The Rift Part 1 Spoiler Free Review

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What a day for me in terms of Avatar comics, I got The Search Hardcover this morning in my local comic store and reviewed it and then this afternoon I was sent a digital review copy of The Rift Part 1 from Dark Horse. So major thanks to Dark Horse for that. That out of the way lets get into a spoiler free 1 month early review of The Rift Part 1.

The Rift Part 1

The Rift Part 1

Written By: Gene Luen 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

I will do my best to avoid giving away too much with this review, but naturally to review the book I will have to talk about some things that happen in the book, otherwise this will be a frustratingly vague review and as a fan I know what it feels like to read a review that tells you nothing.

For me my main thoughts on this book are that it seems like the most free comic so far. What I mean by that is that the previous two series “The Promise” and “The Search” were both natural progressions from Avatar The Last Airbender in that The Promise dealt with the lingering issues of the Fire Nation colonies and our main characters beginning to become world leaders and having to make the big decisions while The Search of course dealt with the big question of what happened to Ursa as well as moving Azula’s story on. At the end of The Search all that is really set up is that something will happen with Azula down the line and nothing plot wise from the show is in dire need of resolution. So The Rift is really the first opportunity for the comics to really cover brand new ground where they are not just continuing threads from ATLA, that said it does deal with some unresolved ATLA stuff (Primarily Toph and her issues with her parents is getting some focus). I know most of the fan reaction to the announcement of The Rift has been a lot of “I am not really sure what to expect” and I completely agreed with that, I liked going into this book not having a clue where things were going.

After reading Part 1 my main reaction is that it is different to what we have gotten so far and much of that is down to not knowing what to expect and the comics progressing into a whole new period for these characters. It is not a mind blowingly amazing comic by any stretch, there are no massive world shattering reveals or events, but it is an intriguing start to the series. I think the main talking points when the fandom gets their hands on this book will be the mystery. I will reference the description here.

Avatar Aang asks his friends to help him honor Yangchen’s Festival — one of the highest Air Nomad holidays, which hasn’t been celebrated in over one hundred years.

But cryptic visits from the spirit of Avatar Yangchen herself lead Aang to discover a jointly owned Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom refinery — operating on land sacred to the Airbenders! Is this the cause of the pollution Aang finds there, or is a more mysterious menace afoot?

There is a lot of mystery surrounding these visits from YangChen in that they are not your normal visits from a past Avatar, Aang never contacted the past Avatars in The Search and so we have not seen him do it since severing contact with Roku. While it is not specifically mentioned in the book I have a feeling we could be getting some progression with this issue. The mystery does not just stop with YangChen, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Yangchen festival and the statue seen in the preview and description as well as the mysterious pollution mentioned in the description that does not appear to be caused by the refinery not to mention a shocking vision that Aang receives!

Speaking of that refinery, we get some extra insight into the relations between the nations now that Yu Dao is a joint Earth and Fire Nation place, the precursor to Republic City. The refinery is in fact the first joint business venture between the two nations and they hire workers from all nations (Not including Air Nomads for obvious reasons). It is through  this refinery that we get an idea of what the rift from the title is referring to. Toph and Aang begin to butt heads a bit over whether it was right or wrong to build a refinery on sacred grounds. A real conflict between technological progress and keeping traditions. I found it an interesting character dynamic, they managed to have the characters be at odds without it being a friendship ending type of situation like The Promise nearly presented. They are both well written, Gene Yang is really getting a good grasp of the characters, this really felt like an episode of ATLA.

The Rift Page 1

The opening page of The Rift Part 1, new fancy clothes for Team Avatar.

As suspected Zuko, Azula and Ursa are not in Part 1, their absence (Zuko and Ursa’s not Azula) is explained early on so I assume we will get another Royal Family focused series down the line. Our main group of characters we follow is: Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph and 3 of Aang’s air acolytes: Yee-Li and Xing Ying from The Promise as well as a new Air Acolyte Jingbo a younger boy with glasses. They work well with the group as noted from the preview they are there because the journey starts as a field trip to celebrate the Yangchen festival, we see Aang teaching them the ways of the Air Nomads at times where we see how eager they are.

We also get to meet some other new characters as well as some returning faces. A small but interesting part of the story was when Katara meets two girls she knew from her tribe, it was not really touched on too much, but there is set up for something. We also get to see some of Toph’s softer side when she develops a crush on a new character!

I feel I have said too much already so I will move away from plot and characters and into some final thoughts. I mentioned at the start that this is not a mind blowing book, it does not have the intensity and drama of The Search, but it is fascinating because Toph is getting more of a spotlight in this series and looking back on ATLA she is the main character who does need a big spotlight as she got the least development. It is new and different to the other comic series. If there is any negative it would mainly that it is a lot of set up, as I said earlier on there are no massive reveals for the most part, the cliffhanger is good and should make Part 2 and 3 fascinating reads, but many fans may see it coming. You are kind of left feeling like not a lot happened, but all of the mystery and good character moments will promote discussion, the kind of stuff you expect from a part one, it has to introduce the story and that is what it does. For me Toph and her parents being touched upon again is enough for me to buy this book, everything else is a bonus, in this case a lot of good stuff.

