Nancy Drew #1 kicks off a new series with Nancy, Bess, George, and a few new friends she’s made since moving away to River Heights from her hometown of Bayport. A mysterious note from an anonymous sender compels Nancy to run home and face something from her past she’s not eager to talk about. Does the first issue set up a mystery worth following?
What I like most about writer Kelly Thompson’s work in other comic series is her charming, down-to-earth dialogue and we get that in spades with this debut issue. The whole cast is full of quips and snark, but not in a way that reads as over-written or trying too hard to sound hip with the kids. The issue’s plot is mostly spent introducing the characters and setting while establishing Nancy’s friendly awkwardness with most of the supporting cast. After being away for several years, Nancy has to deal with the awkwardness of reuniting with best friends she hasn’t spoken to in years, a feeling I know I and plenty others can relate to. Thompson handles these moments with a realistic empathy that makes the characters very likable. Some readers may not enjoy how the plot takes its time getting to the start of the mystery, but I liked having time to get to know the characters.
Thompson’s script makes the characters sound like real teenagers and line artist Jenn St-Onge makes them look like real teenagers too. Nancy wears winged eyeliner, George has an undercut hairstyle, these are the kind of details that make the world of Nancy Drew feel real and relatable to teenagers today. There’s enough detail in each panel to make the world feel realized without overwhelming the pages with unnecessary line art. That being said, there are some backgrounds that have little enough detail that the panels don’t have much to look at aside from the characters, which makes them less visually interesting.
What I like most about Triona Farrell’s colors in this issue is the way she manipulates light sources. In nighttime scenes, little stars in skies of deep blue gradients actually look like tiny lights rather than white dots thanks Farrell very faintly lightening the blue around each star. A scene in a cave is lit with a spotlight of warm sunlight from a hole in the cave’s ceiling that gradually darkens as it travels down the page. I love the little specks of dust on one of those pages in the cave that glow in the sunlight as they float around Nancy’s face. Little details like this complement the larger scale aspects in the coloring work to make for excellent work overall.
Overall, Nancy Drew #1 is a solid start to the series that’s sure to appeal to new readers and fans of the old books looking for a modern adaptation. The cliffhanger at the end of the issue definitely made me curious to find out what happens next, so it feels like a solid mystery is in the works!