Hello fellow Avatards! Well, the Gaang's journey may have ended on TV in 2008, but it lives on in its third trilogy The Rift!

We begin the trilogy with the annoucement of the new Yu Dao government which consists of two members of the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. I'm really liking the fancy get-ups Team Avatar is wearing! Sokka, you have never looked better *drools*. We get to see our good friend, Iroh who is just about done being intern Fire Lord, and I can't be happier that National Tea Appreciation Day was a success on his part! So they all head off to the banquet, which Sokka is of course most excited about, and Aang sees a person in an airbending attire. He rushes off after her, and it turns out it's just a vision of Avatar Yangchen. Aang tries to understand her, but he can't
Yangchen failing to speak
hear a thing she's saying. I just can't get over how Aang tries to get through the crowd, and decided to airbend over them! Perks of being an airbender: You can pass people in the hall who won't budge for their lives. *sigh* If only I could do that in real life.

We go to the banquet where everyone is enjoying themselves. Toph explains her fiancial troubles with her academy, saying that she doesn't want her lily livers--I mean students to pay tuition. Meanwhile, Aang is using his meditation beads, trying to connect with Yangchen, but it is ceasing to work. He has a conversation with Katara and remembers something about celebrating, telling the air acolytes that tomorrow, they're going on a field trip. I wonder if Aang not being able to understand Yangchen has anything to do with him breaking off the one piece of his meditation beads. I mean yeah, he broke off the one with the Fire symbol, making him lose connection with Roku, but what if it's affecting his connection with the other Avatars too? Also, I like Toph's reasoning with her academy. It's a school, not a business. And does anyone think that Yee-Li (the girl Sokka offered Turtle Duck to) looked a little bit like Pema? You don't think.....

The next day, Team Avatar (minus Zuko and Suki) and the Air Acolytes fly to an island to celebrate Yangchen's Festival, where they bow to a statue, play music, fly kites, and eat food. The statue they bow to is not Yangchen, however. In fact, Aang doesn't
Yangchen's Festival celebrations
even know who it is, but he states that you bow because that's just how it's done, bringing back memories to Toph of her parents. This scene brings one of my favorite quotes from this part, and it is "Not a purse, a bag! A manly, manly bag. To carry my manly manly things." "We'll be sure to find one that matches your manly, manly belt." Geez, those old flashbacks of Aang with Gyatso! Excuse me while I tearbend! :,). The statue is probably the most important symbol of this trilogy, by my guess of course. We don't even know who it is; so it's an important thing to keep in the back of our heads. We also see some Toph flashbacks. Wow, her dad is a real jerkbender. What kind of answer is "That's just how it's done"? Or are her parents really that bad? Yeah, they didn't really seem to care about her feelings at all, but at least you know that they in a way were protective of her and loved her. Her mom doesn't really seem to be an issue in the flashbacks. It's all her father's doing.

Toph refuses to bow, making Aang...aangry (huh? HUH? No...okay). But in time, he accepts that Toph doesn't want to bow and the others do. While playing music down the road, they run into what looks to be a little town. Toph seems to be extra moody in this part, but after the flashbacks, I think it's somewhat acceptable...but did she really have to bend the cymbals?

The Gaang and acolytes go further into town, and Katara runs into an old friend from the Southern Tribe; Niyok! She kinda looks like Korra/Senna a little bit. We also learn a little about her sister, Nutha, and Aang gets another Yangchen vision, and they go over a fence. The second Aang said "None of this is supposed to be here. This is...was a sacred place."...given me some Northern Air Temple flashbacks here. We don't know much about Niyok, but she seems pretty freaking cool. See introduces the idea of the refinery. Anyone else getting some vibes that Nutha and Katara had a difficult past experience or something? Katara friendly waved at her, and she just gave her a death glare. Aang says that Yangchen appeared over the fence of the refinery, and they jump over it airbending style.

So some security guards come, Aang plays the "I'm the Avatar" card for the millionth time, there's a little bending battle, but Aang easily takes them out, and then we meet...SATORU! OH THAT'S WHERE TOPH GOT THE
METALBENDING COP UNIFORMS FROM! THE SECURITY GUARDS! And our new character, Satoru has said what might have to become my new catchphrase: "Flying Fire Ferrets!" And Satoru? Does he have some sorta connection with Hiroshi? What he the man that inspired him and that's why they're call the SATO mobile?

