The biggest mystery of Avatar, the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother, is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!
Featuring annotations by Eisner Award–winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artistic team Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!
* The official continuation of Airbender from its creators and best-selling writer Gene Luen Yang!
* Collecting The Search Parts 1–3, with tons of extras!
“A wonderful reintroduction to the world of Aang and his merry band of benders.”—Nerdist
Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.
He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife and children and teaches at a Roman Catholic high school.
★★★★★ /5 I love this! Sadly I wasn‘t the biggest fan of the first installment of the series (Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise) so I was pretty hesitant to get in this one, but fortunately, I loved it. It was an amazingly crafted installment with a really interesting side plot and everything combined really nicely. I was really glad to find out things this installment talked about. Of course, I love the show so it was really nice to see characters interact.
These comics show again and again how badly the characters and adventures of The Last Airbender translate onto the page. In the TV series, the episodes not only drove the story’s plot forward, but they also emphasised certain themes, characters, parallels, relationships, motivations, considerations and areas of the fictional universe. Many of these things are lost in both The Promise and The Search.
Let’s start with some positive things about this book. It nicely weaves together the story of the search for Zuko’s mother and the story of Ursa herself. A particular nice touch was that both stories also include many references to the play 'Love Amongst the Dragons'. Thematically speaking, I also liked the constant contrast between severing the bonds with your past and your family (e.g., brothers, sisters, parents, children) and not being able to do so. You see this theme resonate in nearly every part of the story: Ursa having to abandon Ikem, Ursa having to abandon the court and her children, Ursa and Ikem wanting a new face, Ursa wanting a new mind, the relation between Zuko and Azula, the relation between Sokka and Katara, the relation between Misu and Rafa, the relation between the Mother of Faces and Koh, and so on. And even though it gives the story a certain monotone, it gives it a unity as well.
Unfortunately, I disliked this story much more than I liked it. I could go on and on about this, but let’s stick to some main points. What I hate is when the things that set a story into motion (or that keep it into motion) make no sense. It makes the story feel pointless or fake. That is definitely the case here. What sets the story into motion is Ursa’s letter to Ikem in which she ‘reveals’ that Zuko is not Ozai’s but Ikem’s (since this leads to Azula’s escape attempt and the search for more information that follows after that). This revelation (if it were a real one) would be absolutely ludicrous, especially if she suspects her mail is being intercepted by Ozai. Such an admission would be a threat to everything she holds dear: Zuko, Ikem and her own life as well. Apparently, the writers realised this, because in the third part of this book it is revealed that both Ursa and Ozai consider this ‘revalation’ an obvious falsehood. But if that is the case, then it makes even less sense to put it in the letter. At most it would slightly irritate Ozai (rather than hurt him) and possibly befuddle Ikem. But, story-wise, this reaction from Ozai would be very inconvenient, so he somehow sees it as a reason to mistreat his son Zuko and send an assassin after Ikem. Apparently, Ozai is merely a sadist who cannot think rationally. Then, what keeps the story into motion is Ursa’s decision (after she is banished) to change her face and her memory. Again, this decision is very strange. She wanted to change her face to be able to see her children at court, but once she has her face changed she no longer intends to go see her children. And why a parent would want to erase the memories of her children – even if those memories are painful – seems preposterous to me. If you combine these poor decision-making skills with her general parenting (e.g., continuously pampering Zuko while ignoring or scolding Azula) and nothing much is left from that enigmatic and powerful figure from the original series. Moreover, nothing much is left from the premiss of this comic.
Now, let me list some other reasons for deeply disliking this story. (i) Zuko’s stupidity and isolation. Why did he never himself check in the archives where his mother came from and went to look for her himself? Why does he put his father and sister in one room, exactly? Why does he take Azula with him, exactly? the reasons that are given in the story are extremely weak. Moreover, his constant self-doubt and his worries about his ‘destiny’ grow very tiresome. The concept of ‘destiny’ was always one of the weaker points of the whole mythos, but please do not emphasise it any more than you have to. Moreover, I also missed those two characters that are able to stabilise Zuko: Mae and Iroh. They could have given their own perspectives on Zuko’s and Ursa’s stories, which might have been much more interesting than what, say, Aang, Katara and Sokka had to contribute. (ii) Azula. Her mental problems are not dealt with sufficiently. The flashbacks to her childhood are monotonous: she is always the little psychopath and Zuko is always the indignant crybaby. Never is it revealed how she became the way she is, or what the precise reason is for, say, the blueness of her fire or the constant hallucinations of her mother. Her hallucinations and outburst are merely opportune for the story. Furthermore, if Azula seriously wanted to become Firelord (with the ‘evidence’ that Ozai is not Zuko’s father) then she acts quite stupidly as well. Why not make sure that Zuko is deposed before looking for her mother? (iii) Side characters. Aang, Katara and Sokka are filler characters at most. Nothing interesting happens to them. Sokka may have a funny line or two, but that’s it. Why not, say, let Aang reflect on who his parents might have been and why he had to be taken away from them. As to the Mother of Faces, her capriciousness reveals her to be a mere plot device as well. She grants but one request every time she appears. OK, but didn’t you grant Ursa two requests? And why would you give Ursa her memory back at the end? Why can a spirit of faces erase parts of your memory anyway? (iv) The place of this story in the mythology. Firstly, I think these comics rely way too much on allusions to the Last Airbender series and on anticipations for the Legend of Korra series. The writers are way too eager to put everything already in place (e.g., Yu Dao as the model for Republic City, the chief of police of Yu Dao learning to metalbend), and this gives the comics more an air of fanfiction than of the real deal. Secondly, I think the personal issues of the main characters in the Avatar series are best dealt with in the context of greater problems (e.g., Sozin’s comet arriving, Amon’s revolt, harmonic convergence). Unfortunately, this is not the case with these comics. And because of this, the characters’ personal quests lose weight.
