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Author Topic: [DH Comics #10] Smoke and Shadow, Part 1  (Read 12185 times)
Icy_Ashford
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« on: Dec 07, 2014 07:59 am »



Comic Book Resources announced that Smoke and Shadow, Part 1 will be released on September 23, 2015. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.

Smoke and Shadow is written by writer/artist/creator Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by the creative team GuriHiru (illustrator Sasaki, Colorist Kawano).

This thread is for opinions & discussion about the story. A professional reviews thread will be set up in due time. For questions on release dates and buying the books, see A:TLA Graphic Novels in the Marketplace. For speculation of Smoke and Shadow, Part 2 and other future comics, please see Smoke and Shadow - Parts 1, 2, and 3 speculation thread and Future Avatar Comics respectively.



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« Last Edit: Sep 23, 2015 08:19 am by Icy_Ashford » Logged



I keep Zuko's dagger & EK coat, Iroh's wisdom, Lu Ten's grave offerings | Mako's scarf, Naga, General Iroh's army outfit, Korra's new formal outfit
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 23, 2015 04:54 pm »

Can't believe not a single other person has commented yet.

I like how they didn't wait until the third part to have Zuko and Mai met up again.  I'm glad to see Mai again, and I wasn't at all surprised when she was using Kei Lo in the begnining. Although, I am surprised that after the trap she still seems interested in him. I'm curious to see how Zuko will react to that.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 23, 2015 06:26 pm »

I like Mai as a liar and manipulator (as anyone who's read my fanfics knows that I like writing her as a spy), although she was better at it than I usually have her. I'll just reconcile it with some headcanon that she already has a few spy adventures under her belt. Grin
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Fieryfurnace
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 24, 2015 01:35 pm »

So...I've read most of Smoke and Shadows... just some scattered thoughts because my outlet wasn't the best. I might post again when i have the Library Edition if i missed anything important.

I liked it! But then again, i usually like the comics with The Promise being an exception. Though there were some problems i had with it, so let's get the good things out of the way first. I liked Mai and Ty Lee's interactions, i liked Zuko talking with his Uncle and the whole 'i'm turning into my father' thing (hopefully) being swept under the rug with Zuko's 'i'm beginning to think like you,' (hopefully) i liked Ursa's concern for Azula and Zuko's response, and the Kei Lo stuff was tolerable. The debacle with The Rift and Smoke and Shadows' date confusion actually wasn't an oversight. The first portion of the comic takes place before The Rift Part 1 and sets up Iroh attending the Yuo Dao inauguration ceremony at the beginning of that story. Glad that was cleared up.

Some of the dialogue was obviously on the nose though, and i'm usually the worst at noticing stilted dialogue for whatever reason. For example, there's literally a scene where Kei Lo is talking with Mai after a one month timeskip and he's like "so purely for the benefit of the readers because there's honestly no way we couldn't have talked about this by now, i can't believe you wouldn't go out with me until my leg healed! Cheesy"  Then they proceed to suck each other's faces off in what has got to be the most awkwardly drawn panel Gurihiru has ever produced. What was that panel. Why does it look so unnatural. Gurihiru's on point for the rest of the comic though.

You know what else i didn't like? Ursa. Not just her characterization (it's honestly bothering me more than it did in The Search for whatever reason, perhaps because she's scared ice cold - literally - this entire chapter, not offering much else aside from the brief scene where Azula is mentioned on the boat, and she really should be doing more because Kiyi is a brat here and it's obvious she needs a talking to - seriously Ursa mother up pls) but how it was represented on screen -er, page. There's a scene where she's walking alone in what i guess is the royal gallery and there's thought bubbles - seriously, wavy thought bubbles - that so obtusely spell out her anxieties i was honestly baffled. And then she stumbles upon the massive portrait of Ozai that Zuko's just left on the wall - gotta preserve that Fire Nation history i guess. I would have preferred a silent page and something other than the portrait triggering her horror (because really, she should know that there's a painting of Ozai in the royal gallery and avoided it - the palace used to be her home for goodness sake.)

Other miscellaneous stuff:

Zuko can suddenly fabulous bend. Huh. Kiyi's calling him Zuzu. Also huh.

You know, the whole Aang still looking like a taller version of his 12 year old self around two years later thing was discussed briefly on the speculation board, but i think the real mystery is how the hell Tom-Tom has managed to stay stuck in time. What horse-rhino blood are they giving that kid and where can i get some?

There's a lot of hugging in the comics isn't there? It reminds me of LOK.

Also Micheal DiMartino has some Gurihiru progress pics that will most definitely be included in the Library Edition on his Tumblr.

