REVIEW "Age of Rebellion: Lando Calrissian: Cloud City Blues" written by Greg Pak
Updated: Oct 28, 2019
An engaging issue with a surprise twist that had me gasping with recognition, I'd say Greg Pak is still killing it! This issue was also pure Lando (a gambler who desires to be rich but has a heart of gold) with luckily no overt Lando self-aggrandizement in regards to him only thinking and talking about himself and bringing others down like we saw glimpses of in "Lando: Double or Nothing," a short-run comic series that was a prequel to Solo. Yes, Lando wants more money and claims he wants it so he can live worry free, but a lot of that has to do with him wanting to support the citizens of Cloud City in such a way that he doesn't have to constantly worry about their welfare. He even makes personal sacrifices (noted below) to aid the cause.
Despite what Wookieepedia currently says, I would place this issue before The Empire Strikes Back and while Lando is still actively running Cloud City as Baron Administrator. The big question of the book is--To what lengths will Lando go in preserving a mining colony full of sentients that he must care for? Will he lose his soul in the process? Or is he a truly moral and giving man beneath the self-aggrandizing façade? We know he's capable of being at least somewhat dastardly from the deal he made in The Empire Strikes Back, but I like to think that he planned to renege on the deal and save Han from Boba Fett from the very beginning.
We open up on a workers' dispute on Cloud City with people chanting for more pay. Lando swoops in and says he's got the workers' bonus pay on hand and drinks are on him. Very typical Lando (smooth talking and saving the day), but in a compassionate turn of events, Lando reveals to Lobot that the surprise money came out of his own private stash. Turns out, Lando has been having a really difficult time keeping things afloat financially and he decides to do something big so he doesn't have to keep "scrounging" tiny bit by tiny bit to find the money he needs to pay his workers and his debts. He definitely doesn't seem to be struggling in The Empire Strikes Back, so perhaps he finally figured things out by the time his part in that movie rolled around.
The "something big" ends up being...no surprise here...gambling! But in the process, Lando meets the Magnate Imperium Roz Fantanine of the Ben Diffle Fantanines who is worth 17.2 billion credits and who proposes a deal that will make Lando rich and able to continue running Cloud City for the rest of his life. The smuggler gladly jumps on the opportunity but all is not as it seems. Check out the image above of other Fantanines including Roz's nephew Kako who is standing (I'm assuming they're all somewhat loosely related and are all of the same species--not in Wookieepedia yet--despite each one looking slightly different from the others) and a small creature who is crucial to the rest of the story, but I won't tell you how here. The soft reveal of what this small creature ends up being was magical! There were a few indicators in the very first panel of the reveal and I definitely went wide-eyed when I realized what was happening. It was such a perfect mess for Lando to end up in and the perfect opportunity for him to show his true--kind--colors.
Lobot and Lando fly to Burnin Konn, a planet in the Anoat sector (along with Bespin and Hoth) that was first placed into canon by way of the mobile MMORPG Star Wars: Uprising for which I was a cartel leader...great game, super sad it shut down.
The Shanksham Gang is a small dangerous criminal organization.
The Fantanines are of a "slow reproducing, long-lived species, with a shockingly tiny population." Their family is strip mining the entirety of an unspecified planet.
Dannamore is a planet with an orgo-harvesting facility. No clue what "orgo" is...
So a tale about morality and doing the right thing even if that means making sacrifices to the detriment of your own benefit. I'm really enjoying how these "Age of Rebellion" comics are putting our heroes and villains in tough situations that reveal their true colors. These have turned out so far to be brilliant character studies that dig deeper than I would have thought possible with such a limited amount of play space. I am most certainly impressed and look forward to what comes next!
FINAL RATING 4/5
I am so excited to have joined the Beyond the Blast Doors Star Wars conversation! As a person who is deeply passionate about every aspect of the galaxy far, far away, I'm always looking for ways to spread my Star Wars joy and love. I've spoken at cons and written articles on a variety of topics but one of my biggest passions is the canon literature. I hope to help you find your way through the Maelstrom because what is out there is truly amazing!