Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nancy Drew - #1 Review :D

Nancy Drew - #1 "The Demon of River Heights"

Synopsis: Nancy Drew is hanging from a cliff as her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, is trying to save her as she screams that she saw the Demon of River Heights and it's real! :O Her fingers slip and she falls... and then we "zoom out" and see that the whole thing is actually an amateur film being made by her 2 best friends: cousins Bess and George, and 2 local college film students. George remarks that htey seem more concerned about flirting with Bess than filming Nancy. >_>;;

Hours later Nancy, Bess and George are eating in a coffee shop and Nancy remarks that the boys who are to meet with them for the project still hadn't shown up yet. Nancy's rival (in the high school dramuh sense, not the Moriarty sense sadly), Deidre, comes in with her new boyfriend, Canton Angley II, son of wealthy entrepreneur Canton Angley who is in River Heights for business. Deidre mocks Nancy that her father is now the lawyer for Angley who has dumped Nancy's father in that role. Nancy calls her dad to confirm and he says it's true but only b/c he wouldn't help Angley with some shady business which he won't elaborate on. :O Nancy and George wonder why Angley Sr. would be in River Heights at all since the iron ore mines were all tapped out years ago.

Bess, however, has more pressing concerns on her mind, and waves a newspaper at Nancy that has a photo of a supposed monster spotted in the woods in River Height's on the cover :O The same woods they were filming the movie in! :O DUN DUN DUN.... :o Bess worries the boys were killed or harmed by the monster >_>

Of course Nancy wants to investigate as she is awesome that way, so off they go! :D

In the woods at night (b/c night is the best time to go looking for monsters :D ) Nancy finds some broken branches and foot prints which leads them to scattered rolls of exposed film that the boys must have dropped :o Nancy wonders what would have scared them so much they ran off w/o their film... and then a bear shows up :O The bear starts to stalk Nancy, and George tells her to not back down but not be threatening. :o Nancy tries this but the bear attacks and George tells Nancy that she has to defend herself and then...

NANCY DREW UPPERCUTS THE BEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (best scene EVAR)

Actually she punches the bear with a left and then follows it up with a right uppercut! :D

But this does not faze the super bear and Nancy is forced to climb up a tree and smack it's head with a stick multiple times until it slinks off in defeat. :D

Nancy Drew 1, Bears 0

Jay Cutler would be proud. xD

NEWAYS, they gather up the rest of the equipment and start heading off. Nancy decides to watch the film on the camcorder which shows the boys being startled by something and running off, when suddenly the girls hear a noise! :O Scared, they run to Nancy's car, but as usual (she says she does this often b/c she is so focussed on mystery solving), Nancy forgot to gas up and they are stuck as they fear that the Demon of River Heights is real! :O

End chapter one! :O


Car headlights pull up, saving them, and the car window rolls down and it is Angley Sr :O He condescends them and then avoids Nancy's questions about why he's in town except to say that he doesn't believe what everybody thinks about the mines being worthless :o He drops them off at the police station where the police chief also condescends Nancy Drew. She tries to get him to play the tapes they found on his VCR but he says the VCR is broken :o Bess offers to fix it and, w/ her nailfile, does so quickly! :D Yay Bess! :D

On the tape, the boys hear something, and then drop the camera and run off.. the rest of the tape is blank :o

Nancy and co leave while the chief mocks them a little more cuz he's a jerkface >:|

In the morning, they hike back to the forest and her car and Nancy asks Bess and George to keep tabs on Deidre and her new b/f for her b/c she promised her dad she would. Weird hijinks ensue with the two girls hiding behind plants and stuff spying on Deidre and Angley II on a date. Deidre spots them and bothers them in irrelevant to the plot scenes. >_>;;;

