Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift Part 1

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift - Part One script by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru, lettering by Michael Heisler

The city of Yu Dao has elected a coalition government of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom representatives who are committed to working together--a bright new future is in store. Avatar Aang and the gang attend the celebration banquet where Aang sees the ghost of Avatar Yangchen (one of his previous reincarnations). She can't speak and just points off into the distance before disappearing. Aang puzzles over the meaning of this until he realizes it's the time of the year that Yangchen's Festival was celebrated by the Air Nomads a hundred years ago. He decides to relive fond memories of the past and reestablish some Air Nomad culture by having an impromptu festival.

He takes his Air Bending apprentices and his friends to a clifftop with a massive statue of a woman. This spot is where the festival traditionally begins. They start to go through the rituals but Aang can't remember who the statue is (it's clearly not Yangchen) or why they do certain things. He says, "That's just how it's done." This sets Earth Bender Toph off since she grew up in a sheltered home where her parents always told her "that's just how it's done" whenever she questioned anything. Aang and Toph almost start to fight. The group heads down the hill to a field where the feast used to be held. The field is now an industrial town where a coalition of Fire Benders and Earth Benders run a refinery. The local river is polluted though the industrialists say it's from natural causes, not the refinery. Aang sees the whole thing as a violation of sacred ground but Toph sees it as the future of harmony that they've been working for all along.

The story is an interesting look at the tension between doing things "the old way" and "the new way." This issue seems a little slanted towards the old but not very slanted. The situation could go in many different directions. Based on the previous graphic novels, it will be very interesting to find out what's really going on and how Aang and Toph will patch up their differences (plus there's a big surprise at the end of this issue).

No comments:

Post a Comment