Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang

Read: 1 March, 2016

Picking up where the series left off, Aang and his friends must decide what to do with the Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom.

The comic read just like the show. The artwork is very consistent with the show, and the dialogue is pitch perfect. Reading, I kept hearing the characters’ voices.

The story itself is as accessible and thought-provoking as the show. After a hundred years of colonization, Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens have formed bonds with each other, focusing on Kori – who is both an earth bender and a Fire Nation citizen. Aang, Zuko, and King Kuei have to find some way to right the wrongs of invasion and colonization without tearing families and friendships apart.

Meanwhile, Aang is dealing with the responsibility of being the last Air Nomad, and how his identity as an Air Nomad can come into conflict with his duties as the Avatar. This is complicated when members of the Aang Fan Club decide to start copying Air Nomad culture, and even give themselves tattoos. This brings the issue of cultural appropriation into the broader discussion of colonization, and have I mentioned that this is a kids’ show?

Thought-provoking and staying away from simple answers, The Promise is a wonderful addition to the Avatar canon. It also helped me to understand a little more of the background that went into The Legend of Korra, and how the world came to be that way.

I doubt that the comic would hold much interest for a reader who hasn’t watched the show, but I couldn’t recommend it enough for fans of the series.

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Other books in the Avatar: The Last Airbender series:

  1. The Lost Adventures
  2. The Promise
  3. The Search
  4. The Rift

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