AvatarSpirit.Net
Nov 24, 2017 07:42 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
ASN Mainsite: AvatarSpirit.net
 
   Home   Help Login Register  
Poll
Question: Rate This Comic:
10 - 1 (6.3%)
9 - 0 (0%)
8 - 2 (12.5%)
7 - 5 (31.3%)
6 - 1 (6.3%)
5 - 1 (6.3%)
4 - 3 (18.8%)
3 - 2 (12.5%)
2 - 0 (0%)
1 - 1 (6.3%)
Total Voters: 16

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: [DH Comics #12] Smoke and Shadow, Part 3  (Read 8863 times)
Icy_Ashford
ASN Management
Never Gonna Give Yue Up
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12611


Av & Sig by Maivry


« on: Aug 16, 2015 08:36 pm »

This thread will be unlocked as soon as the book is officially released.



ATLA Online announced that Smoke and Shadow, Part 3 will be released on April 12, 2016. 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 other future comics, please see this thread .
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2016 09:31 pm 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
Icy_Ashford
ASN Management
Never Gonna Give Yue Up
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12611


Av & Sig by Maivry


« Reply #1 on: Mar 17, 2016 09:33 pm »

The comic has been officially released in stores. Feel free to discuss the comic in here if you have read it.

As usual DO NOT post illegal links to read the comic.




I must say, it was nice to see Crazula again. So manipulative, smart, and yet still retaining that unhinged edge.

As for everything else, I knew things would be wrapped up in a nice little bow. True enough, Part 3 tied up a lot of loose ends in an extremely rushed and unsatisfying manner. Seeing 2 pages of Ursa confronting Ozai after we've seen her cold shaky nervousness in Parts 1 & 2 was just eh. It was nice to see Iroh dispensing some wisdom to Ursa but I wished we could have seen more of it.

Why is Mai crying that Kei Lo broke up with her? I thought she was just using/playing him.

Since the show is heavily based on Asian culture where they don't always bury their dead and instead cremate them like how Azulon was cremated in Zuko Alone, I was confused why there was a graveyard for the rest of the royals. But props to the Asian-style graves.

Verdict? This trilogy is not as satisfying as The Rift.

If they moved half of the plot of Part 3 in to Part 2 instead of extending and adding unnecessary meat and fat to the story, things would have been better.
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2016 10:05 pm 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
ahintoflime
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 964


« Reply #2 on: Mar 17, 2016 11:12 pm »

So the power rankings for firebending need to be reworked if Kiyi can just straight up melt metal. Even the Comet enhanced firebenders in AtLA couldn't do that feat.

At least Zuko apologized to his people. Even Korra didn't do that.

Kei Lo went back to his home planet. See you space samurai...
Logged
The-Blue-Dragon-Lord
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 138


Everlasting Dragon


« Reply #3 on: Mar 17, 2016 11:50 pm »

Despite seeing Azula again and being happy about that, there are still things I felt were rushed. That being that she seemed like she was over her mental illness... I don't think that's something you can get over in a couple of months, even if their world seems to have different physics and so on? Something happened to her in that forest, but what?

Aside from that, it was nice to see her looking much more happier and like her old sarcastic self. I guess they had to cram in as much as they could. I was really hoping for an Ursa and Azula reunion, but not like the last time (of course).

I'm not too surprised that Kiyi can firebend, but I didn't think that she would be. She does have Roku's linage, anyway. I've been worried that they would try and make her an Azula 2.0, but as long as she's her own character, then I don't need to be. No characters can be replaced and they're all special to the fans who love them. I like Kiyi and she definitely has that spark that her brother and sister have.

Ursa's words to Ozai... I kind of laughed a bit because already, there was a crude version of it posted somewhere. I don't need to repeat that, though. Cheesy But seriously, that scene was bound to happen. Also, he was never apart of Azula's plan and Azula didn't call him father. However twisted it may seem, I think Azula does care about Zuko. She just doesn't want to admit it or something... As rushed as it may seem, it's nice to know (as someone who loves Azula) that she feels a bit more free for probably the first time in her whole life. Maybe it's her new friends or maybe something is changing in her...

