– Spoiler Review –
It’s all been leading up to this: trapped on Palpatine’s ship, former allies now enemies, and all his friends in danger, how could Lando—and Lobot—survive to see the pleasant lights of Cloud City? The answer, befitting of the excellent series so far, is all sorts of bittersweet and tragic…in the best way possible for readers, with Lando #5 cementing the series as another must-read from Marvel’s additions to the new canon.
Whether its Lando, Lobot, Korin, Chanath, or even the crazy deadly cat clones, the Lando series’ biggest asset is the strength of its characters and the story they have to tell readers in this short, but engaging ride. Despite the variety of viewpoints inherit in the cast, each character not named Lando agrees on one thing throughout the series: all of Lando’s plans end up getting people killed, whether he likes it or not. They weren’t lying, as the body count stacks up rather quickly in #5, ending with only O-66, Chanath, and Lando alive. Yes, Lobot obviously lives too, but essentially is dead by the end of the series, the implants finally taking over his mind. But that “death” means something, as it rightfully should, while the others who perish simply add to the point Lobot’s makes.
From his brief stint on Star Wars Rebels and to the opening issues of this series, Lando has been shown primarily as a wheeler and dealer, never someone who would stop while he’s ahead and go legit since he’s always ready and able to win a score, no matter its consequences. By the end of this issue, Lando gets a shot to the gut (and so did I) when he hears the poignant, nearly sob-enducing, and tragic final message from Lobot, after his friend sacrifices himself to help Chanath and Lando get off the soon to self-destruct Imperialis. In short, the message is about Lobot wishing Lando would turn his charm and wits towards something more useful than making the next big score, with the strength of Lobot’s actions and words helping put Lando into the mindset he’s in by The Empire Strikes Back, where he finds exactly what Lobot wanted him to: something to believe in besides just himself. Man, just thinking about the message now for this review is hitting me hard in the feels; it’s a gorgeously bittersweet ending, consistent with the series’ tone and themes. In fact, you’ll never watch TESB the same way again afterwards.
What I found to be one of the more important parts to the ending is how while I have several questions (most listed below in the “other things” section), the answers suddenly don’t seem important anymore. The Sith artifact purpose and usage before/during Palpatine’s possession? Shrug. Will Palpatine ever hire Chanath again? Shrug. The way the issue ended so strong with each character, it made those questions exactly what they are: inconsequential and unimportant to the big picture, but something to possibly be visited or answered later in time (I hope so!), considering we’re basically still at the start of the story the new canon wants to tell.
Besides the emotional ending, the other big moment of issue #5 was Lando killing Aleksin. It highlights everything Lobot said about Lando in his message, especially how people become chips in his game/cards in his deck. Lando’s carefully projected image of a lover, not a fighter is just a convenient and purposeful misdirection, something he even didn’t admit to Lobot through their entire time together. Using his way with words, Lando talks Aleksin down, while his ruse about not knowing how to fight does the rest. It was a dark, intriguing, and fun character moment I hadn’t expected but thoroughly enjoyed. And much like how Lobot’s fate won’t ever let you see TESB the same way again, Lando’s carefully planned lie all these years will never let you look at him the same way again.
Here are a few other things:
- Poor Sava Korin, even she wasn’t immune to the allure of the Sith artifact. The only person with any sense to never trust Lando didn’t get any justice, unfortunately. Still a intriguing side character and I’d like to see her past work as a Sava, and maybe other Savas, at one point.
- I had thought Lando and Chanath had hooked up in the past, and while they still could’ve considering she says they’ve known each other for a long time, it seems Lobot was the one who had been in a relationship with her. Nice play on expectations there.
- Wonder if we’ll get to see the Scimitar again, along with O-66, seeing as he flew it off into the stars, safe and sound. Quite the wily and skilled droid.
- We still don’t know the species Aleksin and Pavol belonged to, though at least we know a little about their culture: they never spoke because their voices are sacred and outsiders don’t deserve to hear them. Conceded? Yes. Interesting? You bet.
- The most important (see: not really, at all) question though: Will/Did the Gungans re-build their fertility statue?
- UPDATE 8/7/16: The Imperialis‘ remains reveal an interesting history for a new character in the newest novel, Aftermath: Life Debt.
- Tosche Station recently interviewed Charles Soule, the series’ writer, just last week so while it doesn’t cover any of the events in #5, it is still a great read if you want to know about his process for the story.
From Charles Soule’s writing. Alex Maleev’s art, to Paul Mount’s colors, the creative team assembled pulled off a truly wonderful series in Lando, breaking expectations by making a series centered on Calrissian important to the character and his first appearance on-screen in ways no one could’ve imagined (poor Lobot!). Much like the first arc of Kanan or the continuously strong Darth Vader series, Lando should go down amongst the greats at the start of Marvel’s (new) run.
+ Emotionally bittersweet ending true to tone
+ Chanath Cha lives to fight another day
+ Creative team finished strong on all fronts
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4
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)