Reviewed with Stefan Petrucha's The Demon of River Heights.
Gr. 4-6. These graphic-novel-style versions of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew adventures will appeal to young graphic-novel fans as well as readers new to the venerable amateur sleuths. The pocket-size books, first in their respective series, are appealingly presented. The manga-influenced art is very colorful, and the brisk pacing, with just a few frames per page, makes for an easy read--perfect for reluctant readers.
In The Ocean, those well-mannered Hardy boys, Joe and Frank (reimagined as tech-savvy crime solvers), return to fight a new generation of foes, the majority of whom appear to be Middle Eastern and French. Here, the young sleuths travel around the world in an attempt to recover a stolen artifact and save their best friend, who has been framed for the theft. Although this is a modernized version of the classic capers, with the Internet and cell phones playing key roles, the wholesomeness of the boys' principles remains the same.
In The Demon, Nancy, the classic American teenage heroine, manages to solve cases that baffle local police. This time she becomes involved in a student film about a local monster legend, which may turn out to be real, and a suspicious stranger arrives in town. For the most part, the artwork is crisp enough, but several pages appear to be substandard reproductions of original art.