There's also the part (in bold font) where she said "My kind of ladies" when talking about the Kemurikage to Mai. I know I ship her with Ty Lee and even June, but this was something that has me wondering if she really does like the ladies, after all and they're giving subtle hints about it... Maybe I'm looking into it too much, but Bryke said there were more characters "good and bad", right? I could go on more about this, but I won't. LOL!

I really love how Gurihiru drew Azula in this and I always wanted to seem a more happier Azula in this style. She looks so cute! Grin But, all the art was good. This is something I enjoyed when reading The Search. The scenery and the elemental stuff. My only bother is that Suki's eyes should've remained blue, but oh well, it is what it is... I liked the graveyard scenery and crypts. I am so morbid! Cheesy I appreciate all the scenery, though.

The Azula and Zuko fight scene reminded me of a Star Wars duel, only with flame daggers and the colours being the opposite. Sithzula vs Jeduko! Cheesy I'm happy to say that the fight didn't end like it would've in Star Wars. As long as their sibling rivalry has been, I don't think they could ever hurt each other like they once tried to. I really hope they resolve their issues, if there's more to come.

TLDR: Excuse if this is long and may sound a bit repetitive (especially with my Azula love xD) but I'm still tired from last week. I wasn't feeling too well, but I felt much better seeing Azula's face (with her mask of fear) again. Grin The wait was killing me!

I was worried about how this would end and there were things I liked and wasn't quite fond of, but I am satisfied, none the less.
Logged


He is called Kalameet. A ferocious dragon indeed, even mighty Anor Londo dared not provoke his ire. — Hawkeye Gough
Fieryfurnace
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 143


Just passin' through


« Reply #4 on: Mar 18, 2016 02:28 pm »

Well... that was disappointing.  Undecided

Honestly, now that the trilogy has come to a close, I can't say that there was really anything I was satisfied with, excluding the art and minor contributions to the lore. I'm usually positive on the comics, too.  Sad

It feels like too much was crammed into the trilogy as a whole. We had the societies, Mai's relationship with her father, the love triangle between Mai, Zuko and Pretty Boy, Azula's return, Ursa overcoming her fear of Ozai, firebender Kiyi and the kidnapped kids, everything with the Kemurikage, Aang being here for 'spirit' shenanigans and to argue with Zuko... Of course it's rushed and unfulfilling, especially compared to The Rift Part 3 (which I still believe to be the best of the comics individually). It wasn't just rushed, though, the writing also left something to be desired.

Azula's back, and she's (mostly) sane now. Her plan is to mould Zuko into the Firelord she can never be and have him rule through fear. A'ight, cool. Wait, though... shouldn't Azula have already realised that fear is not a sufficient means of control by now? It didn't work with Mai and Ty lee. Her whole breakdown in the finale involved her desperately trying to hang onto the notion that 'fear is the only reliable way,' a mindset she based her entire life on and, when proven false by the betrayal of her friends, caused the beginnings of her sanity collapse. Azula has had an epiphany and become 'weightless and free' for the first time in her life... by reverting back to her old mindset, only this time Zuko's gonna be the one commanding fear and not her so it's totally different. I want to know how she's come to the conclusion that fear is the way to go between The Search and now considering everything that's happened cuz I have no idea what logic she's operating under here.

Guruhiru did do a fantastic job portraying Azula as they always do though - she looks very elegant!  Grin (also lil Azula eating mochi is adorable)

Lightning continues to be non-lethal. I don't have a problem with it really, but it is a bit odd. Azula proclaims she has become stronger and yet shoots weaker lightning. I don't see why she's shooting lightning at Zuko in the first place given that she wants to make him a toasty stronger Firelord, but I guess that's proof enough that lightning can be deliberately made weaker, assuming that she is as strong as her pre/during breakdown self, since she's definitely not aiming to kill her brother at this point while shooting it.

