In Review: Lando #4

The art and coloring have improved and the book is better.

The cover: Beneath the bounty hunter’s ship, Chanath Cha looks at the hologram of whom the Emperor has selected for elimination: Lando Calrissian. He’s stolen Palpatine’s personal shuttle and the Emperor is not happy about that. Excellent layout and coloring on this image from interior artist Alex Maleev. The lighting effects are cinematic looking, and the ship being up high and slightly out of focus (due to the light) makes it real. The bounty hunter’s suit also appears real and the hologram effect on Lando’s projection is very cool. Overall grade: A

The story: Cha has arrived at the Emperor’s shuttle and gained access through a hatch. The bounty hunter has no idea what to expect on board the ship, but runs in to retake the vessel. Meanwhile, Sava and Lando are continuing to look at their discovery: a Sith treasure trove. The ugnaught tells the rogue that the value on such a collection could buy each of them their own moon. This is Lando’s type of haul. If only the pair were looking at how one of the clones was looking at the objects. Aleskin is usually focused on one object and then he does something that throws the thieves’ plans into chaos. Writer Charles Soule nicely sets up a chaotic situation without giving a specific reason why, which is how such a sequence should play out, and forces the protagonists to think out why one of their allies would go evil. It’s a fitting reason, and, based on the evidence at the bottom of Page 8, justifiable. I like how Soule also has the bond between Lando and Sava splintering, again, for obvious reasons. Lando is Lando; what else would he be expected to do? When Cha enters the fray, things escalate and change quickly, with a fantastic reveal on 19. This is going to take this story in an entirely new direction, but not before the threat of Page 20 is dealt with. I was impressed with the hired fighters getting the most growth they’ve had so far, with Aleksin getting some strong punching up. His comments and actions were great, as was Pavol’s, though the final panel was a little too much for me. After all the build up, and time away from this pair, to see them like this negated all that Aleksin had previously said. Overall grade: A-

The art: The visuals are a big improvement over the previous three issues. Characters can be clearly seen and settings are easily definable. Case in point, Cha is easily seen entering the Emperor’s ship, but isn’t the focus; at the bottom of Page 1 it’s the hatch that’s front and center since that’s the way in, while the bounty hunter is off to the side. Once in the ship, Cha is walking down a long corridor. In previous issues this would, I believe, have been completely rendered in black, but now this space has lines to define it’s depth and it makes the image more pleasing to look at and more believable. When Cha starts running, it looks like a frame taken from a film — it’s beautiful. Even the darkened hidden room looks great. Aleksin and Pavol are dressed head-to-toe in black, but can still be seen; in fact, they can be seen to emoting in this issue, especially with Aleksin saying so much in silence, but his glances say a lot. Page 4 is a very clever layout, having Lando and Sava speaking, but artist Alex Maleev focuses on an unmoving Aleksin. This increases the tension, because the two speakers should be noticing their companion’s stature. When the action starts on 5 it gets tense quickly, and the full page splash on 6 is shocking. The image through the door in the final panel on 6 is outstanding; it’s reminiscent of Vader walking forward on the Death Star after Luke’s shot out the blast doors. A return to a dead character on 7 is perfectly grotesque. As Lando reasons out his options on 8, Maleev captures the character’s body language perfectly. My favorite page is 19 with the reveal and those picture perfect reactions in the second and third panel. This is the artwork a Star Wars comic should have. Overall grade: A

The colors: As with the art, the colors, by Paul Mounts, have improved considerably. It’s still the same setting, the Emperor’s ship, but now things can be seen! The darkened interior of the treasure chamber is a rich blue that shows the reader that it’s a dim environment, but nothing seems truly hidden any more. The middle panel on Page 4 has a great highlight on Aleksin that alerts readers to something happening. Red is beautiful and deadly on 5, with the highlights on the close-up of the character’s face exceptional. These highlights continue through the fight scene that happens later. I know it’s sick, but the coloring of the face on 7 is just gorgeous. The coloring is a perfect match for the art. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna provides scene settings, dialogue, AI speak, sounds, and hisses. I still feel that the dialogue is too thin for this series, making everyone’s speech seem frail; however, this is the first Star Wars comic that’s had a sound that’s close to a lightsaber igniting and I’m ecstatic that it was done. Caramagna shows how this can be done to increase the tension of a scene, as it’s done here, and my fingers are crossed that because he did it so well others will do likewise when it occurs again. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The art and coloring have improved and the book is better. This now looks like a Star Wars book. I hope it closes out as well as this installment was. Overall grade: A

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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