Airspeed Prime here with a new Avatar comic review. This time round I will be reviewing The Search Library Edition which is out today February 5th in comic book stores with other book stores and Amazon releasing the book on February 18th.

The Search Library Edition

The Search Hardcover

Written By - Gene Luen Yang Art and Colours By - Team Gurihiru Collection Designer - Justin Couch   What happened to Zuko's mom? This is the question that everyone asked, it is the question that this book answers and the prime selling point. We have had our answers since the release of The Search Part 3 a few months ago, now we have the release of the Hardcover Collected Edition of The Search series. In short this book is The Search Part 1, 2 and 3 with some annotations and some art extras at the back. It really is that simple. I have already reviewed the individual parts of The Search so I will not focus too much on the story here. All I will say is that I was very satisfied with The Search as a series, it felt a lot more focused than The Promise and it was clear to see the progress made by the writer from series to series. Ursa at last really becomes a character, at the end of the say we never really knew who Ursa was outside of Zuko's mom, it says a lot that the big question I opened with and that the back cover even states is "what happened to Zuko's mother" she is not even named on the back cover, because we really do not know her that well from the series apart from a lot of mystery around here. The biggest success of the story of The Search is that it changed that question for me from "What happened to Zuko's mom?" to "What happened to Ursa?" she comes into her own as a character through the  big focus given to flashbacks at various points of her life. You see it is not simply a happy story of Zuko finding Ursa, she made her mistakes and choices and has to live with them, she feels bad for them, but you also feel sympathy for her because of the situations she is put in. The writers were not afraid to make Ursa flawed and change our perception of her from the perfect mother who did anything for Zuko to a real character. This book in many ways is more about Ursa than Zuko's mom and even though they are one and the same it is an important distinction to make. Azula gets some focus here to as a big theme of the story is family ties. Sokka and Katara's sibling relationship is contrasted very well to the difficult one between Zuko and Azula. It is a surprisingly character focused story given the amount of plot you would think goes into a mystery story, but it works very well. I will leave it there on the story, I think it is very well done and will live up to your expectations of such a big mystery. Now onto the new stuff about this book, the hardcover treatment and the extras.

Hardcover Back Cover

The Book itself like The Promise Hardcover looks amazing and is definitely worth a place in any Avatar fan's collection. The front cover is a great group shot of the search team while the rear cover is devoted completely to Ursa. I really like the decision to separate Ursa from the others as the early parts of the comic does tell her backstory separately and everything comes together at the end. The Spine design from The Promise Hardcover is thankfully retained, so on your shelf they look great side by side.


The extras at the back of the book are more or less the same in terms of what they cover as The Promise Hardcover. You get concept designs for the book's cover, the covers of the individual parts as well as some stage by stage focus on a few pages from each part. in terms of character concept art we get Ursa, Ikem, Ozai, Azulon and best of all The Mother Of Faces who went through a drastic change from early design to final design. It is really great to see this sort of stuff as it really highlights just how good Team Gurihiru are, it is easy to just accept the art as good in colour in the middle of a story,but seeing the different stages that go into a cover or page really shows what amazing artists they are.

Hardcover Anno

Now we get to the annotations, somewhat of a trademark of these hardcovers now. I should note that while I enjoyed them in The Promise Hardcover I was critical of how many pages did not have any annotations on them, leaving a lot of pages with large blank borders there to fit in annotations. The Promise Hardcover had annotations on about half of the pages, sadly The Search Hardcover only has them on about 25% of the pages, I counted 51 pages with annotations on them from about 216 pages of the story. It is odd because Mike DiMartino is now on the annotations also while he wasn't on The Promise Hardcover, he joins Gene Yang and Team Gurihiru in the annotations yet there are half as many actual annotations. It is a bit baffling. That said when they are there on the pages they are very interesting, especially with this series where we all thought that Mike and Bryan had this whole story planned out all along, I was surprised to see Mike mention many times about how Gene Yang came up with so many of the unique ideas for The Search including The Mother Of Faces and her powers as well as Ursa's past with Ikem. Really made me appreciate Gene's writing all the more seeing that he is not just writing based off Mike and Bryan's story plans, but that he really made the story of The Search his own with a lot of great ideas of his own. Final Thoughts If you did not enjoy the extras in The Promise Hardcover then this won't change your mind because of this book having less extras. If you do not have The Search individual parts then this is the book to get as it is a gorgeous book and the story is really good, if you think of the extras as just that, extra an add on to the story, then this is a great book. If you are basing your decision to buy the book on the quality of the extras alone, then it is probably not worth it especially at full comic shop price. For me it was worth it as we do not get that much Avatar/Korra merchandise, so a lovely hardcover collection of a great story is a great addition to my Avatar merchandise collection. I think they really need to make a decision either go all out on the annotations so they are on most pages, or get rid of them and have full size pages without the borders, with possibly a written interview at the back. These are very well put together collections, they just need to work on the quantity of extras. Video Review