Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part Two (Dark Horse)

Fans of the acclaimed animated series by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino can continue the adventure! Friendships and loyalties are tested as the drums of war seemed poised to strike once more. What’s an Avatar to do when friends break promises, and all the choices before him lead to chaos?

 

76 pgs. full color; $10.99 hardcover
(W: Gene Luen Yang: A: GuriHiru) 
 
Continuing the storyline of The Promise Part One, peace still eludesAvatar Aang in Part Two as he and his friends try to patch up a world broken by a century of war. Aang is faced with a new war brewing between his friend, Fire Lord Zuko, and the Earth King, Kuei. Zuko is struggling to find his own way as Fire Lord, and engages the aid of his father, the now-imprisoned Ozai, for some dubious advice. But is Ozai really giving wisdom to his son, or merely toying with him? Meanwhile, Toph’s attempts to start her own metalbending academy hit a rocky patch (Ha! Bad earthbending pun.) when her students are kicked out by a rival firebending master and his students, and Sokka proposes an epic battle to the…sit…to determine ownership of the dojo. Can Toph mold her pupils into metalbenders in time?
 
The Promise Part Two continues to explore the theme of finding one’s place in a world, and what to do when outside expectations conflict with your own identity. Unlike Part One, I got a sense that writer Gene Yang (American Born Chinese) may be trying to take the Avatar-verse and this storyline in its own direction. The humor displayed in Part One is still there in the form of Sokka and Toph’s adventure, but some aspects of Yang’s writing surprised me, and seemed slightly off from the established character personalities that I observed in the TV series; most notably, that of Zuko seeking his father’s advice. While rationally it makes sense that a young ruler trying to learn the ins and outs of kingship would seek counsel from his predecessor, given the history of Zuko and Ozai in the series I was stunned that Zuko went to Ozai first, and not to the established father-figure of his Uncle Iroh. Without spoiling the story too much, I was also surprised at the sudden shift in Zuko and Mai’s relationship, as well as what appeared to be a possible change in role for Suki, leader of the Kyoshi warriors. For longtime fans of the show, some nerves may be grated. Finally, one additional indication that Yang is aiming for a more mature storyline is the introduction of the same-sex relationship between rebel Sneers and Kori, daughter of Yu Dao’s mayor. Their relationship is also at stake, as Sneers wants Kori to choose between her and the Earth Kingdom, or Kori’s Fire Nation colony and home, Yu Dao. 
 
Artistic team GuriHiru continues to do an excellent job keeping the look and feel of all the characters, which makes reading The Promise all the more engaging. Toph’s metalbending students and the Avatar Aang Fanclub girls all look like they could have been in the show, and are well-crafted. The coloring and panels all also continue to be excellent, and I had no problem following the flow of storytelling, nor felt that any mood lighting was misplaced.
 
Overall, The Promise Part Two this is an engaging second part of this three-part miniseries, and I am excited to see what ultimately happens! | Elizabeth Schweitzer
 
Click here for a preview of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part Two, courtesy of Dark Horse!

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