In Review: Lando: Double or Nothing #5

A fantastic conclusion with some neat surprises and terrific visuals.

The covers: A pair to pick up for the final issue of this series. And speaking of pairs, Lando is holding a pair of Sabacc cards in front of the reader on the Regular cover by W. Scott Forbes to show he’s got a winning hand. I love the joy in Lando’s face on this cover, how the cards are slightly covering his face, and that the entire image is held within a blueprint of the Millennium Falcon. The coloring also looks great, with the white outline of the Falcon standing out against the brown background, and the yellows of Lando’s shirt really catching the eye. The Variant cover is by one of my favorite cover artists growing up, Brian Stelfreeze, who has Lando standing, holding out a winning hand of Sabacc, while he blows the smoke away from a blaster he’s just fired. Within his open cape are images of L3-37, Kristiss, and Rythus. I love the look of this and the colors are awesome. Hey, Marvel, can Stelfreeze be offered a Lando one-shot to illustrate? Please? Overall grades: Both A

The story: Rodney Barnes is the perfect writer to chronicle the adventures of this rogue and scoundrel. Lando’s every word is dynamite. His narration and his dialogue is flawless. Everything he says is gold, being absolute heroic, humorous, or full of tremendous bravado. Lando is in the middle of revolt on Kullgroon, where its slaves are fighting against their stormtrooper keepers. Lando is having fun, but, seeing that those he’s fighting with fall realizes that their odds for survival would be better if they stopped fighting and just ran off. Not helping things is that Elthree, who’s sitting in the Falcon, contacts him to tell him that several TIE Fighters are headed his way. Lando tries to get Rythus to leave, but he’s willing to do so. And that’s when Lando sees the man’s daughter, the reason he’s in this fight, Kristiss activate something. This was a neat surprise and foreshadowed the events shown in the recent Solo movie. Needless to say, Elthree can’t stay out of the skirmish and Lando tries to save someone and it’s he that needs the rescuing. Great fun, solid surprises, and the book ends with Lando on a world that will be very familiar with the most recent Star Wars film. The final page is terrific and has me keeping my fingers crossed that Barnes will be back on another Lando adventure. Overall grade: A

The art: I really enjoy Paolo Villanelli’s illustrations, with his Lando being simply irresistible; every look from Calrissian is wonderful. His smile as he leaps down upon some stormtroopers he’s blasting at the top of Page 3 is fantastic. I like how he gets instantly serious when he sees the fallen souls before the might of Imperial forces. The look of incredulity on his face on 8 is also great, making his dialogue completely realistic. The final three panels on 11 have Lando at his best, while the full-paged splash on 13 has him looking as though he’s in full panic mode. The characters below him on this page look fantastic. 16 shows him upset after learning something is gone, and the final image of him on the page is excellent. Also looking good is Elthree, with her having excellent images on Pages 4, 8, and a tremendous scene on a full-paged splash on 9 — she looks exceptional good on this page. There’s a lot of blaster fire in this issue, from the heroes and the villains, and Villanelli gives it the familiar blaster bolt look that’s been shown in Star Wars comics for years, but the blasts from the weapons’ muzzles, such as on 15, are excellent. I would be more than welcome to seeing other Star Wars artists adapt this style to future books. The last panel of the book is terrific, ending with Lando in a familiar location. Villanelli is a great artist. Overall grade: A

The colors: Andres Mossa is the colorist for this issue and he makes Lando stand out on every page for his flashy yellow top and black cape on every page and panel. The blaster shots from this book are outlined in red, but have white centers, making them look just a little different from more traditional Star Wars blaster fire. Notice on Page 3 how Lando stands out on the page due to the lack of colors behind him. Very slick move by Mossa. The Wastelands of Kullgroon continue to look great with cool blues to give them a dark, freezing feel. This color serves as a good background when reinforcements spring to life. The colors at the top of 8 make the action beautiful to behold. The muted oranges and yellows on the final page have Lando, again, standing out on the page. Mossa does a terrific job on this issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: The text of this book is by VC’s Joe Caramagna and includes narration and dialogue (the same font, but for a justifiable reason), scene settings, Elthree’s speech, and one sound. The same font is used for narration and dialogue because the former comes from Calrissian’s audio chronicles. However, the slender font doesn’t give any characters strength or power when they speak or, sadly, yell. Elthree’s speech is differed from other speakers being in italics, which is just enough of a difference for me. With all the blaster fire in this book it’s staggering to see there’s only one sound effect for a single shot. This is not Caramagna’s decision to include or exclude them, but his sounds have always been good and the book would have been benefited from their inclusion. Overall grade: B

The final line: A fantastic conclusion with some neat surprises and terrific visuals. Marvel, you should get all involved with this issue back to continue Lando’s adventures. The voices of the characters are true, the action is great, and the art and colors strong. This was a fun series. Overall grade: A

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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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