Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 2 Review
Hello Avatar fans, Airspeed Prime once again with a comic review. Today obviously is May 30th which is the Comic Store release date of The Promise Part 2, June 12th from Amazon and other Book stores. Some of you may have read my review of Part 1 , and I will do this one in a similar format. I again would have liked to have this review out earlier so you guys could decide to buy it, but sadly Dark Horse donâ€™t seem to give review copies to fan sites only Comic sites, but hopefully this review helps you decide to get the book or not.
Again I would like to emphasise how important these Avatar comics are, we cannot have constant show after show as they require so much time and effort, so we really need these comics to sell well so Dark Horse continue to want to do more. More Canon stories can only be good and if they continue to be this of this Amazing Quality we have a lot to look forward to.
I will split my review into a non spoiler and spoiler section.
Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 2
Written by: Gene Yang
Art and Colours by: Team Gurihiru (Art and inks by Sasaki with Colours by Kawano)
Letters By : Michael Heisler
Published By: Dark Horse Comics
So I will begin with my non spoiler review of the book. Quite simply it is a great continuation to Part 1, it introduces new plots, continues those from Part 1 and most of all sets up this series for what looks to be a stunning Part 3 conclusion. Gene Yang continues to know exactly how to write each character, Toph and Sokka are stand outs in this book. Team Gurihiru continue to show us some of the best Avatar art ever, their slightly more cartoon-ey style suits the comic format so well as it allows them to show off so much expression and makes up for the lack of movement, they seem to have got even better with this book. That is enough on the amazing creative team who I cannot say enough good things about.
Onto the story itself, surprisingly the main focus of the book is on Toph and Sokka as they train her Metalbending students to take on a rival Firebending school. When you first read the book it seems like such a weird way to start part 2 after how Part 1 ended, but it is a great character focused plot with some nice development for Toph and Sokka and we are fully introduced to her students who while a bit one dimensional are still very interesting. I just hope that this plot does link in with the rest. The whole book does flow quite well never focusing to much or too little on each story, it is very much the middle part of 3 books, in that it is setting up for part 3, it may seem like very little happens, but the characterisation and the stories not related that much to the main plot are still great to see. The book does deal with what you would call the â€śMain Plotâ€ť of the Harmony Restoration Movement and how the characters deal with Zuko changing his mind and also how Zuko himself is dealing with this, not helped by his talking to Ozai.
Back to the writing and once again it is clear that Gene Yang knows the universe he is writing in, the humour is spot on as are the references to the show even adding in a bit of shipping stuff. Other than that there is not a whole lot to say in terms of non spoiler stuff. It is a must buy if you are an Avatar fan, I got it for â‚¬10.99 in my Local comic store, it is even cheaper on Amazon and well worth the price for the 70 pages of great art, despite there not being much action the characters are so well done that it is still a great read. Part 3 is set up after this to be an absolute cracker of a book, my only negatives would be stuff that it is really not fair to say about the book and that is just the noticeable absence of characters like Azula and Iroh, we know they will appear at some stage and we know that will be part 3 now, but that is not a negative on what this book does cover. It is great to just know that at the same time as we are getting new Avatar in Korra we are also getting ATLA story with the comics, a fantastic time to be an Avatar fan. A minor annoyance would be that the spines of Part 1 and 2 are designed differently, when they just did not need to be.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PART 2
Now on to the spoiler section of my review plus some thoughts on the events.
I will begin with the Toph metalbending school plot. This story in Part 2 just feels so much like an episode of the show, and it works very well. I like the way their relationship is not at all shipping focused, they are friends full stop. The two work so well together in this story with their nearly completely opposite personalities, Sokka is constantly like â€śI have a planâ€ť and Toph immediately is sarcastically saying â€śYeah THAT will workâ€ť. The humour of Sokka is present in full force, he takes on the role of the Metalbending Academies â€śMotivational Benderâ€ť helping the students to learn Metalbending all this while Toph who really wants to be a teacher after how much she helped Aang is learning herself how to be the Sifu of a whole school. It is the moment where she realises that her constant shouting and shouting nicknames at them is forcing them to be people they are not just as her own parents were forcing her to be someone she was not, that moment is one of the best in this book. Moving on to the students who now all have names: Ho Tun (Mr Doom), Penga (has a crush on Sokka and loves shoes) and â€śThe Dark Oneâ€ť whose real name I will let you discover on your own, lol. They are all a bit one dimensional in that Ho Tun does really just say Doom all the time, Penga does just like shoes and Sokka and The Dark One does just hate everyone. But what is so interesting about them is why they were chosen by Toph to be pupils in her school, effectively she knew they had the capacity to learn Metalbending when they caused her Meteorite Bracelet (yes it does become a bit of a plot point ) to shake when they experienced high emotion. It is the relationship between her and her â€śCrazyâ€ť students that is interesting in that she does care about them, the key to this plot will be if it plays a role in the other plots as the series comes to an end, I want a bit more character development on the students.
