Star Wars: Lando #4 (of 5)
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev
Between pacing problems and lackluster panels, Lando #4 is kind of a dud. The last issue left off with a good hook, but unfortunately this issue drops the ball and fumbles for direction. Characters turn on each other, exits are cut off, and the bounty hunter on Lando’s tail has finally caught up with him. On top of all that, they’re on a ship loaded with Sith artifacts. The potential for a good story is all there. It’s actually surprising that Charles Soule was able to mess this one up.
The issue opens with Chanath Cha sneaking onto the Imperialis, then cuts to Lando and his crew inspecting the treasure room that’s suppose to be full of artifacts. Yet again, Alex Maleev misses an opportunity to show off a room full of Sith artifacts. What we get is a dark room with a helmet on a center podium and a handful of bland sticks on the back wall. Most of the chamber is empty. There’s nothing at all to indicate this is a treasure room. It gets even more confusing when Korin tries to say the artifacts are by a Sith sculptor considering nothing in the room looks like a sculpture. Do you really call someone who makes a helmet, staff or lightsaber a sculptor? Did Maleev miss the memo that this was a treasure room and that maybe there should have been some statues in there? Whatever the reason, it takes away from the impact of the entire heist. However, it’s not all Maleev’s fault.
Adding to the problem’s with this story is the clunky plotting and pacing. The last comic had a terrible pacing issue where they discover the Imperial Guards, and Lando and Korin abruptly leave the action to drag Lobot to the safety of a bacta tank. They have a little conversation, mossey around until they find some weapons, then saunter back to the action only to be too late to help. Things are similarly dragged down in this issue, and once again, right when the action starts. I won’t spoil too much, but something happens in the treasure room. Lando and Korin, again, run from the action and stop for yet another conversation. It kills the pacing of the story. On top of that, the conversations aren’t very organic to the story. The dialog doesn’t feel natural. It doesn’t read well. Plus there isn’t a lot of explanation for the character motivations. Half the fun of any story is diving into the character’s heads, and when a writer doesn’t take the opportunity to do that, they miss out on the true art of characterization. Getting the character voice right is one thing, and getting their emotional turmoil is another, but missing out on both counts? There’s really not much that Lando #4 offers. It’s simple storytelling and lackluster entertainment.
With all that said, the artwork isn’t a complete wash. There’s some good stuff in there. But it’s hidden amongst a lot of mediocre panels. Lando’s face is lacking in detail and off looking more so than it’s right. Some of the scenes really get bogged down with murky details, linework and shading. It leaves a lot to be desired, however, it does get the job done. You can still follow along with the story and visualize the whole thing. And, to be honest, I’ve seen worse artwork. But Maleev has shown he can do better. Perhaps it was a rush for time, but most of the panels don’t feel like they got the amount of attention and detail they deserved.
With the slow downs and weak dialog, I give Lando #4 a two out of five metal bikinis. The artwork didn’t help much, and with only one more issue to go, I’m not sure this mini-series will have the punch it needs to make an impact that will set it apart in the Star War line.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.