in that–which cuts against the comic’s attempts at a heavy tone.

Joe Eisma’s artwork is simple, sleek, and looks good. It also suffers from the dismal seriousness that works against the book. The color palette from Salvatore Aiala is oppressive and bleak and it didn’t really need to be.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #1 is far too serious a comic to be set in the universe of Drew and the Hardys. While one could reasonably say, “What did you expect from a book called The Death of Nancy Drew,” I would counter that there are plenty of comics called “The Death of” so-and-so and didn’t really end with the death of said person. While the book isn’t badly written by any measure, it’s hard to get past that this is supposed to be a deadly serious and humorless noir-Nancy Drew–and that mixture just doesn’t quite work here. The plotting and tone just doesn’t gel with Nancy Drew. The final nail is the twist ending that is both predictable and a bit cruel when thought about for more than a second. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t get a recommendation.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #1 comes to us from writer Anthony Del Col, artist and cover artist Joe Eisma, color artist Salvatore Aiala, and letterer Crank!

Final Score: 5/10

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