This Deal Gets Better All The Time: Review ‘Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi – Lando’ #1

A long time ago (40 years actually) a trilogy set in a galaxy far far away came to an epic conclusion. Currently, Marvel Comics’ ongoing Star Wars comics are playing in a post-The Empire Strikes Back space but there is plenty of room for them to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Return Of The Jedi in a handful of character-focused one-shots.

I wasn’t around to see these films when they first came out, I was born two years after Return of the Jedi came to the big screen, but the films and all the subsequent side-expanded universe books, comics, and games were a major part of my formative years. I remember the first time I saw the middle film of that first trilogy and the moment that Lando Calrissian came onto the screen. This suave charming figure with a killer smile and a distinctive way of speaking that just commanded the room with his mere presence living it up with his big sweeping fancy cape. All that hit me and made me like the character right away but the thing that struck me hardest first and made me cheer for him, even if he was at first betraying our heroes, was that here was a character that embodied all that from above that was a Black man.

As a biracial person, my father is Black and my mother is White, who has skin that most of the time leans towards the tanner/darker side, seeing someone that looked like my dad and had a lot of things visually in common with myself in such a position was so amazing. I fell in love with the character, and the way that Billy Dee Williams owned the role, and devour any appearances that we’ve had of the character since. This made the Lando-centric celebratory one-shot a must-read for me.

Everything about this issue is just utterly delightful. Stephanie Phillips perfectly captures all those elements I listed above while also very much tapping into the more vulnerable heroic side of Lando that I forgot to mention previously. He’s a dashing rouge but just like his buddy Han, he has a heart of gold when it counts and wants more than anything to make up for what his betrayal did to Han. Pairing him up with Chewie, bouncing them off one another as they try to gain plans to Jabba’s palace (a key point that leads into the first sequence of the film of course), is inspired. Truly they are an odd couple but one with a common mission and a desire to do anything to save their friend.

This story has just about everything that I could want in just a little one-shot here. Lando being Lando, people playing Sabacc, Stormtroopers getting wrecked, a whole variety of aliens and beasties, Chewie being awesome, great character moments, some cunning action, and just a whole lot of Lando…I might have said that already.

Visually the series is so solid with tons of detail and fluid motion, but it also has a very fun vibrant almost campy (in the best Star Wars-esque way possible) energy that is so good. That is thanks to some great work from Álvaro López and Antonio Fabela.

One of the things that stands out about what López brings to the page is how solid and real the settings feel on the page. Every bit of the buildings, background, and spaces actually feels like it might actually be straight out of the universe that we see on the screen recreated here on the page. It’s the characters that have the weight realistic but also clearly unrealistic vibes to them so that they pop against the more static in a way backdrops.

Playing into the alien out-in-space energy is the color palate that Fabela picks here that is full of neon greens and pinks, vivid yellows and blues, stunning gold-like colors, and so many others that pop while being surrounded by other elements that are toned down to give that great contrast. Science fiction doesn’t have a distinctive rulebook sort of look to it, there are so many types, but generally, the versions where things are just so vivid and almost alien feeling those are the things that I just love to see. Fabela nails that so smoothly here.

Rounding out this creative team is Travis Lanham who I always enjoy seeing on a series because of the high level that is felt with his lettering work. All the same energy and power that I mentioned about the other elements of the series are found here with the things that Lanham does to all of the bits of dialogue on the page that really hammer home the tone/volume and energy always. Bold words dropped in and big giant fonts for Chewbacca’s roars keeping them loud and emotional, colorful borders tossed onto certain bubbles to make them pop even more, and so much more. Capturing voices is one of the key things with lettering alongside just helping tell the overall story, but having fun and getting creative with it visually is always the way.

Truly, if Marvel needs another ongoing solo Star Wars series any time soon (especially if they make the expected move to jump to a point during or post Return of the Jedi any time soon) they should tap this team again and give us a Lando book. It’s the book we truly need in this line.

Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi – Lando #1 is now available from Marvel Comics.

A long time ago (40 years actually) a trilogy set in a galaxy far far away came to an epicCOMICONRead More

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