Lando: Double or Nothing puts the smoothest smuggler and L3-37 in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for a fun pre-Solo adventure.
This review includes plot points for Lando: Double or Nothing Part I.
Lando: Double or Nothing Part I
Writer: Rodney Barnes | Artist: Paolo Villanelli | Colorist: Andres Mossa | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: W. Scott Forbes | Assistant Editors: Heather Antos, Tom Groneman, & Emily Newcomen | Star Wars Group Editors: Jordan D. White (with Mark Paniccia)
Although Han Solo might be the most famous smuggler in the galaxy, Lando is no slouch either. Before Han won the Millennium Falcon from him, Lando and his first mate, L3-37, had their fair share of adventures on the renowned freighter. With Solo: A Star Wars Story recently arriving in theaters, Marvel offers Lando: Double or Nothing Part I as its first tie-in to the movie. Rodney Barnes, the writer, offers a fun, and so far fast paced, adventure for the smoothest scoundrel in the galaxy.
Double or Nothing Part I commences with Lando and L3-37 discussing potential improvements to the Falcon. Lando’s concern lies with creating a luxurious ship suitable to his reputation. Meanwhile, L3-37 has more modest concerns, primarily their safety. Lando already has a reputation as a successful smuggler. It is that reputation that draws the attention of Kristiss, a Petrusian woman concerned with rescuing her father and people from an Imperial outpost. Kristiss hopes to hire Lando to smuggle some weapons need to free her father. Although initially reluctant, the offer of a payday sufficient to cover some debts convinces Lando to take the job.
Lando and L3-37’s Portrayals
Barnes does quite well writing Lando. He is so smooth that it takes the edge off his cockiness. Although he plays at being self-reliant and sufficient, in reality, like Han Solo, he has debts to pay. Regardless, he is a discerning individual and smart enough not to just grab any job that comes his way. Lando oozes street smarts, a confidence in negotiations, and a flair for fashion. He fancies himself a shrewd businessman. In other words, he easily matches up with the Lando made famous by Billy Dee Williams and Donald Glover. Paolo Villanelli’s art successfully captures Glover’s likeness and enhances the qualities written by Barnes.
L3-37 also receives a successful portrayal of her onscreen persona. Witty and sarcastic, she is the perfect foil for Lando. While his concerns are for luxury, she focuses on the worldly. When Lando wants to upgrade the Falcon with leather sofas and a wet bar, L3 argues for improving the defenses of the Falcon. In fact, it is a well-played ongoing joke throughout this issue. L3-37 responds to Lando’s orders with the perfect amount of sass to get her point across. Of course, she is a proponent for droid rights. Furthermore, she looks upon all inequality in the galaxy with disdain.
The climax of this issue concerns an Imperial pursuit. Once Kristiss convinces Lando to take the job, the weapons are loaded, and the trio begins he journey to Kullgroon, where the Empire holds Kristiss’s father. Before too long, the Empire sends TIE fighters after them. What follows is a classic Star Wars chase scene. While L3 takes piloting duties, Lando heads for the guns. Much like Han and Chewbacca, Lando and L3 are a polished team. Through some fun, witty banter the pair formulates a battle strategy and successfully overcomes the pursing TIEs with a few tricks and fancy flying. This reviewer couldn’t help but hum John William’s score while flipping through the pages depicting the pursuit.
Final Thoughts on Lando: Double or Nothing Part I
Marvel has a tradition of writing tie-in comics for the various movies. One of the first was C-3PO: The Phantom Limb, which explained how Threepio came by his red arm in The Force Awakens. Earlier this year, Marvel published DJ: Most Wanted. That issue explained how DJ ended up in the same jail cell as Rose and Finn in The Last Jedi. Although it is a fun story, so far Double or Nothing Part I doesn’t seem to explain anything from Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, unlike those earlier titles, Double or Nothing isn’t just a one-shot. This is a five issue mini-series, so there is plenty of time to establish something related to the film.
Regardless, Double or Nothing Part I is a fun read. Barnes’s writing compliments Villanelli’s art perfectly to create a genuine Lando adventure. Movie audiences will have no problem recognizing the qualities of Lando and L3 as demonstrated by the film. This story earns high marks as a pure Star Wars adventure.
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.