Nancy’s potential suspects are dwindling. Is she any closer to finding out who tried to kill her, and why? Find out in The Death of Nancy Drew #5 from Dynamite Entertainment!

NANCY DREW & THE HARDY BOYS: THE DEATH OF NANCY DREW #5

Writer: Anthony DelCol
Artist: Joe Eisma
Colorist: Salvatore Aiala
Letterer: Crank!
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 7, 2020

Previously in Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew: Our main detective tails Maryanne Bobbsey, her current prime suspect. Maryanne meets a man at a diner and they both leave. Nancy follows, but falls asleep on the drive and runs of the road in the car she borrowed from Joe Hardy. Joe and Frank track her down, and have come up with another possible lead, a man who runs a vitamin company and sells painkillers on the black market. Tracking him leads them to an underground masked club that they investigate. Nancy spots Freddie and Flo Bobbsey and takes this opportunity to pickpocket Freddie’s keys and investigate their house. Maryanne finds her there and convinces Nancy of her innocence. Nancy is out of leads – until George finds her out and claims she knows who killed her.

THE UNDERGROUND LIFE OF RIVER HEIGHTS

Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #5 opens with a flashback of a younger Nancy, four years ago. This time, instead of seeing her as the avid young detective, we see her driven to detective work to take her mind off her mother, who was dying. We’re seeing her develop into a character who has flaws and who still is that driven.

George found her because she knows a woman, Ramona, who wants to talk to her. Ramona is in the hospital. She had recently started a job delivering prescription drugs, under the table. She overheard someone say that this was all part of the new Syndicate. In a topical touch, the opioid crisis has come to River Heights, and maybe even has its operations centered there.

Following a delivery truck takes the detectives to an Asian restaurant. Frank goes in and finds the driver talking to a couple men from Jinzhan – and Carson Drew! Frank does not tell anyone else about Nancy’s father being there. The boxes of opioids are brought into this restaurant, and the three young people wait until after close to break in. The basement network below leads them to another building where they find Dr. Khan, the pharmacist. His pharmacy was failing until he was contacted to be part of the business of filling online prescriptions for opioids.

From here, things get even more convoluted. Nancy talks Dr. Khan into asking his mysterious employers for a meeting. Joe and Frank try to talk Ned (the Mayor) into calling the police chief off them for a night. They get into a cranky, jealous argument over Nancy, until she shows up and Ned agrees. The big set up goes off. The guy who comes to talk to Dr. Khan turns out to be another underling who doesn’t know anything – but there is another car on the street. It races off, only to crash as it swerves to avoid Maryanne Bobbsey, who happens to be walking past. It is a rather complicated set of coincidences to bring us to the next suspects, who also claim to be innocent, but who also know who actually wanted to kill Nancy.

There are still a lot of things I like about this book. I like the serious take on Nancy Drew. I like the topical plotline. I’m not a big fan of the childish ex-boyfriends, although this does help move the plot along.  But ending every issue with another variant on the teaser cliffhanger is starting to feel rather predictable. We’re also running low on surprise characters to fill this slot.

FROM PROSPERITY TO SHADOWS

The flavor of the art of Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #5 fits the noir style of the story. If it isn’t night, it is dreary and dark. I like the strong shadows that appear throughout. I also like the contrast of the flashlights as everyone is sneaking around. The little pools of light help draw our eyes across the page and through the underground tunnels, although the tunnel network itself causes me some difficulty in suspending my disbelief, possibly because after last issue’s secret nightclub, it seems like there is an awful lot hidden River Heights.

There’s certainly a lot of drama and angst in this issue as well. I know it’s a dark and serious story. The characters’ reactions are drawn well. They do seem a bit overwrought, as though there are too many people with too many problems, and I think it distracts a bit from the plot.

BOTTOM LINE: ACTION, BUT NOT MUCH PLOT MOVEMENT

The plot of Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #5 is progressing, but we’re still no closer to finding out who did it. It’s not a bad issue, but it’s starting to feel like we’re spinning our wheels.


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Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #5

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Word is, there’s a new Syndicate in town, and this spells trouble for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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