Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1
Script: Gene Luen Yang, Art: Gurihiru, 2012

New Release! I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for purposes of review. (I read that one, and then went out the day it arrived in stores, bought a hard copy and read it again.)

Premise: The war is over, but bringing peace to the Four Nations isn't as simple as winning a battle. This is the continuing story of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I LOVE THIS. I loved this to pieces. This made me laugh and gasp and cry aloud. I love these characters, and this is completely in tone with the series: funny and sweet and heartbreaking.

It even starts by devoting three pages to the voiceover that opened every episode of the series, so it dropped me immediately into the right mindset for this world. I can hear the voice actors in my head. If you haven't seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, GO DO THAT. And then when you get to the end and want more, you're in luck!

The Promise interweaves some of the character moments we saw at the end of the last episode into the start of a new story, in which Zuko and Aang struggle with the Fire Nation colonies that were established in the Earth Kingdom during the war. It becomes a difficult question: what is the best thing to do, for those people who live there and for the Nations as a whole? How long have they been there? Are they Fire Nation citizens? Earth Kingdom citizens? What about the Earth Kingdom people who are angry, who lost people in the war, who want every Firebender gone? There are no easy answers for the characters.

There are plenty of great character moments, from an early conversation between Aang and Zuko that introduces the core emotional plot and had me right by the heartstrings, to the sweet moments showing the development of Aang and Katara's relationship. Toph and Sokka meanwhile maintain the right amount of comic relief to keep the tone on balance. Plenty of characters get at least a cameo, but there are occasional subtle words or references to keep the reader on track in case you forget who someone is.

You know the next element that's needed for Avatar: action! And this doesn't disappoint. The fight scenes are gorgeous: clear, dynamic, and inventive.

The art is beautiful throughout, in fact. Mostly just true to the series, although I especially liked the addition of Aang's prayer beads containing all the symbols of the elements, that he apparently uses to talk to the previous Avatars. The design work on that was beautifully done, and there are little elements to the art that I only noticed on a second look, little details that just enhance the whole.

This is a medium-short graphic novel at 76 Pages.

Be warned, this ends in a cliffhanger! And I have to wait until MAY for Part 2? NO FAIR.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book


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