That great thing about comics is that sometimes you get these happy surprises on new comic day, and Bandette was one of those great surprises.
I first heard about Bandette last year when writer Chris Roberson announced his departure from DC Comics and started his own digital comic company, Monkeybrain Comics. The mission was to produce creator owned digital content that could be easily bought by fans, something that other companies had trouble with at the time. One of their biggest hits to date has been Bandette and with a partnership with Dark Horse Comics, Bandette has finally seen a physical release. Although short, Bandette is an excellent all ages book that is pure fun.
Revolving around a young thief only known as Bandette, she commits her crimes like no other. Wearing a red and black costume with a yellow cape, Bandette sneaks into a house looking for stolen Rembrandts. As she sneaks she comes up to a small guard dog and asks it to accompany her on her heist, conversating how it’s owner is a bad guy. Unlike most thieves who try to be quiet, Bandette is bold and revels in being a thief. Despite running into trouble, she never sweats it because she can always call on her “Street Urchin” to help her out of a pinch. When your on top though, people will start gunning for you and a local crime lord vows to kill Bandette by any means necessary. With the help of her rival, a thief known as The Monsieur, they vow to clean him for everything that he’s worth while also seeing who is the greatest thief in the world.
Images from monkeybraincomics.com
Paul Tobin does a wonderful job creating the cast of Bandette. Bandette is so gleeful in each scene she is in and indulges in every second of her crimes, and her crew add great support. The Monsieur is great as an old pro who looks over Bandette as a teacher would for a rebellious student. One of the most conflicted characters is Inspector Belgique who, despite being a thief and criminal, has helped the cops on more then one occasion. It is very reminiscent to Lupin the 3rd’s relationship to Inspector Zenigata.
With great characters, Collen Coover really brings them to live with bright, vibrant colors. With Bandette flipping over walls with a smile on her face, it made me smile how much she reveled in her victories. With a watercolor art style, it gives this retro feel that brings back memories of old Adventures of Tintin. Coover also does action very well with one of my favorite scenes being the fight between Bandette and a would-be assassin, The Matador which is supported by fantastic banter between the two combatants.
image from bleedingcool.com
Added to the hardcover edition is a script excerpt for issue #1, Coover’s notes on drawing Bandette, Daniel’s Story, a short story from Tobin about Bandette’s love interest, and a series of stories from Tobin called Urchin Stories. Each story is two to three pages long, and expands on the cast of Bandette, giving each character their own mini-spotlight. With Dark Horse Comics, Tobin and Coover have added a lot of material, so that if you bought the digital issues you’ll still get some bang for your buck with the collected edition.
The only shame about this book is that it ends just as the main caper starts. This wouldn’t be so bad if we were waiting for the next collection or buying the issues digitally, but there isn’t currently a start date for when issue six comes out. I have no doubt that the award-winning series (Best Digital Comic, 2013 Eisner Awards) will be back, but I’m hoping that it’s sooner rather than later.
Bandette is fantastic. Tobin and Coover are great together creating a fanciful adventure that any age or gender can enjoy.