Nov 26, 2014

Review: Avatar: The Promise and The Search

For my nephew's birthday, I got him the Library Editions of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise and The Search, which continues the now-classic animated series in comic book form and bridges the events between its finale and the beginning of The Legend of Korra. Gene Luen Yang writes, Gurihiru draws, and Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko (the show's creators) consult. The Library Editions have special features, including character designs and annotations by Yang, Gurihiru, and in the second volume, DiMartino.

I was too lazy to read these and write reviews myself, so I had my nephew write one. And here it is.

Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise and The Search
by the Tan Man

The Promise and the Search are continuations of the lives of the members of Team Avatar, as they run into new conflicts and daring tests once more. These two books expand and give conclusions to the already vast story of Avatar. First off, The Promise is mainly about the trouble Aang goes through in either picking his duties as a friend or as the Avatar. The Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom face off once again, now on more level ground, with neither being clearly pure evil nor pure good. Both factions have reasonable purposes and both factions are wrong in some regard. The main city The Promise takes place in is Yu Dao, a Fire Nation/Earth Kingdom hybrid town, where the townsfolk live peacefully together, whether they be of Fire Nation blood or Earth Kingdom heritage.

The Search, probably the most-awaited story all fans of Avatar, is about the quest to find Zuko’s mom, Ursa. Team Avatar sets out again to solve a series-long mystery, now with the companionship of longtime rival, Azula, who is now bent to the bones and mentally unstable. Spirits make appearances and play a huge role in The Search. The team works together while Aang tries to help others along the way, Katara does the best she can to help the team with their inner struggles, Zuko is determined to find his long beloved mother, Azula is hell-bent in claiming the throne, and Sokka cracks his usually unusual set of jokes.

In these books, the world of Avatar is evolving into more advanced forms of technology and politics. As seen in The Promise, the city of Yu Dao is attempted to be breached by a mobile automatic drill, a creation that is at the time, out of this world.

The best things about The Promise, besides Team Avatar, are the lush world it instills to the reader, the diverse city of Yu Dao, and the fact that the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom come into the brink of war again. The world of Avatar was definitely and accurately portrayed in the book; it felt as if you were watching the animated series. Yu Dao was also very interesting for me because it was a city unlike any other. No city has ever been like Yu Dao, wherein Fire Nation settlers and Earth Kingdom inhabitants live not as rivals, but as comrades. Of course, we cannot talk about The Promise without the war that was about to ensue, and almost toppled the balance that Team Avatar fought so hard for in the animated series.

The Search lives up to and may have even surpassed the expectations.

The art in the books make the story feel so alive. It feels just like watching the animated series we all love. It captures the essence of each and every character as well as their personalities. The art is truly top-notch, and the portrayal of the characters is very spot on. Through the art, you feel as though you are once again stepping inside the world of Avatar.

Every single character was spot on. They captured the character’s overall personality, all the way down to the little mannerisms they all do. The characters never sway by their morals and their beliefs. The spirituality of Aang, which was prominent in the series, was captured beautifully in the books. The mother-like attitude of Katara was handled excellently, as well as the goofiness of Katara’s bother, Sokka. Toph was still the rough little girl. Zuko was still Zuko, as he is confused and he always battles with his inner demons and, the shadow of his father forever haunting him. Azula was portrayed nicely as they maintained her clever, yet maniacal nature.

The best thing about the Library Edition was definitely the side-notes of the writer, artist, and even sometimes the co-creator Michael Dante Dimartino himself. The notes gave a new perspective and a more in-depth look at the books.

I have only one suggestion: MAKE MORE.

Luckily for my nephew, they are making more. The Rift is already being released in individual chapters, and the Library Edition is out in February.

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