Looks like The Gaang is coming back next part to deal with spirit shenanigans. (Or just Aang. I actually hope it's just Aang because with Azula returning in Part 3 it's gonna get really cluttered if the sibs are there, heck, it's already cluttered as it is.) Overall, a decent opening - i'd give it a 6.5.
« Last Edit: Sep 24, 2015 01:43 pm by Fieryfurnace » Logged
HikaruIzumi
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 24, 2015 04:36 pm »

Okay, this was awful. The worst comic produced so far. Everyone was OOC: Iroh's comment about waving with angst was completely out of place given the current Zuko smiles more than Aang, Mai turned into a weaker version of Azula (probably the most jarring character change), Ty Lee is Ursa v2 despite the show and previous comics showing contrary, apparently you can talk while kissing, Kei Lol (because his character is a plot device and the universe hates him) is Ursa v3 (or suffers from very sudden Stockholm syndrome), Suki is full on hitting on Zuko (ok, not OOC here), Mai is the fastest acting character on screen, Mai punches stuff, Mai is an experienced and seasoned military tactician, Iroh is Sokka v2 (he had SOME dignity in the show) and probably bunch of other examples that I don't recall atm.

Also, why would anyone with at least a bit of common sense go in full Fire Lord attire alone somewhere while making a lot of noise as he does that despite having assassins at his back day and night? Oh, yeah, and the dialogue is something a 10 year old untalented kid would write on his bad day. "You're insane!" I laughed at that smart line. Why did Kei Lol drop by at the bar in he first place? It's seems extremely risky for a double agent and he just showed up told Ty Lee about NOS and left (because that's logically the first thing hey would have talked about). And why would assassins run away when someone shoots fire into the sky if they fought him when he was shooting fire at them and despite the said person being almost literally a sitting duck for anything shootable/throwable?

I agree with FieryFurnace that Ursa should win an award for the worst mother out there. I could swear Kiyi acts a lot like Azula in her age. And no one can use the "but Ozai" excuse here. When two of her kids that were raised in different circumstances are so alike, there is something very wrong with her mothering skills.

Don't get me started on the weird love square or whatever that thing is. Or any of the romances in this comic. At this point, Maiko is the same as Zucest save the -cest and fun parts.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 24, 2015 04:37 pm »

Looks like The Gaang is coming back next part to deal with spirit shenanigans. (Or just Aang. I actually hope it's just Aang because with Azula returning in Part 3 it's gonna get really cluttered if the sibs are there, heck, it's already cluttered as it is.) Overall, a decent opening - i'd give it a 6.5.

I'm pretty sure Katara and Sokka will be back with him. Just look at the descriptions for each part:

Part 1: Aang and his friends escort the Fire Lord and his family back to the Fire Nation Capital,

Part 2: With the disappearances of children in the Fire Nation Capital, Aang and his friends try everything they can to figure out what is going on.

Part 3: When children are disappearing in the Fire Nation Capital, Avatar Aang and his friends do everything in their power to save them.

The 'his friends' in the part 1 description obviously refers to Katara and Sokka and since the wording is the same for the rest of the descriptions; I'm assuming 'his friends' always refer to Katara and Sokka. Especially since each description later goes on to describe what Zuko is doing, treating him as his own separate entity. And I know it might be cluttred for the siblings to be there but I hope they are. Unlike LoK, the gaang was the best part of ATLA for me...so I actually want to see them present in the story. Also, it'd be kinda weird for them to introduce Katara and Sokka in this story in part one and then when Aang shows back up they are just gone. The comics have made it pretty clear that they are pretty stuck together as they are the only three of the original gaang to not split up after the war.

Anyway, I'll say more when I actually get the book in a few days and read the whole thing. I've only read bits and pieces (I really wish they would just have a general release date for these things).
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 24, 2015 11:24 pm »

...Suki is full on hitting on Zuko (ok, not OOC here)...

Kiyi also wants this ship to sail  Cheesy.
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 24, 2015 11:32 pm »

Why does Ursa look so old after getting her former face back? Ozai still looks decent and he's older than her, plus that guy that had his face restored went back to looking like he did when Koh had stolen it.
« Last Edit: Sep 24, 2015 11:41 pm by luvavatar » Logged
Colonel_Brian
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 24, 2015 11:40 pm »

Maybe it's like giving Senna more wrinkles to make her look more mom-ish.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 24, 2015 11:45 pm »

I don't think that they should have gone that route with her. Also I am not impressed with Zuko having multi-colored fire. I get that they're trying to establish that he is a powerful bender now, but it's kind of overkill. Also Zuko's strength wasn't in how much raw power he possessed, but in his determination and unbreakable spirit. That's what made him admirable, making him this overpowered bender just doesn't mesh well with everything that was given in A:TLA and in LOK. Such as in Legend of Korra, he states that the Red Lotus are strong enough to destroy the world and much more dangerous now that Zaheer was an airbender. However even with knowing that the odds were stacked against him, he still goes to fight. That's who Zuko is, a fighter that never gives up even when he knows that he may lose. Why take that away from him?
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 25, 2015 01:45 am »

Why take that away from him?
Because it's what bad fanfiction does... oh, wait...
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 25, 2015 10:32 am »

Oh, yeah, and the dialogue is something a 10 year old untalented kid would write on his bad day. "You're insane!" I laughed at that smart line.

