Smoke and Shadow Part 2 Non-Spoiler Thoughts

SmokeandShadow2
46 Comments

Smoke and Shadow Part 2 will be released in comic stores on December 16th 2015 (December 29th is the release date everywhere else), but right now I have a non-spoiler review for you thanks to an early review copy, I will have my full spoiler review out December 16th along with the release of the book.

SmokeandShadow2

I find I end up saying the same thing about all of the Part 2s of these Avatar comic series, that they don’t have the big conclusions of a Part 3 or the initial interest of everything being new in a Part 1, they are just the middle part needed to connect the two notable parts. I feel I end up being a bit dismissive and overly negative about the Part 2s because of this, but in reality they are all quality books and often serve the important role of telling the “meat” of the story.

Smoke and Shadow Part 2 is definitely a part 2, but I think there are a few notable parts here that will make Part 2 stand out. I think what will probably get the fandom talking the most will be the section in the middle of the book where we get some very early history of the Fire Nation that is potentially the earliest in the timeline we have ever explored. We learn about the origins of the Fire Nation, a bit more about how Sozin thought of this early history of his nation and most important to the plot where the legend of the Kemurikage came from. Of course I will not spoil the exact details of what is told here, but I will say that as a huge fan of the lore of the Avatar universe, I was very pleased with this section of the book, it adds so much and as far as I could tell it fits in very well with the early history we know about.

How these reveals come about is because of the investigation into the Kemurikage kidnapping of Tom-Tom. Our main team of characters is Mai, Kei Lo, Aang and Zuko with some focus on the new character, Constable Sung. It is an interesting 4 way dynamic, the awkwardness of Mai and Zuko and their current romantic situation, we know they both still care about each other, but Mai is dating Kei Lo. What saves the romance from being the annoying overly dramatic shipping stuff that Avatar fans hate is that Zuko and Kei Lo have a level of respect for each other and are not fighting over Mai, there are certainly moments highlighting both Mai and Zuko and Mai and Kei Lo’s relationship, but there is no issue between the two guys. Aang ends up acting as a bit of an awkward bystander, aware himself of the odd romantic situation, but not wanting to get involved. With regards to the romance I still fully believe that Mai and Zuko will be together by the end of this series, the problem is that Kei Lo for the most part is presented as a very nice guy, so Mai breaking up with him seems harsh and like it would add unneeded drama. I quite like Kei Lo as a character, but I still have my suspicions with him, though I may be reading to much into some small moments. He is not an incredibly deep character and feels a little bit like he is only in the story as a roadblock to the inevitable MAIKO reunion, but they have done just enough to make him interesting enough as an individual.

What ends up happening is that Aang suggests they investigate the Kemurikage to discover why they are kidnapping in the first place, which leads the group to look up the history of the fire nation and the legends of the nation. Their journey to find this information feels very similar to Aang and Zuko’s exploration of the Ancient Sun Warrior Temple, interesting ancient puzzles and secrets needing to be unlocked. A fun little journey so that this is not just a boring trip to a library.

If there was one part of this book I was a little disappointed with it would be that Ursa is not focused on that much in this book. I felt like there was so much set up around her in Part 1, so it was odd to only see her in a few pages here, no real attention on how scared she is being back in the Palace nor any reaction to where we last saw her in Part 1 terrified after seeing a portrait of Ozai. Her relationship with Kiyi continues to be strained, but that is about it, given how this book ends I am a little worried that Part 3 will not have enough time to resolve everything focused on Ursa. I hope she gets some good focus in Part 3, but there is so much else to cover with the romance stuff, the Kemurikage plot, Mai and her father, Ukano and a few more plot threads.

Ukano on the other hand does get a good amount of focus here and for me really steps things up as an antagonistic character, he continues to heavily manipulate those around him. I am fascinated to see where they go with him in Part 3. He cares for his family, but seems to prioritise wanting Zuko off the throne ahead of them, will they go full on villain with him or will they redeem him by having him truly protect his family, given how much of a focus Mai is, where they go with her father is an important plot.