Meanwhile, Nancy sneaks into one of the boys' dorm rooms to find out more info and finds folders about their movie plan when the roommate comes in, startling her. :o He reveals that the two film guys have been fighting lately but he doesn't know about what, and that one of them wanted to spread rumours about the Demon being real to promote the movie, while the other didn't. Nancy looks at the drawing of the Demon that they had sketched and says it looks nothing like what they saw in the forest the other night. :O

Nancy returns to the forest that night, but again, forgets to fill up on gas and is stranded :o She tries to call her AAA friend but her cellphone has trouble getting a signal this far out. She sees the mine but it isn't abandoned at all and there is light coming from it :O As she goes to investigate suddenly 3 "monsters" appear! :O Nancy tries to get away but they capture her! :O

End of chapter 2 :O


George and Bess are still spying on Deidre on her date and finally Angley II drops her off at home and drives off. Suspicious, they follow him :o

Nancy Drew wakes up in the mine to find the monsters are actually the 2 film guys, Angley and his son in hazmat suits. :o The 2 film guys fight as one doesn't want to be involved in murdering Nancy Drew and the other calls him a wuss :o Nancy tries to escape in the distraction but runs into Angley II :O Angley one questions her about what she knows and she tries to feign ignorance but he doesn't buy it b/c she has a reputation for being smart xD She finally explains that she figures that he believes that there's something valuable like gold in these mines, which is why he's back, but that he couldn't use conventional methods to test for it or it would draw attention and increase the value of the land. Instead, he's probably using environmentally destructive and illegal methods like cyanide leaching to test and the film guys stumbled onto the plan by accident and so were paid to help and keep quiet. :o

Angley admits that she's right but also that he had to do it b/c his company was bankrupt and he needed money fast, so he planned to buy the land cheap and then "discover" the gold. He then grabs Nancy wondering how to dispose of her. :o The "wuss" guy attacks him saying to leave Nancy alone, giving her a chance to try to get away. However, the ensuing fight cracks one of the beams supporting the mine and causes a cave in :O

Mostly everybody gets away safelty but Angley Sr. is knocked down by rocks :O Nancy asks the boys to help her help him but they flee leaving her alone with Angley Sr. trapped :O

She sees a little opening in the ceiling and laments being too short to reach it. :o As Nancy is looking around, she accidentally backs off onto a cliff and slips down, hanging on by her fingertips :o Angley Sr. gets up and approaches her and threatens her a little and then helps her up, saying that he was conscious enough earlier to know that she saved him, so he is returning the favour :]

Together they dig out a few rocks to the entrance but then Angley says that he can't face the cops and asks Nancy if she can smell the methane gas filling the cave. Then he brings out a cigarette and lights it causing the cave to explode as Nancy escapes! :O The police are outside waiting for her, having been brought there by Bess and George :]

The police lament that Angley died in the explosion until Nancy remembers that the hole at the top of the cave was too high for her but not Angley! :O She leads the police to where the hole would lead and they capture Angley Sr. as he's about to escape! :D

Angley Sr. and Jr. and the film student guys are taken away in handcuffs as Deidre appears and tells Jr. that she will get her dad to represent them in court but Jr. tells her that her dad is a terrible lawyer and they only chose him to replace Nancy's dad b/c they thought he'd be too stupid to discover what they were up to and that he only dated her to spy on her dad :O Deidre then tries to save face by claiming she was spying on THEM all along to help Nancy and her friends just kinda mock her.

THE END!!!!!! :D


Review: Mox mox mox. Ami is barks! :D It has taken a while to get back into reviewing, for various personal issues and also me not getting DC or Marvel comics nemore (lack of money and lack of interest and overall annoyance with the companies) factors in too. :| But lately I have been reading lots of various mangas/graphic novels I have found at the library (also going to the library and rediscovering fun things! :3 ) and so I have decided to try to get my reviews up and running again! Mostly for myself, as part of therapy stuff.. to try to get back into being opinionated and stuff :) Also to share the wonders and fun of Nancy Drew with you ppls! :D (also other books >_> but we will try to get this one done first)

