Monday, January 16, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, Part 1, by Gene Luen Yang & Gurihiru

Yang, Gene Luen & Gurihiru. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, Part 1. 80 p. Dark Horse. 2012. Paperback $10.99. ISBN 9781595828118.

After my enthusiastic review of Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures, you can guess I'm a fan of this franchise, right? In case you're new to it, believe the hype. With solid storytelling, incredible worldbuilding, an epic good versus evil plot, and characters you'll grow to love, it's an animated series you don't want to miss.

This graphic novel, written by Printz-award winning author Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Japanese illustration team Gurihiru, picks up right where the original series leaves off, and retains the feel of the show exquisitely. To be honest, I was quite giddy to read this! It was like catching up with a long-lost friend.

The writing has pretty much everything a fan could hope for: fast-paced action, laugh-out-loud one-liners, and demonstration of true bonds between the characters. The dialogue leaps off the page as if spoken by the original voice actors. There's a little bit of aww-inducing romance that I found absolutely adorable-- but since the relationships in this series are a hotly debated issue, I'll point out that those who don't care for the romance will be mollified as one character freaks out every time the others display affection for each other, to hilarious effect.

Almost all of the characters we know and love all get a chance to shine here-- although I wouldn't mind seeing more of Uncle Iroh in subsequent volumes! And with two more parts to this story, I'm confident we'll get our Iroh fix.

The art is outstanding, with rich colors and lively facial expressions. And the backdrops! Some of the panels simply made me pause to admire their gorgeousness-- a Fire Nation colony in the Earth Kingdom struck me as particularly spectacular.

I can't recommend this volume highly enough to Avatar fans. If you liked the show, you'll definitely want to read this.

Avatar: The Last Airbender -  The Promise, Part 1 comes out on January 25th. ARC for review provided by Dark Horse Books via NetGalley.

And!! We're interviewing Gene Luen Yang on the Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast this Friday, January 20. If you have any questions for Gene, please comment here and we'll do our best to ask them on your behalf!

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