About the Book

Title: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise
Published: 2012
Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Yep, that’s an Avatar comic book
BFF Charm: Obviously (Make It Rain)
Swoonworthy Scale: Oogie!
Talky Talk: Classic ATLA
Arty Art: Classic ATLA
Bonus Factors: Comedy, Mysterious Loner Cartoon
Anti-Bonus Factors: Not nearly enough Iroh
Relationship Status: Booty call

Cover Story: Yep, that’s an Avatar comic book

This cover is fine as long as you’re out and proud about being an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan. I mean, if I weren’t reading digital editions, my friends would definitely have mocked me about this. (They mocked me anyway, as I was giggling alone in the corner at my computer, but that’s neither here nor there.) There’s nothing wrong with this cover, if you don’t mind the world perceiving you as someone who reads manga in public. Because even though this isn’t manga, that’s what the ignorants are going to think.

The Deal:

Disclaimer: this review contains spoilers for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Read at your own risk.

Following the events of Book Three: Fire, Team Avatar are doing their best to carry out peace across the four nations. Now that the war with the Fire Nation is over, Fire Lord Zuko and Avatar Aang attempt to enact the “Harmony Restoration Movement,” which will remove Fire Nation colonies from the Earth Kingdom. Unfortunately, things never go quite as smoothly as the planned. Criticized as a traitor to his own people, Zuko turns to his evil father for advice while continuing to grapple with right and wrong. Aang struggles to find his own wisdom instead of always seeking Avatar Roku’s counsel. And both are haunted by a promise Aang makes to Zuko concerning his reign as Fire Lord.

BFF Charm: Obviously (Make It Rain)

BFF charm holding an umbrella

Was there even a question here?

Swoonworthy Scale: Oogie

Theoretically, Aang and Katara getting together is a good thing, since it eventually produces some of my favorite Korra characters. But seeing the two of them be all cuddly wuddly and calling each other “sweetie” and kissing all the time gave me a pox of cooties.

Luckily, everyone else seemed to agree with me, and the primary source of comic relief in this series is all the other characters’ horror at their pre-teen love fest. In particular, Sokka repeatedly tells Katara that their behavior gives him “the oogies,” which Katara indignantly asks what that even means.

Exactly, Toph. Oogie indeed.

Talky Talk: Classic ATLA

This basically reads exactly like an episode of ATLA would–there’s your Serious Coming of Age Plot heavily centered around moral ambiguity and Sulking Zuko, plus your Hilarious Subplot featuring meat jokes by Sokka, cooked together and served with a smattering of petty romantic jealousies and cute drawings of Momo. It’s pretty formulaic, but if it ain’t broke…

Arty Art: Classic ATLA

Like the storytelling, the artwork is pretty evocative of the show’s animation style and benefits heavily from that similarity. It would be good on its own, but because of my familiarity with the show, my brain filled in the gaps between the panels, much like I could hear the individual character’s voices as I read.

Bonus Factor: Comedy

One of the things that made ATLA so delightful was its comic subplots. This run of comics carries on that tradition with Toph’s metalbending school, where she attempts to teach some emotionally unstable youths to metalbend with little success. Sokka appoints himself to be her assistant (or as he calls it, a “motivational bender”), and hilarity ensues.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Cartoon

Ahhhh, Fire Lord Zuko, my favorite cartoon boyfriend.* So fucked up, yet so hot.

*For a brief period of time, Mako ousted Zuko for that title, but I think we can all agree now that Mako is the worst.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Not nearly enough Iroh

If it were up to me, this comic would have been exclusively about General Iroh puttering around his tea house, just as if it were up to me, all the Harry Potter books would have been called Neville Longbottom and the Herbology Hut. Which is perhaps why I’m not a successful writer, as both of those seem somewhat problematic from a plotting perspective.

Relationship Status: Booty call

I was going through withdrawal between seasons of Korra and I needed a fix, so I called up these comics. I knew it wouldn’t be the same as when I used to go out with its TV-star twin, but I was pretty desperate. Luckily, these comics offered me a little closure around some of my favorite characters, although I could have done without the actuality of Aang and Katara dating. Oogie!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Dark Horse. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Promise is available now.

Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.