All in all, I hate the idea of having to consider these comics as part of the story’s canon. Especially because I cannot imagine the story of The Search being much like the story Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino pitched to Nickelodeon. It hardly seems possible to base a whole season on this thin story with characters that are stupid and/or do not develop in interesting ways.
A solid continuation of the series. This story deals with the search for Ursa, Fire Lord Zuko's mother. We finally get answers on what happened to her. The stuff with the faces though was pretty goofy and unnecessary. Zuko's sister, Azula, needs to be put out of our misery. How many chances can you give a person before you just give up on them and decide they are an awful person?
Received a review copy from Dark Horse and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
Bu çizgi romanı okumaya başlamadan önce, konusunun ne olduğunu öğrendiğimde o kadar çok sevindim ki! Avatar: Son Hava Bükücü'nün finalini yıllar önce hayranlıkla izlemiştim. Ama final bölümünde Zuko'nun, babasına annesinin yerini sorduğunda ve cevap alamadığında büyük bir eksiklik hissetmiştim.
Yıllar sonra bu çizgi roman sayesinde bu eksikliği tamamlayabilmem için bir umut belirdi:) Çünkü tüm kitap Zuko'nun annesini aramasını ve annesinin geçmişini konu alıyor.
Spoiler vermemek için fazla ayrıntıya girmeyeceğim, ama eğer Avatar'ı izlemişseniz, bu çizgi romanı da kesinlikle okumanızı tavsiye ederim. Aklınızdaki çoğu sorunun yanıtını bulabileceğiniz harika bir kitap. NOT: 6 yaşında, Zeynep adında bir yeğenim var ve yıllardır ona "Zuzu" diye sesleniyorum. Bu kitabı okuyunca birden hatırladım ki, Zuko'nun kız kardeşi Azula da Zuko'ya bu şekilde sesleniyordu.
Bunun 2 açıklaması olabilir: Ya "şeytani kız kardeş Azula" ile aynı kafa yapısına sahibiz ya da bu lakap bilinçaltımda sağlam bir yer edinmiş. Umarım ikincisi doğrudur:)
Truly amazing, FINALLY, the story everyone was dying to know..."WHAT HAPPENED TO ZUCKO'S MOTHER???" Once again, they could easily make a movie out of this graphic novel, if they were smart, which means they won't.
Plot twists and turns throughout, with excellent art, amazing writing, and once again, the hauntingly good feeling that you are watching the show, even though in your mind, you know you are actually reading a graphic novel.
A gem of a graphic novel at that. In a beautifully bound book, and one of my favorite little details...the post production notes, to the left and right of every page and art. Telling you why they set up the page the way they did, what they had trouble with, just wonderful little details. And details mean everything.
If this book did not win an award of some kind, it would be a travesty...and be actual rubbish!
I really enjoyed this collection. Because Zuko (along with Katara) is my favorite Avatar character I enjoyed the heartfelt and in depth look into his past. The main thing I didn’t like (Spoiler Alert) was the when Zuko was led to believe that he wasn’t his fathers son.
So much Azula action and scenes. This really tied up the loose ends that Avatar left us with. I haven't watched Kora yet so I'm not sure what stories from these graphic novels are portrayed in on the show.
. A short but very full story follows Zuko's search for his mother, Ursa. Aang, Katara, Sokka, Momo, Appa and ....Azula (shiver), all go with. Azula because she claims to know how to find her. I was expecting a straight forward story, silly me, this is avatar so the path to Ursa is meandering and dangerous.
The drawings are quite good (except for the cover, ironically). Although perhaps not as good as the animated show.
A KU option makes this an easy choice and I look forward to reading more. (and bonus for me, it's actually a romance too!)
I recently watched the Avatar: The Last Airbender tv series with my sons (Part of our great Covid-19 2020 Quarantine binge watch), and I really enjoyed the show. Like most fans, I desperately wanted to know what happened to Fire Lord Zuko’s mother. This story isn't as good as the television shows, but it is pretty close in its portrayal of our favorite group of young heroes and definitely is a satisfying conclusion to this particular plot arc. Highly recommended for fans of the series.
