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Comic Review: Avatar: the Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, it’s been a while since I talked about Avatar, but I’ve read all of the comics out following Aang, and sometime soon I’ll need to pick up the first trilogy of Korra comics. I totally had to rewrite this whole intro paragraph, because when I started to prep this post I hadn’t read the final Avatar trilogy–though it isn’t final anymore, as they announced more are coming– and I hadn’t watched “The Legend of Korra.” Oh, and apparently there will be a couple novels coming next year that follow Avatar Kyoshi, so that is pretty darn exciting too.

Anyway, let’s jump into this review.


Unrest in the Fire Nation!

Returning with his family after the events of The Search, Zuko discovers that not everyone in the Fire Nation celebrates their homecoming. Believing that the young Fire Lord is not fit to succeed his father–and spurred on by the Kemurikage, menacing spirits long thought to be only myths–an undergroundorganization called the New Ozai Society plots to assassinate Zuko and restore Ozai to power! 

What is the secret of the Kemurikage? 

The shadowy spirits known as the Kemurikage are abducting children throughout the Fire Nation Capital, sowing widespread fear and panic in their wake. Desperate to determine what has angered these spirits, Aang and Zuko search for clues deep in the Dragonbone Catacombs underneath the Fire Sages Capital Temple. Can they uncover the hidden history of the Kemurikage and solve the mystery in time, or will more children be taken?

The identity of the Kemurikage revealed! 

When Azula is discovered to be the ringleader of the shadowy Kemurikage, Aang and Zuko will stop at nothing to chase her down and rescue the children–even if it means turning on each other! As Zuko locks down the capital to find her, riots erupt in the streets and the citizens are on edge. An unexpected clue from Mai and Ty Lee will help Team Avatar uncover Azula’s plot, which is more sinister than they could have imagined. Will they stop her in time? 

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

What I love about these comics is that the creative team behind the show are the ones creating the storylines. So they are consistent with the characterization of everyone from the series, and they answer some questions that I’m sure many of us were asking. It makes sense that there are those in the Fire Nation who don’t approve of Zuko as their ruler, especially considering everything that has happened in the previous comic trilogies.

Still, I love circling back to characters like Azula, and having a reappearance of Mai and Ty Lee. Plus, of course, we get more Team Avatar, which is always nice. I absolutely fly through these books. I have them all in paperback, so it divides the story into three parts, but the story is also available in an omnibus hardcover. All told, I think I read the whole trilogy in less than an hour.

I get so sucked into these stories, and it makes me so sad that I wasn’t a fan of Avatar back when it aired; I never watched a single episode until my fiance sat me down to start watching them last year. Now I am pretty much obsessed. It is why I have the next comics on my radar, and Kyoshi’s novels, and the live-action Netflix series…which I’m hopeful about since the creative team of Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, creators of both Avatar and Korra, are on board with this version of the show. Hopefully it will be better cast and better written. All we’ve seen so far is a promotional photo of Appa, but that looked pretty good, so we’ll see.

Anyway, I adore these, and I definitely recommend them for fans of the show.

Where to Buy

You can pick up these delightful comics from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

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