For the most part, the one-shots released under the Age of Rebellion banner haven't done much to add to the larger mythology of the Star Wars Universe. However, they do a wonderful job of zooming into a day in the life of characters fans have been obsessing over for decades. Greg Pak and Matteo Buffagni's Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Lando Calrissian #1 follows the franchise's second most popular rogue, and the great lengths he's willing to go in order to keep Cloud City afloat.
The story, aptly titled "Cloud City Blues" is pretty simple: Lando and his right hand man Lobot wheel and deal to keep the residents of Cloud City paid, happy and slightly inebriated. There aren't any lightsaber battles or death-defying action set pieces, or any of the hallmarks of the Star Wars films, really. Instead, the one-shot plays things much more low key by focusing on the inner workings of Lando's perpetual hustle. It's obvious he's a man who cares deeply for his position of power, but he's also a man with tremendous empathy and concern for his people.
Pak's script does a great job of portraying Lando as the scheming smuggler we've come to know and love, but it also helps give dimension to the character and furthers his absolution for transgressions he would commit in future canon. Lando gave Han and his friends up to the Empire to save not only his own neck, but the necks of every man, woman, and child in Bespin. But as viewers, we are beholden to Han and Company by the time we meet Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, so the betrayal hurts and casts a negative light on Mr. Calrissian. Stories like the one in this issue reinforce the notion that Lando is a man of the people. Sometimes being dedicated to a cause means doing things which clash with your moral compass or sound too good to be true.
Buffagni's artwork is solid, but somewhat unremarkable. There is a surplus of unused panel real estate on each page which makes . There are open backgrounds and character designs with little fine detail. But there is a certain beauty to the minimalism on display, and it's brought out by Tamra Bonvillain's color palette. All that empty space is awash in vivid hues which contrast wonderfully with Buffagni's thick ink work. Lando's character design thankfully isn't a blatant replication of Billy Dee Williams, which is something happens all too often in Star Wars comics. Artists seem to rely heavily on the actors who played the characters on screen, which is completely understandable. Williams defined the character of Lando the same way Harrison Ford defined Han Solo, so it only makes sense to use them as a point of reference. But when artists take some aesthetic liberties with the character, but still make them instantly recognizable, it's always a treat.
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Lando Calrissian #1 is another winner for this series of one-shots exploring the lives of the characters from the Original Trilogy. So far there hasn't been a dud in the bunch, and this is no different. Are heroes are well-written and their actions casually deepen their legends. Seeing Lando is this capacity will make you excited to see him back in the forthcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Sure he may not be as spry, but there's no doubt he'll be as suave as ever.