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Avatar: The Last Airbender Comics #4

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow

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The Fire Nation is threatened by a prophecy told by the Kemurikage--mysterious figures thought only to exist in legend: "remove Zuko from the throne or the country will perish!" Unrest is brewing as the New Ozai Society prepares to make its move against the crown, and children begin to go missing from their homes under mysterious circumstances! Avatar Aang and his friends are doing everything in their power to save them--but will it be enough?!

This special, oversized edition of Smoke and Shadow features volumes 1-3 with annotations by writer Gene Luen Yang and artists Gurihiru, as well as a sketchbook section with new, behind-the-scenes material!

Collects Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Volumes 1-3.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published October 4, 2016

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About the author

Gene Luen Yang

311 books2,992 followers
Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), Superman from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru). In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. His most recent books are Dragon Hoops from First Second Books and Superman Smashes the Klan from DC Comics.

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5 stars
3,335 (50%)
4 stars
2,380 (36%)
3 stars
746 (11%)
2 stars
78 (1%)
1 star
15 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 541 reviews
Profile Image for Mrinmayi.
155 reviews573 followers
December 4, 2020
Mrin: Ohhh...the T.V. series is waaaay better than these comics!! I am not enjoying them !!
Also Mrin : Is currently bingeing this comic series
Mrin : Welllll...if you are gonna say there's more abt the Gaaang!! I AM GONNA READ IT!!

But this was my least fav book so far
Maybe I am over this teenage drama *Realises Mrin is a teen too*
*sighs* Well .. I am at that teenage stage where gore and action excite me rather than romance drama !!
Add the awkward love triangle to this mix and its a recipe for disaster (At least for me)
I STAN Zuko and Katara
And I am that kind of person that if MY ship does not sail..I won't care for the ship that IS sailing
I juts don't think Zuko and Mei have that chemistry
I STILL stan Zuko and Katara!!

Poor Zuzu!!
Profile Image for Chad.
7,746 reviews869 followers
November 22, 2021
Basically the continuation of the cartoon come to life on the printed page. The art captures the look of the show perfectly as does Gene Luen Yang's characterization and plotting. This volume takes place in Fire Nation and deals with a group trying to remove Zuko from power.

Received an advance copy from Dark Horse and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Divine.
334 reviews167 followers
June 9, 2020
I'm still salty that Azula reverted to her old self again though it's understandable. I'm just a little bummed especially that she has the potential to go beyond such archetypes in the second installment and it wasn't resolved. HHHNNNNGGGRRR I also really don't care for Zuko and Mai's on off relationship.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,093 reviews6,578 followers
July 3, 2019
1.) The Promise ★★★★.5
2.) The Search ★★★★.5
3.) The Rift ★★★★
4.) Smoke and Shadow ★★★★.5
5.) North and South ★★★★.5


I don't know why, but I'm holding back on giving any of these a full 5 stars. I don't know.. I'm just waiting for something more epic to happen??
Profile Image for m i l o u ✨ (Grumpy Hobbit).
464 reviews36 followers
June 10, 2019
I'm going to admit something that might shock certain people so here it comes. I don't like Mai. I never have. I have never understood why other people find her alluring or having a lot of character. I think the creators were just trying too hate to make Mai 'likeable' and it didn't work out for me.

So that is one of the reasons why I didn't care much about this comic since Mai was pretty much everywhere.

And that's not even the worst part. In this comic there is an infuriating love triangle between Mai, Zuko and a new guy named Kei Lo.

Italian Trulli

It's fucking nauseating.

These 3 stars are for Aang, Zuko, Azula and Kiyi only.

