Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise Part 2 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2012/5/29
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Aang and Katara are working tirelessly for peace when an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei over Fire Nation colonies within the borders of the Earth Nation threatens to plunge the world back into war! Meanwhile, Sokka must help Toph prepare her hapless first class of metalbending students to defend their school against a rival class of firebenders!
* Written by Eisner winner and National Book Award nominee Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese).
First, I of course love Toph--how she sometimes seems like such a stubborn jerk but has all these layers underneath, and how she has a real calling for teaching (and yelling at people), and how she comes to realize she may be trying to groom her metalbending students into something they really aren't . . . just like her parents did to her. And I liked that she asked Sokka to evaluate her ability to roll her eyes properly so she could roll her eyes at him. And her students were kind of hilarious, even though they were each pretty one-dimensional--the fearful doomsayer, the shoe-obsessed spoiled brat, and the goth-type kid who hates everything because someone gave him a terrible name. It was cool that they wanted to be more, but they . . . kind of weren't, at least not in the story.
Katara and Aang make a very cute couple, and I liked that Katara got so jealous of the Avatar fangirls. (I didn't love how they were stereotyped, though--as vacuous, predatory girls who threaten Katara's relationship.) I did like that Aang was pretty oblivious to the whole thing, enamored instead with the feeling that someone tried to recreate his home by modeling the fanclub headquarters after the Air Temple he'd grown up in.
And the complexity of Zuko continues to impress me. His father insists that a Fire Lord doesn't choose what's right; he MAKES things become right THROUGH the act of his choosing. (Wow, we've got some theory of knowledge philosophy lessons going on here! They were talking about that back in Ancient Greece!) Zuko rejects this idea of goodness being defined by HIS choices; he believes that good is bigger than everyone, and that Aang can help him find it. But the Earth King--determined to force peace, even if it means war--is about to ruin the tentatively forged balance that the Avatar worked so hard to establish.
There is an Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Promise: Part 3 that will release in September/October that will conclude this story arc (possibly leading to Republic City!) - I'm eagerly waiting for it.
Firstly, Legend of Korra fans, don't get overexcited - the only real reference to Korra's time that we have in this story thus far is that there is precedent for a family like Mako and Bolin (mixed element families), which there honestly SHOULD be, all things considered... And that we're building up to when they start breaking ground for the creation of Republic City.
Is volume 2 worth buying? If you're an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and/or "Avatar: The Legend of Korra" fan, then you should at least get volume 2. The whole series is at least worth checking out at your local library. If you're not a fan, I don't think this series is the best place to get an introduction into the franchise, but it certainly features a number of narrative elements of the series, so if you like it, by all means, read on! And then go watch the two TV shows!
For fans, there are a number of interesting developments in these volumes for you to read about, considering the business of being Fire Lord, what Avatar Aang is supposed to do now that the world is, well, "saved", what Sokka is getting up to, how Toph got on with metalbending, and so on.