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Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise: 03/20/13

cover art

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang was originally published in three parts over the course of 2012. It has since been repackaged as a 240 page omnibus. Since the endings of parts one and two seemed rather arbitrary to me, I'm reviewing The Promise as one work, even though I read it in its original three parts.

The Promise assumes two things of its readers: familiarity with the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series and the more recent one, Avatar: The Legend of Korra. These comics come in the time after the defeat of the Fire Lord and the founding of Republic City.

Most of The Promise centers on a single Fire Nation colony on the outer edge of the Earth Kingdom. While both sides claim sovereignty over it, neither side seems willing to ask the residents what they want or what they think is best for their community. The problem is that a new hybrid culture has arisen out of occupation. There are blended families now.

But it's really not until the final third that all the themes come to a head. Aang for instance is horrified at seeing a local fan club wearing the sacred tattoos and clothing of the Air Nomads. It's through his own pain and feeling torn between the nomad life which he so desperately misses, and his new life with Katara (oogies, as her brother puts it), that he begins to see how the war and occupation has changed things for everyone.

For those wondering whatever happened to Zuko's mother, the next set of three books, The Search, will try to answer that question. That series starts in April 2013.

Four stars

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