Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: Star Wars LANDO #5


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Charles Soule
ART: Alex Maleev
COLORS: Paul Mounts
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Alex Maleev
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2015)

Rated T

“Part V”

Lando Calrissian, the first Star Wars character portrayed onscreen by a Black man (Oscar-nominated actor, Billy Dee Williams), got his first solo comic book series in the year 2015... yeah.  After a cumulative three decades of Star Wars comic books, no Lando, no Black man.  The title, launched early this past summer, was Lando, written by Charles Soule, drawn by Alex Maleev, colored by Paul Mounts, and lettered by Joe Caramagna.  You can't have everything, as they say; no African-American comics creators participated in Lando's creation.  Sigh.

Lando begins with gambler, hustler, ladies' man, businessman, etc., Lando Calrissian, trying to pay off a huge past debt.  Lando and his longtime cohort, Lobot, led a team of alien clone warriors, Aleksin and Pavol, and antiquity specialist, Sava Korin Pers, in the heist of “The Imperialis,” an Imperial Luxury yacht.  What they did not know is that the yacht is the personal property of Emperor Palpatine, and it contains a treasure horde of Jedi and Sith artifacts.  Meanwhile, the Emperor sends bounty hunter, Chanath Cha, to deal with the situation.  She has past with Lando and Lobot...

As Lando #5 (“Part V”) opens, Lando is trying to make a deal with Chanath, while she prepares to blow up the Imperialis.  He is desperate to help the grievously injured Lobot and also still salvage something from this heist.  Deals will be made, but the people who turn out to be loyal and those who turn out to be backstabbers will surprise Lando.

After reading Lando #1, I was pleased with the art by Alex Maleev.  I found that, in terms of design and graphic style, the comic book looked like The Empire Strikes Back.  For me, Alex Maleev's art on Lando recalled the work of legendary comic book artist, Al Williamson, who drew Marvel Comics' six-issue adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back (published in issues #39 to 44 of Marvel's original Star Wars comic book series).  Even colorist Paul Mounts seemed to have The Empire Strikes Back's color palette in mind as he colored Maleev's original art for Lando #1.  Nothing has changed.  To the end, Lando is still a great looking comic book.

As for Charles Soule's story and script for the first issue, I thought there was potential for an excellent Star Wars comic book.  Indeed, it has worked out that way.  In fact, the heist has many exciting twists and turns that had me eagerly awaiting each issue.  I always read Lando first on new comics day.

I think Soule also presented an exceptional character study of Lando, creating the complex and fascinating guy we've always known to be there behind what we were given in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (1983).  Relatively speaking, there wasn't much depicted onscreen about his personality (beyond his guile and beguiling ways), nor was there much about his hopes, dreams, and inner demons.  Soule gave that to us with Lando.  I hope we get more.  No fan of Star Wars comic books should miss Lando.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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