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Comic Book / Nancy Drew (Dynamite Comics)

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Nancy Drew: The Case of The Cold Case (renamed The Palace of Wisdom for the trade paperback release because Dynamite felt the name was too confusing) is the second comic book adaptation starring Nancy Drew, published by Dynamite Comics. The series is a Setting Update of the original series that sees Nancy return to her hometown of Bayport after getting a threatening letter. Once home, she reunites with her two best friends Bess and George, along with The Hardy Boys, and ends up unearthing a decades-long mystery. Solving the case will take the help of her friends and a mysterious newcomer, and she'll need all the help she can get — getting close to the truth may end in her death.

The series is written by Kelly Thompson and penciled by Jenn St-Onge. Unlike most Nancy Drew media, the series skews more Young Adult but still keeps the spirit of the original novels.

The first five issues were released through 2018 and collected in trade in 2019. As of 2019, the series is on indefinite hiatus, due to Thompson's exclusive contract with Marvel Comics.

Tropes found in this series include:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Several instances, due to this series being Darker and Edgier. The death of Nancy's mother weighs far more heavily on her than in the books; there's more tension and awkwardness than usual between Nancy and her best friends since they haven't seen each other in years; and it's stated that the Hardy Boys' parents are divorced, another deviation from the novels.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In all of the different book series, Nancy has lived in River Heights her whole life along with Bess and George, while the Hardy Boys are from Bayport; how Nancy and the Hardys met varies between series. Here, all of them are originally Childhood Friends from Bayport, and only Nancy is living in River Heights at the beginning (after having moved there seven years prior) before returning to Bayport and reuniting with her friends there.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: George is re-imagined as a lesbian in this series, and she has a girlfriend.
  • Adapted Out: Ned Nickerson, Nancy's boyfriend in most works, is not shown or mentioned at all, and Nancy's Love Interest here is Canon Foreigner Pete Vega.
  • Alone Among the Couples: It's not heavily focused on, but the main cast consists of seven characters. George Fayne and Danica are a couple, as are Joe Hardy and Bess Marvin, and by the end, Nancy is on her way to forming a relationship with Pete, leaving Frank Hardy as this. He does, at least, get a smooch from Deirdre at the Palace of Wisdom while looking for evidence.
  • Amazon Chaser: Joe gets some moments with Bess, flirting with her when she makes significant contributions to the case. Most notably, when she rescues him and another would-be victim from a Mook (right after Joe had just finished rescuing her, to boot) by knocking the man out, Joe comments "I am so totally in love with you" and starts making out with her.
  • Amicable Exes: Nancy refers to both Frank and Joe Hardy as "almost childhood paramours." Don't ask. In Frank's case, it may or may not be mixed with Unlucky Childhood Friend, since there are a few hints that he might still have feelings for her and be a little jealous of her attraction to Pete, though if this is the case, he's subtle about it.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Nancy, natch. Shown off in issue #2 where she examines a scene within seconds. It drives her friends crazy sometimes.
  • Beta Couple: Bess/Joe and George/Danica are both this next to the budding relationship of Nancy and Pete.
  • Bookends: The first issue opens and closes with Nancy climbing down a height and falling when her rope snaps.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Noah Jessup and Mia Hudson, who essentially replace Bess and George as Nancy's two best friends from River Heights. This is a byproduct of the fact that, in this version, Nancy, Bess, and George are not from River Heights originally, with the former having moved there from Bayport, where the latter two still live.
    • Pete Vega, Nancy's Love Interest, is another example, as is the connection between the deaths of each of their mothers. In the books, Nancy's boyfriend is Ned, and it's not specified how her mother died.
    • Danica, George's girlfriend, is not based on any particular character from the books. She's not even given a last name.
  • Damsel in Distress / Distressed Dude: Everyone in the main group gets at least one moment of this:
    • On at least two different occasions, Nancy's friends think she's this because of her not answering their calls. They turn out to be false alarms; she's just really bad at keeping her phone charged and on her person.
    • Bess gets kidnapped by the bad guys at the end of Chapter 4 because she witnessed them holding another soon-to-be murder victim, Jennifer, hostage. Luckily, Nancy figures out where they're being held, and sends Joe to free them while the rest of the group deals with the crooks.
    • After Joe cuts Bess and Jennifer free, he gets in on this when one of the Mooks corners him and Jennifer with a gun. Bess then gets her turn to rescue him by knocking the thug out with a paint can.
    • The rest of the group—Nancy, Frank, George, Pete, and Danica—are cornered at gunpoint by Locke and his minions in the warehouse, and then seemingly engulfed in an explosion (much to Joe's and Bess's horror) before they're revealed to be safe.
    • The first volume—and maybe the series—ends with Nancy being arrested by the police for an unknown reason.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike the original all-ages book, the series takes a more Young Adult direction, complete with swears and suggestive situations and violence. The first arc revolves around the murders of young women and a drug trade scheme.
  • The Ditz: Bess isn't dumb at all, but she is flighty and highly emotional.
  • Get a Room!: Bess to George and Danica at the beginning, when she and Nancy walk up to them making out in the car.
  • Hope Spot: At the end of the volume, right after Nancy reaffirms how much she's missed her old best friends and decides to stay in Bayport, she gets arrested by the cops.
  • I Choose to Stay: Nancy decides to stick around in Bayport with her friends (old and new) after the case is solved. Shame that she gets arrested right after....
