Charles Soule and Alex Maleev's "Star Wars: Lando" #5 closes out the second solo spotlight storyline under Marvel's "Star Wars" brand. Set between the events of " A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back," this comic defines Lando Calrissian's relationship with his aide Lobot and sets both characters on their path towards "The Empire Strikes Back."
Soule's writing is fairly true to Lando's character, but he doesn't give readers much more depth than fans experienced from the first half of Lando's debut in "The Empire Strikes Back." The writer defines Calrissian as an opportunistic individual who is constantly playing the odds and stacks the odds against him to rally readers around him. The story could easily go by the numbers, but Soule inserts a couple surprises to keep readers locked into the story, which becomes less about Lando and more about Lobot before the final page of this issue.
Maleev's art is serviceable and rugged, transcribing Calrissian to the page with painstaking detail that calls to mind imagery of Billy Dee Williams in every panel. This leads to rigid figure work in some panels, with figures never quite selling their expressions beyond a moderate level. Some scenes -- like Lando's face-off with Aleksin and Pavol --should have more kinetic energy in it than Maleev's rendered style communicates. The images are solid and serviceable and Maleev's storytelling is clean, but the visuals just need a bit more punch. Paul Mounts uses a bold color palette, littering red throughout the high-anxiety adventure. The red adds energy and uncertainty to the visuals, which certainly benefit from color cues. Beyond the tense scenes, Mounts uses a fairly mundane color range, matching expectations for "Star Wars" visuals without getting overly ambitious.
"Lando" #5 puts Lando Calrissian and Lobot in position for their eventual journey to Bespin but leaves much of that journey untold. Put into perspective, this five-issue tale provides a bit of character growth for the eventual Cloud City Administrator, but the true character development falls upon the shoulders of Lando's right-hand man Lobot. Soule already has more "Star Wars" work lined up, but I'm much more interested in the next set of developments for Lando and Lobot than I would be to re-read this story. At the end of "Lando" #5, the arc of the character's adventures truly seems like it could have been shorter but much more dynamic. Hopefully, the next arc of Lando Calrissian's adventures will make some adjustments and bring a bit more punch, in both story measure and artistic rendering.