Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures
Created by Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino
Various Writers and Artists, 2011


Premise: This volume collects the A:TLA comics that were previously published in several Nickelodeon branded magazines, as well as many which were never published. They take place concurrently with the animated series, as a series of short stories that fit in-between the episodes.

I adored this. It's a great assortment, from short two-page gag comics, to longer, in-depth stories. Twenty-eight stories total, including both stories I had read in the Free Comic Book Day sample. They are arranged in chronological order, and split up into sections for how they match up with the seasons of the series.

There were a few shorts that had art which I didn't much like, but overall it's remarkably consistent. The writing is generally strong, all the characters are true to their on-screen selves, and the dialogue and situations captured that balance of comedy, action, and pathos that makes the show so special.

I don't necessarily recommend this to anyone who isn't already familiar with the show, although if you aren't a fan of the show, I recommend you go watch it!

The best stories are definitely the longer stories which go with the third season.

My favorites were:
  • “Private Fire”, in which Sokka inflitrates the Fire Nation Army to “learn more about them,” with comedic results. 
  • “Combustion Man on a Train” in which Aang splits his time between comforting a little girl who is traveling alone and fighting Combustion Man (villain from the show, they don't know his name)... on a TRAIN.
  • “Swordbending” in which Sokka challenges Zuko to a 'Swordbending' contest, and Zuko tries to get Sokka to admit there's no such thing as 'Swordbending'.
  • “Dragon Days” is especially welcome, as it's a flashback to before Aang was frozen, about an adventure with his friend Kuzon.

If the entire volume had been stories of that quality, it would have been amazing. As it is, it's a strong volume, and I'm glad I bought it, but it has weak spots, especially early on, plus the very surreal “bonus” comics at the end.

I understand that Dark Horse plans to create a new series of Avatar comics, presumably issue-length. I now have very high hopes for this.

4 Stars – A Very Good Book


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