Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: Bandette by Paul Tobin

144 pages, will be published on November 19, 2013 by Dark Horse Comics

It’s difficult to describe Bandette without using the word “charming” over and over. But I’ll say it: this is a truly charming graphic novel. Our titular character, Bandette, is the self-proclaimed “most talented thief this world has ever known.” With glee and wit, the teen crusader steals from those she deems worthy of being thieved: weapons dealers, shady underground organizations, and various other “bad guys.” Bandette is rarely alone in her adventures; she has a trusty pool of peers ready and willing to bail her out when sticky situations arise: a ragtag gang of street urchins, a trio of ballet dancers, and the adorable Thai food deliverer, Daniel. Luckily for this group, Bandette gets herself into sticky situations very frequently.

Although she’s on Inspector B. D. Belgique’s speed dial when the Parisian police just can’t finish a job without her, Bandette isn’t the only thief in France. Her greatest rival is Monsieur, a classic gentleman whose front is running a rare book and coin shop - his two greatest interests. Much to Bandette’s chagrin, Monsieur has beaten her to a steal several times. Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and games for Bandette. Okay, it’s mostly fun and games. But when Monsieur requests a midnight meeting with Bandette, it’s not to discuss thieving techniques. It’s to alert her that she has been targeted by the mysterious criminal group Finis whose leader, Absinthe, will not stop until Bandette is dead. Bandette’s life is in real danger and the first of Finis’s assassins is on their way…

I found myself smiling a lot as I read Bandette. It’s a truly delightful volume with bright, colorful illustrations and memorable characters. I loved diving into a world where knockout spray comes in a can, enemies have lengthy chats while fighting (which gives a pleasant Princess Bride vibe), and our heroine is more concerned with finding chocolate bars than the criminal mastermind who wants her dead. This volume collects the first five issues of Bandette. Additionally, he back matter includes several “Urchin Stories” - minicomics centering on the smaller characters featured in volume one of Bandette. The reader is also treated to a short story from Daniel’s perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bandette and I look forward to experiencing more of the teen thief’s gleeful adventures in the future.

Rating: 4.5/5

**I received an ARC of Bandette through NetGalley

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