Art as ever is great from Team Gurihiru, honestly what needs to be said that I have not said in my reviews of the previous 6 comics. They are so consistent it is scary. Highlights would be the refinery, they really make it look great even though it is just a factory. Plus they make Sokka look great messing around on a forklift! He loves inventions.

So when this book comes out on March 5th in comic stores and March 18th in regular book stores I would recommend picking it up. The trend of good Avatar comics seems to be continuing.

I will do my usual spoiler review on March 4th or 5th. Feel free to ask me questions about the book in the comments below!

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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.

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Comments - 14 Posts

  1. Troy Said: Comment by Troy on February 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
     

    http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/sokka/images/31587838/title/adult-sokka-photo

    This explains Sokka’s new look. Katara’s new look is my favorite of the teams. I’ll try not to ask you to much in the nest month on podcast intermissions Morgan.

    Reply

  2. PRgirl94 Said: Comment by PRgirl94 on February 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
     

    “We also get to see some of Toph’s softer side when she develops a crush on a new character!”

    Ooh, that sounds like a big clue to the biggest mystery of “The Legend of Korra”, who is Lin Beifong’s father?

    Reply

  3. stefan Said: Comment by stefan on February 5, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
     

    Logically, Azula is with Zuko and Ursa’s family in The Capital City. She wasn’t mentioned because the context of the conversation between Iroh and Team Avatar didn’t required it. A good a question to ask Gene Yang in a possible upcoming interview would be about future comics.

    Did Suki appear in the comic? Regardless, it is going to be awesome.

    Reply

    PRgirl94 Reply:

    Uh, how is it logical that Azula is with Zuko and Ursa and her family? In case you didn’t read the end of “The Search Part 3”, she ran off into a forest and disappeared. If they had found her between that time, I’m sure that it would have said so in this comic and this reviewer wouldn’t have said otherwise.

    Reply

    stefan Reply:

    Team Avatar waited for her after she ran away in the end of The Search since they and Zuko watched over her. The events of The Search proved that the visions Azula had of Ursa were true. She gave up the throne and killing Ursa in The Search Part 3 according to the visions she had in The Search Parts 1 and 2 that told her her beautiful destiny is not the throne, Ursa loved her, returning home which was not in The Forgetful Valley. Also, Ursa realized she didn’t loved Zuko and Azula properly. So as a part of fixing her mistake was waiting for Azula or looking for her.

    I could be wrong, but if Team Avatar knew why Zuko wouldn’t be in Yu Dao, they wouldn’t bring him up in their conversation with Iroh. It could mean Zuko, Azula and Team Avatar returned to The Capital City before Ursa and her new family visited it.

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Suki is not in the comic, Azula’s disappearance still needs to be addressed as it would not make sense to resolve a big moment in The Search in between books with no mention.
    It means Ikem and Kiyi not Azula when it says family.

    Reply

    stefan Reply:

    I agree with you and I know Zuko and Azula aren’t members of Ursa’s new family. Probably, the visions of Ursa Azula had in The Search can provide the answer as I mentioned in my reply to PRgirl94. It is an educated guess and one of the possibilites of course. Eventually, she can return home as her visions of her mother told her. The next comics if it is announced and it is about The Fire Nation Royal Family can show its course of events.

    The free comic about Suki could explain why she wasn’t inYu Dao.

    Reply

  4. F.L.Z Said: Comment by F.L.Z on February 6, 2014 at 4:35 am | Permalink
     

    Toph got crash on someone?Amazingggggggggggg!I can’t wait for it!but one question:are we met this guy before in series or not?

    Reply

    F.L.Z Reply:

    sorry I have to correct:have we met this guy before in series or not?

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    No, he is a new character just introduced in this comic. His name is Satoru.

    Reply

    stefan Reply:

    I think Satoru means wise and intelligent in Japanese. Based on the meaning of his name, his personality might be similar to Sokka’s.

    F.L.Z Reply:

    Wow!a new character!That’s awesome!I can’t wait for it!

  5. Shiney Said: Comment by Shiney on February 6, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink
     

    I was hoping to see Suki play a larger role in this comic, but other than that, I’m looking forward to this story. I like that we’ve now reached a point where the comics are more ‘free’ and will get more of it’s own domain, telling stories that of course builds on the world and the characters, but has it’s own plot-threads, rather than picking up loose ends from the show, (the last two series+the Mai comics have actually created a lot of new unfinished plotlines of their own, which will probably be explored in following series). Maybe the more independent plot will make people more open to the comics, because it’s kind of ‘unexplored area’, where they won’t conflict with expectations and headcanons so much.

    I know the story is mainly Aang and Toph’s, but I hope Sokka and Katara’s characters will get a subplot independently, as they’ve been kind of sidelined in the previous issues (especially The Search). Yanchen is one of my favorite former Avatars, so I’m excited we’ll learn more about her. Toph getting a crush sounds interesting, too! It’s probably not Lin’s dad, though.

    Reply

  6. YangChen Said: Comment by YangChen on February 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
     

    Oh my gosh I can’t wait I love all the comics so much

    Reply

 

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