In the true spirit of comics (of which superheroes and their arch foes made their debut), I’ve teamed up with Michele from Just A Lil Lost for a crossover post! For Paris Month and Supervillain Week 2014, we’re checking out Bandette Volume 1 by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. Michele is tackling the setting of Paris where the book takes place while I look at the villains of the piece which may or may not involve the lead character herself: Bandette.
Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s enchanting, Eisner-nominated digital series comes to print! The world’s greatest thief is a costumed teen burglar in swinging Paris by the nome d’arte of Bandette! Gleefully plying her skills on either side of the law, Bandette is a thorn in the sides of both police inspector Belgique and the criminal underworld. But it’s not all breaking hearts and purloining masterpieces when a rival thief discovers that an international criminal organization wants Bandette dead! This beautiful hardcover includes the first arc, tales of Bandette’s street urchin helpers by guest artists, an original illustrated story, and more!
To call Bandette a villain would be a hard thing to do. Sure, she’s a thief in the same way that Catwoman is in the Batman comics but she’s also active in doing heroic activities like helping Police Inspector B. D. Belgique with a bank heist that involves hostages. So she’s not a supervillain or even a clear cut villain.
Then we have Monsieur, a cat burglar, who could be considered a villain but, despite being a rival to Bandette, he seems to care for her when he chooses to help her when an attempt is made on her life rather than follow the mysterious woman he’s been hired by. Again, not a supervillain and not your typical villain.
Then we have the Friends In Need Improvement Society (or F.I.N.I.S.) which is a criminal organization fronting as an organization that “works to improve the plight of the world’s impoverished”. They’re are led by Absinthe (not the drink!) who is definitely not led by a nice guy and you’d write him off as just a regular mob boss if it wasn’t for the costumed assassins his sends to kill Bandette.
The first of which is Matadori who’s dress up as a bullfighter and is very entertaining to watch as she duels Bandette.
There’s also a sinister looking fellow who isn’t as fun but twice as scary. Readers will have to find out who he is in volume 2.
We must now ask ourselves if a supervillain can still be a supervillain without a superhero. Bandette is a nice gal but she isn’t a superhero or even a straight up hero. What what do you think? Is Bandette a hero? Is Absinthe and his assassins supervillains? Bandette is a digital comic by MonkeyBrain Comics and the first volume collects issues #1-#5.
A. A. Omer