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The Search Part 1 REVIEW

ATLALOK March 21, 2013 User blog:ATLALOK

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Hello fellow Avatards! Well the wait for the first part of the comic trilogy, The Seach is over and the hunt for Zuko and Azula's mom is on! If you haven't read it yet, there's a mediafire link to download the comic in a zip folder, and you can find the link on The Seach's wiki page. If not, I'd be more than happy to share it if I'm allowed to. If you cannot get to Part 1 in any way, I suggest you not to read this review until after you get the chance, I do not want to spoil anything. You have been warned.
Ursa and Ikem


The beginning of the comic starts off with Ursa and her boyfriend, Ikem. While they are rehersing lines for a play, Ursa tells Ikem she got the part of the Dragon Empress. During rehersal, Ikem askes Ursa for her hand in marriage and tells her he's loved her since they we six. Ursa says yes and they share a kiss. While reading this part, I couldn't help, but think how happy Ursa was with Ikem. I know she was with Ozai, but I've got a new ship. Urem or Iksa. You decide. One line, however, really caught my attention. The line where Ursa says, "But I thought you were the MIGHTY EMPEROR, hero of LOVE AMONGST DRAGONS!" That line brought me back to what Zuko said in the Ember Island Players, "They butchered love amongst the dragons every year." Now it makes sense. That's why Ursa took the family to the theater every year to see that play. Ikem won me over from the start. He's so supportive and really cares about Ursa. When he said, "I began loving you that day, and I haven't ever stopped", it was one of those lines that any girl would want to hear and can't say 'no' to. Well done so far.

The next part of the comic shows a meeting going on in the city of Yu Dao. While a professor is speaking, Aang and Sokka are having a side conversation, much to the annoyance of Katara. Zuko asks the professor to repeat what he just said and he says how family is essence. Zuko seems to be down on himself (as usual) about his imprisoned father, mental sister, and banished mother. First off, very amused by how when it shows the professor speaking it just says 'blah' multiple times in the speaking bubble. Sokka, being his usual sarcastic self, lets his big mouth get in trouble with both Katara and Aang. Katara responds to Sokka's childish ways with splashing water on him and turning it into snow-like texture before it hits him. Aang responds to Sokka's comment, "Surprise, surprise. My boring sister likes boring lecture guy" by saying "Hey! That's my girlfriend you're talking about!" I love Aang's defending nature towards Katara. Kataang's romance is just adorable to me. One thing I thought about was if Sokka hates meetings so much, why did he become a councilman? And not to my surprise, but when the professor repeats what he says, Zuko is being angsty and regretful as usual and seems to be plotting a plan. Sokka apparently can't keep his mouth shut about sarcastic remarks due to getting hit with water AGAIN by Katara, but it's his playful remarks he says that makes me love him so much.

In the next part, we see an excited Ursa back home ready to tell her mom about the engagment, when her mom says her father is out back at their greenhouse. Ursa goes out to see her father and the guest is Firelord Azulon. Azulon wants his son Ozai to be with Ursa because of her being the granddaughter of Avatar Roku with his bloodline would have great power for centuries after his death. He has Ozai with him to proposal for her. I see a lot of Ursa in her mother. Especially after she said, "I love you Ursa. You know that, don't you?" When I saw Firelord Azulon, I was like 'Oh no', and I had every right to. He only wants Ozai and Ursa to be together for selfish reasons. I actually used to think Azulon was okay considering he didn't want Ozai to have the throne and give it to Iroh, but really, this turned my opinion around on him. And Ozai? He hasn't changed a bit! Well younger in the face and his beard is shorter, but really didn't change at all. 

Next, we're back at the prison. Zuko, Suki, and Ty Lee are having a conversation outside of Ozai's prison cell and watching him along with Azula who is sitting on a chair in a strait jacket. Neither of them have said a word to each other. Zuko walks inside with a tray of tea. Azula bites on the tray and somehow manages to knock Zuko down. Suki and Ty Lee barge in afterwards and Ty Lee starts to chi block Azula. Azula, still unstable, is not making any sense. Azula tells Zuko to let her and their father talk in private and Zuko agrees. After they exit, he tells Suki and Ty Lee he'll give them a half hour. I love how Zuko brings in tea. He's learned so much from Iroh it's heartwarming. Azula is one smart person considering she's unstable. She bit the tray and managed to knock Zuko to the ground while in a strait jacket. Is she chewing Orbit? More than anything, Azula's bulging eyes and facial expressions are very creepy and will probably give me nightmares tonight, but when she asked Zuko to talk to Ozai in private, she looked like she just drank cactus juice. And poor Ty Lee. She's still afraid of Azula. "She's wrong, you know, I've never lost my fear of her."

