|LANDO No. 1, September 2015|
Despite featuring a titular character “chosen” as the eleventh top “Star Wars” character by “Image Games Network” it is hard to imagine that this opening instalment of a five issue “Marvel Worldwide” mini-series managed to sell an astonishing 192, 949 copies upon its release in July 2015. For whilst actor Billy Dee Williams imbued the Cloud City administrator with both the wily charm and dazzling charisma of a space-faring scoundrel, writer Charles Soule disappointingly depicts the “man trying to make his way through an uncaring universe” as little more than a weak-willed cowardly loser who supposedly believes that “Blasters are for suckers. People with no imagination.”
Admittedly the New York Times best-selling author’s incarnation of the “prodigious gambler” isn’t necessarily unlikable or disagreeable. Indeed Calrissian demonstrates all of his silver screen counterpart’s simmering magnetism by wooing a murderous Imperial Governor into giving him one of her valuable trinkets; "I'm betting that the woman I love is real. That she can be more than just a tool [of the Emperor]."
Dishearteningly however, the kind-hearted thief then simply ‘gives up’ the prize he’s just ‘bet his life upon’ rather than confront the double-crossing gangster Papa Toren and instead agrees to steal a “pleasure craft for some rich imperial” in order to finally ‘clear his debt’. Such an easily rattled weakling is most definitely unrecognisable as the man who would approximately three years later bravely battle against both Darth Vader and the full might of the Galactic Empire.
Unfortunately such a disappointing interpretation of this roguish adventurer is disconcertingly the actual highpoint of Soule’s sedentary script, as the book’s final third suddenly resembles a narrative ‘stolen’ from the imagination of Akira Kurosawa. In fact the Brooklyn-born attorney’s decision to have Lando, along with long-time friend Lobot, suddenly be accompanied by a pair of ninja-like black panther people and a cybernetically-eyed Ugnaut in their act of piracy is easily as bizarre a plot-twist as their mission to steal Emperor Palpatine’s space vessel is depicted as being unforgivably easy.
Equally as substandard has to be the amateurish-looking artwork of legendary “Daredevil” illustrator Alex Maleev. The Bulgarian painter’s panels lack any appreciable vitality, with Calrissian’s physical appearance in particular most notably suffering from wooden, robotic poses and even the occasional missing facial feature.
|The regular cover art of "LANDO" No. 1 by Alex Maleev and Edgar Delgado|