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Nancy figures out Blake Locke of the Locke Lobster is involved with the murders due to the fact that he inadvertently doesn't use the Mr./Mrs./Ms. honorfics when talking about two former employees—Pete's mom Mariana and Katherine Nguyen, a woman they soon learn was another victim who was found dead at the same place—indicating that he did know them personally.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Nancy is suspicious of Pete at first due to this; on the day that he first meets and helps Nancy and her friends at the cliffs, he says her name without anyone else saying it beforehand. She even points this out to him once she's sure he's not dangerous. He admits that he did know who she was, partially because he used to have an irrational resentment towards her.
  • Invisible Parents: Bess's parents are never home ("pretty impressive for old people"), allowing the teen detective characters to use their big house as a base for their sleuthing.
  • I Work Alone: Downplayed since she doesn't work completely alone, but once Nancy reunites and begins working with her old friends, she admits that her River Heights companions act more as Mission Control for her as opposed to actually doing field work like Nancy has always done with her Bayport pals. She has to readjust to pooling all of her information with others (as opposed to keeping secrets to herself) and keeping them regularly informed on her status and whereabouts.
  • Kid Detective: Nancy Drew, natch. The Hardy Boys are hinted to be this as well, but it's not emphasized as much as with Nancy.
  • Left Hanging: The first arc (and possibly the entire series) ends with Nancy being arrested by a cop she suspects was involved with Locke's scheme. It's doubtful that the cliffhanger will be resolved (though murmurs that the series isn't completely dead pop up from time to time), so most fans of this series just pretend that it didn't happen.invoked
  • Missing Mom:
    • Nancy, natch as it's a part of her backstory.
    • Pete as well; his mother was murdered for stumbling into a drug running scheme.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Part of the reason why Pete was irrationally upset with Nancy; when Nancy's mother died in an accident, her death got way more attention than his mother being murdered around the same time, due to the fact that Nancy's mother was white while Mariana, Pete's mom, was black.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Nancy's address in River Heights is shown to be on "Stratemeyer Lane". The Stratemeyer Syndicate, and its leader Edward Stratemeyer, created the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys franchises, among others.
    • Nancy is stated to have been "almost childhood paramours" with both Frank and Joe Hardy, and there are hints that Frank may still be attracted to her in the present day. Nancy and Frank have a long history of Ship Tease throughout many different iterations of their crossover series, and while it's less so with Joe, there have been a couple of books where he shows attraction to her, too.
    • Similarly, Joe and Bess, who are clearly massively into each other here and are either already dating or well on the way to it, have shown interest in each other in multiple different crossover series through the years.
    • At the Palace of Wisdom, Frank is able to obtain the drugs they need (in order to prove their prime suspect is dirty) from a girl with short, dark hair named "Deirdre". This is likely a reference to Deirdre Shannon, a rival-of-sorts to Nancy from her Girl Detective book series, who is described there as having short dark hair. Deirdre also ends up making out with Frank; in the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossover book that she appears in, she likewise shows attraction to him.
  • Never Suicide: Because Mariana Vega was found to have had large amounts of drugs in her system at her time of death, she was dismissed as a junkie and her death was ruled a suicide, as was the case for the bodies of several other women who found in the same place over the years. Naturally, it turns out that they were all murdered by the same guy.
  • Police Are Useless: The police are dismissive of Nancy and her friends and they let Mariana Vega's murder run cold for years. Naturally, Nancy solves it and exposes a drug running scheme in a weekend.
  • Power Trio: Nancy, Bess, and George, much like in the original books.
    • Freudian Trio: The passionate and airheaded Bess is the Id and The McCoy, the analytical and aloof Nancy is the Superego and The Spock, and George is the Ego and The Kirk, usually being rational but hiding her emotional side.
    • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Bess, George, and Nancy respectively, also like the original books.
  • Running Gag: Nancy forgets to use her phone and keep in touch with her friends at several times. This becomes not so funny when Nancy messing this up too many times causes her to leave Bess alone to meet up with George to avoid doing so again (resulting in Bess getting kidnapped), and again when she sees her texts from her team in River Heights too late to avoid being arrested.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Bess gives one to Joe at one point to get his attention when he goes on a tangent.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Nancy returns to Bayport seven years after her mother's death.
  • Team Mom: George, who chides Nancy for getting herself into dangerous situations along with being overprotective of her and the rest of her friends.
  • Tsundere: George has a harsh and gruff exterior but is fiercely overprotective of her friends and has a softer side, according to her girlfriend.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • The five Childhood Friends in the group of main characters—Nancy Drew, Frank and Joe Hardy, Bess Marvin, and George Fayne—are all this with each other. By comparison, the two newcomers, Pete and Danica, have a much more polite relationship with the others, though not without their own moments of snark.
    • It doesn't get a lot of emphasis, but apparently Frank and George are a particular example. When they're both frustrated with and yelling at Nancy for not answering her phone and worrying them for the second time, she notes that at least this situation got the two of them to actually agree on something.