Review – Bandette Volume 1: Presto!

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Collen Coover
Release Date: 6th November 2013

Bandette – an ongoing series by the ‘Monkeybrain Comics’ husband and wife team of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover – popped up on a lot of people’s radars earlier this year when it picked up a 2013 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.  The series, following the antics of the titular costumed teen burglar, tells a story of rivalry, intrigue and drama, but does so in a brilliantly whimsical way that’s pretty much impossible to read without a smile on your face.

The book’s tone is gloriously light-hearted as we follow Bandette’s carefree existence as she flits from heist to heist, always trying to stay one step ahead of the French authorities, rival thief ‘Monsieur’ and a shady criminal organisation trying to put an end to her once and for all.  In many ways, Bandette feels like a 60’s action TV series adapted into comic book form – much in the same style as Batman ’66 – with its overly dramatic dialogue and swashbuckling action.

Coover’s artwork is truly beautiful, using a fairly restrained colour palette and a simplistic yet extremely expressive style to bring the story to life. The ‘European’ feel permeates almost every aspect from the book, from the background and architecture to the characters themselves, many of whom look like they could have been plucked straight from the pages of something like Asterix or TinTin.

Tobin’s writing also contributes to this aura in a major way, and his dialogue is perfectly chosen, particularly from Bandette herself as she cartwheels through the danger that surrounds her, seemingly oblivious to the threats she seems to be permanently facing.

The story is exciting, the characters perfectly pitched, and the sense of humour on display here is difficult not to be enchanted by.  I honestly can’t recommend Bandette highly enough to those of you who may fancy a chance of pace from the overly serious, ‘grimy and gritty’ titles which seem to take up the lion’s share of comic book shelves these days.

Rating: 9/10.

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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