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Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise,…

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, Part 2

by Gene Luen Yang (Author), Gurihiru (Illustrator)

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This was, sadly, just as disappointing as [b:Part 1|12413836|Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part 1 (The Promise, #1)|Gene Luen Yang|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1335027742s/12413836.jpg|17450243]. Once again, I felt it was too short. So many things could have been expanded upon and improved.

While I enjoyed getting a longer look at Toph's students and school, the tone of that storyline didn't seem to fit. Sokka, hoping to resolve the argument between Toph and the firebender teacher relatively peacefully, arranged for them to have a match to the sit. The students of the two schools would fight each other and try to force the teacher of the other school to sit. Things became fairly goofy, and nearly everything was played for laughs, which clashed with the much more serious Fire Nation scenes featuring a very haggard Zuko.

The characters were relatively true to the way they were in the original animation, except they seemed sort of like they'd...regressed? It's been a while since I last watched the series, but, personality-wise, a lot of the original characters seemed to be stuck in Season 2 mode. Zuko went back to hanging on his father's every word, even though this gave him an opportunity to spread his usual poison. Where the heck was Iroh? It would have made much more sense for Zuko to use him as a sounding board than his father, even if he had to do it via letters. Aang acted like a silly kid – Katara had to remind him that they had important things to do (like hopefully preventing a war), so he couldn't spend all his time playing with his giggling fanclub. And Sokka was back to being a clown. You'd think that the episodes in which he trained in swordfighting and took part in major battles never happened. Toph might be the only one who grew a bit, and even that's debatable.

I had thought that Kori, the girl from Part 1 who turned out to be the daughter of both Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation citizens, was a throwaway character, but apparently not. She got a grand total of one scene in this volume. I'm assuming she'll play a larger part in the final volume, because otherwise her appearance in this volume was a waste of space.

I'll read Part 3 because I want to see how things turn out between the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation and what Aang chooses to do about Zuko. Unfortunately, I expect I'll be just as disappointed with it as I was with the first two parts.

Goodreads Rating Note: If I could, I'd give this 2.5 stars. I'm rounding up because it's on the "meh" side of disappointing.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
Review will be posted on the omnibus version. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 27, 2013 |
So I pretty much spent the entire comic yelling at Zuko for being an idiot, which is par for the course at this point. Toph, on the other hand? Toph is sheer perfection. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
The background for those unfamiliar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, taken from the TV show’s opening: Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he still has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone. But I believe Aang can save the world. [cue epic music]

At the end of the TV show, Aang had successfully defeated Lord Ozai, leader of the Fire Nation. The new Fire Lord is Prince Zuko, the formerly exiled crown prince. Zuko’s been reformed from his old habit of persecuting the Avatar, but he’s worried that the pressures of ruling his kingdom will make him evil, so he makes Aang promise to kill him if he goes astray. A year passes, and Zuko abruptly backs out of the “Harmony Restoration Movement”, an agreement he made with the ruler of the Earth Kingdom to withdraw Fire Nation colonies from their land. Aang fears that Zuko is following in his father’s footsteps, and that he may be forced to fulfill his vow in order to maintain peace.

As the second volume in the trilogy, this book of “The Promise” suffers from its need to bridge between the first and final parts of the story. It feels like so much filler. The main story hardly advances. Aang and Katara meet with the Earth Kingdom’s leader to set up a meeting with Zuko, while Zuko tries to sort out right and wrong by talking to his father. The book ends with war threatening to break out between the two nations. However, the bulk of the story is dedicated to Sokka and Toph’s attempts to get the Beifong Metalbending Academy off the ground. Sure, it’s silly slapstick and a relief from Zuko’s moping, but it really seems like a mighty big serving of filler material. (That said, I bet it’ll end up tying into “Part Three” quite nicely.)

I’m sure the adventure will pick up in the final volume – second installments are always the weakest link in a three-part story. ( )
  makaiju | Dec 28, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yang, Gene LuenAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
GurihiruIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
DiMartino, Michael DanteCreatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Konietzko, BryanCreatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Aang and Katara are working tirelessly for peace when an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei over Fire Nation colonies within the borders of the Earth Nation threatens to plunge the world back into war! Meanwhile, Sokka must help Toph prepare her hapless first class of metalbending students to defend their school against a rival class of firebenders!" -- from publisher's web site.… (more)

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