Airspeed Prime here to bring you a review of the recently released comic collection from Dark Horse Comics," Avatar The Last Airbender The Lost Adventures".
Avatar: The Last Airbender The Last Adventures is Out Now! Click Here To Order
[caption id="attachment_3399" align="aligncenter" width="534" caption="The Cover, The book byDark Horse Comics (the people who brought us Avatar: The Art of the Animated Series)"]
Fans are Raving: It's like Watching Extra Episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender!
I will start with the story of its release, Announced by Dark horse in February along with upcoming Post book 3 Graphic Novels it had an early July release date. Amazon then changed the date about 3 weeks ago to Mid June, a few days later the date was changed to January 2012 and even Dark Horse Customer services said it was due out in December. Then last week the date changed back to early July, but people started to find the book in comic shops and get shipping emails. It has worked out in the end, and the book exists and is excellent. I just hope that Dark Horse become more organised with future Avatar releases.
So on to the Review itself. I will start with the stats
- It is a paperback (well card technically) book, feels sturdy despite the page count
- 240 pages with the last 15 being a preview of The art book and adverts for other comics and mangas
- It is slightly smaller than usual comic collections, here is a comparison. That said for me, I found it to be perfectly sized, easy to read and see the panels clearly. it is 15cm(6 inch) by 22.5cm(9 inch)
Click Here to Order Avatar The Last Adventures Today
- 28 stories ranging for 2 pages to 22 pages.
- Split up into Book 1 Water, Book 2 Earth, Book 3 Fire and bonus stories. 5 Water stories, 9 Earth stories, 12 Fire Stories and 2 Bonus non canon stories
- Retail price is given as $14.99 US , $16.99 CAN. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for Ã¢â€šÂ¬10 shipped. I will say it now it is well worth at least Ã¢â€šÂ¬20
- Paper Quality and colours are very good.
On to the Content now.
I will do a general overview to start off. This book is amazing, it perfectly captures everything about the show, I was worried Avatar wouldn't translate too well to comics in terms of story, I was wrong. Some of the longer stories are like watching an episode they are so good. There are multiple Art styles used in the different stories and they all are good, there is: show accurate art, more cartoony style, more detailed/realistic, and apart from the odd weirdly drawn or detailed panel it is super high quality throughout.
This Book is not plot heavy, there is nothing really epic like the Season finales but I don't think anyone was expecting that. This book is exactly like the title says "The Lost Adventures", stories that were not quite enough to be an episode but they help flesh out the characters more. Speaking of Characters that is what this book does the best, all the characters are portrayed so well, I did not notice a single out of character thing. Sokka fans will absolutely love this book, he is in top form in nearly every story, there is the return of Wang Fire, Sleuth Sokka and the writers got his humour perfect in every story. The others are great too but Sokka just stood out as brilliant throughout. The best thing I can say about this book as an Avatar fan is that while reading this book I was grinning like the biggest fanboy ever and laughing out loud at some points, if you are a fan you need this book. It is FUN and ENTERTAINING.
I have no real negatives with this collection, if I had to nitpick then maybe just the fact that Book 1 Water only has 5 stories and 4 are very short, I would have liked to see even 1 more longer story here. That said that is looking at the book for what is is not. Some people may find the lack of plot in the stories off putting, but you know going in that this book is the events that happen in between episodes so there cannot be too many more big stories.
On to more specifics, I will not go through each story in detail as alot of them are 2-4 pages and there is not much to say so I will just select a few stand outs for me.
and Dirty Is Only Skin Deep
are available to read here along with my review of them. http://avatarthelastairbenderonline.com/avatarthelastairbenderfreecomics/
Divided We Fall:
In the Book Two Earth section, it is the longest story " in the book, IMHO I think this could have been made into an episode. I think that this story takes place after Bitter Work but before The Library as Aang can Earthbend but they still have Appa. Also the area they are heading to Hiroku Canyon may be close to The Swamp as again Team Avatar get taken down my a mysterious tornado, another similarity to the Swamp is that the group gets separated. Aang has to fend off Viper-Bats, Sokka and Katara are surrounded by angry kids and Toph is dressed up as a princess in the tower they saw. There are some great moments including Sokka breaks his arm in the fall and doesn't even notice for the most part but it is soon healed by Katara, the tower is in fact an orphanage and the wild kids are in fact from the orphanage, but because of the War they don't get any new kids. Showing off another aspect of the war that the orphans of the war are probably out there alone. Epic art at the end with Appa wearing a crown.
