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Graphic Novel Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender Volume 1 The Promise Part 1 TPB – Dark Horse Comics

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New to the world (and books) of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I cracked open the PDF preview of Avatar: The Last Airbender Volume 1 – The Promise Part 1 TPB with an open and inquisitive mind. After tearing through and reading the entire thing in less than an hour I think it’s safe to say I’m glad I did.

This trade paperback collects the series of comics in which readers can rejoin Aang (the Avatar/Airbender) for a whole new set of adventures, beginning with troubles stemming from the fallout of Aang’s victory over the former ruler of the Fire Nation in previous comics.

Turns out the current ruler is the son of the former ruler as well as a friend and ally of Aang (Awkward!) who, at first, eagerly and whole-heartedly agrees that the wrongs his father has committed must be reversed and harmony must be brought to all four of the Nations (Earth, Wind, Air and Fire)…only to change his mind when he finds out that the people this would affect are not so eager to just uproot and leave places that have become their “home” after 100 years or so.

Knowing that this would be a possibility, the new Fire Nation ruler makes his friend (Aang) promise him that he will do whatever it takes to ensure that he does not make the same mistakes that would set him on the path to become like his father…something that this new change of mind certainly would seem to suggest.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Volume 1 – The Promise Part 1 is an enjoyable read even if you are not well versed in the story’s universe. More than simply a story of this character or that character and whatever magical powers they might or might not possess, the story can be boiled down to the choices one must make as you grow older.

Sure, in this particular case the choice is whether to possibly destroy your friend just in case he is slowly becoming as evil as his father, but stripping away all of that you get a story of maturity and trust. How do you learn to trust your friend and allow him to find his way to becoming his own man instead of a boy running from the shadow of his father…while also being true to your promises as you yourself grow into the man you are to become?

How will this all end? How should I know? There is one thing I do know, however, and that is that I shall eagerly be awaiting the following volumes of this story.

(Avatar: The Last Airbender Volume 1 – The Promise Part 1 TPB is set to be released by Dark Horse Comics in a hardcover format on January 25, 2012. Copy reviewed was in a PDF format provided for advance review.)

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