|Home » |
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, Part 1
The wait is over! Ever since the conclusion of Avatar: The Last Airbender, its millions of fans have been hungry for more - and it''s finally here! Think of it as Book (season) Four of Avatar! This series rejoins Aang and friends for exciting new adventures, beginning with a face-off against the Fire Nation that threatens to throw the world into another war, testing all of Aang's powers and ingenuity! Written by National Book Award Nominee Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese), in close collaboration with series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, this is the story that Avatar lovers have been clamoring for, as well as a perfect jumping-on point for new fans!
||Michael Dante DiMartino|
||February 07, 2012|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 108 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 108 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 46 found the following review helpful:
Picks up right where we left off...Jan 26, 2012
FYI: I received a free digital 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?
5 Stars - An Awesome Book
33 of 39 found the following review helpful:
Shallow Story with Unrecognizable Characters, fails to live up to the animated series.Feb 12, 2012
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" is one of the best animated series that have ever been produced for television. While intended for, and accessible to, kids and preteens, the story and characters have a depth to them that has created a dedicated cult fanbase. People of all ages have become enamored of the series, from animation connoisseurs to followers of good action adventure. Although the live action movie adaptation failed to live up to its inspiration on many, many levels, the first official comic book continuation of the series looked to be in better hands. The series' original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, were involved in creating the story, and the award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang was handling the scripting duties.
Sadly, "The Promise, Part 1" fails to live up to its pedigree in multiple ways. To detail why, I'll be spoiling much of the story below.
The animated series ended with the defeat of the conquest-happy Fire Nation, thanks to the combined efforts of Avatar Aang and his former enemy, the Firebender Zuko. Zuko was made Fire Lord in place of his evil father, and the pair were set to build a new, lasting peace in the wake of the war. "The Promise" looks at the first hurdle in this process, dealing the fate of the Fire Nation Colonies in the Earth Kingdom. At the very beginning of the story, we already see signs that "The Promise" is aiming far below the mark set by its predecessor. The animated series was careful to show that, while most of the plot and changes in the world were being driven by a handful of heroic individuals, the world they inhabited was both vast and complex. There were good and bad people on every side of the war, and much of the trouble was the result of people working at cross-purposes for one reason or another. While "The Promise" looks to focus on the political side of things, the complexity of the animated series' story is nowhere to be found. The original fate of the colonies is decided in a quick scene at the beginning of the comic, where everyone decides to give the colonies back to the Earth Kingdom after a five-minute conversation between the main cast. A full year passes before the effects of this decision are seen, when the colonists themselves strike back to declare that after a hundred years of war, they have created their own culture and don't wish to be split between the old Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. Had the story focused on this aspect, I wouldn't have any complaints, but things are quickly side-tracked.
Much was made, in the animated series, of the characters of Aang and Zuko. The former was a gentle monk who resisted the call to kill the old Fire Lord, while the latter was an honorable atoner who wanted to do his best to repair the damage of his nation's war of conquest. Yet, the first conversation between these two in "The Promise" seem to depict vastly different characters. Zuko is obsessed with the idea that the stress of being Fire Lord will turn him as evil as his father, Ozai, was, even though the animated series clearly shows that Ozai was sick enough to be willing to kill his own firstborn in exchange for being named Crown Prince. Fire Lord Ozai poisoned his own people in order to feed his war machine, and was willing to burn the whole Earth Kingdom and commit genocide against its people, rather than deal with their rebellions. So Zuko asks Aang to kill him if he ever turns this evil, despite already demonstrating an ability tell right from wrong. In fact, this is the whole basis of Zuko's story arc in the animated series, as he discovers that his father and nation don't share his sense of honor, and ultimately sacrifices his station to fight against them. Aang, even though much was made in the animated series' epic finale of his reverence for life and belief that even the worst people should not be killed as an answer to their crimes, quickly agrees to this.
From there, the entire political plot of the colonies is turned into an excuse to create tension between Zuko and Aang, to the point that the plot tries to draw its suspense from the possibility that Aang will kill Zuko for his reluctance to forge ahead with their hastily-conceived plan to deport the colonists back to the Fire Nation. The characters take inexplicable action to make themselves look as bad as possible, rush into battle at perceived slights, and show a reluctance to talk things through. This aren't the characters from the animated series, who felt so real to fans that thousands of them waged passionate internet debates about their speculative love lives. These aren't the characters who impressed critics like Roger Ebert, and led them to decry the shallow recreations of them in M Night Shyamalan's live action adaptation.
Fans of the Avatar franchise, though, have probably already heard the details of the upcoming sequel series, "The Legend of Korra." Taking place a generation later, the basic premise of this new series has already spoiled the ending to "The Promise," letting readers know that without a doubt, the colony situation will be resolved and Aang will not kill Zuko. In fact, from all the details that have been released by such events as Nickelodeon's official San Diego Comic Con panel, once the two characters are no longer being twisted by this cash-in of a story, they quickly go back to being good friends who know how to work together.
Other problems with the book include tin-eared dialogue, short length that is made worse by fight-sequences that speed along across multiple pages without any tension, and art that seeks to copy the look of the original series without capturing the beauty and detail of the truly fantastic animation.
As a comic, "The Promise" is very much in the tradition of any number of licensed spin-offs, looking to make a quick buck off the popularity of the original property. Undiscerning fans will probably be pleased, but the wider audience created by "Avatar: The Last Airbender" will be greatly disappointed.
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
A mixed bag...Feb 16, 2012
First of all, I will say that I love the art. It's clean and really nice to look at though I did wish Zuko had longer hair, for some reason him having another haircut (apparently) just didn't seem right to me. Nonetheless, the artwork is beautiful, and one of the high points in this book.