Back to our flashback, Ursa is riding out of the town with Azulon and Ozai when Ikem comes out of nowhere and threatens the guards with swords, which turn out to be prop swords from the play. Surprisingly, the swords are good enough because Ikem pretty much won the battle. Ursa demands Ozai to call off the guards to which he accepts. Ursa talks to Ikem about how she joyfully accepted the marriage to Ozai and they both break into tears. Here is where I really start to dislike Azulon. He's trying to convince Ursa that the town she grew up in is nothing more than backwater. How dare he do that! That's the town she grew up. He has no idea what that town and the people that live there mean to her. This is also where I grow to love Ikem more. He's willing to fight guards with theater props just to have his true love. Now I really ship him with Ursa. The only thing that didn't surprise me was how he won against the guards, it's kind of predictable, but in a good way. Normally I'd say Ozai calling off the guards was the only good thing he's ever done, but it's only because Ursa called him "my love." Overall, the tears at the end just makes me sad. That breakup was worse than the ones on The Bachelor.....

Now we're back with Zuko, Suki and Ty Lee and Zuko is pushing Azula in her wheelchair. Zuko tells Suki and Ty Lee that he'll go the rest of the way without them and Ty Lee warns Zuko that the chi blocking will wear off soon. When they arrive back home, Zuko tries to get through to Azula, but she manages to break an arm free and tries
Azula escapes

Azula firing lightning at Zuko in order to facilitate her escape.

to zap Zuko with lightning. Azula manages to break out of her strait jacket (with the help of Zuko's firebending) and escapes. Zuko, I know you have your confident moments, but they always strike at the worst time. How could you trust Azula with you alone? I know she's unstable right now, but she's not dumb. Azula continues to have creepy facial expressions and sassy remarks, my favorite being after Zuko asked her what she talked about with Ozai. "Oh the usual. He asked about the weather." Since when does Ozai care about whether it's sunny or stormy? Despite Zuko making a stupid decision, I like how he's trying to make Azula comfortable. It may be to get the information out, but he probably feels bad for putting her in a mental home. Her squeezing an arm out was completely unexpected; then again, this is Azula. 

Now we go to the flashback. It has no dialogue. It just shows Ikem walking into a forest and crying on a gigantic tree branch. It shows him making a fire and a home the next day. While sitting by the fire, a blue wolf spirit comes from out of nowhere. The thing that I love most about this part is that it doesn't need dialogue to tell the story. You can pretty much predict what's going through Ikem's head. He's heartbroken and doesn't want to go on, but living somewhere alone is a new start for him. And he grew facial hair fast! Unless this speeds up weeks and weeks, he grows hair on his face faster than the guy Dennis from the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Then this blue spirt wolf comes out of nowhere and looks angry at Ikem. Perhaps angry he set foot on his land?

Back with Zuko, he's looking for Azula in the house and Zuko goes through this secret chamber in the wall and
Azula burning Ursa's letters

Much to Zuko's shock, Azula burning Ursa's letters.

Azula is seen digging a chest. There's nothing in the chest, but a bunch of papers. Azula, going crazy again, burns the letters their mother wrote which were the key to finding her. Still going crazy inside, she tells Zuko she'll tell him what was in those letters on one condition. Okay so a secret chamber that belonged to their father with a chest that has secret letters in it? Chamber of Secrets anyone? Again, I know Azula is unstable, but really? Burning up the letters. If she wants to find their mom as much as Zuko, why would she do that? I would have to be as unstable as her to understand. And of course, she's still making creepy faces. I feel like Azula is angry with herself. She's trying to fight her unstable state and it's driving her even more crazy. 