The breakdown in communication with Aang and Zuko felt like something straight out of The Promise. I mean, Zuko's a stubborn manchild. I get that, but seriously - "if you're not willing to support me, then leave" - what was that? We went through that childish 'i'm right, you're wrong, shut up' fiasco years ago so that Zuko and Aang could still fail to actually discuss together things like civilised young people. I really don't like how this comic shows Aang and Zuko's relationship. They're best friends - Aang states as much in the comic - but I can't tell that for myself the way their interactions are written. Aang should not have had to forcibly drag Zuko over just to get him to take a look at the passageway. C'mon boys, you're better than this.

Ursa gives her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Ozai and it has absolutely no emotional weight whatsoever. Moving on.

Kiyi melts a door, the kids escape with Avatar 'I can't bend smoke even though I'm an airbender' Aang, Azula uses her weird smoke trick to disappear (I'm assuming she learnt how to do that around the same time she learnt how to redirect lightning), Zuko says he's super sorry to the people, Azula goes off to start her career as a magician, and Mai and That Guy...break up? Wait, why? Huh? W-we went through three comics of boyfriend drama and they break up and we don't even get to see what they say or why they split or the point of That Guy even being in the story as her love interest to begin with... Welp, at least Kei Lo isn't here anymore. He was boring but at least he wasn't obnoxious like Toph's worshipers, and that's that for him. The trilogy ends abruptly with Kiyi accepting Ursa cuz she ain't a human ice lolly anymore.

Overall, i wasn't too impressed with this one. I'd give it a 3 or 4/10 depending on the time of day. The art is good as always, Azula looks nice, but meh storytelling.  Tongue



Logged
Fat
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 46


« Reply #5 on: Mar 18, 2016 03:15 pm »

I hate to admit it but that's by some degree the most disappointed I've been with any of the Avatar comics so far, which I've mostly enjoyed up until now. There are a lot of questionable decisions being made in this issue anyway and even the interesting ones aren't given enough attention to really make them work.

If I had to summarize the problems I have with Smoke and Shadow Part 3 down to one word, it would be "rushed." There are far too many plots left open going into this issue to be dealt with satisfactorily and the result is a string of let-downs, each compounded by the last.

The Kemurikage plot, probably the closest to being considered a main story, seems like something straight out of Scooby-Doo. Apparently the most effective way of destabilizing a government is to dress up like spooky ghosts and start child-napping, and they would've gotten away with it to, if not for that meddling Avatar. I don't have a problem with the Avatar series straying towards its more abstract, spiritual elements or tackling the more grounded, political ramifications of the main character's actions but there's an awkward juxtaposition between the two here that's off putting to me. Look at it this way, we have to assume that Azula at some point sat down and genuinely decided that the best way of corrupting her brother was to pick out her best Sith Lord halloween costume and pinch some toddlers. It's a good thing this strategy was devised by people fresh from an insane asylum, or else it might seem a little silly.

But that's only the basic premise, the execution comes off equally fumbled. So S&S is set not too long after The Search and apparently the Kemurikage are a group of ladies that Azula busted out the mental institution. Which means that since her disappearance into the forests near Hira'a, Azula went back to the capital, snook half-a-dozen of her (clearly violent and ruthless) buddies out of the same asylum Zuko himself had removed Azula from, and nobody thought to put two and two together. Azula goes missing, and then a bunch more people go missing from the asylum Azula was in, and nobody suspects that Azula might be plotting something (?)

So there's that. There's also the fact that Ukano, who lost his family life in service to restoring Ozai to the throne, seemingly never thought it frugal to ask Azula where Ozai featured in her plans (Spoiler: he didn't). So basically, what you've got is Ukano rushing his plans, exposing all his supporters, abducting children and getting himself arrested in return for what? What was his motivation for working with Azula in the first place? Why would he entrust this movement he's been cultivating for years to somebody who's both mentally unstable and doesn't share any of his goals?

