Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hardy Boys, vol. 1: The Ocean of Osyria

By Scott Lobdell and Lea Hernandez
Published by Papercutz

Slugline: I remember the Hardy Boys from when I was growing up. And they haven't changed at all, unfortunately.

Frank and Joe Hardy, the original teen detectives, have been waiting for a chance to show their father that they can handle cases on their own. They are suddenly given that chance when their friend Chet is arrested under suspicion of using his EBay-like account to fence a stolen treasure. Determined to prove Chet innocent and that someone else had hacked the account to hold the illegal auction the Hardy Boys go to Osyria, a Middle Eastern country and then Paris, France to recover the necklace, the Ocean of Osyria, a national treasure of Osyria.

Look, I understand that there is difficulty making an interesting mystery that appeals to both tweens and older readers. And the original Hardy Boys were not great literature by any stretch of the imagination. But I at least ask that characters have consistent motivations. Characters turn from threats to allies without much explanation and the Hardy Boys, despite saying that they want to clear their friend of a crime, several times they pass up the opportunity clear him into to keep the story going. As is inevitable in these sort of stories, they get captured, learn a clue, escape and go to the next setpiece where they are captured again to learn another piece of the puzzle. It would also help that there were genuine differences in their abilities, instead of Joe saying that Frank is better with computers, then turning around and immediately punking some hackers with his own skills. Considering the pedigree of the writer involved, I don't know, I just expected something more. The art is pretty good though, very much in Lea Hernandez's distinctive style.


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