Posted September 3, 2012 by Jon Burrows in Books & Comics
 
 

Review: Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 3

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise Part 3 Review

Avatar the Last Airbender ended just about as well as a TV series could have. After one hundred years of war and fighting, Avatar Aang was finally able to bring peace to the world by stopping the power-hungry fire nation. Though the huge threat had been stopped, there were still plenty of adventures team Avatar could have in the eighty plus years bridging the gap to the new series, The Legend of Korra. I was glad to know such a strong publisher as Dark Horse, with a history of doing justice to the source material, had the reigns for Avatar. The only problem is the same one faced by the Harry Potter series; when you stop a villain that big and bad, what else could possibly be a threat? The Promise gives us a character driven story, pairing real human motivations for love, freedom, and justice with
elemental martial arts.

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The main conflicts in The Promise are colonialism and self-doubt. Earth bender towns occupied and annexed nearly a century ago by the fire nation are now torn by the threat of civil war. Though the land belongs to the earth kingdom, many citizens have been born and lived as part of a fire nation territory their whole lives. The Harmony Movement, a plan by Zuko and Aang, seeks to restore balance by having each elemental nation act as its own sovereign land again. Factions within the city want every trace of fire nation removed. Others recognize that though some citizens are Fire nation, in the small city of Yu Dao peaceful coexistence is possible. Writer Gene Luen Yang presents this very important point in the most relatable manner. These earth kingdom citizens aren’t defending stray fire kingdom people; they are defending their spouses, teachers, instructors, and fellow citizens. Since these stories take place in the time before Korra, we see Aang and his friends are not only responsible for saving the world from the ravages of war, but also being a key part in moving the societies of the world from the isolated feudal system and into the modern, industrial area. The ideas that flourish in republic city are the ones planted here.

Yang also does a fantastic job capturing the essence of the series. Toph has started her earth and metal bending academy, which will one day form the core teachings and police force of the republic city guard. Zuko is still pensive and full of self-doubt in his new role as fire lord, Katara is loving and supportive, Aang and Sokka’s humor still consists of both one liners and crazy slapstick.  The Promise manages to remain true to the series and it’s standard, while still feeling like a fresh new read. Art and Cover by Gurihiru capture the color palette of the show, while allowing it to take its own life on the page and not just look like still frames captured straight from the animated series. The Promise is a faithful adaptation and continuation of Aang’s story. While we’d all like to forget the movie ever happened, this series is definitely worth picking up and reading. The book is all ages, and is recommended for Avatar fans across the board.

GeekSmash gives this a rating of: 91/100 – truly excellent.


Jon Burrows

 
An exclusive writer for Geek Smash, Jon hails from Mississippi and has a passion for music, comic-books, and writing. He collects antique cars and enjoys shooting handguns. Jon sings in his church choir, volunteers his time helping the Salvation Army at local events and doubles as Santa during Christmas season.