Does time flow differently when Lando is involved?
This review contains spoilers for Lando #3.
Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Alex Maleev | Colors: Paul Mounts | Cover: Alex Maleev | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Lando, Lobot, and the rest of their crew continue to flee with their stolen–and as of yet unknown to them–Imperial Yacht from Sienar Fleet Systems Orbital Shipyards. Having evaded an Imperial fleet in the previous issue thanks to some fancy flying by Lando, the group has been confronted by Imperial Guardsmen aboard the Imperialis. In the last issue’s cliffhanger, Lobot had been run through by one of the guardsmen. This issue opens with Lando and Sava attempting to aid Lobot while the clone alien twins fight off the guard. Meanwhile, Chanath Cha, a bounty hunter in the employ of Emperor Palpatine, arrives at an Imperial Facility to take charge of a ship at the request of the Emperor to use in his pursuit of the thieves that hijacked the Imperialis. After overcoming the Imperial Guardsmen, Lando and Sava make a discovery concerning the identity of the owner of their stolen ship and the rare and valuable cargo it is carrying.
This issue has the fingerprints of the LucasFilm Story Group all over it. The issue opens with Lobot losing focus, and that presents a risk that his cybernetic implant will take over his mind. This situation sounds eerily familiar to the condition Tseebo found himself in from the “Empire Day” episode of Rebels. For those unfamiliar with Rebels, Tseebo is a Rodian that has an implant similar to Lobot’s. In the episodes of Rebels in which Tseebo has appeared, he frequently has difficulty maintaining focus due to his traumatic past, and when he loses focus he begins to sound like a robot randomly spitting out facts and figures about individuals and situations that are in his proximity or mentioned in passing.
At the conclusion of the issue, Sava identifies the loot in the chamber the Imperial Guards were protecting as Sith artifacts. This issue is very careful to preserve two facets of Star Wars lore. First, Lando has no idea what the Sith are. This is a subtle piece of world building. Outside of the Jedi during the Clone Wars, there weren’t too many individuals in the galaxy that would have any reason to know what a Sith was. Second, Sava is puzzled as to why Palpatine would have a collection of Sith artifacts. After all, it was never revealed to that galaxy at large that Palpatine was a Sith after the alleged coup of the Jedi during the events portrayed in Revenge of the Sith. Palpatine’s secret identity as Darth Sidious has been preserved consistent with events portrayed in Lords of the Sith, a novel written by Paul Kemp and released earlier this year.
In addition, this issue sees the return of the Scimitar. This was Darth Maul’s ship from The Phantom Menace, which may not be recognized by some because it received such little screen time (approximately two or three scenes). It will be interesting to see what, if any, future this ship has in the Star Wars universe after this issue. O-66, the droid caretaker of the vessel, notes that it has had multiple previous owners. Clearly it is important to Palpatine, and it has been configured to track the Imperialis. Although O-66 hasn’t said so, it is possible this ship is dear to the Sith for reasons unexplained as of yet.
After being tasked with retrieving the Imperialis in the previous issue, Chanath Cha, the bounty hunter, begins his pursuit of Lando and his crew on the Scimitar. He is every bit as cold and calculating as Boba Fett or Cad Bane. In a clever move, he removes the head of O-66 reasoning that since he didn’t program the droid, he doesn’t know its parameters, and in addition, the droid is now no longer capable of picking up a blaster and shooting him in the back. Chanath Cha is the latest new character in a string of new characters introduced by Marvel’s Star Wars comics. He was given the opportunity to establish his prowess at tracking his bounties and combat in the previous issue before his mission was interrupted by a summons from Palpatine. On the one hand, he looks very impressive. On the other, he also appears to be something of a knock off of Boba Fett in both looks and attitude. He needs something to distinguish himself from not only Fett but the many other bounty hunters that have appeared in the Star Wars saga.
The biggest point of contention with this issue, and the series for that matter, is the timeline. After Lobot is run through, the cloned alien twins Aleksin and Pavol begin to battle the Imperial Guards that were hiding aboard the Imperialis in Palpatine’s secret Sith treasure trove. During the space of time it takes the twins to combat the Guards, Lando and Sava Korin manage to drag Lobot into a side passage, have a discussion, move Lobot into the infirmary, place him in a bacta tank, have another conversation, and visit the armory. That seems like an exceedingly long list of tasks to complete during what should be no more than a few minutes of combat. There is no real sense of urgency at all in their dialogue and actions aside from the notion that they need to get Lobot to the bacta tank. Furthermore, Chanath Cha manages to leave Amethia Prime, the planet he was pursuing a bounty on in the last issue, and make his way to Imperial Facility 729-D, which may or may not be near Amethia Prime in the Inner Rim of the galaxy in the space of time it takes the twins to fight those guards. Add to that, all these events take place in what should be a few hours after Lando and company stole the ship from the Sienar Fleet Sytems Orbital Shipyard CC-24 back in issue one. In many ways, it is reminiscent of the vague timeline from The Empire Strikes Back after Luke and Artoo left Hoth for Dagobah, and Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3P0 fled Hoth. Luke seemingly managed to train to near Jedi Knight status in a manner of days while Han Solo and companions limped along without hyper drive to Cloud City in the Bespin system. Who knows, maybe when Lando is involved, time flows differently. Regardless, it seems as if everyone is operating at a different speed in this series.
Aside from the attention to detail given not only Lobot’s reaction to his implants and Palpatine’s secret identity as a Sith, one of the best aspects of this book is the characterization of Lando. He remains the cool and collected, “never let them see you sweat” scoundrel the reader came to know during The Empire Strikes Back. He calmly expresses confidence that the twins will defeat the guards in their battle to the death as he and Sava drag Lobot off to the infirmary, and later casually chides Sava after the later expresses his surprise that the twins actually defeated the guards. He also exhibits a new facet of his personality: he doesn’t like blasters. If given the choice, he wouldn’t use one because they cause more trouble than they are worth in his mind.
On balance, this issue was satisfactory but not spectacular. The characterization of Lando and the attention to story elements from the greater galaxy were the high points. Chanath Cha is a cool character, but borders on being generic for the Star Wars galaxy. The flaw of the series is that it doesn’t have a coherent timeline. It appears that it is faster to get across the galaxy than defeat two guards in hand-to-hand combat. That said, Marvel has done well with the final issues in its story arcs thus far, so a dramatic conclusion may be on the horizon. A tantalizing final panel reveals that Lando and friends aren’t out of the woods just yet.
The art in this series has been fairly consistent. It isn’t the best of the five series to date, but overall it hasn’t had any egregious low points. My choice for favorite panel actually caught me off guard. After being thrown to the ground during the course of their battle with the Imperial Guard, while they are in danger of being skewered, Alexsin and Pavol look to each other and grin. It is as Lando suggested, they were having the time of their life, and that is this issue’s favorite panel.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.