But neways.. enuf about my mysterious return from the dead >_> It'll be retconned out later neways >_>;; ONTO TEH REVIEW! :D

This is a rly good beginning to the series and rly sets the tone for the kind of adventures she has later. :3 It rly surprised me when I started b/c I've had limited exp with Nancy Drew before reading the comics, and the stuff I've seen before were rly fun and not mundane or nething but ... well I was rly shocked and amused when she punched that bear xD And then it just keeps going up from there! Explosions and hanging off cliffs and stuff! :D Actually... fighting animals and hanging on for dear life are things that happen to Nancy Drew a LOT as this series goes on as you will see! (hopefully) xD

But yus... the bear scene rly kicked things off with a bang... I mean at first it's just, ordinary girl detective, and there's annoying Deidre (who always hilariously seems to be in the WRONG series xD she should be on Gossip Girl or something... all her whininess is always rly rly silly compared to what Nancy is dealing with.. PLUS Nancy ignores her EVERY TIME, so she's very random xD) and etc.. and then... UPPERCUTTING BEARS! :D It's just a rly great statement early on in the first chapter of the first book to introduce readers and say "this series is not going to be boring, or stereotypical girl dramuh folks!" :D

The ultimate mystery was pretty neat, and I liked that it was hinting about what was going on before, and you could figure it out before Nancy does the big reveal at the end (this isn't, unfortunately, something that continues later >_>) plus the villain is pretty villainous, but also not CARTOONY villainous (that happens later >_>) so that's a good balance too imo :3 And it also helps to establish Nancy's personality and beliefs, esp her environmentalism, which is addressed both in her being angry that he's doing cyanide leaching and also when she notes that she drives a hybrid car :) I like how we get a sense for who Nancy is, without just lots and lots of monologuing. :]

Altho, there IS an internal monologue also! The way the books are is very much like how DC likes to do their comics, and esp the Batman ones, with the little boxes in the corner that shows her thoughts as things goes on. :) I've always rly rly liked it b/c it made the story more interesting and it adds to the detectivey sort of thing. :) And Nancy's internal monologue is rly fun, and like a cross between Batman and... me I guess... I can't think of a non dark Superhero in DC right now xD But she's not super dupr serious, while also being pretty serious :)

I'm using a lot of smileys >_> But I luff this series so much xD

The art in this book is a little rougher than it gets later. In a way I like it, b/c Nancy looks more like a girl and less like a 20 something actress in a hollywood production as she sometimes looks later (and sometimes she gets RLY thin later too >_>) She also isn't shown as being very made up here (later when they get a separate colourist and inker, she gets v obvious mascara and lipstick and nail polish) which is good, not b/c I'm against make up, but b/c in the VERY BOOKS, Nancy says she never uses it and barely knows what it is whenever Bess annoys her to use make up (except when she uses it as part of crime solving!) so when you've established THAT in your character, having an inker that insists on putting heavyish make up and eyeliner on all your female chars incl Nancy is v inconsistant and odd. :| But I rly like Sho Murase's art in general, and even in this first book, when sometimes the same pose is being reused in different frames and sometimes the art is more webcomicy, it is pretty fun and "fits" really well. :) It gets better, but then this is hte first book, and you can tell the writer and artist are rly hammering out the kinks and getting down the characters looks and stuff :)

Talking about the looks, the design of the chars are all rly well done, you can tell their personalities by how they dress, how they stand... you can tell George is a "tomboy" (she might be more than that actually >_>) and Bess is clearly not your stereotypically thin fashion girl, which is something I rly like, b/c even tho I know Bess has always been thicker than Nancy, they do a good job of making her look larger and still pretty (i.e. not stereotypically fat for comedies sake) and also I applaud the writer for having her be shown as the attractive one the boys flirt with :) Plus Bess is a tech genius! xD Which is a trait I rly enjoy in this series :] And as the series gets more comic booky adventurous, so does her powers (she fixes a VCR with a nail file here, later she fixes a magnetic tank with a comb xD)

