Lando: Double or Nothing #4

A fun issue with Lando's ego justified by terrific writing and strong visuals.

The covers: A pair to pick up for this penultimate issue. The Regluar cover is by W. Scott Forbes and features a moment from this issue: Lando encounters a cluster of crystalline spiders that are leaping upon him as he makes his way through a cave. Spiders are frightening enough, but to make them shine like this from a flashlight is just wrong. Lando looks more annoyed than scared, so I’m sure the rogue will escape them easily. Still, this is a great cover with excellent colors with Lando’s flashlight being the only source of illumination. The Variant cover hails from David Nakayama. This has a full figured Lando standing up comfortably with a blaster held high in his right hand. His cape is splayed out behind him and he’s sporting a knowing smile. Behind him, on a white background, is the Millennium Falcon speeding by. Nakayama can’t draw a bad picture if he tried, and this is outstanding. With the background white and Falcon still new, Lando stands out due to his bright clothing. Really well done. The pose of the character reminds me of the work of Jack Davis. Is it just me? Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Writer Rodney Barnes has this issue pick up right from last in the Wastelands of Kullgroon with Lando and Elthree aboard the Millennium Falcon being pursued by a trio of TIE Fighters. The heroes avoid death and land near a “sewage expulsion port” so that Lando can sneak into the droid production factory where Kirstiss has been taken as slave labor. His banter with Elthree is great and I would be more than willing to purchase a book that just had the two sitting and talking if Barnes was writing it. Lando makes his way into the tunnels and is discovered by a mass of crystal spiders that are teased on the Regular cover. He pulls out his blaster and begins to take them down, but there are so many the wall becomes hidden by their numbers. To make matters worse they have a unique trait that makes their destruction more difficult. Then there’s the thing that Lando runs into on Page 5. Great action opening from Barnes allows him to create some classic sci-fi dangers before getting to Kristiss and her situation. The dialogue between the characters is a real strong point of this issue, with Lando being fantastically full of himself, while doing the right thing. I’m really enjoying Lando’s self-importance and Elthree is such a fun character. Barnes has really hit the sweet spot with Calrissian. Overall grade: A

The art: Also really good this issue are the visuals by Paolo Villanelli. The first page is a fantastic start with the TIEs after the Falcon. When Villanelli moves into the cockpit both the droid and the captain are flipping switches and hitting buttons to keep themselves alive. The close-up of Lando in the third panel shows him to be intense in making his escape — it’s a great way to introduce the character. The next panel has Elthree waving raising her hands in surprise, which physically shows her to be a very human-like character. The focus on Lando’s fist in the final panel puts a lot of emphasis on this action, making it a surprisingly strong move as the text suggests. The confidence of the title character in the bottom panel on the next page is unquestionably wonderful. Even with just a slight smile on his face, as on Page 3, Lando’s cockiness is dynamic. The creatures that attack Lando look good, but seem more detailed due to the coloring more so than the linework. The images on the computer screens that Calrissian encounters have a nice blend of reality and computer blur to show that they are monitor pictures; sometimes illustrators would have these pictures be too clear, but Villanelli does them just right. When Lando, Kristiss and another meet the visuals could have been just talking heads, but the artist moves the point of view around to make the scene riveting. The top of 13 is a really stirring image. The bottom of 16 has a simple gesture, that with combined with the dialogue, really communicates a strong bond between the characters: simple, sweet, and perfection. The bottom of 18 is an image that must be used on the back of the collected version of this series when it gets published: it’s perfect and cool in every possible way. Villanelli does a great job on this issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: The settings don’t exactly lend themselves to bight colors this issue, though Andres Mossa makes many things stand out without pulling the reader out of the story. The cool blues for the exteriors of the wastelands is really neat, which has every explosion look massive. Lando’s yellow shirt has him an eye magnet on every page and panel he appears, which is exactly how the scoundrel would want it. Mossa seems to be completing the visuals of the creatures that attack Lando, giving them shading that wasn’t originally there. I like that sounds get their own colors, having them pop out in the action sequences. The monitors that Lando briefly looks upon are the perfect sickly green one would expect from a jail. When two speeches are given their climaxes are punched up with bright orange or crimson backgrounds that increase their intensity. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, droid speech, and sounds are VC’s Joe Caramagna contributions this issue and they are consistent with all other Star Wars books published by Marvel. I don’t care any of the fonts, save the sounds which are gloriously large. Why Marvel continues to have their letterers use such frail fonts continually baffles me. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A really fun issue with terrific writing that’s the equal, or dare I say, better of the films, and visuals that have Lando’s ego justified. This was the perfect Star Wars comic. Someone at Marvel should get all the contributors back for a second series. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all ends. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-Lando-Double-Or-Nothing-2018-4-of-5/digital-comic/48922?r=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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