- In this world, there are people who can manipulate the elements through use of their mental prowess, and specific martial arts forms. Not everyone can do this. It seems to be genetic, so if you’re not one of these “benders,” you’re out of luck. No learning it later in life.
- The nations of the world are split up into groups depending on what elements they can bend.
- The Avatar is an… entity (I’ll leave personal theories out of this…) that is reborn into different nations. He or She is able to bend all the elements, and speak with spirits. Basically, the Buddha.
- The story begins with the current Avatar dying, and the new Avatar being born (not really, but the chronology of the narrative sees this as important).
- The new Avatar, Aang, is our protagonist. He runs away from his responsibilities and ends up frozen in an ice berg.
- Time skip 100 years into the future.
- The Fire Nation has started a war with the rest of the world, because screw those guys. It’s been going on all 100 years Aang missed.
- Aang makes friends and has adventures while mastering all the elements. His final team is: Aang (Avatar), Katara (Water Bending Teacher), Toph (Earth Bending Teacher), Zuko (Fire Bending Teacher), and Sokka (The Idea and Sarcasm Guy).
- Aang eventually confronts the Fire Lord (Zuko’s father), defeats him, seals his bending (because Avatars can do that, apparently), and the day is saved.
Pick up with “The Promise.” At this point, Zuko has assumed leadership of the Fire Nation after his father was dethroned and the world is getting its business back together. Now, the first two installments of the comic have been out for a while, so we know that the plot revolves around removing Fire Nation colonies that were established in the Earth Kingdom during the war.
This comic actually does a lot for some characters, and not much for others. Sokka is still Sokka, and Katara is basically still Katara. Toph sees a bit of development as we get some insight into her feelings about having created a new form of bending (Metal Bending, because Toph is a god damned boss) and the responsibility she has to teach it to others. That’s primarily “The Promise: Part 2” though.
In Part 3, we see a lot about how Zuko is struggling with “doing right by his people” who have grown up and lived in the Earth Kingdom their whole lives, but are still Fire Nation citizens. How he feels about “doing what his father would have done.”
It’s really a great look at one of my favorite characters from the series. Zuko was always one of the more complicated characters as the “reformed villain.” But now he’s the “reformed villain that may not actually be all that formed.” It’s a really awesome read if you’re the fan of the series, and especially if you’re a fan of Zuko.
Aang has kinda just been Aang with his idealism and panic at the thought of confrontation. He’s still cool, but he’s not really much different yet. There is another series after this one entitled “The Search”, which hopefully will see some development in Aang, but it really promises to be Zuko centric again. Which is a good thing in my eyes.
This entire series, both of them actually, (Promise and Search) being mainly focused on Zuko’s development makes me wish that they’d do the same thing for the other characters. I could always do with some more Toph or Sokka. With the release of The Legend of Korra sequal series, and the fact that it being 70 years in the future gives us some insight into where all the original cast end up, there are large opportunities to dive into each character. We know they all end up pretty different, and do a lot of things. We’ve seen it in Korra. I just hope they make more of these comics and show it to us.