In terms of any big reveals, we get a few things of note. I think most people won’t be at all surprised with the cliffhanger ending to the book, not to criticise it for being predictable, it was relatively obvious, but something we have been waiting for. We get the return of a minor ATLA character, no one huge that will make the fandom freak out, but this character is well used, I definitely perked up a bit when I saw this character on the page, a very nice use of a show character that makes complete sense.

Katara and Sokka are not in this book beyond what we have seen in the preview, further hinting that the next comic series will be water tribe focused, so I am happy about that, I was a little worried they would try and cram in a water tribe side plot to Smoke and Shadow, but they seem to be giving their homecoming the time it deserves.

So overall I think this is a very good book, if you liked Part 1 this will be a solid continuation. It is saved from being just “the middle part” by having some of the most interesting Avatar world lore/history we have seen in a while as well as some important plot advancements. I don’t think it will blow anyone away, but it certainly has set up part 3 well to potentially deliver some amazing moments.

I am excited to talk about the full details of this book on the 16th, so keep an eye out for my spoiler review as well as a podcast review of Smoke and Shadow Part 2.

Here is my non-spoiler video review for Smoke and Shadow Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNZwB71Q5JE

If you liked this, Share it with your Friends!

Avatar of Airspeed Prime

By:

My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

View Profile See Other Posts

You Might Also Like

Comments - 46 Posts

  1. jvl1031 Said: Comment by jvl1031 on December 4, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink
     

    So I take it you don’t think Zuko and Suki will get together at some point? The books have been hinting at her developing feelings for him.

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Not at all, I personally initially completely misinterpreted a scene between the two in part 2 which turned out to not be hinting at shipping between the two. There is 1 scene with the two of them in this book, but there is nothing romantic about it, they are more establishing that Suki is one of Zuko’s closer friends within team Avatar than anything romantic.

    Reply

  2. Wen Said: Comment by Wen on December 4, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink
     

    Mai has still feelings for Zuko ?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Part 1 and rebound made this super clear, part 2 continues this.

    Reply

  3. Mon Said: Comment by Mon on December 4, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
     

    You said that you have some suspicions about Kei Lo like is he acting strangely or is he hiding something?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Don’t want to spoil anything, but as I said in the review I could just be overthinking a few panels in the book where it could just be a bit of weird writing for some of his dialog. In general they don’t seem to be in hinting towards him still working for Ukano, but that could be the point to make an eventual reveal all the more shocking.

    Reply

    Rezi Reply:

    You know what is strange is that even if Ukano knew that Kei Lo would betray them in part 1 why didn’t he send him where Mai was supposed to be or better question why did he stop him when he helped Zuko

    Reply

  4. Avatar101 Said: Comment by Avatar101 on December 5, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink
     

    Do we get more information about Mai’s character?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    That is a pretty general question, I don’t think we learn anything inherently new about her in the sense that there are no big reveals related to her. She does remain an important character here and the plots/character development arcs set up in part 1 are continued. There are some very good Mai moments that show a little bit more of her emotional/caring side.

    Reply

  5. NONO Said: Comment by NONO on December 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
     

    Is Komurikage a real spirit or something else ?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Don’t want to spoil it, but I will say questions about what they are are answered more or less in full in this book.

    Reply

  6. Avatar of stefan
    stefan Said: Comment by stefan on December 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
     

    Is there any mention of Azula in part 2?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Yes, but that is all I will say about her until the book is released.

    Reply

  7. tony Said: Comment by tony on December 6, 2015 at 5:10 am | Permalink
     

    Ty Lee and Suki are still in the story ?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    They are still present, not as much pagetime as in Part 1 though.

    Reply

  8. Oti Said: Comment by Oti on December 7, 2015 at 4:44 am | Permalink
     

    I read somewhere that the relationship between Mai and Kai Lo is based on one big lie ?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Where did you read that?