This is one thing that immediately jumped out at me when i read the comic. The writing seemed a lot less natural than The Search and The Rift's, plus the repetition is quite irritating. (I swear Mai's called like 3 people lunatics thus far.) I can't comment on the specifics of the assassination because the pages i read were blurry. Kei Lo is dull, but i didn't hate him as much as Toph's three whatevers so he's tolerable for me. (His design kind of annoys me though - it's just so stereotypically 'good looking good boy' ugh) Also there's like three 'hey guyz i herd you didn't read Rebound' pages.

I've re read the comic and i have to say i probably enjoyed it less than any of The Search's of The Rift's individual parts. I think i was excited for new Avatar so that probably clouded my assessment. Plus there was alot of stuff that i'm not sure how i feel about. (Zuko's rainbow powers, for example.) Kind of disappointing after The Rift Part 3. Come on Gene, you were gaining ground. Oh well. Hoping for better next time tho.

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« Reply #12 on: Sep 25, 2015 11:47 pm »

I really don't mind spoilers, and I know this is very random, but Zuko didn't get chi-blocked did he? I'm still waiting for some lightning since I'm hearing about this multicolored fire.
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 26, 2015 12:41 am »

I'm hearing about this multicolored fire.

Huh? I have read the book a couple times and I do not recall that happening. That said, Zuko does have very impresssive feat where he nullfies multple fire blasts before converting them into a huge fire spout and despelling it omnidirectionally.
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2015 02:43 am by Red Lotus Grandmaster » Logged
Fieryfurnace
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 26, 2015 05:19 am »

I'm hearing about this multicolored fire.

Huh? I have read the book a couple times and I do not recall that happening. That said, Zuko does have very impresssive feat where he nullfies multple fire blasts before converting them into a huge fire spout and despelling it omnidirectionally.

It's on page 57. Zuko converts multiple fireblasts into a pillar around him that has sections of green and purple at the top. It's nowhere near as colourful as the dragons' but it's definitely multicoloured. And no, he wasn't chi blocked.
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2015 05:38 am by Fieryfurnace » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 26, 2015 10:14 am »

I'm hearing about this multicolored fire.

Huh? I have read the book a couple times and I do not recall that happening. That said, Zuko does have very impresssive feat where he nullfies multple fire blasts before converting them into a huge fire spout and despelling it omnidirectionally.

It's on page 57. Zuko converts multiple fireblasts into a pillar around him that has sections of green and purple at the top. It's nowhere near as colourful as the dragons' but it's definitely multicoloured. And no, he wasn't chi blocked.
Awesome. I'm now starting to see how Zuko managed to be Firelord for 67 years.
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 26, 2015 10:17 am »

I think it's crossing bad fan fiction territory by making him this "super" being.
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Freedom153
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 26, 2015 11:12 am »

Forget if it is going into bad fanfic territory - it's introducing timeline discontinuity. If young comics Zuko can now bend multicolor fire, then where was that during his TLOK fight with Zaheer? Did he just forget how to? Old man forgot how to fabulous bend and fight???

Is it "powerlevel" related? If it is and old Zuko could not do it (assuming due to age given how they had him weak in TLOK, which was odd then given King Bumi was 112 and a powerhouse in ATLA), then why did we not see Zuko using the multicolor fire during Sozin's Comet (a once in a century power boost)? Even if you assume the only way to have multicolor fire is being a good person like Zuko (hence no Ozai or Azula multicolor fire) what about the other firebending masters - Iroh and Jeong Jeong, during Sozin's Comet? Especially Zuko's uncle, given they both visited the Sun Warriors and the dragon duo Ran and Shaw.

Given Zuko should have achieved inner balance by now, lightning would make more sense, and wouldn't have retroactively made his TLOK fight versus Zaheer "Bwuh?" Lightning generation takes time - time he didn't have versus Ghazan if I remember correctly. Multicolor fire could have easily shown.

Given that about lightning and characterization errors, it just seems to me that Gene Yang doesn't get ATLA or the characters. I know my stuff for Korra isn't perfect, but that's unofficial fanfiction, my first time writing to boot. His is official stuff, and he's written before. No excuse.
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 26, 2015 11:28 am »

^Agreed. As great as it sounds, lightning really would make more sense. I don't see why it's being held off for so long.
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 26, 2015 12:27 pm »

Interesting thin I have noticed: the Kyoshi Warriors refer to each other and even female outsiders like Mai as "sister(s)". Without a proper context, this felt really weird.

