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This review is my opinion only, and does not represent anyone else's.
The Promise, Part 1
Read: 3 February 2012
Review conducted: 4 February 2012
Well, I finally picked up my copy of The Promise yesterday, and read the entire comic in one sitting, which really wasn't too much of a surprise -- 76 pages, all pictures...yeah.
Of course, we lead off with the immediate postbellum, the Harmony Restoration Movement is kicked off, and then when Sokka walks in on the final kiss, we get some sibling bickering. Then, we see the (in?)famous "Promise"...I'll keep quiet if you haven't read it.
A year after the War, we quickly start with something freakish -- Zuko has had five, yes, five attempts on his life already. O_O This what I assume was the fifth comes from a girl shooting chains at the Fire Lord. We later learn this girl to be Kori Morishita, hailing from a little place called Yu Dao, a very old Fire Nation colony. We also learn Kori is the daughter of Mayor Morishita of this colony. Zuko is called a "coward" by the mayor, and Zuko promptly attacks him? WTF? We later learn our Fire Lord is pulling out of the HRM. Oh boy...
So, Aang, Katara and Sokka, who learn the news when trying to take a colony mayor to the FN -- which prompts them to head Yu Dao way. Toph appears out of nowhere to the team's delight. ^^" Welcome back.
Aang has a talk with Roku -- the previous Avatar warns Aang that he likely will have to follow up on his promise should Zuko continue his newest actions.
Aang and Katara get in, only to see Fire Nation guards won't let them see Zuko. Aang wants to talk, but the guards attack, also hitting Aang. Katara naturally gets angered by this and kicks serious butt...but, Zuko restrains her, which in turn ires Aang. We see a brief Aang-Zuko squabble, which leads to Avatar State action, but Katara calms Aang out of it.
A brief walk through Yu Dao later, Aang is upset with Zuko's exit from the HRM. A verbal squabble later, Katara suggests a meeting with the Earth King -- Zuko's clearly unwilling to relinquish the colonies. Oops.
We see Toph is still bad***, and Sokka still loves his boomerang...oh wait, it came back! See? He told you so!
The comic comes to an end with the Kyoshi Warriors back with us, and they're the new guards, as Mai brought them there out of worry for Zuko.
Zuko then goes to see Ozai for advice.
Except for Aang and Zuko, I will only deal with their 101 AG versions.
Aang: He still shows some signs of being the fun-loving Avatar we have come to know, but the extra year has made him more mature for sure. He is quite serious about the HRM, and realizes the serious decisions he has or may have to make, especially re: Zuko.
Katara: She who earns my fanboy-ness is still the hard-fighting but also caring girl that she was in the show. Completely overhauled her look as we saw. Despite her taking in the HRM, she still shows concern for everyone, even the Morishitas.
Sokka: Didn't see too much of him to make a fair judgment. What little we do get -- he can still take charge, notably doing his best to keep the Yu Dao protesters under control.
Toph: Now as a full-on instructor, our "best Earthbender in the world" is just as strict as a teacher to her students like how she was to Aang. However, she seemed to miss everyone and still cares for her friends very much, especially sticking up for Sokka late in the comic.
Zuko: Uggh. Just...uggh. All the heat has gotten to him for sure, and he has gotten to be quite a jerk. He now puts the safety of "his people" over people like Katara and Aang. His pulling out of the HRM was completely uncalled for, and he seems to be easily swayed by the people of Yu Dao. Not a fan of him.
The Morishitas: We see Kori has quite the loyalty to her nation, and doesn't take well to betrayal, attacking Zuko right after the jump-ahead. One has to wonder if Kori will keep her antics up, but her dissatisfaction of Zuko is well-known quickly. The mayor Morishita clearly has pre-built disgust of Zuko as well, showing a preference for Ozai's days, which perhaps results in the start of Zuko's dislikable moves.
Still beyond the call: We see how much more trusted the Kyoshi Warriors have become, Mai perhaps convincing the Royal Palace staff to give them a protective position with regards to Zuko.
Sukka? Sukka? Anyone?: No apparent hints of the much-debated ship, except for Sokka mentioning Kyoshi Island once.
Mai cares: The Fire Lord's girlfriend continues to show that she is not the emo girl she was labeled as, showing great worry and care for Zuko.
Kataang, sweetie?: Katara and Aang remain well in love with each other, going so far as to call each other "sweetie"...several times. Okay, you guys know I love Kataang, but, if "sweetie" was cut back, I wouldn't shed a tear. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. All the meanwhile, they continue to deeply care for each other, with Katara attacking several guards after they hurt Aang, and Aang attacking Zuko after he restrains Katara and refuses to let go. The last we see of them, they are hugging with Katara clearly distraught over Aang's Avatar State move (A move which Katara pulled him from).
Roku-Sozin, Part II?: The verbal spar between Aang and Zuko on page 64 caught my eye -- notably Aang's line "Harmony requires four separate nations to balance each other out..." It reminds me very much of Roku's line when he first declined a spot on Sozin's imperialist mission. Definitely something to keep an eye on for sure. We can only hope the new Avatar and Fire Lord aren't doomed to head down the same path.
Oogies!: Advice, if you want to know what they are, don't ask Toph. :p But seriously...ehhh, not my favorite.
This comic is awesome -- loved every second of it. The stage is set early, and on path for the main idea of it. Still a while to go.
Will I read Part 2?
Does Katara bend water?
^^" See ya in May.