Avatar: The Last Airbender – ‘The Search’ by Gene Luen Yang, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino

Nickolodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra  has now finished and sadly that it is the last we will see from the Avatar show.  Although I’m of course upset that the show has ended, the creators have revealed in an interview that even though Avatar has reached its end in animation form, the ending didn’t completely finish the Avatar Saga and COULD be continued in other formats such as comics.

This is already true of the previous series – Aang: The Last Airbender – which has been continuing in comic book form since finishing on TV. This has already been released in three comic book sagas: The Promise, The Search, and The Rift. These comic books follow Avatar Aang and his ‘Team Avatar’ during a series of events that take place after Aang ends the 100 Year War. Although I recommend reading all three, the one that I will be focusing on in this recommendation is The Search, as I feel it’s the most powerful of the three, and the most sentimental for Avatar fans.( By the way, if you have not seen any of Avatar I would advise against reading on, as this will contain spoilers…also, you should watch Avataranyway as it’s the greatest animated Western TV show of the past ten years.)

The Search is a three-part saga that takes place after The Promise saga, which is set directly after The Last Airbender show. The Last Airbender ends on a pretty epic cliff hanger as the New Fire Lord, Lord Zuko, asks his dethroned Father, Lord Ozai, for the location of his missing Mother.The Search picks up on that cliff hanger, and starts with Lord Zuko, his sister Azula, and Team Avatar (minus Toph) all adventuring forward to find Zuko’s Mother, Ursa.

Fire Lord Ozai

Fire Lord Ozai

The comic doesn’t just copy the show, and in this saga we are treated to seeing the main characters of the show in a totally new situation – the new situation being that they have to work alongside Azula. In the show, Azula was just as cruel and evil as her Father, but far less restrained. She was crazy and powerful, and all of a sudden in this comic Team Avatar must work with her to help both Azula and Zuko find their Mother, which was a surprising twist. The other element of this story which I really enjoyed was finding out more about the identity of Zuko. In this saga, Zuko finds out the Lord Ozai might not be his Father which is huge for Zuko. Zuko’s life has seen many transitions all centred around his relationship with his Father – first wanting the love and respect from his Father, then wanting to defeat and destroy him. After that, Zuko became Fire Lord and during this time he was struggling against becoming his Father. To discover that this connection might not even be real is earth-shattering for him.

Zuko’s Mum, has got it going on. She’s all that I want, and I’ve waited for so long!

The Search has a really good story, but I feel that I mainly like it because of the nostalgia of growing up with the TV show. The mystery of Zuko’s Mother was constant while watching the show, and to finally have it answered is a big pay-off for long-time fans. But having said that, there is definitely something new and cool for first time Avatar readers in this saga. Avatar is a tale set in a very familiar world with certain events mimic historical events that happen in the real world; however it is filled with a rich culture based around the existence of a real Spirit World. In this saga we get a good feel for that world, with spirits galore in this tale. The art for me isn’t that amazing, but it is very true to the show in terms of design, and the story is powerful enough and becomes very emotional towards the end.

If you are feeling that a void is emerging, because Avatar is about to end, then these comics are the next place to go. The reason why they make it into my ‘Recommends’ list is that I have a strong bond with the characters already, so although newcomers could read these, I would suggest watching the show first to experience the full emotional impact of the story. It might seem like a lot of effort, but seriously: Watch it; read it; you won’t regret it.

Written by Huw Williams of the Huw’s Reviews Blog.

Follow Huw on Twitter @Big_Huw

Don’t forget to also check out the official Cosmic Anvil website to find out more about our independent comic book series, Age of Revolution!

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