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Review: ‘Bandette Vol. 2: Stealers, Keepers!’

bandetteBandette Vol. 2: Stealers, Keepers!
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Colleen Coover
Dark Horse Comics, $15

Among the 40 pages worth of extra material at the end of the second volume of Bandette is a five-page feature called “Designing Bandette,” in which artist Colleen Coover walks readers through the various inspirations of the various lead characters, all of whom are based on combinations of various classic actors.

It will come as absolutely no surprise that the title character, a charming and mischievous Parisian costumed super-thief, is based on the two Audreys: Hepburn and Tatou. While Bandette and its world and cast are pulled and recombined and remixed elements of films and comics throughout the late 20th century, it reads and feels like nothing so much as a 1960s spy/caper flick fused with the 2001 Tatou-starring Amelie (The single, perfect example of this is Bandette’s favorite brand of chocolate bar: Chocobolik, a sweet confection referencing a masked Italian anti-hero star of comics and films).

That is, of course, a good thing, as it means the fun, colorful, even fluffy genre elements become more fun, more colorful, and fluffier still, with a puck-ish pixie of a character at the center.

This volume picks up right where the first left off, the story of which is fleetly recounted in a “Previously…” page. Rival super-thieves Bandette and Monsieur, both thorns in the side of the criminal organization Finis and its evil leader Absinthe, have decided on a contest of thievery to prove which of them is the better thief. They have a list of treasures to pilfer, each of which belongs to Absinthe.

Here they finish working their way down the list, while Absinthe sends his a newer, deadlier assassin against Bandette: The emotion-less, invincible strangler Il Tredici (Bandette managed to not only defeat her previous assassin, Matadori, but to turn her as well).

As a satisfying plot must, all of the various plotlines introduced in the previous volume all come together with pleasingly efficient resolution here, with all of the characters ending up in the same place at the same time, all of them getting what they deserve.

It’s a tidy enough ending that it seems like it could easily be the end of Bandette, but a box in the final panel assures us that “Bandette will continue in: ‘The House of The Green Mask’!

In addition to the previously mentioned “Designing Bandette” feature, the extra material includes seven three-page shtors starring supporting characters, all written by Tobin and featuring art from Jonathan Hill, Ron Randall, Lucy Bellwood, Sheli Hay, Emi Lenox, patrick Scherberger and Ron Chan; a prose story by Tobin illustrated in black and white by Coover; a two-page guide to the famous and sometimes legendary items stolen in the course of the story and a few pages of script.

As with the previous volume, this one is a very nicely-assembled, very welcome package. Tobin and Coover unrepentantly steal from European comics and old films and use those elements to construct a narrative around a super-thief who can steal anything…even the heart of the most jaded and cynical of comics readers.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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