Airspeed Prime here with a unique post. I feel the comics are not getting the love or attention they deserve, so instead of just posting a review next week (which will hopefully be out on Wednesday assuming I can get hold of the book) I will also do this post which will be my own preview of Part 3.
The Aim of this post is to really make it clear why The Promise and especially The Promise Part 3 are some of the most important pieces of Avatar Fiction we will get and get people excited for this book which is out next Wednesday September 26th in Comic stores and October 9th in regular Book stores and from Amazon.
There is no easy way to structure this post so I will just talk through some important threads that Part 3 will deal with, and why the resolution should we get one be so important to the characters and story.
SPOILERS FOR PART 1, 2 and the Preview for Part 3 ahead
1/ Zuko and Aang's Self Doubt
The most important and main plot of the book, the self doubt of Zuko and Aang. With the 8 page preview of Part 3 we see what will happen should things stay as they are, with Aang being influenced and listening to Roku and Zuko being influenced by Ozai, Zuko is being manipulated into breaking his promise to Zuko and Aang is being influenced into going through with it and killing Zuko for becoming like Ozai. Why it is so interesting going into Part 3 is that Aang and Zuko both have such long ways to go, there development here is going to be so important not just for them individually, but what they do will have a huge impact on the world and will determine effectively why things are as they are as we see things in Korra.
On Aang's side of things we see he is very much on Roku's way of being the Avatar, the mentality of "The 4 Nations MUST remain 4" something Roku is stressing beyond all else, but in the end is something of a bygone era, that may have worked 100 years ago, but because the war happened, it brought the nations together for better or worse. We have places like Yu Dao where Earth and Fire Nation's have mixed, Aang is dating someone from the water tribes, Sokka is dating an earth kingdom girl (Suki), Aang in doing things Roku's way is against his own relationship. I think Katara will have a huge part to play in Aang changing and moving away from this unhelpful advice from Roku, she seems to be the only one who has the idea of Yu Dao becoming it's own place, part of no nation.
On Zuko's side of things we have him in an unbelievably stressful situation, new in the role as Fire Lord and already struggles to make decisions, not to mention not yet knowing the fate of his mother or really how to lead a whole nation. It makes sense that he went to Ozai for advice, the only person alive who has experience as Fire Lord. Add to this Mai leaving him, because he is so all over the place and you have Zuko in a horrible position, his one way to help himself (visiting Ozai) making him come across worse to his friends. I think for Zuko it may be Iroh or even just him and Earth King Kuei talking that may set him on the right path, because in the end both Zuko and Kuei are new leaders, Kuei is properly leading his nation for the first time as is Zuko, they have that in common and both are eager to prove themselves good leaders which leads to the eminent battle at Yu Dao between the two.
Aang and Zuko's portrayal in The Promise has been a point of hatred for some fans, but in my opinion this is the best part of the series, this is the exact type of development both need, to find what their own path/style as a person of power in the Avatar world is. Aang needs to be his own Avatar, not just follow Roku's rules, while Zuko needs to realise that his Uncle thought he would be a good fire lord for a reason, he is the person to get the Fire Nation through the post war time.
Add to all of this 2 Promises, 1 broken already and 1 that could go either way and you have one amazing dramatic situation.
2/ Yu Dao and the conflicts surrounding it
Yu Dao itself and what we all expect to become the foundation of United Republic. At the end of the day the driving force of The Promise is all based around Yu Dao and the complex issue found there. Yu Dao before the war was a part of the Earth Kingdom, the fire nation had no claim to it, when the war started this was one of the first towns taken over and eventually the fire nation people and the earth kindgom people came together and relationships formed and so did these mixed nation families. When the war ended the conflict really arises, The Fire Nation control the town, as much as there is friendliness between nations there, the Earth Kingdom people are the poorer class. So the situation is either let the Fire Nation people stay and then justify part of the war, which is a slippery slope, or remove the Fire Nation citizens and send them back to the Fire Nation, this involves separating families, families that have lived in Yu Dao for many years. So it is really a lose-lose situation, Katara is the only person we see to even suggest that perhaps Yu Dao can be an exception, I expect this to develop into the idea of a nation of 4 nations.
Add to this all the conflict happening in and coming to Yu Dao, Earth Kingdom Soldiers, Fire Nation soldiers, Smellerbee's protestors and Kori's fighting squad, all fighting on one side of this issue. Which is a very complex issue of justifying part of a war or splitting families apart.
3/ Toph and her Metalbending Students
Toph and her students, seemingly not related to the main plot at all really, but where is Toph's school located ? Very close to Yu Dao, now that they can metalbend a bit, I suspect that we may see them demonstrate why Metalbending eventually became the core of the Republic City Police force, which could add another group to this conflict in Yu Dao. I am excited to see if the students get more character development, have they finally found their own paths. Even how Toph will react now that she has successfully helped her students learn some Metalbending should be a new side of Toph, how true was her line about Teaching being very fulfilling for her.
4/ Leading Straight into The Search
This book will not be just an ending to The Promise. It will also lead straight into The Search, this IMO is a huge plus for the book, in that not will be fully wrapped up, and will very much feel like we are just ending the first part of a season and moving into the second part. Zuko and Aang will most likely continue to develop into The Search.
Now some quickfire points
-The Official Avatar Aang Fanclub, what role will the fanclub play in Yu Dao, Yee- Li has sent a hawk to the fanclub in Yu Dao, what does this mean. Also will they develop into The Air Acolytes we see later in Korra.
-Iroh will make his The Promise Debut in Part 3, anything no matter how small from Iroh will be amazing.
-Shipping, Kataang and Sukka are ships likely to get some development in this book. The whole Sweetie/Oogie thing may get some hilarious payoff, with Sokka most likely having to eat his oogies as soon as he meets Suki ,lol
As you can see this book has been set up to be some of the most fascinating Avatar Fiction ever, the story set up has been great in Part 1 and 2, and so much is set to happen in part 3. Some huge Character moments and story elements are expected and it will have to deal with some of the most complex issues seen in Avatar like : Self Doubt, finding your own way and the aftermath of the war. From the preview and early reviews I have read (all positive) I am nothing but excited for Part 3 in just 1 long week, in fact I am looking forward to this book just as much as Book 2 of Korra. In the end what better compliment can I give the creative team behind the book than that in advance.
Oh and I nearly forgot, 72 PAGES OF GORGEOUS GURIHIRU ART, worth the price of the book alone.
Expect my Review of Part 3 to be up around this time in 1 week (assuming I can get a copy on Wednesday) and a podcast discussion hopefully that weekend.
I will end with an appeal:
Lets get excited for the release of this book, it will most likely be the last piece of new Avatar content we will get until whenever someone decides to get out more Korra Book 2 info or the Avatar books due out in 2013, spread word of this book and if you can support Avatar comics by purchasing this book, preferably in you local Comic Store.
Find Your Local Comic Book Store here
Read The 8 Page Preview for Part 3 here