Friday, November 16, 2018

Comic Review: A:TLA The Rift by Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko

Note: I wrote this review more than a year ago, and apparently never posted it. Whoops. Better late than never I guess. Sorry if it feels a little disconnected. I'm sure that I meant to add more to this, but it's been so long since I read this comic (and I don't have it in Japan to reference) that I can't really do that now.

ISBN: 1616555505
Published: February 11, 2015
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Received: Christmas present
Read: July 1, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Avatar Aang and friends honor an Air Nomad holiday that hasn't been celebrated in over one hundred years, but when cryptic visits from the spirit of Avatar Yangchen lead Aang to a refinery operating on land sacred to the Airbenders--they soon find themselves in peril as a dangerously powerful ancient spirit awakens with vengeance and destruction on its mind!
This collection of The Rift Parts 1-3 features annotations by Eisner Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artists Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), with a brand-new sketchbook section! 

Of all of the Avatar comics I've read so far (which is through to the end of Smoke and Shadow), The Rift has been my favorite. That isn't to say that I didn't have a number of problems with it, but many of the issues that kept me from connecting with the previous comics either weren't present in this trilogy or weren't as bad.

I'm glad we got to see Toph again as she'd been missing for a while. In the story, we see her begin to reconnect with her dad. Since the Legend of Korra, I've wondered what Toph's relationship with her parents was like as an adult considering her relationships with her own daughters, and this comic partially answered that question. It gave me enough information that I can fill in the blanks, and it's more or less what I wanted to see come from their relationship. I appreciate the comic for that. It's one of the few times the comics have given us new information and I've been completely fine with it.

Aang and Toph also have quite a bit of conflict in this story, which I almost feel should have happened in one of the earlier comic series. They identify most with opposite elements, after all, and it felt well within their characters to get angry with each other like they did in The Rift.

Honestly, I think Toph as a character was what made this comic more successful to me than the previous comics. I've always been very fond of her, and she's one of the few characters who I feel is written faithfully in the comics. (I find that the others act out of character too often for my liking.)

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