Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shelf Life [adult]

Bandette Vol 1: Presto! by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
@SPL: GN Fic Tobin

What would you get if you crossed Peter Pan with Robin Hood but made the resulting character a teenage female? You’d get Bandette, a free spirit who works both sides of the law – part Nancy Drew, part Selena Kyle (with all the style but not the bust line). Bandette has an army of teen friends that aid and abet both her thievery (from those who deserve it) and law enforcement, much to the frustration of Inspector Belgique – think of him as Lestrange to Bandette’s Sherlock. But where Sherlock Holmes solves crimes with his formidable brain, Bandette’s power is in her sheer audacity – she rarely considers that anything bad will happen as a result of her actions (which include walking rooftops or high wires, or racing through the streets on her Vespa), and even when in certain trouble she can stop to compliment a nemesis on the cut of her cape. Like Sherlock, she also has a Moriarty by the name of Monsieur – another thief with a taste for the finer things in life, with an identity just as secret as Bandette’s. Unlike Sherlock, Bandette and Monsieur form an uneasy partnership to bring down an even bigger set of thieves, Absinthe, Matador and the organization Finis. If you are sensing un petit peu de Fran├žais, it is true, setting, writing and artistic style of this graphic novel is very French. Presto! contains the first five of the Bandette comics from Dark Horse Comics, plus several extras; mini-vignettes of other characters in the Bandette ‘verse, a short story, and a picture-glossary of some of the items in Bandette’s treasure-trove. Although both illustrators Tobin and Coover have titles with Marvel under their belts, their design for Bandette is stylishly nostalgic, though the setting is modern day; and with a heroine with as much joie-de-vivre as Bandette, stories that are both funny and giddily adventurous, and the promise of more to come, Bandette is a series that can be recommended to teens and adults alike, and should be particular fun for anyone who would like their spirit to be as free as Bandette’s.

This review was published in the Stratford Gazette on March 13. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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