In Review: Lando #3

If you love Star Wars or comic books, avoid this.

The cover: Against the backdrop of three enormous Imperial Guards, Lando Calrissian spirals downwards like Don Draper. I have no idea what this cover image by Alex Maleev is supposed to represent: Lando’s fall before the Empire, his impending demise that was hinted at in the shocking proceedings of last issue’s final page, or his reckless attitude? Upon closer inspection of his face, he looks as though he’s laughing as he’s tumbling down. I don’t know what it means, so I’m lost without any strong feeling for this image. There is also a Variant cover that’s mentioned nowhere on the issue’s credit’s page. I found that there’s a limited cover by Mike Mayhew available through GrahamCrackers.com, a comic store’s site. This features a wanted poster of Lando stuck on a wall that could be located on Tatooine. Looking at the poster are Zuckuss, 4-LOM, IG-88, Bossk, and Dengar. This is much cleaner and more understandable than the Main. Overall grades: Main C- and GrahamCrackers A

The story: When last seen, Lobot was stabbed by an Imperial Guard. While Lobot’s implants try to reboot him, which could result in him “losing himself” forever, Lando and Sava drag him off to a bacta tank that the Ugnaught saw on a different deck. Meanwhile, hired killer feline twins Aleksin and Pavol battle the two guards. As this is occurring, bounty hunter Chanath Cha has arrived at Imperial Facility 729-D, located at classified location in the Inner Rim. He is receiving something the Emperor has given him to assist him in his task in tracking down his personal shuttle that Calrissian and company have stolen. I couldn’t believe that the twins were battling the guards for such a long length of time that would allow the two characters to move Lobot to the tank. It seemed ridiculous. I believe that Lobot needs the treatement and that the twins are the only ones who could handle the guards, but for him to be placed in the tank, Lando and Sava find something on Page 14, run to the location of the fight, share words, and then return to the twins strained credulity. This fight had to take at least twenty minutes, and I don’t believe it. The scenes with Chanath are good, though they fall into the expected responses from every bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. Only in the final three pages does writer Charles Soule have something really interesting and new appear, though the cliffhanger is of the Scooby Doo nature. I’m needing a change of writer on this series. Overall grade: D 

The art: I’m also needing a change of artist. I’ve enjoyed Alex Maleev’s work on other books, but he’s just not setting the right tone for this series. The layout of Page 1 is a good example of this: look at the huge amount of wasted space in the first and third panels. Do these really need to be told from this point of view with that much space left empty of a character? Much better are Pages 2 and 3, with the partial double-paged spread of the twins fighting looking incredible; it reminded me of the best of Paul Gulacy’s run on Marvel’s The Master of Kung Fu. However, I was lost on 4 and 5, trying to figure out the location of the characters. I realize that the fighting style of the twins is stylized, but having one of them not looking at their opponents in the first panel had me wondering what was going on. The close-ups in panels three and four have me wondering what’s going on with the other pair of fighters. This is exacerbated by the fifth and sixth panels: were the other two just standing still? That’s what it looks like from what is shown. Why the empty space at the right on the top of 9? It’s not creating tone; it’s looking like a badly blocked scene. Things improve considerably on 14 where everything works, as does 15. However, things are so dark on 16, it’s hard not to consider the art smeared in the bottom two panels. Sava looks horrible on the final three pages. I’m a fan of Maleev’s work, but not on this book. Overall grade: D+ 

The colors: I have no idea what Paul Mounts could have done to improve this book’s visuals. Maleev’s work is fairly dark, so no amount of bright colors could make things more visible — perhaps just printing the book in black and white would help. I was especially overcome by reds during the twin’s fight. It’s was too much: a red room, with red antagonists, fighting black protagonists. It’s too hard to make out shapes and it made me angry with what I was trying to see. Chanath has more varied colors in his sequences, thanks to the dashboard and the droid’s metallic body. The bacta tank pages are gorgeous in light blue, but why didn’t Lando and Sava turn on the lights to see what they were doing? The last three pages also have some strong work with blues, but it’s not enough to erase what has come before. Overall grade: C-

The letters: Dialogue, Lobot’s robotic speech, a plea, sounds, scene setting and droid speech are done by VC’s Joe Caramagna. Lobot’s robotic speech is good, but I’m surprised that the actual droid in the issue only has italicized dialogue, with the shape of his dialogue balloons informing readers that it’s not human. This was a missed opportunity, as much of this issue was. Overall grade: C+  

The final line: This is quickly degrading from the previous issue. A question of timing and poor visuals make this a runner up to the Star Wars Holiday Special. If you love Star Wars or comic books, avoid this. Overall grade: D+ 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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