The Misadventures of Lando Calrissian
Marvel is moving quickly to get new books based on Solo: A Star Wars Story out there. And why not start with one of the most popular characters in the film. The brash and daring smuggler Lando Calrissian and his navigator L3-37 take on a job that’s more dangerous than profitable in Lando: Double or Nothing #1.
Writer Rodney Barnes starts this premiere issue off very well. He’s able to capture Lando (as played by Donald Glover from the movie) pretty spot-on. Unfortunately, as the issue progresses, the characters lose themselves and sink into sad one-liners and poor attempts at humor. The first few pages showed such promise, only to have the book plummet so quickly. Barnes manages to make Lando too sure of himself, to the point it starts to sound forced. L3-37’s quippy dialogue and defiant personality are also lost somewhere along with Lando’s fake bravos.
The story itself also seems a bit rushed. It starts off so well, but then the pace is thrown off. There is little time to get a feel for the characters before being forced further into the story. Sadly, most limited series fall into this annoying trap and it ruins a perfectly well-intentioned premise.
The one big chase sequence in this issue is completely ruined by mindless dialogue. It is easy to see what Barnes was trying to accomplish, but it missed the mark. The scene might have worked at some other point in the series.
Sometimes good writing can save mediocre artwork or vice-versa. In this case, the art by Paolo Villanelli with colors by Andres Mossa save this book. Capturing Donald Glover as Lando is brilliantly done. Mossa’s colors are vibrant and add a perfect tone to Villanelli’s art. It is the art that makes this issue a page-turner. Long after losing interest in the story, one still finds themselves leafing through each page. The question that remains is whether amazing artwork can save the series if the writing continues to fall short.
Some of the scenes capture the look of Marvel’s original Star Wars series from the ’70s. Villanelli and Mossa capture Lando’s swagger a lot better than Barnes’ writing.
Lando Calrissian is the smoothest characters in the Star Wars universe. The notion is not lost in this book, but it fails to capture the same magic as the previous Lando series. It’s disappointing how quickly this issue goes off the rails. Rodney Barnes is a good writer but fails to deliver with this issue.
This series needs to slow down and take a breath. The story has potential but without a major fix to its pacing, it is going to suffer until the end. If Barnes can adjust this and put some greater thought into dialogue, Lando: Double or Nothing could be saved.
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