There’s no other way to say it: Writer Rodney Barnes, with artists Paolo Villanelli and Andres Mossa, delivered all the goods in this final issue. Lando: Double or Nothing is right up there with some of the best Star Wars comic series. Star Wars fans should really take a look at this series, especially since it’s completed by this fantastic issue. It also adds connective tissue to Solo: A Star Wars Story, which can never be a bad thing. If you’re just tuning in, BEWARE THE SPOILERS….
If you’re just in it for the art, this issue will not disappoint. Paolo Villanelli and Andres Mossa ended this run with a bang. Every page is some of the best Star Wars art I’ve seen in recent comics. The Empire is in full force, making sure to suppress the uprising of their Petrusian prisoners, lead by Lando Calrissian himself. At this point Lando became a leader, kidding himself he was just doing it to get the job done, but making those who know him best take notice that leadership may suit the charming scoundrel. Lando is waking up to a sense of nobility that’s always been there. The fight for a people’s freedom is much bigger than anything he’s done up to that point.
The Petrusians are holding their own, but Lando knows it’s only a matter of time that they keep up the fight. Elthree spots air support on the way and Lando’s not sure what to do. He thinks the Petrusians best option at this point is to run, as the casualties mount up. This set of Stormtroopers seem to be ones that don’t miss, and the Petrusians get pushed into what appears to be a dire situation. Just as Lando is about to order a retreat, Kristiss – the Petrusian hired him to help free her people – reveals that they have a couple tricks up their sleeves.
The Petrusians have been re-engineering the droids they were supposed to be decommissioning. Kristiss knew this all along, she just needed Lando’s help getting onto the planet. It explains a lot, especially since she basically allowed herself to be captured in the beginning. The Petrusians were just biding their time, and now it’s here. Time to unleash their creations.
Look at this motley collection of droids! Sure, they may not be what they once were, but a droid army is better than no army. Lando is very impressed with the Petrusians plan and has renewed faith in the fight. As mentioned, the art is great, and it’s up to standard with Rodney Barnes’ excellent writing. From the first issue of this series, I’ve heard Donald Glover’s voice (occasionally Billy Dee Williams, too) in every line of dialogue. Lando Calrissian is such an amazing character and I’m so happy we’ve gotten more stories that feature him. I think the future of Lando is very bright, with Episode IX on the horizon and possibilities for Glover to reprise the role. I’d certainly be the first to lobby for Barnes writing more Lando and Star Wars in general.
Elthree is happy to see the droids resurrected to fight for their own freedom as well. She’s so happy, she’s going to abandon the Millennium Falcon and join her droid comrades in arms. This is where Lando starts to draw the line, insisting she remain with the ship, but Elthree sees an existential threat to her kind. I know some folks think the droid cause of Elthree is a bit silly, but I love that this dilemma is being added to droids in the canon. There are those that have free will and those that don’t, and I’m interested to see how that evolves going forward. It’s unfortunate Elthree, as we know her here and in Solo, had such a short story. Hope we get to learn more about her, eventually.
Did I mention the art was great? Here we see Elthree take charge of the droids and start to draw the Stormtroopers away from the Petrusians. This gives Lando and the Petrusians the break they need and they go for it. Kristiss is stuck on a level up from where Lando is, and he sees her start to take heavy fire from a couple Stormtroopers. Just as he’s speculating on how many credits are waiting for him at the end of the job, he turns heroic again and throws himself into the line of fire. Lando’s always been a hero, he just needed a push in the right direction.
Kristiss ends up being the one to rescue him, as she takes a stray power wire and swings from the catwalk, over all the bucket heads. I’m honestly surprised this wasn’t the cover of the issue. It’s such a great image. They make it out and rejoin the rest of the Petrusians and the droids in a battle that’s heating up. They seemed to have underestimated the Imperial guards, as the number of artillery against them only seems to increase. Kristiss and her father, Rythus, say they have to get to a rendezvous point. Lando and Elthree urge them to go without them, offering cover fire for the father and daughter. Reluctantly, they go, leaving Lando and Elthree behind. Suddenly, Elthree makes a startling discovery.
The Empire has taken the ship. There are swarms of Stormtroopers surrounding it. Lando is ready to take his ship back, guns blazing, but Elthree holds him back. There’s too many troopers for him to fight on his own, and the Petrusians and droids have escaped. Elthree suggests that they will get a chance to steal it back, someday. Lando doesn’t like it, but he knows his friend is right. There’s a lot of love between these two, which is really nice to see. It’s a credit to the great chemistry and between Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. They agree to let the Empire win the day, but knowing they managed to stay alive, as well as complete a job and help the good cause of freedom.
Kristiss had her crew steal an Imperial shuttle to come get them. Lando feels reluctant to leave the Falcon, but there isn’t much of a choice. The Petrusians have found their freedom and they leave their prison planet of Kullgroon behind. Elthree is able to slice into the Imperial network and finds out the Empire is moving the Millennium Falcon to Vandor. I got the sense that it would be arriving there not too long before a certain crew would arrive to pull off a massive coaxium heist. The Petrusians agree to drop Lando off on Vandor.
Lando gets his payment and an offer from Kristiss. The scoundrel rejects the potential future for politics and leadership. I wonder what would have become of Lando if he’d gone off with the Petrusians or joined the Rebel Alliance at this point in his life. It seems like a lot of the life experience he picked up in the underworld of the Star Wars Universe is what helped shape the person we met on Cloud City. This is a great look into the morality of the character and perhaps his first great moral test. Very well handled, in my opinion.
Well, I think we’ve all seen this before. So, it’s established that Lando was well aware his ship had been impounded and needed the right person to remove the restraint. I mean, I think we all knew Lando knew more than he let on, but it’s interesting to see how the Millennium Falcon ended up in that state. So…what do you think Lando will do while he’s waiting?
This issue was everything I hoped it would be. I also loved how it leads right into Solo. The team of Barnes, Villanelli and Mossa gave us fans a real treat with this series. I saw a post on social media today in reaction to the rumors of potential Marvel character series on the forthcoming Disney streaming service, suggesting Lando should get his own, as well. I couldn’t agree more and the talent involved here would be well utilized if that ever came to fruition. At the very least, I hope Marvel brings another Lando series to us soon. Lando: Double or Nothing is great Star Wars reading and you should get it in your hands as soon as you can. Also, if you’ve been holding off on jumping into the wide world of Star Wars comics, this would be an excellent place to start. It’s great storytelling, and a hell of a lot of fun!