The story itself could have been done better. I'm fine with Kataang and think they could be a great couple (given a few more years, as Aang is only 12/13 now) but their whole nickname thing was painful to read. It just seemed so out of character that I found it jarring (and I completely understand Sokka's oogy feeling) What I also found bothersome was that Zuko is apparently angsting again.
Come on, folks. He dealt with this on the TV show. He struggled with it for three seasons, though he did grow and mature through the show as he dealt with it. It seemed that at the end of the show he had dealt with most of his issues, he was calmer, happier, and more confident even if he could be dorky at times. And at the end of this book, we *still* don't find out what happened to his mom.
Give me a break. I loved the show despite its flaws. However, it saddens me to see that Avatar is becoming a franchise. We have the upcoming Korra TV series, which is pretty much a big spoiler for what happens at the end of this Promise series. it is a foregone conclusion that at the end Zuko and Aang will fix their problems and the Colonies become the United Republic, so it takes some of the tension out of the story since you know exactly what will happen to said Colonies.
I would have liked for the Promise to be sold as one book, rather than being split up into parts, this is actually a fairly slim volume of less than 100 pages. Is it still worth buying? Yes, if you're a die-hard Avatar fan. I got this for just a little over seven dollars, which for me was a pretty good bargain. I do plan to buy the rest of the Promise books, if for nothing more than to complete my collection. There is one good note - this book is the same size (and some similarities in cover design) as the Lost Adventures, so you can put them side by side on your bookshelf, they go great together even if this book is considerably slimmer than the Lost Adventures.
I would absolutely hate to see Avatar go the way of Star Wars with its countless universe add-ons and various media (books, graphic novels, movies, cartoons, tv shows, etc) but unfortunately between this book and the upcoming series, it seems as if the Avatar franchise WILL go on that way... unfortunately.
16 of 19 found the following review helpful:
ATLAFeb 19, 2012
I love The Last Airbender. I love the characters, plot, premis and world. I cannot wait for Legend of Korra to be released.
These comics seem as if they are going to fill the gap between the two series. I'm very glad for them. I wasn't ready to give up Aang yet, and there can only be another avatar after one dies.
The story takes place what seems like several months after the last battle. Familiar characters are doing things they enjoy. I found it super precious that Uncle Iroh had opened a tea shop.
I don't know if it was the artist's style, art direction, or something else entirely that made Aang taller. Thank you for that! I would have found the make-out scenes much more disturbing had Aang not gone through a growth spurt. He's so much shorter than Katara in the series! I know he aged dramatically through the show, but he was still portrayed with the same voice and the same size, so I always thought of him as a twelve year old.
A few things felt a little forced. Sokka's jokes landed flat and just were not timed well. I expect more from Sokka.
Aang and Katara ended up calling each other 'sweetie' constantly. It got to the point where I wasn't sure if they were mocking each other or what, but every word bubble did not need to repeat it. Take a page from River Song's book and use it with class!
A good chunk of the comic contained Zuko and Aang yelling at each other, but other then that, I really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next installment to be out.
12 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Back again with old friendsJan 26, 2012
By Andy Shuping
ARC provided by NetGalley
This book picks up right where Avatar Season 3 left off. The war has ended and Zuko is now Firelord. He's dedicated to restoring peace among the nations...with the help of the Avatar and his friends of course. His first step, withdrawing the Fire Kingdom settlements from the Earth Kingdom, the Harmony Restoration Movement. But trouble soon arises. Some of these colonies have been there for generations and have even intermarried and neither side wants to sepearte. Zuko torn between the plight of these families and the healing that needs to be done calls off the movement. But not all in the Earth Kingdom are happy about the Zuko withdrawing his support and Aang and his friends are going to have to work fast to prevent war from overcoming the world once again.
Gene Luen Yang, author of "American Born Chinese," brings his immense writing talents to the Avatar universe. Even though Gene is an avowed Avatar fan, I still approached this book with a bit of trepidation. As an outsider to the original series (or even in any of the comics) how would he approach the relationships in the series? How would he approach Aang and Zuko growing into their roles? My fears were unfounded however, as Gene has clearly immersed himself in the Avatar universe and has accurately captured the characters and their movements within his writing. He has created a well crafted story that does justice to the series and feels just like an episode (ok multiple episodes) of the TV series. I really like how he's approaching the Zuko/Ozai relationship. At the end of the cartoon series we're left with the image of Zuko asking about the whereabouts of his mother and Gene deftly weaves this interaction into the story to give the reader more information. He also accurately captures Sokka and that sense of humor/immaturity/maturity that we all grew to love. I love when Sokka sees Aang and Katara kissing and shouts out about how it's oogie, it's just so him. The one thing that bugs me, just slightly, is when Aang and Katara call each other sweetie. It just doesn't feel right coming from them. I don't know what word they should use, but it just feels weird.
The artwork...wow the artwork is absolutely fantastic. I don't think Bryan Gurihiru worked on the actual series, but man does he capture the characters perfectly. It's like looking at a print version of the cartoon. He's able to capture their expressions, even their very movements down to the last detail. And the colors are absolutely pitch perfect. I think one of my favorite scenes is at the very end where Zuko is visiting Ozai and Bryan just nails the expression on Ozai's face. Even without his firebending power you can tell its him. Compared to some of the comics I've seen that came out based upon the series this art just nails it. In my head when I'm reading the comic it's like watching the cartoon.
All in all this is the absolute perfect combination of writer and artist to work on this series and continue it for fans. For fans of the series this is just what you've been waiting for. It feels like Aang and crew never left. And if you're new to the series...why are you starting with this book? Go watch the original series and get hooked on it and then come back and read this title.
See all 108 customer reviews on Amazon.com