Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(Comic) Book Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise Part 1

ISBN: 9781595828
Published: January 25th, 2012
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Read on January 30th, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The wait is over! Ever since the conclusion of Avatar: The Last Airbender, its millions of fans have been hungry for more--and it's finally here!
This series of digests rejoins Aang and friends for exciting new adventures, beginning with a faceoff against the Fire Nation that threatens to throw the world into another war, testing all of Aang's powers and ingenuity!
* The continuation of Airbender and the link to its upcoming sequel, Legend of Korra!
* Written by Gene Luen Yang, author of the National Book Award-nominated American Born Chinese
(Fun fact: When I went to add the book on Goodreads, there wasn't a page, so I ended up creating one myself.  That's the first time I'd done that.  I'm kind of proud of it even though it wasn't at all difficult.)


I'm going to start off with the spoiler-free stuff.  I loved this comic.  If you are an Avatar fan you have to read this.  It tells the story of what happened after the television series.  It starts off showing a little inbetween the final scene at Iroh's tea shop and the stuff before that.  In fact, it includes parts of the tea shop scene.  Then, it skips ahead a year later.  It's great, and I found myself reacting to it just like I would an episode of the TV series.  I was actually a bit emotional after finishing it.  It only took about an hour or less to read.  It's not long at all.

Now, on the the spoilers!  (Which will basically be my reaction to every single thing that happened...)

It starts off with the same narration by Katara as the TV series does, which I loved.  The only thing different was the end of her narration where she describes how Aang defeated Ozai and Zuko became Fire Lord.  It was just the beginning, and I was already getting chills.

The first scene is basically everyone talking to the Earth King in his palace.  Zuko and the Earth King decide on the Harmony Restoration Movement, which will remove the Fire Nation colonies from the Earth Kingdom.  I love how Sokka comes up with the name, and Toph asks what's with him and funny names.  I also love how Katara volunteers both herself and Sokka to help Aang.  It's the original group back together!  (Except I want Toph with them.  It's just not the same without her..  If you haven't read it, don't worry she's in the book, but she doesn't travel with them anymore, which I find sad.)

Then, we get to see Sokka freak out when he walks in on Aang and Katara kissing.  I found it hilarious, and it's the first time he tells Aang and Katara that they're giving him the "oogies," a term he uses throughout the comic.  Sokka doesn't seem upset about their relationship though, which I think is pretty accurate.  He just complains when they show any sort of affection for each other in his presence.

The promise Zuko makes Aang agree to is saddening.  I can see Zuko's reasoning though.  I just don't think choosing the celebration was the best time for it.  After that it immediately skips one year later.

Apparently people have attempted to assassinate Zuko multiple times, and he's become quite paranoid about it.  I have to say, I became a huge Zuko fan in the second half of season three, so seeing him in this comic makes me really sad.  He's become so paranoid and worried.  He's not his father (which he's extremely worried about), but he seems to becoming kind of close.  It worries me.  Hopefully, Aang can keep him in check.  I definitely don't want another Sozin/Roku situation.

One thing that shows Zuko is still a good person is that he tries very hard to protect the best interests of his people in this comic.  I don't know if he goes about it in quite the right way.  He should have contacted Aang and the Earth King right away.  Still, he has a good heart, and I'm extremely confident that it will stay that way.  I just hope he doesn't get horrible advice from Ozai that corrupts him.  I'm a bit worried he's going to listen to Ozai a bit too much, and Aang will have to "bring him back" or something.

We knew Toph started a metalbending school from the information we got from Korra, but I wasn't expecting her too start it so soon!  There are only three kids, so it's not like she's teaching a large group.  Still, two of them seem to be a bit older than she is.  Watching her boss them around was a bit amusing.  While I love the idea of her running the school and bossing the kids around all day, I'm still sad that it's implied she hasn't seen Aang, Katara, and Sokka for almost an entire year.  Why didn't they write (or have someone else write in Toph's case) letters to each other or something?  Sokka makes it sound like the heard about her school from someone else.  Their reunion is cute though.

I also want to know why Toph's metalbending school is there of all places.  Why didn't she choose Gaoling or Bai Sing Se?  Later, her police force is stationed in Republic City I think, and I'm pretty sure this city is going to become Republic City.  (I can't be the only person thinking that.)  I just don't understand how Toph got there in the first place.

I wasn't expecting the Freedom Fighters to show up!  I'm glad to know Smellerbee and Longshot are alive though, since we never learned that before.  (I also just noticed Toph and Aang hugging in the background of one of the frames on page 40.  That is absolutely adorable!)  It doesn't seem like the Duke and Pipsqueak rejoined the others though.  Also, Smellerbee is sitting on Longshot's shoulders.  That'll please the people who ship them together.

Aang and Katara constantly calling each other sweetie...  The part of me that absolutely loves them and fangirls them as a couple wants to go on about how cute it is.  I mean, I waited so long for them to be together, and now they're being all "cutesie."  I love it.  There is, however, a small part of me that agrees with Toph and Sokka's reaction to it.

I'm not going to lie.  I was a bit worried when Zuko grabbed Katara.  I didn't know what was going to happen.  I was slightly preparing myself to hate him again.  Thank God that ended well (for now).  I also love Zuko showing Aang and Katara the city and seeing how it's such a mix of both Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom.

I'd noticed a large lack of Mai in the comic (She wasn't even in the firework scene for some reason...), so I was thrilled when she showed up.  I'd almost started worrying that her and Zuko weren't together anymore.  I love how she gets onto him for leaving without telling her, and how she reminds him that he needs to talk to her.  I also absolutely love the fact that Mai called the Kyoshi Warriors (including Ty Lee!) to come protect Zuko instead of his own guard.  This also gives us the only glimpse of Ty Lee and Suki (aside from Suki being in the tea shop and firework scene with no lines).  (I really want to know how things are going with Sokka and Suki since they probably have seen each other just as much as Toph has seen Sokka, Katara, and Aang.)

Then, it cuts off with Zuko going to Ozai for advice.  I need Part 2!  I'm honestly worried about what Ozai's going to tell Zuko.  I've never freaked out about a comic book before.  I think there are about four months until we get that one, and I'll be coming up with crazy theories until then.  (Guys!  I just realized I can actually theorize about Avatar again.  I mean, Korra isn't the same.  This is the same characters and everything.  This is like J.K. Rowling realizing a new Harry Potter short story or something.  I'm so excited!)  If you're an Avatar fan, you absolutely have to get this.

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