So Satoru is an engineer at the refinery, and gives a tour to the Gaang. Also, he is a major Toph fanboy. While giving the tour, Satoru seems far too interested in getting to know Toph than hear out what Aang has to say about the refinery. The refinery is honestly a very interesting development for the series. It involves benders from every nation working together to get something done. We've got some hi-tech machinery so even nonbenders can work too! Back to Satoru. Not only is he my favorite character we've met so far not just in this trilogy, but in a combination of the other two trilogies as well. He's also the best representation of any huge fan of the show. Seriously, I would act the EXACT same way if I met these guys! Except, I would be fangirling over Sokka instead of Toph...speaking of Toph, I think we just found our candidate for her future husband! Okay, I admit..I ship Satoru with Toph. They just work out so well! He appreciates all she's done, she seems to like what he's doing. They seem to have similar goals so far! I've got the perfect ship name! Satoph!

So Sokka being the curious guy he is decided to test drive a forklift. Really, those have been invented already? I thought that would be more down the road...and of course he crashes and breaks it. But luckily it's made of metal on the inside, and Toph fixes it! Satoru proposes an idea to Toph about having her students help out with the machines, explaining that connecting a railroad from the refinery to Yu Dao. Toph makes a deal with him to sponsor the academy to get a new building for them. Oh these two need to just stop being adorable! Come on, Tokka, Toku, whatever you people ship! Admit that they're a good pair! Despite the oogi-osity as Sokka states it is, we have to agree that Satoru is most likely Lin's father. Lin even looks like him quite a bit. Of course she gets her personality from her mother. "Toph's softer side gives me to oogies."

Aang gets another Yangchen vision and sees a giant monster crushing the town. He tries to explain to Satoru that this land was sacred to airbenders and wasn't meant to be used for things like the future, but Toph argues that Satoru and his uncle is making the land more useful. Aang brings up a river they saw earlier over the fence that was polluted, but Satoru claims that it's not the refinery's fault. Toph puts that to the ultimate test, feeling the vibrations of his heartbeat, stating that he's telling the truth. I like Satoru in all, and I'm sure that he thinking what he's saying about the river is what he believes to be true, but I think it really is the refinery that's causing the pollution. What else would it be?

Aang and Toph have a side conversation about Satoru and Aang's traditional holidays, Toph calling them stupid, and they somehow manage to cause an earthquake. Scratch that, make that two earthquakes on Toph's part (unless for some reason, it really isn't her doing it). An explosion happens inside the refinery, Aang and Toph put their differences aside to save someone, and make up. One moment in this section was without a doubt my favorite part of this comic. "Believe me, Toph, I know what it's like to have a crush on someone. It can blind---yeesh. Sorry. What I'm trying to say is, sometimes you can like somebody so much that it affects your perception of them." Not only is this line funny because it's one of those moments where someone forgets that Toph is blind, but it's also a very true statement. But how does Aang know that? The only person he's ever liked is Katara and she's not evil. She doesn't affect Aang's perspective at ALL. I know this sounds a little silly, but I was very close to
Aang saving a man
tearbending when Aang and Toph save that old man in the refinery. I mean, when Aang grabs onto him and tells him he'll be okay, it's just the most touching thing in the whole story! That's what being the Avatar is all about; helping people. It was just this beautiful moment!

Aang runs into some old friends as Iroh would say; The Rough Rhinos! We also see another familiar face....drum roll.....TOPH'S DAD!!! The Rough Rhinos? Anyone else thought those guys were long gone? I really didn't care for them all that much, but like any character introduced in the show, it wouldn't have been the same without them. I also like how the gaang looks so surprised to see Toph's dad and Toph is just "Father." I hope he's proud of her. If he tries to lock her up, I swear I will have no hope for this man!

Overall, I really like the trilogy so far! I like how this is the first comic trilogy that doesn't involve a story surrounding
Toph and Lao
Zuko's problems! I like Zuko, but it's nice to have a break from him and move on to Toph. We never got much background on her since she joined the show in the beginning of Book 2. I also like how the story is not only showing how things are evolving within the Avatar World, but how things connect with stuff we see in Legend of Korra.

I give this first part a 9/10 flying fire ferrets! Excellent start to The Rift! How will Lao respond to seeing his daughter again? Is Satoru an evil guy or Toph's future husband? Will Aang connect with Yangchen? What the beef between Katara and Nutha? Will I be able to stop fangirling over Sokka? (probably not). Guess we'll have to find out when The Rift Part Two comes out in July!