In Review: Lando-Double or Nothing #2

A decent Star Wars outing that will fill the time while waiting for another movie.

The covers: A lucky pair to pick up if you’re a completist. The Regular cover is by W. Scott Forbes and features Lando and L3-37 in an arid setting walking toward a warehouse that shows several droids in disrepair. Behind the heroes is the Millennium Falcon, illustrating that the pair got to this location via this famous vehicle. This cover has a somewhat sinister nature due to the droids’ various states, leaving me worried for L3. I like this cover. The Variant cover by Cameron Stewart is excellent enough to be a poster, print, or tee shirt. This has Lando looking at the reader, hands on his belt. Behind him is a circle in grays that contains the Millennium Falcon, flying skyward on his right, and L3 on his left. Below him is a very stylized logo for this series. The entire image is on white. This look fantastic! Overall grades: Regular A- and Variant A+

The story: Lando’s recording of his latest installment of the Calrissian Chronicles is interrupted by Kristiss and L3 commenting on an individual who records their life. This is a neat way for writer Rodney Barnes to bring the reader up to date with the story begun last issue. The Falcon is about to meet an Imperial patrol on Kullgroon, so Lando comes up with a way to avoid them, though it has an effect it doesn’t seem he’s forseen. Once on the planet, Kristiss and L3 have rapid fire ideas on how to achieve their goal, though Lando interrupts their dialogue. “Whoa, whoa, whoa…Has anyone considered who’s running this mission? Well, in case you’ve forgotten — it’s me. And I’ll decide where we go and what we do.” This dialogue gives Lando the same flavor as Han Solo making up things up as he goes along, choosing to go along with what someone else has just said, but making sure that everyone remembers he’s around. After the three split, Lando gets a brief action scene on the ground that grows in scope. This was okay, though the visual on Page 15 has me doubting one character’s fate. Better was where Kristiss is, which had her doing something really cool on 16. Even better still was where L3 is and what she does. This has me anxious to see more of her. A character returns on the final page in a neat cliffhanger. This is a decent Star Wars tale. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals take a dip in this issue, especially in regards to the title character. The first page doesn’t have Lando clearly revealed to the reader until the third panel and then the visage on the character doesn’t look as though it has anything to do with the dialogue he’s speaking. He is incredibly obscured on the second page, shown from the back, side, or a series of shapes that suggest facial features. Yes, the Falcon is running with its interior lights out, but the characters could have been illustrated more clearly than this. Better are Pages 3 and 4, though the last panel has Lando again not great. There are a few odd point of view panels in this issue (Page 8, panel one and Page 12). The first example has the visual overpowered by the colors, while the second example has just too much empty space. The remainder of the book has Lando looking okay, but not terrific. Kristiss fares better, but that’s because she’s got a hood surrounding her face, so not much work is needed. L3 is outstanding on every page she appears. In fact, all the mechanical elements of this issue look great. My hat is off to Paolo Villanelli for what’s created for this book in that regard. There’s a lot of blaster fire in this issue, from hand weapons and ships, and it’s an explosion from each weapon’s muzzle that resembles the expulsion from the sides of a sandman’s gun from Logan’s Run — it’s too massive. The characters that attack Lando in the middle of the book are generic humanoids, which is disappointing to see in a Star Wars book. The full-paged splash on 15 is excellent, but I had to stop and think about what I was looking at because I couldn’t tell whose ship was exploding: as with the blaster shots, it’s too massive. An illustration this large allows for plenty of opportunities to make clear for the reader what he or she is looking at. I like most of this book, but the Lando pages are not the strongest. Overall grade: C+

The colors: Thankfully Lando is wearing a bright yellow shirt for this issue, allowing him to stand out on every page he appears. This is a welcome splash of color because Kullgroon is a bleakly colored setting. Giving him this bright top also allows him to get focus whenever he’s on the page. Kristiss also gets some focus with her red hood and cape. Colorist Andres Mossa is doing what he can to jazz up the visuals, but isn’t given many opportunities. Even blaster fire is fairly blah, due to the blasts being in white and outlined in a thin line of red; solid colors would have punched up the power of each blast. The massive explosion that happens on one page is outstanding with its colors. The coloring is really over the top on 8 in the first panel with the suns being so bright to the point where they’re obscuring Lando in the foreground, and the last page is is the same for the same reason, but with a different character. Those colors need to be seriously toned down. Overall grade: B-

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates the scene settings, dialogue, L3’s speech, yells, whispered dialogue, and a chant. Scene settings and dialogue continue to disappoint in all Star Wars comics, but droid speech and the varied yells make up for it. Sadly, there are no sounds in this issue, though there are plenty of weapons firing. It’s not Caramagna’s call on what sounds to insert, but he’s more than proven himself outstanding on them in other comics. I wish he would be unleashed on this series. Overall grade: B

The final line: A decent Star Wars outing that will fill the time while waiting for another movie. The story is okay, but the visuals do let down at times. I’m buying this out of habit, rather than joy at this point. Hopefully things improve in the next issue. Overall grade: B

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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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