Books in the series:
Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise (Avatar The Last Airbender, #1) by Gene Luen Yang Avatar The Last Airbender The Search (Avatar The Last Airbender, #2) by Gene Luen Yang Avatar The Last Airbender The Rift (Avatar The Last Airbender, #3) by Gene Luen Yang Avatar The Last Airbender Smoke and Shadow (Avatar The Last Airbender, Library Edition, #4) by Gene Luen Yang Avatar The Last Airbender North and South (Avatar The Last Airbender, Library Edition, #5) by Gene Luen Yang

1: Avatar: The Last Airbender #1 ★★★★★
2: Avatar: The Last Airbender #2 ★★★★★
3: Avatar: The Last Airbender #3 ★★★★★

↠ Genre: The Avatar the Last Airbender Universe, Comics
↠ Pov: Multiple
↠ Type: Book 4 out of ? in the Avatar the Last Airbender series
↠ Rating: 3 stars

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Profile Image for Fatemeh Bahrami.
118 reviews59 followers
August 29, 2021
درود بر عمو آیروی گوگولی
درود بر زوکوی جذاب
درود بر جنگجویان کیوشی خفن

و شرم بر آنگ که فایده‌ی یه مترسک توی داستان خیلی بیشتر از این بود😐 برو خجالت بکش بابا یعنی آواتاری. عین ماست می‌مونی چرا؟
Profile Image for fatherofdragons113.
180 reviews47 followers
March 18, 2020
I think this one is my favorite of the graphic novels so far. It's mainly focused on the Fire Family, but Aang is in it with them. I swear, this graphic novels are just as magical as the show. The characters are so alive and so themselves. They each have their own little within the larger world and it shows through their personalities, their fears, their beliefs etc. The only thing that stops me from saying this is my favorite show/books is that I wish the stakes were higher with some character deaths, but it works without them and is understandable given the age group it was created for. But it's so amazing for everyone if every age. I settled on an Azula tattoo on my leg of badass women.
Profile Image for Himanshu Karmacharya.
899 reviews104 followers
May 10, 2020
Zuko brings his mother back to the Fire Nation only to find a conspiracy surfacing, to overthrow him as the fire lord. While a group of ancient spirits seem to be involved in the conspiracy, the real truth is far from anything expected.

Smoke and Shadow, the fourth book in the series, is just as fun as the earlier entries, but more action-packed, and with a mystery surrounding it. There is an arc revolving around Ursa, Zuko's mother, on how she comes to term with the life she had left behind. And I think, the writer has done justice to the character. General Iroh is as great as always.

The problem with the book are some plot points, where characters are nerfed, just for the sake of plot. The Avatar is the main victim of this plot point.

Despite of the problems, the book is an entertaining read from start to finish.
Profile Image for rain.
610 reviews356 followers
July 25, 2020
one of my faves from the atla comics so far! there's so much layers to the story and it's always nice to read a zuko-focused comic. i also appreciate how they showed ursa coping up with her trauma and eventually learning to confront the source of it. ALSO LOVE ALL THE UNCLE IROH MOMENTS HE'S ALWAYS THE HIGHLIGHT OF EVERYTHING
Profile Image for ☆Laura☆.
195 reviews48 followers
December 30, 2019

I love Fire Nation. I love Zuko with all my heart and I'll never get over him. He's grown so much and I'm so proud. He's still so awkward and stubborn and such a drama queen, but he's the best character in the show and I could ramble about how awesome he is for days. ((I also like Mai a lot so I enjoyed reading her in this comic.))

The missing half star is because I don't really like open endings and this kinda felt like that? Like, what was the point with everything in the end? Will Azula keep bothering Zuko? (high chances but still, I need clear answers)

Profile Image for Blake the Book Eater.
855 reviews378 followers
December 3, 2020

While the Rift was a slight dip in quality coming off the Search, Gene Luen Yang takes these comics to new heights with this arc! Smoke and Shadow feels epic and dark and weight-y as Sozin’s Comet did. With the New Ozai Society trying to take down Zuko as the Fire Lord, and a mysterious group of spirits behind kidnappings in the capital, this is the most action-packed intriguing arc yet!

This one earns every single one of its 5 stars from me, with epic action, intense character moments, and just being a damn good story.

Read this one!!!
Profile Image for Elysian.
232 reviews60 followers
September 24, 2020
5 stars

I absolutelty loved this, but feel free to call me out as absolutely biased ok? I love ATLA and I will love all the content the creators are able to bring to us.

