Mad House is the third volume of Papercutz’s awesome Hardy Boys graphic novel series.
Ok, so I’m not going in order, but I was re-reading this one the other day and just had to go ahead and review it! I love the action, the humor, and the Hardy brothers, Frank and Joe! Again, so much good stuff – where do I start? Oh, the beginning of the graphic novel you say? Alright, I can do that.
First chapter and immediately you’re in the middle of an action-packed scene – awesome! Frank is airborne on a snowmobile before touching down on the ground again and zooming over the snow-covered ground. Joe is slicing through the air on a custom snowboard, maneuvering with some trick moves through the crisp air with a grin on his face. So is this just a regular race to see who wins? No way, much more is at stake than any competition – we’re talking about lives at risk – including Frank and Joe’s. The two brothers aren’t racing against each other, they’re racing to get to a downed British agent who is injured and stay ahead of the armed bad guys trying to stop them with bullets. They have their work cut out for them, but they can do it.
Plus there’s a discussion between the brothers about the meaning of “fun”.
It’s a daring, pulse-pounding rescue that has you anxious to see what happens next. As the Hardy brothers help out MI 6, take a guess about who the downed agent is? And he’s heard of the Hardy brothers! Pretty clear from the drawings and the words that it is one Bond, James Bond!
After all of that excitement in the Swiss Alps, rescuing you-know-who, the next day is school and almost everyone’s talking about the reality show, Mad House, that is going to be filming in Bayport. Students from Bayport High are applying to be on the show.
Btw, you can find out whether Joe did well on his trig exam!
Frank and Joe soon receive their mission, disguised as an ordinary video game that reformats after they watch it – which I still think is cool. Yep, I like that stuff. They aren’t fans of the Mad House show, but they are willing to go try to make sure no one else gets hurt on the show like people had been that season – and to stop what is going on before anyone gets killed. One of the suspicions is that the “accidents” are instigated for ratings. A sad, sickening possibility.
There are unique characters introduced as part of the cast and crew for the Bayport filming of Mad House at a renovated farmhouse. I like the Todster, a cool surfer dude, a lot and found Lester Worley interesting (he’s smart, I didn’t like his conceit though, but he got better). I like Ronald Johnson, too.
Joe is a contestant while Frank is one of the production crew; both able to move around and sleuth without making anyone suspicious.
Smart-mouth Joe easily outwits obnoxious Brian Conrad – I laughed and enjoyed all of that so much. And I also really enjoyed the quick, observant action of Frank when he saved Brian’s life. Up top, dude!
Edge-of-your-seat barn fire and rescue scenes! Whew! Frank and Joe bravely take dangerous death-defying risks to save peoples’ lives. You can see why I love the Hardy brothers – they’re cool and inspiring. Frank and Joe get angry when the two camera guys keep filming when they could have been helping. Then once the crisis is over, Brian tries to take the glory (for doing nothing) and the ensuing scenes are great!
I like the way the contestants – or at least some of them – banded together to help each other. That’s realistic because some people, like Frank and Joe, help out and think of others, while some people, like Brian, think only of themselves. Although Brian did have a moment of compassion in the story when he was worried about his sister and showed that he is capable of caring about someone other than himself, so that was cool and good to see.
There are a number of suspects with motive and opportunity. I like trying to solve the puzzle and figure out what is going on – wait! The thrilling scenes with the sabotaged tractor are demanding my attention! More great action and danger. And Frank telling Joe to “be careful” – isn’t he always, Frank? Excellent job with Plan B, Joe! Lives are rescued!
After the great action and all, comes my least favorite part of the book because a person is murdered. Now the Hardys have to find and stop a murderer.
Some tense moments as the murderer also finds them. And thankfully the Hardys aren’t alone in their fight for justice. I could say soooo much more but I don’t want to give anything away!
I agree wholeheartedly with Frank’s comments about how sad it was that the criminal chose greed. As Frank said, “In real life, actions have consequences.” So true.
Character note: Chief Ezra Collig is in this graphic novel! I always like noting what characters are in the various books.
So much I loved about the epilogue “Home Again, Home Again…” with the Hardy family and guests – some great stuff! Joe isn’t an early “m’n'ng” person!
You’ve got courage, humor, compassion, and action in this graphic novel – qualities you always want to find in books with the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.