In Review: Lando-Double or Nothing #3

The visuals are a disservice to the story. Disappointing.

The covers: A pair to pick up if one feels lucky enough to find them. The Regular cover is by W. Scott Forbes and features the Millennium Falcon making a speedy landing in a forest setting. Slicing diagonally from right to left is a close-up of Lando piloting his ship. I really like the image of Lando and the iconic ship landing. However, the top third of the illustration is wasted because the trail of the landing vehicle cannot be seen due to the title. Better would have been to increase the size of the panels containing the captain and his ship, making this a two panel image. The colors on Lando are incredibly striking on this frontpiece. The Variant cover by Jamal Campbell is much better. The reader is looking up to Lando who has taken a knee to retrieve something from this cape. He’s winking at the reader as the pulls out a thermal detonator that he’s activated. The reason he’s done so is that he’s surrounded by several stormtroopers, so what better way to get rid of them? The art is cool, has a great sense of humor, and the colors are excellent. Overall grades: Regular B and Variant A

The story: Rodney Barnes’s third chapter of this tale has got his three leads in three very different positions. Lando is in the worst spot, tied up to a rock in the Wastelands of Kullgroon, surrounded by the Zakku Rain Cartel, led by Batalla, a short blue-green skinned sentient with very sharp teeth. After reminding Calrissian of the last time they crossed paths, where the smuggler had the cartel losing many credits. Batalla wants to know why he’s there. Naturally Lando is not going to tell him, so he’s left to stew for a while. Meanwhile, within the Imperial Droid Facility on the same world, L3-37 is causing trouble, which is not unnoticed by a stormtrooper. Kristiss, elsewhere, is put on the assembly line to make droids, next to the person she came to this world to rescue: her father. With the characters in place, Barnes does a good job in shifting from character to character, creating some good tension with how each will escape their predicament. Page 14 has Lando in a situation that seems beyond his means, but he makes like a classic Edgar Rice Burroughs’s character and makes it to 16 where he receives considerable backup. The final four pages have some great dialogue that rings so true it’s impossible not to hear it in the voice of Donald Glover and his companion. The threats that appear on 18 were surprising, with Lando actually speaking a line on 19 that is something that See-Threepio often says. The issue ends on a solid tease that gives fans of the franchise exactly what they want to see. Lots of action and fun character moments in this issue. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals are really hurting this issue. Paolo Villanelli’s design for Batalla and the Zakku Rain isn’t great, with them having inconsistent foreheads and hairlines that move forward and recede between panels. The fourth page is just too dark, with the stormtrooper overly shaded in his close-up and just a mess in the final panel on the page. Page 5 has minimal work on the setting, but captures a solid emotional moment. The creatures that move Lando to a new location are just sketches, with their depth looking as though the colorist created it. Was there something in the title character’s hand in the bottom panel on Page 8? Did Lando pull something off this character? It’s very difficult to tell from the illustration. The speed lines in the panel make this a monstrous action, but it seemed overplayed. These speed lines continue onto the next page as Lando runs down a corridor, which is featureless. Better is when Lando stops in a corridor as this contains a lot of neat elements. The individual that Lando speaks with during this run looks great and the setting that this character is in looks good; this might be why Lando’s panels seem lacking. The second panel on 11 has Lando’s hands looking really odd. The large panel on 12 is good, but when the character’s converge on someone in the next panel it’s a mess to look at, with the colors not helping in trying to differentiate characters. The characters at the bottom of 14 should have been tighter, as they are rough suggestions of characters. A turn of the page and speed lines take the place of backgrounds, which was disappointing. 18 is really rough, comprised of outlines of characters and settings. The problems that appear on 19 are good, as is Lando’s reaction to them. The final page ends with a solid tease that would have had a stronger impact if the pencils had been tighter. That could be said of the entire issue’s visuals. Overall grade: C- 

The colors: Andres Mossa is the book’s colorist and he does a solid job on Lando throughout the book. His bright yellow shirt makes him an eye catcher in every panel he appears. The colors for Batalla and Zakku Rain are really bland, which unfortunately has characters blending into one another and the gray, dully colored backgrounds. As this is an Imperial facility, the colors are expected to be metallic grays, but there’s no rule that the characters can’t be brightly colored: the drab colors of the prisoners have them also blending into each other. Even stormtroopers’ iconic white armor is dulled in this location. Reality can be cheated in a comic book, and it should have been throughout. The two characters that move Lando are blasé — they could have had much brighter colors. The same can be said of the quartet that confronts the smuggler on 14, but the background is so bright in orange this foursome is lost. The last three pages have minimal colors for the planet’s exteriors, reminding me of early 1980’s books. The colors could have helped the artwork, but they did not. Overall grade: C-

The letters: This issue’s text by VC’s Joe Caramagna includes scene settings, narration and dialogue (the same font), sounds, droid speech, whispers, a yell, and a creature sound. The scene settings look out of focus, due to their being on white outlines. This should be stopped in all Star Wars comics. It was disappointing to see narration and dialogue differed by the shape of their balloons and colors rather than a different font employed. The dialogue, as in all Star Wars comics, is wispy, making every line spoken appear weak. The few sounds that appear are fun and more would have been better. Overall grade: C+

The final line: The visuals are a disservice to this story. The action in this issue is fun, but the artwork, colors, and letters are going to hurt potential readers. Disappointing. Overall grade: C+

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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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