LANDO #1 Review: “Criminally Smooth!”

No exception to Marvel’s continued gemtastic mining of a galaxy far, far away, the new mini-series by writer Charles Soule and artist Alex Maleev picks up with the titular (anti-) hero making some sexy yet questionable life choices. Han Solo may be the Star Wars Universe poster boy for outright bad-assness but nobody makes doing the wrong thing look as suave and dashing as Mr. Calrissian! Soule, Maleev and company go so far as to throw the gauntlet that nobody, in fact, does it better…

Lando "Danger" Powers. Yeah, baby!
Lando “Danger” Powers. Yeah, baby!

In this, we are shown a Lando that is quite simply the James Bond of space pirates. Erudite and intelligent, Lando is quicker to cajole with a smile and honeyed words than strong-arm with a blaster. As such, the undertaking is fairly talking-head intensive. This isn’t a bad thing, though, and to their credit, the creators proceed for several pages before small clues snap the dialogue back into its greater sci-fi context.

Man, Diagon Alley really got rough in later years...
Man, Diagon Alley really got rough in later years…

That is to say, Star Wars may now actually have contender for a “street level” book. It seems incongruous, but this mini is incredibly grounded. Sure, there’s some weird-looking aliens the deeper one goes but really, they’re still not all that far removed from some of the bizarre malformities found in Frank Miller’s Sin City. Gun-toting aggro pixies may lean a little more Harry Potter, though…

"First punk teenagers blow up my space station and now this?! Can't I own anything??!?"
“First punk teenagers blow up my space station and now this?! Can’t I own anything??!?”

The plot’s also charmingly “meat and potatoes”: Lando and his “Ocean’s Three” team steal a pleasure yacht loaded with valuables to get out of debt with bigger-fish dirtbag. Guess who the rich and powerful schlub is who gets ripped off? Wacky hijinks ensue…

Wonder if there's legitimately a demographic for Lobot/Jean Luc Picard cosplay crossover?
Wonder if there’s legitimately a demographic for Lobot/Jean Luc Picard cosplay crossover?

Acting as the metaphorically eye-squinting, nose-pinching, head-shaking adult voice of reason to Lando’s self-assured flying by the seat of his pants is Lobot, cybernetic aide de camp from The Empire Strikes Back. Fans of bit characters will have no problem warming up to the guy rockin’ a jumbo Apple Watch as ear muffs. There’s always been a bit of a “non-comedic logic-y smart guy” vacuum in the Star Wars canon (a la Spock and/or Vision). Thankfully, with Lobot, it’s something Soule is quickly remedying.

Well, now... (context really is everything, huh?)
Well, now… (Context really is everything, huh?)

Changing things up as well is veteran color artist Paul Mounts. Operating from a far different palette than his usual bright-and-cheery dayglo super-hero comfort zone, Mounts delivers page after page of cool, muted, watercolor-y tones. It actually has a lot more in keeping with Maleev’s own colorwork on past offerings. That’s not to say Mounts loses his identity in the current piece, just that it takes a certain professional level of skill to note that consistency of product should always prevail over some egotistical “signature”.

"You hear me? No come-uppance!"
“You hear me? No come-uppance!”

For a guy starting out his cinematic existence as an unctuous, swindly hustler capable of setting off the most impaired of “Spidey” senses, Lando’s new life as a comic book star is, so far, a most pleasant experience. Of course, he’s far more up-front about the danger he’s placing everyone in this time, even if he doesn’t yet fully grasp who he’s stolen from. This is a story not only for the Star Wars hardcore but for fans of action-comedy heist movies. Basically, Guardians with a waaaay slicker Star-Lord mixed with copious amounts of License to Drive and maybe a side of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Danke schoen, Soule and Maleev!

One Reply to “LANDO #1 Review: “Criminally Smooth!””

  1. I didn’t really care for Lando as a character but this comic has me really excited for whats to come for him. I especially enjoyed the dialogue between him and Lobot.

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