This book also sets the tone for the rest of the series in that Nancy wears LOTS of very neat outfits while sleuthing. :] She changes her clothes 3 times (whenever she goes home off scene) and each outfit is very pretty and very neat, without being jarring (she's wearing an ankle length skirt in all 3 outfits with matching tops) and I rly applaud Murase for her attention to detail in this way and also creativity in having cute outfits in every book that match Nancy Drew's personality (i do wonder why her wardrobe is so large and awesome when she also states she HATES clothes shopping tho... I guess her housekeeper does it for her.. or Bess :3) It's just a neat a little cute thing (and makes me jealous xD) that you notice, and adds to the book, and ALSO, I like seeing "civilian" chars change clothes rather than just wearing the same clothes all the time as if it's a uniform :] Bess & George also get different clothes every book, which all fit their chars also AND helps us get to know them better in a way :)

Hmm.. what else..

I guess that is it for this review :) I obviously rly liked this book, and I think it's rly a great beginning for the series and obv a great way to introduce Nancy Drew in general to kids and stuff. :) It's fun, it's drawn pretty well, and Nancy, George and Bess are all amazing heroines who are brave and awesome and not dark! (you know I've read too much DC when "not dark" is something that I think of as complimenting chars xD) :D The art is still rough at points, and the plot isn't as "together" as it gets later, but it's still a rly good first book and first effort from Petrucha and Murase :)

Angelwings Rating: 4 out of 5 Nancy Drewwings! :D

Recommendation: A fun read, and def recommend it for ppl who like fun and serious adventure and to give to kids who like the same :D (but it definitely isn't a book that condescends or nething, even not trying to be kiddy I rly enjoyed it as just a comic book fan :) )


Saranga said...

good revioew :) thorough, well argued and nicely laid out :)

it's good to see your reviews again!

aesmael said...

I had no idea the bear-fight was in the very first chapter of the series. Had always figured it all started low-key and steadily drove over the top.

So I should definitely check these out. And hurrah for fresh Ami-reviews!

smurasaki said...

Sounds well worth checking out. I'm in favor of kick-ass (or, in this case punch-bear?) heroines and I like what they've done with her friends.

Nice to have you reviewing again. :)

Ami Angelwings said...

Ty Smurasaki :) It is good to be reviewing again :) I think it is a series ppl should check out for sure :] The art is a little rough in the first few issues, but it's still rly fun in writing and everything. :] Also I rly rly like what they've done with George and Bess :D They're like co-main chars, they're in almost every book, and they help her solve mysteries so much (sometimes they actually solve it themselves!) and each has their own little specialty (George is the research/computer/hacking genius and Bess can fix ANYTHING). I've likened them a lot to McCoy, Spock and Kirk in that while one is the "hero", they function together :)

Rob S. said...

SO good to see you reviewing again, Ami!

This sounds like a blast. Nancy definitely handled that bear better than I could've. We ran into one in the woods in northern New Jersey, and it was just a looong staring contest while Kathy & I realized we'd entirely lost track of where our trail was. Eventually the bear lost interest and wandered off. He's forgotten about it by now. There's not a chance I ever will.

Anyway, ND sounds like a great book, and a terrific series! I love fair-play mysteries, and am sorry to see that aspect get downplayed a little later on. I'll have to pick one up and give it a read... and maybe pass it off to one of my increasingly numerous neices & nephews.

Ami Angelwings said...

Well to be fair Rob, the reason the mysteries become impossible to solve later is b/c the villains are doing things that make absolutely no sense and she starts fighting basically Batman super villains with crazy death traps and circuitous over complex plans xD So it still is fun! Just in a different way :D

Rob S. said...

Yeah, that still sounds cool! Nothing wrong with a little Batman-style action! :)