|LANDO No. 5, December 2015|
The script to Issue Five of “Lando” brings a very noticeable change to this mini-series’ usually somewhat cavalier atmosphere, as the smart-mouthed space-faring gambler’s almost blasé personality is abruptly replaced firstly with that of a serious cold-blooded killer, and then later as an apologetic, even remorseful, chancer who realises that his “time for cunning and guile” may well have finally come to an end having cost his “long-time cohort” Lobot their humanity. Indeed once Chanath Cha sets her plan of “blowing up this ship” into motion there really isn’t a great deal of humour to found anywhere within this publication’s remaining pages, and even Calrissian’s habitual witticisms are kept to a minimum.
This surprisingly sudden dramatic shift in tone does wonders for the quality of Charles Soule’s writing, and genuinely makes it hard for the reader to anticipate which character is going to live or die as the tale unfolds. Such tangible tension is especially noticeable once Lando and “Emperor Palpatine’s hand-picked bounty hunter” ‘pair off’ against the “corrupted… elite warriors Aleksin and Pavel”, and Sava Korin Pers is mercilessly dispatched with a lightsaber despite the “antiquity specialist” changing her allegiance to the Sith. This almost nonchalant precipitous slaying of one of the title’s main cast is rather disconcerting and results in each subsequent death increasing the narrative’s tension quite palpably panel by nerve-wracking panel; “It’s time to be selfish. You do know we’ll need to kill them all.”
Sadly the Milwaukee-born author’s storyline does still struggle towards the end of this concluding instalment however, with the Stan Lee Excelsior Award-winner turning Lobot into little more than a mute zombie simply because he plugs himself into the Imperial luxury yacht’s interface and turns “the… escape… pods… back on”. So depressingly fantastical a fate seems rather contrived and in some ways makes this five-issue long adventure feel as if it should have focussed centrally upon Calrissian’s heroic companion and his tragic lobotomization, rather than seemingly add it to the end of the tale as a mere bolt-on.
Alex Maleev’s artwork is also disappointingly poor throughout this comic, with Chanath Cha and Lando both appearing as little more than inconsistent stiff-looking figures whose facial features worryingly distort from one picture to another. Most disheartening though has to be the Bulgarian illustrator’s apparent inability to breathe any sort of animated life in to his drawings, with the wooden malformed arm movements of this book’s primary villains as they wield their lightsabers being particularly poor.
|Writer: Charles Soule, Artist: Alex Maleev, and Colors: Paul Mounts|