The Galaxy in Comics is a deep dive into the events and themes of one recent Star Wars comic. In this installment, StarWars.com checks out Lando: Double or Nothing #4.
Spoiler warning: This story contains details and plot points from Lando: Double or Nothing #4.
“This deal is getting worse all the time.”
Lando might not say those words until The Empire Strikes Back, but based upon what we’ve seen of him in Solo: A Star Wars Story and on the page in Lando: Double or Nothing, it’s a mantra that could probably be applied to most of his life. All the poor man wanted to do was to make a giant pile of credits so he can pay off someone breathing down his neck. In Lando: Double or Nothing #4, helping to inspire a revolution was not part of the original agreement but Lando’s going to have to anyways and that’s after he had to fight some Imperial stormtroopers and strange crystal-like creatures. Thankfully L3-37 is there to watch his well-dressed back and maybe, just maybe, they’re going to make it off this planet with all of the credits they were promised.
To distinguish itself from the other Star Wars comics, Lando’s account of his thoughts and actions when he’s off on his own are in word balloons and not expressed via narration boxes, limited to a mere two pages within this issue. In fact, this particular incarnation of Lando Calrissian feels as if perhaps he was plucked from a stage play, adding a little bit of Shakespearean flair to the comic. He’s just a little more aware that “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players” than most. Lando is always performing for an audience even if they can’t be seen or he doesn’t know if they’re even there. Within Shakespearean plays, soliloquies are meant to portray a character’s thoughts to the audience, which is precisely what writer Rodney Barnes and artists Paolo Villanelli and Andres Mossa do here. It’s a fun twist on a traditional literary device from another medium that helps both the book and Lando stand out from the crowd.
Beyond his theatrical nature, Lando Calrissian is also a man who understands the value of showmanship and appearances. (Although perhaps he takes it to an extreme in a way that makes others underestimate him.) Sometimes, that leads to paying more attention to the Falcon’s interior decoration than its weapons system but, hey, no one’s perfect. The fancy clothes and capes are both a part of who Lando is and a part of the image he wants to project. Like he says early on in this issue, “Style is a signature component of the Calrissian Legend. Filth diminishes said legendary status.” But when he has to leave behind his cape as he ventures after Kristiss into the Kullgroon Imperial Droid Facility, we see clearly that his charisma isn’t tied entirely to his signature piece as he somehow manages to convince a bunch of terrified people to stand up and fight for their freedom. Working a crowd is all about telling the right story at the right time and if anyone can do that, it’s Lando.
Of course, Lando: Double of Nothing #4 is about far more than just the man, the myth, the legend. The comic also explores his relationship with L3-37. With their combined snark and style, they make a darn good team. But one exchange in particular – as Lando asks, “What would I do without you?” and L3 responds, “Let’s hope we never have to find out the answer to that question.” — elicits a twinge of sadness. Uunfortunately, we do have to learn the answer. Star Wars is known for its partnerships: Han and Chewie, Obi-Wan and Anakin, Chirrut and Baze. And Lando and L3-37 deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Their banter is delightful, especially when punctuated by brief moments of sincerity where it is clear how much they really do care about each other. It’s just the sort of love that’s left unspoken and is, in a way, more powerful than if it were mentioned frequently.
Lando’s loyal co-pilot is equally fascinating in her own right given her feelings regarding inspiring riots. Lando isn’t in this revolution on Kullgroon for grand, philosophical reasons, but L3 is generally more sympathetic to the cause. In this issue, Barnes doesn’t beat readers over the head with reminders about how she feels regarding droids rights. Instead, we get a subtler approach with comments from L3 about how droids aren’t allowed to take naps and her sarcastic use of “Captain.” An excellent foil for Lando, L3 is more than competent at her job and doesn’t let his flair for the dramatic go unremarked upon. This particular sort of story just wouldn’t have the same appeal and enjoyment factor without her there.
With a character like Lando, it’s not hard to see why he continues to appeal to Star Wars fans as one of their favorite characters. Add a little of the Shakespearean feel and what’s not to love about Lando: Double or Nothing #4?
Bria LaVorgna is a writer who doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love Star Wars. She also really loves Alderaan, Doctor Aphra, and Inferno Squad. You can follow her on Twitter @chaosbria.