Again with the flashback to Ozai and Ursa's wedding. It looks just like the one Avatar Roku and Ta Min had, but Ursa is sad. Ozai and Ursa talk and Ozai brings up that since she belongs to the Royal Family, she can't speak
Ozai and Ursa's wedding

Ozai and Ursa's royal wedding.

about her old life ever again and leave it behind, much to her surprise. The first thing I noticed was how identical Ursa looks to Ta Min at the wedding. Looks just like her grandmother. What caught me off guard a little was Ozai and Ursa were actually having a decent conversation at the beginning and smiling at each other. Now it's one thing that she can't speak about her old life ever again, but saying goodbye to your parents forever? Doesn't her being married to Ozai make them in laws to the Royal Family? I know it's not blood family, but now they sorta are. How can anyone shut down their parents completely. And that cheek kiss Ozai gives Ursa is just a kiss of evil and not true love. 

Back at the Royal Palace, Zuko meets up with the Gaang (minus Toph) and talks to them about how he's gained information about his mother. Azula comes into the room and the Gaang starts to attack. Zuko tells them he made a deal since he got the information from her and that's she's coming on the search to find Ursa. Despite the objections, Iroh convinces Aang that Azula might find the peace in her. While preparing for the trip, Zuko says they'll have to take turns with keeping an eye on Azula to which Sokka volunteers to watch first. He taunts Azula with his boomerang only to have Azula zap him. Zuko reminds Azula that she has to stay calm and Sokka changes his mind on watching her firstThey fly off and Iroh is unsure at first about being the temporary Firelord, but starts to make peaceful changes afterwards. I just love Aang and Zuko's friendship so much! "We've been out of touch for much too long." "Its only been a week." When Sokka said Toph would be with her metalbending academy, it made me sad knowing we won't be seeing Toph for at least this part. Hopefully in part 2 and 3. I like how the Gaang starts to attack the second they see Azula, it really shows how much they care about Zuko compared to how they did when the show first started. I just love Sokka to death! "SUKI!" and "OOOH OOOH! New nickname for Zuko! How about Bad Decision Lord?" I know Azula doesn't know what's like to be nice, but Aang was at least trying to greet Azula positively. Again, I love you Sokka! Calling his boomerang Mr. Boomerang!     And now I really wish Iroh was my uncle, I mean he wasn't even temporary Firelord for 2 minutes and already declares a National Tea Appreciation Day? Love it!

Back on Appa, we see the Gaang (and Azula) on Appa. Instead of having our aggressive, care free Toph, we have our unstable, evil Azula who is still not making any sense. After Zuko calms her down, Sokka and Aang agree that they miss Toph. I just love how this part starts with the Kataang moment. That kiss was absolutely adorable. Come on Sokka, you know you love them together. Without Toph and having Azula instead, I can almost feel the uncomfortable and tense atmosphere. I know Azula is crazy right now, but she's not making any sense at all. She's talking as if people do and the next second, she seems calm again. "I miss Toph." You said it"

About a few hours go by (as it looks in the sky) Aang's facial expression is very tense and angry looking. Aang doesn't know why his face is getting like that, but knows there's a spirit because he can feel a presense especially in his face. He looks down below and see's a a giant blue wolf spirit (the same one we saw with Ikem). Azula, still
Aang sensing the wolf spirit

Aang sensing the presence of a spirit on his face.

going crazy, decides to jump off of Appa because they're close to Hira'a isn't so far away. Aang goes after her on his glider, but she sets burns a hole through the glider and runs away. Wow, if I though Azula's unstable face was gonna give me nightmares, Aang's angry face is gonna give me a night terror! He looks like he was possessed. And I just love Sokka! "As serious as this?" Now I don't know much about this blue wolf spirit, but anything that makes your face look mean can't be good. Azula. You have officially lost it when jumping off of Appa. I applaude Aang big time for trying to get Azula, but she's lost it so much, she's gonna need two strait jackets. 

Azula goes by this area where there is water and sees another hallucination of her mom in the water. She starts yelling at her hallucination and decides when she finds Ursa to end her. She is convinced her mother has turned her own mind against her. The group catches up with Azula and Katara makes a strait jacket out of water. Suddenly, the wolf spirit shows up. Okay. NOW Azula has lost it. Azula honey, you're only breaking yourself in your mind. And put those beating red eyes away, they're scary. And I just love Katara right here, "I don't appreciate you trying to set my boyfriend on fire!" Katara, you don't appreciate ANYONE setting your boyfriend on fire. Aang starts to make the creepy face again, and it shows up, but right behind Sokka. 

