The Avatar - "The Promise" Trilogy

By Adedayo Ebenezer Oyetoke Published on: April 7th 2024 | 6 mins, 1011 words Views: 312



As an avid fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I recently delved into the graphic novel trilogy, "The Promise," which serves as a canonical continuation of the beloved animated series. Authored by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Studio Gurihiru, this trilogy picks up where the TV series left off, exploring the aftermath of the Hundred Year War and the challenges of maintaining peace in a world still scarred by conflict.


Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise isn't just a graphic novel trilogy, it's a love letter to fans of the beloved Nickelodeon series. Released in 2012, it bridges the gap between the original show and its sequel, The Legend of Korra. The Promise picks up right where Aang and his friends left off, taking us on a journey filled with familiar faces, political intrigue, and the ever-present struggle for balance.

A Story Rekindled

"The Promise" trilogy follows Avatar Aang and his friends—Katara, Sokka, and Toph—immediately after the events of the TV series finale. The story centers around Aang's struggle to navigate his newfound role as the Avatar and the political complexities of post-war society. When tensions arise between the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom over the Fire Nation colonies established during the war, Aang is forced to confront difficult decisions that test his commitment to peace and justice.


The narrative thrusts us back into the world a year after Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai. The Fire Nation is in turmoil, grappling with the aftermath of war and the burden of rebuilding. Meanwhile, Aang and Katara face a new challenge: uniting the Earth Kingdom. Tensions simmer between the restored Earth King, a young and idealistic leader, and the Fire Nation, leading to a delicate peace that threatens to shatter. Enter Zuko, the banished prince turned Fire Lord, determined to uphold his promise to Aang and restore his nation's honor.


Beyond nostalgia, The Promise offers a deeper exploration of the characters' psyches. Aang grapples with the weight of responsibility as the Avatar, haunted by the lingering effects of the war. Katara wrestles with her desire for normalcy and her role as Aang's confidante. Zuko faces the harsh realities of leadership and the lingering resentment from his past. These internal struggles add a layer of complexity that resonates with readers of all ages.

What Makes the Book Interesting:

One of the most captivating aspects of "The Promise" is its exploration of the moral gray areas that arise in the aftermath of war. The graphic novel delves into themes of cultural identity, colonialism, and the complexities of leadership, providing readers with thought-provoking content that goes beyond typical children's literature. Additionally, fans of the original series will appreciate the return of beloved characters and the expansion of the Avatar universe.

The artwork by Studio Gurihiru is simply stunning, capturing the spirit of the original series while infusing the graphic novel with vibrant colors and dynamic action sequences. The character designs remain faithful to the source material, ensuring a seamless transition for fans.

The Promise's greatest strength lies in its ability to capture the essence of the original series. Yang perfectly replicates the voices of our favorite characters, from Aang's unwavering optimism to Zuko's internal conflict. The artwork by Studio Gurihiru is phenomenal, translating the vibrant world of Avatar into stunning visuals that feel true to the show's aesthetic.

Flaws in the Book:

"The Promise" trilogy offers a compelling narrative, it occasionally suffers from pacing issues, particularly in the second installment. Some readers may find certain plot points repetitive or predictable, detracting from the overall impact of the story. Additionally, while the artwork is visually appealing, there are moments where the panel layouts feel cluttered, making it difficult to follow the action.

While The Promise excels in many aspects, it's not without flaws. The pacing can feel rushed at times, particularly in the first part. The focus on political maneuvering, while necessary for world-building, can occasionally overshadow the action and humor that made the original series so engaging. Additionally, the story serves as a set-up for future trilogies, leaving some plot threads unresolved.

Despite its minor shortcomings, The Promise is a satisfying continuation of the Avatar: The Last Airbender saga. It delivers a fresh story brimming with emotional depth, political intrigue, and the core themes of friendship, responsibility, and balance that made the original series so beloved. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the Avatarverse, The Promise is a thrilling journey that will leave you yearning for more.

Author:

Gene Luen Yang, a critically acclaimed author and illustrator, is best known for his award-winning graphic novels such as "American Born Chinese" and "Boxers & Saints." His skillful storytelling and deep understanding of character dynamics shine through in "The Promise," demonstrating his ability to breathe new life into existing properties while staying true to their essence.


Studio Gurihiru, the art team, is a collective of Korean artists whose dynamic style perfectly complements Yang's storytelling. Their previous work on The Legend of Korra comics demonstrates their deep understanding of the Avatarverse.

How to Get a Hard and Soft Copy:

The Promise is available in both hardcopy and softcover formats. You can find it at most major bookstores and online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Right Stuf Anime.  Additionally, local comic book shops might stock the trilogy or individual parts.


So, grab your copy, settle in, and prepare to be transported back to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Promise is a worthy addition to your bookshelf and a must-read for any fan of the franchise.


In conclusion, "The Promise" trilogy is a worthy addition to the Avatar franchise, offering fans a compelling continuation of Aang's journey while exploring complex themes relevant to our own world. Despite its flaws, the graphic novel excels in capturing the spirit of the original series and providing readers with a deeper understanding of its characters and themes. Whether you're a longtime fan or new to the Avatar universe, "The Promise" is sure to delight and inspire with its rich storytelling and stunning artwork.

Marquee stuff : The Avatar - "The Promise" Trilogy

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