– Spoiler Review –
Lando Calrissian, the smoothest smuggler and entrepreneur in the galaxy, certainly sounds like a good choice to star in a comic series, especially since glimpses at his past (whether they are Legends or canon) have proved he’s an entertaining character. He might have gotten pigeonholed and sidelined in the later years of Legends novels, but he’s had a resurgence of late thanks to his appearance on Star Wars Rebels. Does Lando #1 continue the trend of giving Calrissian more of the spotlight he deserves? Thanks to a great art style, well-written characters, and a truly surprising twist, I would certainly say it does.
Complements go out to Alex Maleev, artist, and Paul Mounts, colors, for the stylistic direction they went with the series’ art. It’s slightly dark and always gritty, giving the entire proceedings a seedy, underworld feel, which fits perfectly with Lando’s occupation and the area of Star Wars he inhabits. Even though it can be dark, colors pop and merge in a way that reminds me a lot of something from the 80’s, specifically Miami Vice and it makes the issue a pleasure on your eyeballs. So even if the story and depiction of Lando had been bad, I would’ve still recommended checking out Lando #1 just to get a good look at how the art works for this particular part of the Star Wars universe.
Thankfully, it’s not just the art which makes me recommend picking up Lando #1, but also its crime-caper setup and tone and well-written characters. #1 opens with Lando swindling the lovely Imperial Moff Ssaria out of her priceless artifact, which he turns over to the latest person he owes a debt to, Papa Toren. Unfortunately the loot doesn’t make them even, but Papa Toren has a much bigger score in mind which would settle Lando’s debts. Despite some hesitation from Lobot, they assemble a team to steal a valuable starship with an even more valuable collection of antiquities on board. However, the ship’s owner is likely to cause tons of trouble for Lando, Lobot, and the rest of his team. It has all the classic ingredients of a crime-caper, from assembling a team of people who might not all trust the lead character/have their own agendas, to voice-over explaining what they’ll do while we watch them do exactly that in the scenes below, etc.
Lando is as smooth as ever here, which the opening scene between him and the Moff ‘Fiend of Castell’ Ssaria show expertly, and from the start it feels like Charles Soule has been writing Lando as a character since forever. This Lando isn’t too far removed from the one we see by The Empire Strike Back, but the expansion on his mindset regarding blasters/violence, as well as his partnership with Lobot, really start fleshing him out in the new canon. Similarly, we get some vague details on Lobot’s past and why he has the implants. It might be startling to have Lobot talk so much, but once you get used to it, it’s quite welcome for the character.
The big surprise, which really does make this limited series about practically the ultimate heist, is the ship is owned by Emperor Palpatine himself. The power and resources he can throw at Lando and his ragtag team could be staggering, to say the least, as he might be quite desperate to get it back considering the possibilities regarding what type of artifacts Palpatine hoards on his ship: ancient Sith/Jedi artifacts, literally any priceless piece of art you can imagine, holocrons, etc. It does raise the question: are the repercussions of Lando’s heist what makes him so easily turn on Han and co. at Cloud City?
Here are a few other things:
- While Castell does have a brief Legends past, all the new characters we meet are brand new. As for what those twins are? Maybe Cathar? But no official word yet.
- Toren and his little bodyguard/buddies/translators are both intriguingly weird and disgusting. Love it.
- For those who read Scoundrels, Timothy Zahn’s last (and fantastic) Star Wars novel, Lando kind of feels like that book already, though I don’t know if it’ll have a twist at the end of its 5th issue much like Scoundrels did at the end of the novel. That one made you go back and want to reread the whole thing, while the twist here in #1 raises the stakes a little bit.
Another new Marvel series gets off to a solid start, and so far Lando #1 feels like it takes advantage of the limited series format rather than suffer from it. Here’s hoping it can stay that way.
+ Fantastic art which fits with Lando’s universe
+ Great writing
+ Heist of a lifetime indeed
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#2 | #3 | #4 | #5
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)