In Review: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion-Lando Calrissian #1

A decent Lando outing is marred by the artwork.

The covers:Hello — what have we here?” Four different covers to collect and take back with you to the clouds. The Regular cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson is fantastic. Lando stands at three-quarters view to the left, his cape splaying out at the bottom. His look upon the reader is focused, as if he has a winning hand of sabacc. He’s standing before a circle that’s filled with the beautiful orange clouds that surround his Cloud City, complete with a trio of Twin-Pod cloud cars. Fantastic! The Concept Design Variant features a costume sketch from legendary designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero. Against a white background with light blue squares, Lando faces the reader with a hand on his hip and smile on his face. He’s wearing a heavy brown vest, a light brown long sleeved jacket, blue-gray pants, and slightly darker gray boots. This is outstanding. I love Rodis-Jamero’s art and anything by him is something to track down. The talented Photo Variant Billy Dee Williams is shown looking at the reader as Lando on the Photo Variant cover. Shown from the waist up, again in three-quarters view, looking at the reader in though. He’s on a pale gray-white background, with his head slightly before the title. I love Photo covers and I love this. The final cover is the Puzzle Piece Variant by Mike McKone & Guru-eFX. Lando holds a pistol up in his right hand as he strides to the left. His cape is gorgeously detailed as it moves forward draping him beautifully. Behind him is a blue skyline filled with X and B-wing fighters, as well as the obvious tail of Jabba the Hutt. This looks great. Overall grades: Regular A+, Concept Design Variant A+, Photo Variant A+, and Puzzle Piece Variant A

The story: Outside a building on Cloud City workers are protesting en masse to be paid. Guards are telling the people to disperse or they’ll have to fire. Before anyone can make a move, a blast goes off between the groups. Lobot took the shot so that everyone will be quiet so Lando can speak. “I did a little scrounging, and I’ve got your bonus payments here…and drinks are on me!” In the bar the two men speak, with Lando lamenting the loss of his “just-in-case-I-gotta-run-away-money,” but admits he would never give up running Cloud City. That’s when Lobot reminds him that the next payroll is due in thirty-six hours and they don’t have the money. This is the impetus for this story by Greg Pak: How will Lando get the money? The conversation on Page 4 is pure Lando, with the follow up on 5 terrific. Realizing they need more, the pair go to Burnin Konn in the Outer Rim where a casino is located. It’s here that he comes into contact with Magnate Imperium Roz Fantanine of the Ben Diffle Fantanines. He has a money making opportunity for Lando and that’s when the story kicks into overdrive. Lando has to get physical to earn his money, but things, naturally, take a turn and on Page 16 and a decision has to be made. This shows the humanity in the scoundrel. It’s a neat, quick moving story that shows Lando as he’s not often portrayed. For that, Pak is to be thanked. Overall grade: A-

The art: I really did not like the visuals of this book. The first panel started to give me apprehension with the shading on Cloud City’s stalk being a jagged line. Yes, this is a stylistic choice by Matteo Buffagni, but it looks sloppy. What the elements are of each panel and how they are placed are fine, but their execution looks unfinished. The guards look good on the first page, but the other panels are really loosely constructed. An artist has to start a book strongly, otherwise the reader will continue to look for flaws, and I admit to being guilty of this. The second page is a full-paged splash of Lobot and Lando addressing the mob. I don’t understand the smoke effect, the shading of the smoke, the design of the structure behind the pair, or why Lando is so blocky. The character Lando is speaking with on Page 4 is really rough. There’s a lot of wasted space in the first and third panel on Page 6, as if Buffagni was expecting dialogue to be there. The characters in the first panel do not look good. I do like the design of Roz Fantanine who looks good in every panel he appears. The second panel on Page 9 is supposed to be hyperspace, but looks like something from the cover of a 1970’s album cover. The action at the top of 13 is hard to discern because the reader is too close to what’s occurring. There are no backgrounds at the location introduced on 14. The reveal on 16 needs dialogue to make what’s being shown clear — that’s not good commentary on the art. The first panel on 19 does not look good and neither does 20. These visuals are a mess. Overall grade: D

The colors: Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are very low key — nothing is bright. This gives Lando and Lobot’s outing a seedy feel, which is exactly what the story needs, but it makes everything very bland to look at. Some panels are too dark. But what else was Bonvillain to do? The lack of backgrounds doesn’t give her much choice in what to do. Nor does any element of this book’s art. The coloring reminds me of books from the 80’s when publishers when colorists were trying to figure out how the change in paper would effect their work. I’ve seen Bonvillain do great work and I’m chalking up this issue to her trying to do her best with what she was given. Overall grade: D+ 

The letters: Scene settings, chants, yells, sounds, dialogue, and scream are what VC’s Travis Lanham brings to this issue. The scene settings are outstanding and should be used in every Star Wars title published by Marvel. The chant that opens the book is a perfect match for the visual of the crowd. There’s quite a bit of yelling, with the dialogue font thickened and enlarged to make it resound in the reader’s head. The dialogue is good and the screams, especially when the origin of one is shown, are perfect. Overall grade: A

The final line: A decent Lando outing is marred by the artwork. The story is a great take on a maturing scoundrel, but the visuals were practically unbearable. I’ll give Marvel credit for trying new looks for the Star Wars books, but I really did not care for the art. At least this is only a one-shot. 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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