Hikayesi'yle, çizimleri ve renkleriyle, baskı kalitesiyle dört dörtlük bir kitaptı. Toph'un olmamasına üzüldüm, hatta özellikle niye yoktu anlam veremedim ama Avatar gerçekten sosyolojik olarak da incelenmesi gereken bir seri. Farklılıkların kucaklanması, anlayış, kayıp, arkadaşlık, aşk, güven ve daha nice önemli konuyu içinde barındırıyor ki ne kadar izlersem izleyeyim, ne kadar okursam okuyayım doyamıyorum.
Neyse ki Uçurum da kitaplığımda okunmayı bekliyor. Zira serinin kitapları hem bulunmuyor, bulunsa da 160 TL olmuş. Bir de hiçbir kitap sitesi serileri doğru düzgün tutmuyor. Yani örneğin Goodreads'de olduğu gibi (Avatar: Son Hava Bükücü, #2) yazmak ne kadar zor olabilir mi?
3.5! I really enjoyed this, especially as the different strands of the story began weaving together in the latter half. The use of various character and relationship symmetries (e.g., sister-brother, mother-son) to craft narrative cohesion reminded me of the excellent storytelling in the series, where nearly every episode was harmoniously self-contained. I also appreciated how themes of identity, change, and memory were expressed with the mysterious face spirit in Forgetful Valley. And I also have a certain theory about Suki & Zuko (yes, I ship them)... but this doesn't bother me (that is, for poor Sokka's sake (or Mai, for that matter — and where did Mai go when she left Zuko? I want more Mai!) as it's balanced with a similar theory about Sokka & Toph, a theory I really like... but, I'm just glad for Aang and Katara, the "Sweeties.” 🌝
This was so insanely good, I literally couldn’t put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting. These novels are so well done, from the plot line, to the characterisation, to the artwork, and the overall themes, they are perfect in all areas. Can’t wait to read the rest. (Also knowing what happened to Zuko’s mother is so satisfying because it’s nagged at me ever since I finished the tv show haha🙈)
What happened to Zuko and Azula's mother Ursa? Here is where you find out.
I've always felt incredibly sad about Ursa's backstory and how she ended up being a princess in the Fire Nation and married to soon-to-be Firelord Ozai. She had no rights of her own and her every moves were watched and controlled by Ozai. Ursa even was no longer allowed to mention her life before she ended up in the palace, and that's where her scaring truly began. She's forced to life a life she didn't want to live.
It only made sense that Zuko wants to find his mother and that he takes Azula with him, as a way of trying to fix and strengthen the sister and brother bond between them, which didn't quite work out.
This comic always makes me feel all sorts of emotions because you can understand why Ursa did what she did, because she had no other options left. She was plagued by her past and her guilt. And here is where Ursa is getting the redemption she deserved.
In The Search, we follow Zuko's quest to find out what happened to his mother. It's a far more personal story than The Promise, and it doesn't tackle issues of the same magnitude. Still, it was nice to see that plotline resolved.
Unfortunately, I found it rather disappointing. Much of the plot hinges on a letter in which Zuko's mother confesses that Zuko is not actually the Fire Lord's son. It would be strange for his mother to put something like that in a letter when she suspected that her husband was intercepting her mail, but it would have been forgiveable for the extremely compelling choices that would come from it. What would it mean for Zuko's identity? For his loyalty and love for his father and sister? Would he have to suppress the information to remain Fire lord and keep Azula from the title? That's all some pretty heavy stuff, stuff that is lightly touched upon as the friends carry out their search for Zuko's mother. Unfortunately, it all turns out to have been fake.
You see, Zuko's mother knew her mail was being intercepted so she lied about Zuko's parentage because... Well, we're never really given a reason. I suppose that's fine since complicated people doing messy things is a big part of what the series is about, but that does seem rather beyond what might be expected.
But the bigger issue for me is that it takes a way a lot of what we knew about Zuko's mother. In the show, she always seemed to be kind, wise, and loving. Her final act was to accept exile, and never seeing her children again, to save Zuko's life. Now, however, we find out that she just had her memory erased and got to live with her true love and have a new family. I'm all for smashing up the Angel Of The Hearth narrative for mothers, but this isn't how it's done.
There's plenty that I loved about the book. The artwork is great, the dialogue is pitch-perfect, and I'm always happy to revisit these characters. But there was just so much about this story that struck the wrong note for me, and so many opportunities for it to have been something far far better.
So many questions are now answered in this installment! I really love it and I cried so many times HAHAHAHA. This would have ended better though if the issue with Azula was resolved. I mean Azula truly deserved it???? I just want her to have some peace of mind huhuhuh. The fourth installment will have her as well so I hope that she gets some kind of justice.