Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 1 Review

The Promise Cover new

Hello comic fans, this is Airspeed Prime here. As some of you may know if you read my review of The Lost Adventures, I am the site’s comic reviewer and I am here today to review Avatar The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 1 which is out today (January 25th) in comic stores (February 7th for book stores and sites like Amazon). I would have liked to put this review out early to help you guys make a decision on if you want to get the book or not, but unlike many comic sites and a few other Avatar sites out there we did not get a review copy from Dark Horse 🙁

Now to start off I think we first need to realise just how important this graphic novel series is for the Avatar universe and fandom. This book is going to continue on the ATLA story and bridge the original series and Korra, so it serves two purposes and are 2 great reasons alone to buy this book. It has been about 3 and half years at this stage since ATLA ended and we have had that time to think about what happens next as not everything was resolved, so with this series we are finally going to get some answers and see what the end of the War brings to the Avatar world. Now on to the fact that this is a comic and not animation, many fans when they first heard about this series wondered why it was not going to be episodes, I completely understand this, but we do know from The Lost Adventures that Avatar can work so well in comic form, many of those stories felt just like watching an episode and this book is even better.

So after my fairly lengthy intro I will get into my review which I will split into non spoiler and spoiler parts. I feel like there is not much I can say about the book if I do not mention any details.

My Review

Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 1

Avatar The Promise

Written by: Gene Yang

Art and Colours by: Team Gurihiru (Art and inks by Sasaki with Colours by Kawano)

Published By: Dark Horse Comics

So I will start with my non spoiler review. Basically my overall opinion on this book is that it is amazing, very well written and stunningly illustrated. What this book does so well is that it deals with exactly what you know still needs to be resolved at the end of ATLA, so if we remember how the show ended, Aang beat Ozai, Katara and Zuko beat Azula, OWL took back Ba Sing Se thus ending the war and bringing peace to the world. Yes right up until peace in the world, because the War is over yes, but can the other nations so quickly begin to trust the fire nation again, can the world even have peace after 100 years of war.

The promise page 1

Page 1 of the book, glorious art and a fantastic reference to the show.

So there are problems still to be resolved, and this book is the perfect introduction back into the Avatar world 1 year on from the finale. We begin with Katara narrating (a great reference to ATLA) and we catch up to where the show ended and get more after that before we move on a year later. Part 1 is a lot of introduction, which may come across as a flaw, but it is not, the book is specifically called part 1 so obviously it will have the job of getting us back into things a year on. That said the story flows very well and has a nice pace; it is never bogged down in too much explanation and is never too fast paced. It has the feel of the Ba Sing Se story arc from the show and In my opinion just as interesting.

Page 40

Here is a great reference, Sokka refers to Smellerbee as a "he" and is later corrected by Katara, referencing Iroh's confusion.

You can see throughout the book the quality of the writing and the amount of care an attention that went into making this book perfect, the references to the show are great and quite obscure at times and it is clear that Gene Yang knows how to write the characters and you can tell that Mike and Bryan were involved too. The writing is good, but the Art is even better, Team Gurihiru was an inspired choice to do the art for this series. Their style is easily recognisable as Avatar without it being a copy of the animation style, what makes their style so good here is that it is slightly more cartoon-ey than the show, which allows the expressions to be extremely clear and characterful which is crucial in a comic medium where you do not have animation to show it. The art is consistent with only a few panels looking slightly messy, but it is not really too noticeable.

Comic Comparison

The book is the same "digest" size as The Lost Adventures, obviously is is a shorter book being a graphic novel. The size does not lessen the art and makes the book cheaper.

So to finish off my non spoiler review, this book is a must buy for any Avatar fan regardless of how you feel about comics. It is worth the less than €10 you can get it for from Amazon, you get 80 glorious pages of Avatar art, the continuation of the show and another piece of Avatar merchandise! What is not to like? The story is set up very well in this part 1, my only negative is not really a fair complaint as it is dependent on what is in part 2. It is some of the stuff we do not see, no Iroh, no Azula, no Sukka (Sokka Suki relationship scenes), but as I said this stuff may be explored in the other 2 parts and is not a negative on what this book does cover. Part 2 cannot come soon enough for me, it is going to be difficult to wait until May 30th for the next instalment.