    Edit/ After seeing the comment by Six I think I get what you mean. Yes their relationship did initially start out as Mai using Kei Lo to get info on the New Ozai Society and it later developed into her liking him at least to some degree. Part 2 delves more into her true feelings for Kei Lo.

    Reply

    Dan Reply:

    the only problem is that she also has real feelings for Zuko even if she dont want to admit now

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Indeed, this is definitely explored in part 2 a lot. I am very interested to see how they resolve the romances in part 3. If they don’t do any big character turn with Kei Lo I can potentially see them having Kei Lo and Ty Lee be a couple and obviously Mai and Zuko get back together.

    Exe Reply:

    so Mai has feelings for both guys but for which one she has the strongest feelings

    Reply

    Six Reply:

    generally this whole relationship is strange for me first Kei Lo tried involve Mai in to joining her father organization then Mai went into a relationship with Kei Lo so that she could use her new boyfriend as a spy and now they started going out with each other after Kei Lo saved Zuko and after Mai’s father told her that it was Zuko who rejected her.

    Reply

  9. Rufus Said: Comment by Rufus on December 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink
     

    in the review you mentioned that Kei Lo is interesting but not an incredibly deep character

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    It is true, I think he is a cool enough character, but he happens to be placed in a position which makes him hard to fully get behind, he is basically just a roadblock for Mai and Zuko getting back together so most of his involvement in the story is in a romantic sense and a romance that most assume won’t last, so why not spend more time on him as an individual than him in a relationship.. So we don’t know much about him outside of that Mai is dating him now. I hope they do something in part 3 that makes him more interesting.

    Reply

    Mak Reply:

    This is true, for example, Ikem and Satoru they have more deep character then Kei Lo of which we only know that he is an orphan who was looking for place in his life and that was the reason why he first joined Ukano’s group and started to date Mai

    Reply

  10. Aan Said: Comment by Aan on December 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
     

    is there any possibility that Ty Lee may have something for Kei Lo in part 2 : )

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    They don’t really get to interact in part 2, Ty Lee is only in it for a little bit.

    Reply

  11. Lon Said: Comment by Lon on December 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
     

    do you think Mai will confront Azula in part 3

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Azula has issues with a lot of characters. Mai and Ty Lee, Ursa, Zuko and even Kiyi to some extent. For me Ursa seems like the most important confrontation for Azula, but Mai is very important too. THe only thing with Mai is that she also has a lot of things to be resolved, her issues with her father, getting her brother back, the romance stuff with Kei Lo and Zuko and potentially something with Azula.

    If they do have her confront Mai I think Ty Lee will be involved too since they referenced that in Part 1.

    Reply

  12. Lak Said: Comment by Lak on December 8, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink
     

    do you think that in part 3 will be some shocking twists

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Hard to say, there is certainly the potential for some, but whether they will do something that is truly shocking I am not sure. I think there will be some surprises and we may not be able to fully predict what happens, but I don’t see anything crazy happening.

    Reply

  13. Uno Said: Comment by Uno on December 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
     

    i was checking some old interviews of Gene Yang and i found the one about Smoke and Shadow in CBR there was question about Zuko’s daughter and if the fans will start see seeds of Zuko’s future in Smoke and Shadow Gene said: ” I think we’re going to hint at pieces in the future, but we’re not going to–we’re going to hint”

    Reply

  14. Avatar of NikkitaTheMetahuman
    NikkitaTheMetahuman Said: Comment by NikkitaTheMetahuman on December 9, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
     

    Ursa said she was thinking of Azula in Part 1. Does she do anything similar to this in the few panels she’s in in Part ?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    The Ursa stuff here is more focused on Ursa being overly protective of Kiyi and trying to fix things with her.