I loved that a lot of Mai in this story, because she really didn't show up anywhere else and she was one of my darlings, when I watched ATLA the first time as a child. Also a lot is centered around Zuko and his family AND we get some more Fire Nation lore, which was nice. I appreciate Uncle Iroh's jokes and wisdom and that is essentially all I have to say about that.
Profile Image for Charlie.
482 reviews23 followers
November 25, 2021

Once again, a fantastic comic about the Gaang. Zuko is, as always, my favorite and I love how they show him struggle with the legacy of his father and sister and struggle with himself as well. But he's figuring it out and I enjoyed his speech in the end a lot.

Another thing that was well-done in my opinion was that the Gaang was not forcefully kept together. The characters that are important to the story appear and the rest very naturally drop out because they have other things to do.

One thing I didn't quite understand was why
Profile Image for Lee (Rally the Readers).
321 reviews51 followers
January 22, 2018
Also posted on Rally the Readers.

I’ve been rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender on and off lately, so I was totally in the mood to read Smoke and Shadow, the fourth graphic novel that follows the continuing adventures of the gAang, post-TV series. I was especially looking forward to this installment because HELLO—ZUKO! He was absent from the previous volume, The Rift , and he makes a most welcome return in Smoke and Shadow. Returns are a bit of a theme here, as Zuko’s mother, Ursa, sets foot in the Fire Nation’s Capital City for the first time since viewers of the show watched her leave a young Zuko and Azula behind and disappear. Mai is back for this story as well and features prominently in it, while Katara and Sokka head home to the Southern Water Tribe for the first time since the end of the war.

I know I’ve lavished heaps of praise on these graphic novels in previous reviews, but it’s because every bit of praise is absolutely well-deserved. What I continue to adore about these comics is how extremely well-crafted the stories are and the care that’s taken to keep the characters consistent with the characters we originally met in the TV series. The continuity not only between the show and the comics but also between the graphic novels is simply stellar. Thanks to Gene Luen Yang’s superb writing and artists Gurihiru’s lush, beautifully rendered illustrations, it’s like the TV series never signed off.

Although I love every member of Team Avatar, Zuko is my favorite. The transformation of his character is one of the best written arcs EVER. I love that he’s not perfect, and in Smoke and Shadow, we glimpse some of the impulsiveness that was especially prevalent during the first season of the show. To be fair, though, the New Ozai Society, a group trying to undermine Zuko’s authority and restore his father to power, often puts Zuko in a position where he’s forced to react to their plotting. AtLA story lines can be pretty intense, as is this one. Creepy spirits are kidnapping Fire Nation children, and the New Ozai Society capitalizes on the ensuing panic to bolster their claim that Zuko is too weak to be Fire Lord. Meanwhile, a subplot finds Zuko’s mother, Ursa, struggling with facing the past life she didn’t think she’d ever see again. There’s also a brilliant plot twist that’s bound to feature in future graphic novels.

As always happens when reviewing these AtLA comics, I could go on and on about how phenomenal they are. Before wrapping up, I just have to say how badass Mai is in Smoke and Shadow. I really liked seeing her in the spotlight here, and like everyone else in the Avatar-verse, she’s a wonderfully complex character.

Yet again, Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru have produced a homerun of a collaboration set in a world that I love so much. There’s typically a bit of a wait between graphic novels, but I’d wait forever as long as I knew there’d be another one eventually because they are just. So. Amazing.
Profile Image for Ilaria Vigorito.
Author 3 books21 followers
May 1, 2022
Abbiamo capito che il destino di ogni volumetto di ATLA è farmi leggere le ultime pagine con le lacrime agli occhi. Sigh. Io amo Zuko e amo il suo rapporto con Aang, quindi ognuna di queste storie è per me una manna dal cielo. Ripeto: adoro come sia stata gestita la complessa transizione post-Ozai, come sia posto l'accento sul fatto che Zuko deve liberarsi delle scorie del passato e di tutto ciò che credeva giusto e debba farlo ad appena diciassette anni, mentre gestisce un regno in transizione da un regime soffocante e autoritario a una, diciamo, monarchia costituzionale.
E apprezzo come vengano sottolineate anche le difficoltà di Aang, il suo contraddittorio legame con un passato che non può tornare (più evidente in "La Frattura" che in questo volume), come sia dato risalto a figure "secondarie" come Ty Lee e Suki - il cui rapporto con Zuko è davvero delizioso, da fedelissima e fidata guardia del corpo che però si permette anche di dire la sua.
E sono contenta che anche Mai abbia avuto il suo spazio di crescita e che non sia nella storia soltanto l'interesse amoroso di Zuko. Senza contare che i risvolti politici della transizione mi intrigano sempre parecchio e apprezzo che ATLA da questo punto di vista non si tiri mai indietro nel mostrare le contaddizioni e i conflitti.
Profile Image for Wren.
743 reviews42 followers
October 31, 2020

THIS WAS THE BEST!!!!! Without a doubt my favourite of the Avatar comics so far.