So now on to the spoiler section of my review (plus some thoughts)

Page 23

Zuko is a big focus in this book, he is the new Fire Lord with major issues to handle.

I think the first big thing to talk about here is the big point of issue among fans when we saw half of the book in a preview. That being how Zuko is portrayed in this book, now personally I think the way he is here is perfect. I think many fans, mainly big Zuko fans make the mistake of thinking that Zuko is fully developed as a character at the end of the show and that he will never have to struggle or make a mistake again. This is not correct because of 2 reasons: The first one is that he does not know what is the fate of his mother, the second one being that he does not know how to run the fire nation fully yet. These are also two things that only Ozai knows, 2 things that still give Ozai something to hold over Zuko, 2 things Zuko needs to have resolved. So yes this book may be a bit hard for huge Zuko fans to read especially the final panels, but we do not know what Ozai wants nor do we know if Zuko will even do anything Ozai says. Also we know that Zuko and Aang together found United Republic, so he gets through this situation ok  :). Also Iroh is not present in this book, so Zuko does not have his mentor and true father figure to help him.


That leads nicely into why Zuko is struggling as Fire Lord. The reason is the main plot of these books, what to do regarding the Fire Nation colonies and the conflict this starts between himself and Aang mainly because Zuko is unsure if he, as Firelord, should side with his people or with his friend, The Avatar, both on opposite sides of the issue. King Kuei wants to put his “Harmony Restoration Movement” in to action where the Fire Nation people in the colonies are relocated back to the Fire Nation. Should they allow them to stay as they are and effectively allow the fire nation to keep that Earth Kingdom land (King Kuei mentions that his people think of the colonies as an “old scar” of the war) or return the colonials to the Fire Nation, uprooting innocent civilians. It is a lose lose situation for everyone, now clearly this is leading up to the fact that Yu Dao will be the origin of United Republic, Katara even sort of suggests that Idea of a 4 nations nation and is definitely being set up as being the neutral in this issue as she notices and is intrigued by the people of Yu Dao being two nations together. Back to the struggle, Zuko is at first sided with Aang completely as he says in his speech in the finale, but after an altercation with the mayor of Yu Dao he changes his mind. Throughout his arc in this story we get insights into what he is thinking and the stress he is under, assassination attempts on his life (one by Kori, the mayor of Yu Dao’s daughter), big decisions, not wanting to become like his father. Aang also has some nice moments in relation to this issue, he has to help the world heal after a 100 year war and has it set in his mind what Roku said to Sozin that the four nations must remain 4. The problem with this is that it is not that simple any more, the colonies are well established now, in these colonies the nations are mixing and as seen here marrying and having kids. I think what will make Aang realise that his way of thinking is not correct is his relationship with Katara, they are both from Different nations and his own view is effectively against his own relationship, not to mention Sokka and Suki too.

Page 37

Aang asks Roku for advice about "The Promise" he made to Zuko

This leads into my next point. The Promise, the name of the series, what does it refer to? As I said above, Zuko does not want to become like Ozai, so he asks Aang to promise to end him if he ever does as he does not fully trust himself to make the right decision. Zuko makes one of the most mature and clear decisions of his life here, he does not want to do another 220. Aang agrees. So with Zuko under so much stress and making bad decisions, we see where The Promise comes into play. It is not the complete focus in part 1, but is clearly set up for something big later, possibly involving what Ozai’s motives are and what he will want from Zuko in exchange for advice.

Page 11

KATAANG is present in this book, they are now in a relationship and are clearly in love.

