Frank and Joe Hardy finish up a case helping a fellow ATAC (American Teens Against Crime) agent, who sharp-eyed fans may recognize despite her Alias.
Things seem to quiet down when ATAC sends Frank and Joe undercover to investigate a new Mall opening in Bayport, due to several suspicious accidents there. But things get exciting when the night before the big opening, Joe, Frank, and seven others are mysteriously locked in the mall with a murderer on the loose. If that wasn't enough, everything that could go horribly wrong in a mall, does. A flood caused by water beds. An electrocution at an electronics shop. A bow and arrow used to kill in the Sporting Goods store. A runaway elevator. A damsel in distress in the dress shop. Fire in the food court. And much, much more. Ages 8 to 12.
Papercutz is the exciting new graphic novel publisher that's building a huge following among the next generation of comics fans. Even the most reluctant readers are becoming addicted to the Papercutz approach of giving classic characters a modern makeover! Each Papercutz graphic novel features comics stories drawn in the style of the popular Japanese comics known as manga, and beautifully rendered with state of the art color. While educators rave about the high quality of the Papercutz writing and artwork, readers 8 and up are simply enjoying the great adventures found in each fun-filled volume. Be sure to check out other Papercutz titles such as Nancy Drew, Totally Spies, and Zorro.
I never got into the Hardy Boys books when I was younger. I think I tried giving them a chance a few times but can't recall actually finishing any of them. I was expecting this book to be like the Nancy Drew graphic novel I read last week. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys have always been linked in my mind as the sleuthing books meant to appeal to both boys and girls. So all of this was new to me.
I found this book to be a bit more violent than I would have expected. Joe and Frank do a lot of saving people from danger, disarming bombs, and bodily getting people out of the way. I haven't made up my mind yet if I plan to pass this one along to my son or not. I think he would enjoy it, but I think it sets up an almost MacGyver like ton where Joe and Frank can do it all and have all these special skills. In Nancy Drew she uses what she knows, and she was able to pick a lock, but it never went as far as disabling bombs and appending criminals by themselves.
The graphics were well done. They maintained their features from frame to frame and it was easy to tell who was who. Mr. Hardy didn't look quite old enough to be the father of his sons but I was okay with that. The male characters all appear athletic and fit while the female characters seem to sport a lot of short skirts, belly baring tops and pigtails. That is another reason why I am not sure that I want to pass this one along to my children. This is the type of stereotype I would rather not purposefully expose them to. It is around in enough other places as it is.
The story was entertaining and it was very fast paced. The chapters were short and the titles gave them meaning and focus. I don't plan on seeking out any more of the books in this series, but as I said at the beginning these were never characters that I read much and I don't seem to have generated much more.
Pub. Date: January 2006
Format: Paperback , 96pp
Age Range: 8 to 12
Series: Hardy Boys Graphic Novels: Undercover Brothers Series , #4
Edition Description: REV