Zuko is my favourite character so seeing him in all his glory was awesome. He is killing it as Fire Lord and he's so impressively powerful without bragging about it. His relationship with Kiyi was adorable and she might become my new favourite.

I don't know how it happened but I could see myself potentially shipping Zuko and Suki....random.
Profile Image for Roma (Taylor's version).
261 reviews99 followers
December 24, 2020
8- /10
I've highly enjoyed this one, but it was my least favorite of the comics. However, I loved that we get to know Zuko's family. Sadly, everything wrapped up far too quickly and it felt a bit unsatisfactory
Profile Image for Alyson Stone.
Author 4 books60 followers
July 25, 2020
Book: Avatar the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this one a lot. I felt like the last two graphic novels were kind of filler books, but, now, it feels like we are getting back into the swing of things. I really enjoyed the characters and the plot to this one. This one may be my favourite of the graphic novels so far.

Let’s start out with the thing that everyone is complaining about. Yes, there is a love triangle. I know, I know, a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes, but I think it worked. Mai has a new love interest and Zuko is a little jealous. Seeing Zuko’s reaction, to me, was priceless. I love just how he handles it and himself. The way he reacts is like a teenager, not Fire Lord, which is great. Plus, we do have a lot of moments between Mai and Zuko, which is great. I wasn’t that big of a fan of their relationship in the show; it just seemed to be missing something. However, here, I can get into them. I do hope they manage to work it out.

One thing that I really liked was getting to see just how impulsive Zuko is. We see him make decisions without really thinking it through and it costs him. I like getting to see the aftermath of his choices and the fall out. Plus, people try to tell him not to do it and he still does. However, we must be fair here, there is a new society that is trying to kick Zuko off the throne and he reacts because these people force him to. We also have spirits stealing children, the New Oazi Society telling people that it’s pretty much Zuko’s fault, and them making him out to be a weak Fire Lord. Yeah, I get it, but he still doesn’t always make the best choices. This just shows that the characters are not perfect, which is something that I love about this show. Plus, Zuko and Aang together just melts my heart. I love how these two interact with each other.

This one is also set in the Fire Nation, which we like about here. I love the Fire Nation culture and getting to see more of it. Plus, there is a big focus on what’s Mai’s life has been like after the war. Ursa is also returning the Fire Nation and we get her reaction. We also get a great plot twist. I just like seeing the Fire Nation and how everything is not okay. This is one thing that I think the graphic novels do well: The fact that everything is not okay after a war.

Anyway, I can’t wait to pick up the next one.
Profile Image for Olive.
39 reviews
January 22, 2022
Smoke and Shadow is another great installment in the Avatar comic series! The mystery (while a little easy to predict for me) kept my younger sister hooked, and the complex relationships in this book really make the comic shine. Mai is a very interesting character, and I'm glad she's getting some spotlight! Reading about her relationship with her father was intriguing, and their resolution was very well done, in my opinion. Zuko and Mai's relationship was also very fun to keep up with, and honestly, Kei Lo was a fun addition to the squad (no matter how brief).

Of course, the art is gorgeous and the designs for the kemurikage were a fun addition to the Avatar universe. All in all, a great installment!
Profile Image for Aldi.
1,113 reviews86 followers
December 27, 2018
The focus on Mai was great, although admittedly I prefer her when she's super-abrasive. I missed Sokka and Katara, although I get why they weren't in it; it was pretty packed with character arcs as it was. The art was gorgeous as always. I'd kind of expected more from the annotations - turns out most of the time they just explain what they were trying to do here (which is obvious from, y'know, the story) or pat each other on the back.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 541 reviews

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