The final thing I want to discuss is Aang and Katara’s relationship in this book. It is a year on from that Kiss and the two are full on Boyfriend and Girlfriend, they are truly in love and what is great is that they are purposefully portrayed as overly romantic towards each other which is nicely lampshaded in the book by Sokka constantly being grossed out by them. They call each other “Sweetie” a lot, I admit it is used too much, but I think it is on purpose to give Sokka “oogies” ammunition. I love the way they were not portrayed in here as having constant arguments, they started out as friends and have the communication down already, they have an overly sweet relationship, but not every ship needs to be dark and full of arguments. This is a nice change. Now I think what is being set up is that Katara and Aang will have an argument and question their relationship, Sokka will realise then that they are better together and get over his “oogies” to help them get back together.

Page 34

Toph as usual being EPIC without even trying.

So in summary, get this book. It is not expensive, it is 100% canon and you will be missing out if you don’t get it. I know many Avatar fans are not comic fans, but what better time to start than with an Avatar comic and excellent quality Avatar comic. An amazing opening and intro into this series’ story, if Part 2 and 3 can keep up this quality then this is shaping up to be an unmissable series.

The Promise Part 2

The Cover for Part 2, out May 30th in Comic stores and June 12th in book stores. I cannot wait.

One final thing. As many of you know Amazon leaked half of this book in their preview, it pretty much showed off the entire story and it either put people off the story or made them like it more. I can assure you that the 40 pages not in this preview adds so much context into what happens at various parts in the book.

I hope you enjoyed this review, please tell us how you liked the comic in the comments below or in the threads in our forum.

Non Spoiler Discussion

Spoiler Discussion

Post your own review here

Here is my video review of The Promise Part 1, I tried to discuss things I did not mention in my review


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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.

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Comments - 24 Posts

  1. avatar Said: Comment by avatar on January 25, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Cool. Really wonder how Zuko’s struggles are like. Gonna definitle get it.


  2. uber avatar fan Said: Comment by uber avatar fan on January 25, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I ordered it on amazon so I’m not getting it for another 2 weeks. 2 weeks of surviving of of fan fiction, I guess that’s not so bad


  3. Anymai Said: Comment by Anymai on January 25, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I saw many pages form it. It seams great 😉


  4. Kelly Said: Comment by Kelly on January 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys I pre ordered it so I haven’t read it yet. Still today is an amazing day where the continuation of avatar begins! Once I get and read it ill join in discussion. So have fun 🙂


  5. clintoshoto Said: Comment by clintoshoto on January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m finally gonna get it this week. Good work on the non-spoiler review! It makes me more excited to finally start reading it :]


  6. sydmun17 Said: Comment by sydmun17 on January 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I got it today and it’s awesome 🙂 Although super hard to find. The comic book store only had one! Great review airspeed prime!!


    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    I noticed that too, My comic store only had 2 copies and I was there 20 minutes after they opened.
    I am sure they will see the overall sales for the book and up their orders for Part 2 and get in some more part 1.


  7. XMomoXisXepicX Said: Comment by XMomoXisXepicX on January 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting this at the end of February!!! I can’t wait to read this, it’ll be more epic than Momo!


  8. Gadani13 Said: Comment by Gadani13 on January 27, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to read it! I’m a huge Zuko fan but I see his personality like he is, so this sounds awesome!
    Some other fans will be dissapointed I guess…


  9. uber avatar fan Said: Comment by uber avatar fan on January 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    OMG I just found out that I am getting the book on January 31 and not February 10. That’s like a week and a half early! 😀


  10. yashira Said: Comment by yashira on January 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    wauuuu excelentes comentarios! me pregunto si por aquí llegará este maravilloso comic traducido al castellano, me muero por leerlo!!!


    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    I don’t speak spanish, but if my online translator was correct I should be able to answer you. Though perhaps @arthan is better equipped to handle this question.

    If you are looking for a spanish edition of the comic, I believe you will have to go to your local comic store, who may have it, or you may have to order it in.
    Otherwise you should perhaps try spanish amazon.


