|The Promise Part 1|
Although the Hundred Year War is now over, tensions run high as Aang and Zuko are put on a "collision course" after the Avatar travels to a Fire Nation colony and finds "tension between neighbors" – a threat that may "shatter the world's newfound peace". The unfinished conversation between Zuko and Ozai about the whereabouts of Ursa, Zuko's long lost mother is completed, but the conversation takes a different path after Zuko asks the question and her fate still remains unknown. Negotiations with Earth King Kuei and the beginning of the Harmony Restoration Movement commence.
The story begins with an updated opening sequence signaling the end of the War. Team Avatar meets with Earth King Kuei and decides on the creation of the Harmony Restoration Movement. Afterwards, the group goes to the Jasmine Dragon, where Aang and Katara kiss for a short while before being interrupted by Sokka, who makes a reference to "oogies". Team Avatar then takes Appa for a ride, where Zuko asks Aang to kill him if he ever became like his father.
A year later, Zuko wakes up, sensing that someone is approaching with an intent to kill him. While his guards disregard his claim, they are knocked out by the assassin. Zuko begins attacking the assailant with firebending, eventually managing to defeat her. After unveiling her face, Zuko orders her to give him a reason to let her live. When the assassin, Kori, claims that her entire life has been ruined by the Harmony Restoration Movement and that her father is the mayor of Yu Dao, Zuko spares her and takes her back to the colony.
Upon arriving in Yu Dao, Zuko argues with Morishita over the benefits of the Harmony Restoration Movement. When the mayor refers to Zuko as being weaker than his father, Zuko has a flashback to his first confrontation with his father as Fire Lord. Ozai dodges Zuko's question about his mother, instead inviting Zuko to have tea with him and accept his advice as a past Fire Lord. As Zuko leaves, Ozai claims Zuko will return. After a fiery outburst against Morishita, Zuko is called a traitor by the mayor.
Approaching the Fire Nation, Aang is consoling Mayor Nishi about returning to the Fire Nation. He claims that life will be better, while the mayor remains skeptical. After landing in the Fire Nation, an Army officer orders that the cargo ship be reloaded in light of Zuko's withdrawing of support for the Harmony Restoration Movement. Aang, Katara, and Sokka immediately leave for Yu Dao, where Zuko is staying. At the Beifong Metalbending Academy, Toph's students are looking out of the window at a crisis happening in Yu Dao. Toph tells them to get back to their lessons and, after hearing Appa fly above, leaves the school to find her friends. She uses earthbending to leap onto Appa, where she hears about Yu Dao's crisis.
Aang is meditating, calling on Roku for help. Roku reminds Aang that he needs to keep balance and that Zuko is creating imbalance. Aang agrees, but says he must talk to Zuko first. After arriving outside Yu Dao, Aang meets up with Smellerbee, informing her of the situation before taking Katara over the city walls on his glider. Once inside, the pair are attacked by guards who insist that people are only allowed to enter with Zuko's permission. Katara defeats the guards, and tries to attack another who charges at Aang, but before she can, the waterbender is grabbed by Zuko, who admonishes her for attacking his "people". Aang separates the two with airbending, prompting Zuko to retaliate. After blocking the attack, Aang enters the Avatar State, intent on killing Zuko. Katara manages to calm him down, and Zuko agrees to talk.
Zuko gives the couple a tour of Yu Dao, pointing out how heavily integrated the lives of the citizens are. He also explains how he found out that the city's mayor married an earthbender and had a daughter who was also an earthbender. Zuko reminds Aang that the Fire Nation put effort into building Yu Dao into its current state and that they deserve to stay. Katara proposes a conversation with Kuei concerning the matter, to which the Avatar and Fire Lord both agree. Aang and Katara leave Yu Dao, landing outside to speak with his friends.
While Aang and Katara are inside Yu Dao, Sokka and Toph remain outside with the protesters. Sokka suggests that the group calm down and is hit by a small rock. Toph raises herself into the air on an earth column and forces silence upon the crowd. After flying over the walls, Aang explains the situation to Sokka, Toph, and Smellerbee. Smellerbee is angry that Zuko is not leaving and gives Aang an ultimatum. She says that she will lead the Freedom Fighters in a revolt if the Fire Nation has not left within three days. After leaving, Aang thanks Katara for helping him out of the Avatar State. Katara accepts his thanks, but Sokka makes another reference to "oogies." Toph explains the concept to Katara by licking her hand, prompting a "grossed-out" response.
At the Fire Nation Capital, Zuko returns to his palace where Mai awaits. She attempts to console him, citing his lack of sleep. She brings in the Kyoshi Warriors as his new set of guards to protect him from assassins. That night, Zuko wakes up again. When he checks outside, Suki and Ty Lee claim that nothing is wrong. Zuko leaves to get a drink, making tea and taking it to the Capital prison. He kneels before Ozai's prison cell, asking for advice.
Since the conclusion of the original series in July 2008, fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender have demanded a more satisfying denouement in relation to the fates of the main characters. In late 2010, Samantha Robertson, an editor at Dark Horse Comics at the time, approached comic author Gene Yang, who was best known for his American-Born Chinese series. After "some conversations" with her and the creators of Avatar, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Yang was contracted to write three graphic novels to serve as a direct sequel to the original series. Yang's approach to the writing of The Promise is purported to be "purist", and he has collaborated closely with DiMartino and Konietzko. The first volume of this new series of comics was released on January 25, 2012.
The Promise Part 1 has received mostly positive reviews, with Convention Scene praising Yang's portrayal of the characters. Convention Scene also praised Gurihiru Studio's artwork, stating that it did justice to the series. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the graphic novel an "enjoyable read even if you are not well versed in the story's universe."
Sales of the The Promise have been outstanding and "soared to the top of the Bookscan charts" two weeks after its release. It "is excelling in a place comics don't usually: Bookscan, which tracks sales only in bookstores and other not-a-comic-shop locations".
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- This story begins immediately after the last episode of the original series, "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang".
- On two panels of page twenty-seven, there are Fire Nation guards standing at the entrance to Ozai's cell, but when Zuko traveled there in the last episode of the original series, there were none.
- On the lower panel of page thirty-three, Toph is shown running toward the left of the Beifong Metalbending Academy (reader-side), but when she reunites with her friends on page thirty-five, they are shown looking at the right side of the Academy instead of the left.
- In two panels on page sixty-eight, Aang is missing the arrows on his arms.
- In one panel on page seventy-one, the robing under Mai's dress is pink, but on the next page, the robing is red.
- On page seventy-nine Aang's airbending tattoos on his arm are missing.
- When Aang says "Flameo, hotman!" it is spelled "Flamio" instead.
- On the cover, the band holding Katara's topknot is red, but for the rest of the comic it is blue.
- Mai's eyes are yellow instead of the purplish grey.
- Each of the characters has a new outfit.
- The main portion of the comic (as well as most of Part 2 and Part 3) takes place in a "modern city" (which eventually becomes Republic City), consisting of a conglomeration of different cultures (namely, Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom cultures). This contrasts with unicultural status of each of the four nations which held sway during the events of the series.