Monday, August 27, 2018

Goldie Vance GN - Volume Four - Goldie Vance Cracks the Code!

Looking back on this blog, I realize I never posted any thoughts on the Goldie Vance comic book series published by Boom! comics.  It originally came out as a monthly series, with break in-between each 4-issue arc. However, for whatever reason, after the first twelve issues, Boom! decided to switch the publication from monthly issues to graphic novels only, so "issues 13-16" was sold only as a bound graphic novel, labeled Volume Four (as issues 1-4 was Volume 1, 2-8 was Volume 2, and 9-12 was Volume Three).

Anyway, if you're thoroughly confused, don't be!  If you love a good, clean mystery in the same vein as Nancy Drew, then go out to your local comic store (or makes Barnes & Noble order it for you) and pick up any of the trade paperbacks of this series.  It has a teenage protagonist whose father runs a hotel in sunny Florida, and she has taken it upon herself to assist the hotel detective (no, these storeis are not set in the present) in solving cases. But rather than your typical missing luggage or stolen jewelry, Goldie usually finds herself smack dab in the middle of international mysteries!

Volume Four (which has no specific title, although the tagline on the back says it all:  Goldie Vance Cracks the Code!) finds Goldie finally being taken seriously by her father, as well as Walter Tooey, the real hotel detective.  He asks her to help him figure out what has happened to a couple of bands who have not shown up for the music festival that weekend, and to also see about what is causing the recent power outages.  Two simple enough tasks, right?  Wrong!  Remember, Goldie and Nancy share a love of mysteries, as well as coincidences, so from the get-go, the reader knows that there is something a lot more sinister going on here...

It seems the music festival, and the music industry in general, is harboring some very dark secrets, and that someone is using the records for something other than music.  Goldie figures out that it is one particular song being played by the local radio station that happens to be playing every time the power goes out in town.  With the help of her friend, Cher, she discovers not only what it is that is causing the black-outs, but also uncovers some secret messages in Russian on the album covers!

Of course, Goldie jumps the gun and ends up accusing the wrong person, which gets in a lot of trouble, not just with her father and the hotel staff, but also with her girlfriend!  So, when Goldie stumbles across the identity of the real culprit, she's left with the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome and has to find a way to prove she is right this time!

For this story, Jackie Ball has taken over the writing chores, from a story by original creator of the character, Hope Larson.  The artist is also new, with Elle Power now doing the art instead of original co-creator Brittney Williams.  Yet, despite the change in writer and artist, the characterization remains consistent, as does the art style and quality.  Honestly, if I had not looked at the credits in the front of the book, I would not have noticed the change in creative teams.  Which, quite frankly, is a good thing, because that means that the story and art are so well done, the change had no impact on the great stories being told.

And, this is a small thing for some, but for me, it meant a lot - the book has four chapters (one chapter per issue), and it maintains the numbering - meaning the first chapter is listed as Chapter Thirteen (which would have been issue 13 if the series had remained monthly), and the trade provides us with what the covers of each issue would have been if the series had maintained that publication schedule.  So, even though I had to switch from monthly issues to trades, at least there is some consistency!

"...a spunky teen detective in the tradition of Nancy Drew," says The A.V. Club, and I would have to agree.

RATING:  9 sticks of American gum out of 10 for providing a good, clean mystery that can be enjoyed by mystery fans of all ages!

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