Back to the flashback. Ursa is writing a letter. She takes the painting off the wall it reveals that there are four masks behind it from the play. A little boy comes wandering in her room, a younger version of Zuko, who just had a nightmare. She tucks him back in and helps him get back to sleep. She walks into another room and gives the letter she wrote to a woman named Ellia who promises to deliver it to Hira'a. When she leaves, Ellia opens the
Elua
letter and reads it. Meanwhile, it shows Ozai training, when Ellia comes in with the letter. Ozai reads the letter and is angry about it. I almost jumped out of my seat when I saw the masks. The one on the bottom right was the Blue Spirit mask. It all makes sense now. That's where Zuko got the mask. Speaking of Zuko, little Zuko is just adorable! And I love Ursa's caring nature, "When the good dreams come, hang onto them with all your might." At first, I started to like Ellia, but everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. No, it changed when she showed it to Ozai. How can someone that Ursa thinks of as family do something so cruel? And what's in that letter?

Now the Gaang is battling the wolf spirit and Aang being the loving Avatar he is tries to reason with it, but sadly the wolf doesn't want to listen. When Zuko firebends at the wolf, the wolf swallows it. The wolf is about to attack Aang, when Appa comes to the rescue and uses his tail to make the wolf fly far away. Aang rushes up to the wolf to see if it's okay and he vomits moth-wasps. Azula offers to help get rid of them, but Zuko declines. Azula tries to convince Zuko, and he firebends her out of the water jacket. Azula forms a ball of lightning and the moth-wasps fly toward it saving the group. I didn't expect anything less from Aang trying to reason with the spirit and playing the "I'm the Avatar" card. As usual, the spirit refuses to listen to Aang. What through me off was that the wolf is able to swallow fire. "Did that wolf spirit...just eat my fire?" "And burped! It ate your fire and it burped at you!" Sokka. Marry me? Can we all just take a moment to appreciate Appa being the best animal guide ever for saving the group for the millionth time? Way to go Appa! Just when this spirit can't get any more weird, it barfs moth-wasps. "You are the grossest spirit EVER." And the thing that surprised the most was Zuko trusted Azula and she actually saved the group! I can't believe I'm saying this, but way to go Azula!

Now it's nighttime and everyone is sleeping except Sokka and Zuko who are having a conversation by the fire. Sokka gets up, takes a blanket, and wraps it around Katara who is sleeping.
Sokka covering Katara with a blanket
Zuko doesn't understand why after all the snowballs she waterbended to his forehead, but Sokka gives Zuko sister advice without realizing it. Zuko asks for the other blanket and puts it on Azula. He notices the letter tucked in her boot and opens it. When he reads it, he finds out that he is not Ozai's son, but Ikem's. I not only love Aang and Zuko's friendship, but Sokka and Zuko's friendship too. "Why are you still up?" "I drank a ton of water trying to get the taste of moth-wasp out of my mouth. Now my bladder's --" "I get the picture, thanks." I couldn't help, but "awww" when Sokka put the blanket over Katara. He's the nicest big brother ever. I wish I had a big brother like that. By far, Sokka's 'advice' was by far the best thing he's ever said to Zuko. "Katara is my sister. When it comes to her, I don't mind getting the short end of the deal." Awww, he's so sweet! I like how Zuko thinks about what he says and does the same for Azula. I never realized that Sokka and Katara and Zuko and Azula's relationships kinda parallel. When Zuko grabbed the note, I was like "oh no". Once again, I had every right to think it. He's shocked that he's not Ozai's son. But it makes sense. He has all this good inside him because of his parents. 
Zuko reading Ursa's letter

Overall, The Search Part 1 is amazing! If you're thinking about not reading it, I'd suggest you'd think again because it is incredible! I'm looking forward to part 2 and reviewing it. (Literally, this review took hours to type, so I'm done.)

Hope you enjoyed my review, sorry I typed a lot. :)

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