Now onto Zuko who once again steals the show a bit, in Part 1 he was the focus of most of the discussion. We see what he and Ozai are talking about. In one of these conversations we get a flashback to a 3 year old Zuko and in Ozaiâ€™s opinion what Zukoâ€™s problem has always been: Deciding the Right thing to do. In this flashback on a family trip to the beach Zuko sees a Hawk moving in on a hermit crab, he has to decide if he should protect the Crab or let the starving Hawk have itâ€™s prey, Zuko is washed away by a wave before he can decide. It is this that affects Zuko throughout this part, Zuko does not know if he should try to protect the weak or allow noble things like that Hawk or The Fire Nation to do what they want, but Ozai tells him that it is not about the correct choice, but that the Fire Lord should make a choice and therefore because it was a choice by The Fire Lord it is by definition correct, Zuko does not believe anyone is above right and wrong. It is a fascinating character plot for Zuko, Ozai is clearly manipulating him, but at the same time is giving him some advice, I cannot wait to see and I hope they reference the decision with the Hawk again when I assume Zuko will have another hard choice to make.
There is a 2 page scene that really surprised me, Sneers is actually Koriâ€™s boyfriend, I was pretty blown away when I saw this as it really came from nowhere. Basically they are on opposite sides of the conflict, Sneers obviously a member of The Freedom Fighters is with Smellerbee who wants The Fire Nation out of Yu Dao, while Kori wants to stay. What makes this such a great scene is that Kori breaks up with Sneers when she finds out he is on the other side. He asks her to choose what nation she is: Fire or Earth but adamantly says she is an Earthbender who is Fire Nation citizen. A tiny scene in the book, but one that adds into Kataraâ€™s thoughts from Part 1 and possibly foreshadow the ultimate resolution we know about from Korra, United Republic.
The Katara and Aang plot is unexpected given their plan at the end of Part 1, go to see Earth King Kuei and plan the meeting with Zuko. When they arrive they are greeted by the Ba Sing Se chapter of The Avatar Aang Fanclub. Now what makes this plot not just a copy of 104 is that 1/ Katara is now Aangâ€™s girlfriend 2/ The focus is really not on Jealousy. We see the fangirls are delighted to meet Aang but immediately call Katara â€śAvatar Aangâ€™s â€śfirstâ€ť girlfriendâ€ť which obviously freaks Katara out a bit. We see her stay in the background as Aang enjoys the attention and has fun, but she does not say anything and when she is finally about to Aang says something to her that completely changes her mood â€śI know itâ€™s just a silly fan club, but for a moment there, it almost felt likeâ€¦ like I was at home again. With my people.â€ť immediately Kataraâ€™s annoyance is gone and she realises again that all his people are gone he does not really have anyone else outside of Team Avatar and a few others so him being able to enjoy Air Nomad stuff with this fan club was not about Aang ignoring Katara, but rather him having a chance to be an Air Nomad for a while, she even feels guilty for thinking of saying anything bad. So great for their relationship.
I donâ€™t want to go on too much and spoil absolutely everything so I will end with some thoughts on King Kuei. We really get to see how much his travelling the world with Bosco has changed him, he now is the Earth King, not just a figurehead. He has really taken Zukoâ€™s breaking of the Promise to heart and is not interested in talking he instead is ready to force the Fire Nation people out. It will be interesting to see what he thinks once he sees Yu Dao and the multicultural families, is it just Kuei trying to show he is the King now that he can. What it does it that it puts Aang and Katara not on Kueiâ€™s side of the discussion nor Zukoâ€™s, this is what is set up so well, Kuei is going to war, Zuko manipulated by Ozai is doing the same, both head for Yu Dao. Add in Smellerbee and her protestors, Kori and the group she is training, Aang and Katara, Toph, Sokka and her students. So many groups coming together for Part 3. How can you not want to see that.
Final thoughts, get this book, support Avatar Comics. Do not believe what some early reviews have said about this book being filler and boring, it is a near perfect middle part of this series. Written well with Stunning art, references and great character moments. I am glad that Korra is out, because the wait for Part 3 on September 26th is going to be utter torture.
If you have the book please discuss the book in this thread on our forums
Here is my video review of the book
Also check out the podcast at the weekend where we will discuss the book in great detail.
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