Going Home Again:
This one takes place after 220, before Azula and Zuko leave Ba Sing Se. Zuko has decided to stay in Ba Sing Se as he thinks he won't be welcomed back. Azula decided teh best way to bring him back is to use Mai and Zuko's childhood crush to her advantage, they set them up for a meal but it backfires and they find out it was a set up, they go on a walk together and run into Jin (Yay) " leading to an awkward moment between the three. They eventually have their first kiss and Zuko decides to return with Azula. I love getting some much needed development for Zuko in between Book 2 and 3. We see a few looks for Zuko as he sees Iroh chained being brought aboard the ship, the faces tell the story he is unsure he made the correct decision.
The mouths are a bit weird in certain expressions but other than that very good. And there is an awesome moment when a Dai Li member attempts to play music at the meal and fails, walking off so sad :(
Similar time to the above story but Katara's thoughts on the events bridging Book 2 and 3, IMHO the best story of the book as it is very emotional and we understand how she feels in 301 more now. We also get to see how they captured the Fire Nation ship. Especially at the end where she narrates over two images one of her writing this stuff in a diary and another of her healing an unconscious Aang, we really see that Aang is the one who has given her Hope and she needs him back. Sokka is once again brilliant "You've just been Boatnapped !"
I love this one just because Wang Fire is the Main character, Sokka joins the Army to get some inside info and is completely failing at training then news comes in that they are going to the front lines so Sokka leaves. The army find him and take him away, he tries to use his friends to get out if it saying they are benders in disguise, they use their bending and scare the rest of the army, then comes the best thing ever Sokka becomes all brave and runs into the cave "Full of benders" alone as the other men stay outside scared, they all admire Wang Fire's bravery " as Aang and Toph make a cave in, the men think Wang Fire died in the line of duty and make a shrine to his bravery ABSOLUTELY EPIC.
Art is really good in this one
Combustion Man On A train:
When I saw the list of story names, this was the one that stood out to me. While not what I expected (Combustion man randomly riding a train for no reason) it turned out to be great. Aang and Sokka decide to go on a train ride, they meet a little girl called Sho who has to go and see her grandma alone and is scared. Anag teaches her a trick to close her eyes and imagine she is riding an animal, which calms her down, Until who enters the cab but Combustion Man ready to kill Aang. Aang saves Sho as Sokka rushes to stop the train so everyone can get off, with explosions going off everywhere all the passengers are scared except Sho who passes on Aang's advice which was thought to him by Gyatso to calm everyone down. Aang uses Waterbending to knock him off the train, Aang then gives Sho a ride on Appa to her granma's house
Art is more detailed than most of the other stories but excellent.
Love is a Battlefield:
KATAANG STORY YES, Aang wants to talk to Katara about the kiss during the invasion but she is avoiding it, this is taking place as they are sparring with bending, the conversation gets heated as Aang calls her out for ignoring this. She continues to not talk about it and Attack Aang, he gets mad and does a cool Volcano Firebending move and walks off annoyed that Katara won't talk about their relationship. I love this it further explains the 317 conversation and Why Aang is so forward there.
Art is the same as Dirty is only Skin deep and is so clean and smooth.
Now A quick series of Awards
Best Overall Story:
The Bridge for me had it all, emotions, humour and adding to the story we all know. Showing just how Katara feels after the complete defeat at Ba Sing Se, dealing with Aang not waking up the return of her father and the failing effort against the war
Private Fire, Show accurate and at the same time having the Artists Style, Johane Matte did a fantastic Job on this and his other work in this book is just as exceptional. I would be ghappy with him doing the art on the Post book 3 novels
Divided we Fall, I want an episode of this story, I just loved it. I would have loved to See the gaangs reaction to the Orphanage in decline. Very funny also.
"Let's all observe a moment of silence for Private Wang Fire, A true Fire Nation Soldier. I will personally see to it that his memory lives on" - Boot Camp Fire Nation Soldier
The panel that the above line refers to a shot of a shrine to Private Wang Fire with an awesome picture of Sokka with the beard on, RIP WANG
There are loads of other excellent stories but there are some of my top picks. What is your favourite story ? tell us in the comments below
In conclusion if you are an Avatar fan buy this book, just don't go in expecting tonnes of amazing plot that will blow the Avatar universe open. They are extremely funny, fun and entertaining. Well done Dark Horse and everyone involved in making this book, just please next time, know the release date you nearly killed some of us saying December.
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