Star Wars: Lando #3 (of 5)
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev
Lando #3 comes with some flaws, but in the end, it’s an okay issue. Lando and his crew deal with the Royal Guards and find another treasure hidden within the depth’s the Emperor’s ship. However, there’s some pacing issues along the way, some odd character decisions, and some missteps in the artwork. Still, it’s not half bad, so that’s a win, right?
The issue has a strange opening considering where we left off in the last one. Lobot had just been stabbed by one of the Royal Guards hidden in the Emperor’s ship. This issue starts by showing Lobot lying on the ground and blathering about his implants while Lando and Korin stand by. My first thought was tied to an episode of Fly Casual podcast that I had listened to earlier in the day. They had a funny conversation about how Lobot is always mentioning his implants to the point of it being ridiculous. Well, the opening scene really drove that home. Lobot does talk to much about his implants. Of course that’s the fault of the writer being a little too heavy handed at driving that story point home to the reader. I mean Lobot is literally wearing a giant implant around his bald skull. We don’t need dialog to remind us that he has implants. On the other hand, the implants are part of the plot point in this case. Somehow being stabbed completely rendered Lobot inoperable. That’s a pretty huge weakness, so it’s no wonder we didn’t see Lobot in combat in the films.
The other thought that popped into my head as I read the first page of Lando #3 was, “where are the Royal guards?” The ending of the last issue was very climatic. The opening of this issue is quite the opposite. It’s anti-climatic. There is no imminent threat of the Royal guards. Instead there’s a confusing scene where we learn Lobot loses control to his implants if he loses focus. Thankfully the next page reveals the Royal Guards are still in this story, they’re just busy fighting Aleksin and Pavol. But then Lando and Korin abandon the twins in their fight against the guards. There’s a series of action heavy panels, then the issue breaks to pay a visit to the bounty hunter Chanath Cha who’s on another planet. To slow things down, this begins a series of missteps in the issue, primarily with the pacing. The whole issue started off on the wrong foot with Lobot laying on the ground. It compounded the problem by putting the big threat, the Royal Guards, off in a room that Lando felt confident in ignoring. By Lando having confidence that the twins can handle this, it negates the threat of the guards. Not once do we see the guards injuring the twins. They toss them around, but never an injury. The issue does come back to them one time before showing their final fates, thus presenting a small possibility of threat, but in the end, the twins are triumphant. Korin even has a little spheel about how Royal Guards are unsurpassed in their prowess. Yet Lando’s dialog would lead the reader to believe that for the twins, their fight was not life and death, but a fun workout.
The breaks to Chanath Cha are also very abrupt. There’s all the action being crammed into the fight scenes with the Royal Guards, but then there’s the dead slow scenes with Chanath Cha talking to a droid, as well as Lando, Lobot and Korin’s low key dialog scenes. The issue is either going super slow with no threats, or full charge with plenty of threats. The stop go nature didn’t work for me. Typically when you go from action to a slow scene break, you leave things on cliffhanger, but there wasn’t much of that here. Part of that would be the blame of the artist for not leaving the page on a gripping panel. All that aside, one thing they did get right was the ending. The treasure they find is a creepy Sith helmet and the last panel shows its eyes lighting up. It’s spooky, mysterious, and leaves readers with just the right amount of desire to find out what this is all about.
Touching on the art some more, there’s some good panels appealing coloring to keep things interesting and volatile. Yet some of the panels were really bad. So much so that they threw me out of the story when I came across them, which is never a good thing. Here’s an example of how the panels go from good, to bad, to good again.
Obviously, Alex Maleev has talent. He can draw Lando well. But then he goes and does something like that second panel where Lando just looked weird and off. There’s a lack of detail and attention to his face. It feels rushed and looked over. Yet the panel right before it gets attention. It nails Lando’s likeness. I would forgive the artist a few rushed panels like that as they’re trying to meet their deadlines and throw in a couple fast illustrations to get things done, but Alex does it again in a much larger panel.
This panel stretches across an entire page. It fills up one third of the page. It’s a big, prominent panel. Sadly, Lando looks awful. He has no face. A few scribble marks and a hand off to the colorist. If it were impressionistic art, it would work, but this is a comic book, impressionism just looks cheap. These few examples are but a small sample of what amounts to a lot of sloppy Lando artwork throughout the issue. There’s some good ones hidden in there, but there are a lot of shots with his face hidden by shadow, lacking details, or just plain odd looking.
One final gripe before I move on…
…this is a shot of Chanath Cha talking to a severed droid head. At first glance, it looks like the droid head and Chanath’s blaster are floating in mid air. I actually thought there was no gravity in the ship for a moment. Alas, this is not the case. Rather this is another mistake in the artwork. Both elements look out of place because they are out of place. Neither the head nor the blaster looks like it fits naturally into the scenery. Instead, they look like they were slapped in there because the artist didn’t know how to make them fit, or didn’t want to take the time to do so.
With all that said, I want to end things on a positive note. Amid that crappy artwork and assorted flaws, there are gems like this.
When Alex takes his time and puts his heart into it, he turns out some detailed, good looking panels. Yet it’s Paul Mounts’ colors that really make them look gorgeous. From the juxtaposition of the purple cat aliens fighting the red robed guards, to the cool colors of the bounty hunter and droid transitioning to the warm colors of the cockpit, it’s just beauty to the eyes.
With both good and bad elements, Lando #3 lands on the high side of the middle ground. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. In the end, it’s good. Thus I give it a four out of five metal bikinis. While I was very critical about the flaws in this issue, it’s because I feel the creators can do better because we’ve seen them do better. Hopefully, with two more issues to go, they can end this mini-series on a high note.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.