    Arthan Reply:

    Hola Yashira, supongo que eres española como yo (¡al fin otro compatriota!) 🙂

    Respecto a tu pregunta, lamentablemente no creo que se traduzca al castellano ninguno de los cómics, al menos de momento.
    Los cómics de Dark Horse los traducen y publican en España Norma Editorial y Planeta de Agostini, y no tienen nada de Avatar ni parece que tengan previsión de hacer nada proximamente.

    Yo tengo algunos en inglés: “The Art of the Animated Series”, “The Lost Adventures” y he pedido “The Promise p.1”.

    Encantado de saludarte y espero verte más por aquí.

    Translation to English:
    Hi Yashira, I guess you are from Spain like me (At last!, another fellow compatriot!) 🙂

    Regarding to your question, unfortunately I don’t think the comics will be translated to Spanish, at least by now.
    Dark Horse comics are translated and published in Spain by “Norma Editorial” and “Planeta de Agostini”, and they don’t have nothing from Avatar and it seems they have nothing planned.

    I have some of the publications in English: “The Art of the Animated Series”, “The Lost Adventures” and have ordered “The Promise p.1”.

    I’m pleased to meet you and I hope I’ll see you around.


    yashira Reply:

    Hola Arthan! ps soy de latinoamérica, y muy entusiasta de la serie, un placer saludarte =)
    Tenía la esperanza de poder leer “The promise” en español, pero ni modo, deberían pensar también en los fans de habla hispana y distribuir sus comics traducidos.


    Arthan Reply:

    Tienes razón, es una pena que no los traduzcan, pero supongo que es una cuestión económica.
    De cualquier forma, por los cómics anteriores no me parece un inglés demasiado complicado, ¿no crees que serías capaz de leerlo?

    You are right, it’s a pity they don’t translate it to Spanish, but I guess it’s an economic matter.
    Anyway, by the previous comics I think it’s not a too much complicated English, don’t you think you would be able to read it?

    yashira Reply:

    ps no, no es que sea imposible, pero la lectura sería más ágil si estuviera en español XDD de hecho estuve viendo los avances de “La promesa 1” y me he quedado O.O (parece que Ozai se salió con la suya y logró que Zuko uera a pedirle “asesoramiento” (la sonrisa de Ozai al final lo dice todo, ¡qué miedo!)


  11. Renae Said: Comment by Renae on February 2, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I would really love to see the animated version come out. Its my favorite cartoon of all time. And Im 41yrs old.


  12. Arthan Said: Comment by Arthan on February 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Finally! The copy of “The Promise” that I ordered is in my hands! 🙂
    It was in the mailbox when I came back from work.
    Now I will read it and post my opinion here.


  13. mahdi Said: Comment by mahdi on February 14, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    i love this comic


  14. Water-Tribe Heart Said: Comment by Water-Tribe Heart on July 7, 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    im going to be getting The Promise parts 1, 2, and 3! im super excited. (: but is there any other ATLA comics that i would be interested in, and are the making Korra comic books? if so, would amazon have them? im wanting to get as many comics as possible so i will fully know how the Avatar lore goes. (:


    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    There is only 1 other Avatar comic out now besides The Promise Part 1 and 2.
    That is The Lost Adventures.
    It is 28 Avatar stories 26 of which are in canon. The book is about 250 pages long and the stories take place in between episodes of the show.

    I review that book here.

    Also make sure to keep update as to when The Search Comics are coming out, The Mystery of Zuko’s mom will be explored in them along with more Azula 🙂

    No Korra comics announced yet, but with the success of the comics already out so far, I think it is pretty certain that we will get Korra comics at some stage.


  15. AVATAR FAN 101 Said: Comment by AVATAR FAN 101 on July 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    i bought the part 1 🙂


  16. AVATAR FAN 101 Said: Comment by AVATAR FAN 101 on July 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    and i might buy the part 2


  17. LindseyFC13 Said: Comment by LindseyFC13 on April 15, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I just put this on hold from the library. I can’t wait to read it! I hope it has a lot of my favorite characters.



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