Also, Suki's eyes are green again. This really rustled my jimmies  Angry
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« Reply #20 on: Sep 26, 2015 12:35 pm »

If they give Zuko lightning on top of his multicolored flames, I think I'll just call it quits on any future comics.
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Freedom153
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« Reply #21 on: Sep 26, 2015 12:42 pm »

It was supposed to be instead of multicolor flames. >.>

On the sisters thing - maybe Gene watched TLOK Book 1 and heard how Amon talks? "My brothers and sisters..."
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« Reply #22 on: Sep 26, 2015 10:23 pm »

I like Mai as a liar and manipulator (as anyone who's read my fanfics knows that I like writing her as a spy), although she was better at it than I usually have her. I'll just reconcile it with some headcanon that she already has a few spy adventures under her belt. Grin
I have to concur, man, Gene's got Mai pretty well characterized from what I can tell.  Of course, what's got me half-squeeing is how easily Ty Lee sees right through all of that.  Though her initial reaction at Mai saying "babe" had me on the floor.  I don't know if it was because she seriously thought "OH MY FREAKING GOD, WHAT HAS LOVE DONE TO YOU?!" or if she was baffled at how far Mai was actually able to stretch herself past her usual emotional comfort zone to pull off that ruse, but either way, I couldn't help smiling at this.

I think I can officially just write off this year's FCBD issue as a rush job, 'cause pretty much everything I complained about in that comic is absolutely absent from this comic.  Ty Lee's freaking back baby!

Sadly, I can't leave these compliments without a really annoying complaint to balance things out.  Once a-freaking-gain, Gene Yang has decided to peg yet another character with a constantly used phrase, latest victim being Mai and her referring to the NOS folks as "nutbars".  I just want to smack Gene with a freaking thesaurus when I see stuff like this. <_<

I don't think that they should have gone that route with her. Also I am not impressed with Zuko having multi-colored fire. I get that they're trying to establish that he is a powerful bender now, but it's kind of overkill.
I honestly thought "Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!  I know Zuko's their boy and crap now, but why are the dragons getting all up in this curfuffle?!"

Then I spent about ten minutes staring between the scans I was reading from to realize Zuko was the one making that fire.

...

Stupid question, sorta building off of an earlier question about Zuko shooting that therapeutic fire in the air...why on Earth would that make them run?!  Only Zuko and Aang know about that special freaking fire, right?  And it didn't even burn or singe them when they were surrounded by it, so why would that be any more powerful or threatening than a standard colored flame?  Again, I'd imagine them being more awed or dumbfounded than panicky at such a sight.  Shoot, one of them could've mocked Zuko at being more apt at making pretty flames than crushing the Fire Nation's enemies.

Quote
Also Zuko's strength wasn't in how much raw power he possessed, but in his determination and unbreakable spirit. That's what made him admirable, making him this overpowered bender just doesn't mesh well with everything that was given in A:TLA and in LOK. Such as in Legend of Korra, he states that the Red Lotus are strong enough to destroy the world and much more dangerous now that Zaheer was an airbender. However even with knowing that the odds were stacked against him, he still goes to fight. That's who Zuko is, a fighter that never gives up even when he knows that he may lose. Why take that away from him?
Did he, though?  I can't believe I'm defending Gene Yang in this, but if I recall correctly, didn't Zuko keep fighting even as he said those NOS goons were in perma-spawn mode?
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2015 10:32 pm by The_Xov » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: Sep 27, 2015 09:38 am »

Zuko might have done the multicolored fire only this once since his family was nearly killed, in a way in real life adrenaline can make mothers able to lift cars of their children when they are in danger.

Mai and Ty Lee where great in this, Mai might get the best characterization in the comics and I liked seeing her family. Kei Lo did not bother me the way I expected him to and I appreciated that Mai's father's arguments where not horrible. I loved Kiyi, child characters can be annoying but I find her entertaining. Would have liked to see some Kiyoshi warriors finally named but oh well, and Suki is as bland as she was in the series so no changes there.

So apparently Zuko spend weeks to find Azula in the forest. So she is probably not there anymore.


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« Reply #24 on: Sep 27, 2015 10:45 am »

On the sisters thing - maybe Gene watched TLOK Book 1 and heard how Amon talks? "My brothers and sisters..."

Or maybe he reads my Kyoshi Warrior fanfictions Grin.

Would have liked to see some Kiyoshi warriors finally named but oh well

At this point, my guess is that the rank-and-file Kyoshi Warriors will never ever receive names, and will be only referred as sister(s)  Tongue.
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