    Reply

    Avatar of NikkitaTheMetahuman

    NikkitaTheMetahuman Reply:

    Thanx Airspeed Prime :)

    Reply

  15. Avatar of NikkitaTheMetahuman
    NikkitaTheMetahuman Said: Comment by NikkitaTheMetahuman on December 9, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
     

    Ursa said she was thinking of Azula in Part 1. Does she do anything similar to this in the few panels she’s in in Part 2?

    Reply

  16. Mark Said: Comment by Mark on December 9, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
     

    I think it’s obvious that Azula showing up is the cliffhanger, but is she in any way involved with the Kemurikage? Because that would make little sense given the ending of “The Search”.

    Reply

    Avatar of NikkitaTheMetahuman

    NikkitaTheMetahuman Reply:

    I alo think Azula showing up is the obvious cliffhanger too Mark, but I’m hoping Azula isn’t involved with the Kemurikage as it would probably ruin her chances of redemption with her family, mainly Ursa. And after that breakthrough Zuko made with her near the end of The Search, when he told her he loved her as his sister no matter what, it would seem like she would be throwing it all away if she’s with the Kemurikage.

    Reply

    Mark Reply:

    I’d accept her being WITH the Kemurikage if they’re the ones who brought her in with them, since even with her breakthrough she’s still a mentally unwell girl and very easily led astray by negative influences.

    If she’s BEHIND the Kemurikage, THAT would be shit writing. Not only does it regress her, but there is literally NO WAY the damaged Azula we saw in “The Search” has the capacity to put that kind of plan together and influence others. It made it pretty clear that the strategic, manipulative leader from the TV show is long gone.

    But I’m sure there will be a confrontation between her and Ursa. Not only have they yet to truly meet again (she only met Ursa’s brainwashed alter-ego) but Ursa’s whole plotline in this comic revolves around Azula and Kiyi; her guilt over failing the first daughter is what’s causing her overprotectiveness of the other, while said other daughter continues to reject her and act increasingly more like little Azula. While Azula has unfinished business with Mai and Ty Lee too, the relationship with Ursa (and by extension Kiyi) is the important one here.

    Reply

  17. Oz Said: Comment by Oz on December 12, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink
     

    did Mai admitted that she is finish with Zuko

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    No, there are many scenes that show she still cares for him. There is just so much going on, they have not had a chance to talk 1 on 1 that much.

    Reply

    satori Reply:

    Yep is true but I suspect that she is trying just to avoid the fact that she has feelings for him that’s why she is still with Kei Lo

    Reply

  18. Mu Said: Comment by Mu on December 12, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
     

    what is the interaction between Kei Lo and Zuko except that they respect each other

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    They don’t have any scenes where they just talk to each other, the focus is more on Mai’s relationship with Kei Lo and Zuko rather than the two guys. I just like how even though it is clear that both Zuko and Kei Lo both like Mai that they don’t seem to have an issue with each other and in fact seem to respect each other. This more comes from Part 1 where Zuko stuck up for Kei Lo and there is a scene in part 2 where Kei Lo sticks up for Zuko. I would not quite call them friends because they have not interacted too much, Part 3 may have the romance stuff create an issue between the two, but for now they don’t seem to be going down that road.

    Reply

    Akira Reply:

    Kei Lo sticks up for Zuko ? I hope that Zuko didn’t do something stupid to piss Mai off

    Reply

  19. Avatar of NikkitaTheMetahuman
    NikkitaTheMetahuman Said: Comment by NikkitaTheMetahuman on December 15, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink
     

    “We get the return of a minor ATLA character, no one huge that will make the fandom freak out, but this character is well used, I definitely perked up a bit when I saw this character on the page, a very nice use of a show character that makes complete sense”

    Can you spoil if this minor ATLA character is male or female please?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    You will find out tomorrow, my spoiler review says who it is.

    Reply

 

Leave a Comment

Queries: 172 queries in 0.867 seconds.
15137472fdfcca9b48c72b83cfc3f443729a9693f432a7751f