I had the pleasure of reviewing the first volume of the new Avatar comic, titled Avatar: The Last Airbender – The promise, Part 1. Not being a huge comic reader (though I do enjoy them from time to time), I was curious to see how well it captured Aang, Katara, and the whole familiar beloved gang from the television series. Written by award-winning Gene Yuen Lang, who closely collaborated with show creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, I can say with absolute certainty that any fan of the television series will absolutely LOVE this comic.
The story actually picks up where the show ends. The first few pages are a recap of the disappearance of the Avatar, Aang’s progression, and Aang beating Fire Lord Ozai to set the world free of his evil clutches. New Fire Lord Zuko is determined not to become his father, and so is working with the Earth kingdom to help re-locate all of the Fire colonies that are within its borders. Sokka aptly names it The Harmony Restoration Movement, and Aang offers to head up the relocating. Things seem to be going well… until Zuko is attacked in the middle of the night by the daughter of a mayor of one of these colonies. She wants him to understand how he’s ruining the lives of the colonists, and when Zuko takes her home to confront her father for her behavior, he’s convinced (through some pretty rough emotional taunting) to stay and see what the colonies are really like in the hopes that his mind will change.
There is also a pretty deep scene towards the beginning where Zuko begs Aang to end his life if he ever becomes his father. Aang reluctantly agrees, but that decision hangs over his head the entire comic.
I didn’t want this comic to end! I haven’t enjoyed reading something like this in a really long while. I forgot how much I fell in love with these characters when I watched the series last year, and re-entering their world made me want to watch the show all over again, just to be able to experience the joy I felt once more.
The wonderful thing about this comic is it is the continuation of the story fans know and love. We see Aang and Katara are together, which makes my heart happy, and they have taken to calling each other Sweetie, funnily enough (and much to Sokka’s chagrin). And how can we forget Toph! Wonderful, feisty, spunky Toph. She’s her usual charming self, and adds a lovely balance to the serious nature of some of the scenes.
There are also some pretty cool elemental fight scenes that go on for a few pages, and they are drawn so well that I can practically hear the fire burning and see the water swishing by. The artist Gurihiru nailed it, capturing all of the nuances of the characters’ different personalities and the elements of this lovely world.
This first volume hit shelves this past Wednesday, January 25th 2012. Part two is set to release in May, which feels like forever. What can I do to pass the time? Oh yeah, re-watch the series, that’s right!