Sunday, 11 October 2015

Star Wars: Lando Review (Charles Soule, Alex Maleev)

Looking forward to the inevitable Boba Fett solo series? Or even the Han Solo solo series? Well, Marvel know what you want because heeeeeere’s… Lando? Oh… 

Lando’s not a bad character. He’s not a great character either but it could’ve been worse - can you imagine giving Chewbacca his own series? Wait, that’s next week? Wow, Marvel are really milking this Star Wars licence for everything it’s worth! So it’s up to writer Charles Soule and artist Alex Maleev to somehow come up with a story for this minor supporting character in this 5-issue limited series. And they do a perfectly average job! 

Like the other Star Wars titles to come out this year, Lando is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Lando owes money to a gangster who makes him accept a job with a big score: steal an expensive space yacht. Except they don’t realise it’s owned by the Emperor who sends a dangerous bounty hunter after him (no, not that one, a knockoff version of him). 

I like Charles Soule. I like Alex Maleev. I like Star Wars. And I felt very, very eeeehhhh… about Lando. It’s not a terribly interesting story and not even remotely necessary. I mean, do you even know the name of Lando’s bald buddy with the gadget on his head? I didn’t - his name’s Lobot. This whole book is about how he ended up more robotic than human, a fact I neither cared about before, during, or after this story! Did you even realise he was any different from his two or three scenes in the movies? No, right? Well, if you decide to read this one, you’re gonna find out regardless! 

We get to see Lando be a daring badass, if that’s what you’re after. He out-pilots star destroyers! He draws first in a gunfight! He’s got beautiful women chasing him! He’s like an intergalactic James Bond! It’s a shame Soule can’t find a way to make the reader care much about any of it. It’s not that his writing is bad, it’s just very ordinary and unexciting. Basically, like the other solo Star Wars titles, the character doesn't really work on its own - Star Wars is an ensemble epic. 

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. We meet some uninteresting new characters (Soule’s speciality - see his Inhuman and Wolverines titles for more examples!), they fight on board a cursed ship, so it’s a bit like wandering around a haunted house, and then it’s over. Maleev’s art is good but he doesn’t do anything special that fans haven’t seen before. He nails the Billy Dee Williams look though (and whoever the actor was who played Lobot). 

And that’s the book basically. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, just felt ambivalent about the competently put-together workmanlike comic we ended up with. I suppose props should go to Soule for giving Lando a story of any sort, even if it turned out to be eminently disposable! It’s irrelevant and forgettable and has PRODUCT written all over it but it’s a totally ok minor Star Wars book. It’s Lando! 

Hmm… these Marvel Star Wars comics aren't that great, are they? I think I’m gonna give the Chewbacca series a miss! I mean, what’s next - a Grand Moff Tarkin book by Dan Slott and Alex Ross?! Oh god, it’s gonna happen isn’t it…

Star Wars: Lando

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