Azula herself was also underwhelming in my opinion. While on the surface level, it's nice to see she's got some of the sharpness and snarl of her previous self,  the larger part of me can't help be a little upset that she's been restored to her factory default with a handy case of unseen development. Azula in the cartoon was a menacing thing, orchestrated and calculating, something that seemed forged from 14 years of intense training and conditioning on the part of her Father. To see that stripped back in the finale (and more importantly, understanding why) showed us a stark contrast. Her cold, clinical mood was replaced by something more rash and emotional, her preened appearance gave way to dishevelment, her place in society went from the heights of royalty to the depths of being considered an insane war-criminal. The contrast was shocking because we understood why she'd fallen so hard, the reverse reveal in this latest comic doesn't really compare. The last we saw of her in the Search, she was scared, weak and confused, now all of a sudden she isn't and there's a disconnect there which doesn't sell the development to me. It doesn't mean a whole lot to me other than the skin-deep recognition that old-school Azula is (mostly) back, it doesn't have any of the impact that the reverse switch in fortunes had in Sozin's Comet.

Other issues come in the form of her;
a) rather than coming up with new lines, half-recycling catchphrases from the cartoon like a cheap Saturday morning villain from the 80s
b) exposing her plans to carefully manipulate Zuko's life by lecturing them to him, like a cheap Saturday morning villain from the 80s
c) despite being in a crypt surrounded by Aang, Mai, Kei Lo and Ukano, conveniently disappearing in a shroud of mist like a cheap Saturday morning villain from the 80s
and d) generally acting like a cheap Saturday morning villain from the 80s

Kei Lo has presumably vanished just as anonymously as he arrived. His relationship with Mai seemed to be a healthy one, so I might be forgiven for feeling that his just-out-of-earshot break-up with Mai was incredibly lazy.  He just decides to up and leave once his role as a plot device has been fulfilled. Fair enough, buddy, no need to stick around any longer than the paycheck obliges. This opens the way for Maiko to finally reunite sometime in 2021. The whole love-triangle thing comes across as insignificant. It was kind of interesting to see how Mai might handle a relationship with somebody other than Zuko in part 1. Kei-Lo might not have been Mr. Charisma but he was inoffensive enough but now that that's over, it just doesn't feel like it added up to much. We're back to square one again, Zuko and Mai are apart but still like each other, but Mai doesn't want to be hurt by Zuko again. We know, we've known for years, we didn't need a three-parter to establish the fact that we know that.

Suki and Ty Lee pull an Asami and disappear half-way through the conclusion  Angry

Kiyi firebending doesn't upset me to be honest. I agree that it's nonsense that she can melt a door right off the bat but I'm consciously willing to omit that from my brain. What I can't get over is the nonsense resolution of her subplot with Ursa. I feel as though I might have missed some pages. I'm really glad that they're addressing Kiyi not accepting Ursa's face, that could have been easily swept under the rug, so kudos for even having this plot point. However, that doesn't really address the issue with its conclusion. Kiyi wants her old Mom back and doesn't trust Ursa, this is symbolized by Kiyi saying Ursa's hand are cold. The result of this being that Kiyi learns to firebend and that somehow reestablishes their parent-child bond...? Sure, Ursa has a chat with Iroh which is a decent scene and confronts Ozai but that shouldn't have any immediate impact on Kiyi's mindset. It's a huge jump in logic to go from those scenes, to Kiyi completely accepting her Mother in the final page. If anything, now that she can shoot fire, Kiyi needs her Mom less. The trajectories of the two characters in this issue don't at all seem to justify the reconciliation in final scene.

Which brings us to Ozai. There was a time I was impressed with how these comics handled Ozai. The Promise and the Search gave him a degree of humanity without softening the edges. His twisted, self-centered worldview was believable in dictatorial sort of way and it was this composed sense of superiority that made him genuinely unnerving in his attempts to influence Zuko. That all seems to have gone and now he's just a loud, shouty man. His whimpering after Ursa chews him out comes off far too suddenly for it to connect at all. This is a guy who's had his throne and his superpowers stripped from him and has been locked away from years now but a few tough lines from Ursa and it's time for Yang to bust out the h-h-h-hyphenated stutters. Again, it's all just far too rushed.

There are other problems, like the first quarter-or-so of the book being overloaded with quick, expository dialogue but I think it's also important to think about where Smoke and Shadow leaves the grander Avatar story. The Azula plot wasn't wrapped up, I didn't think it could be in just one issue but now it's official. She looks to have adopted a position as the returning baddy, which further establishes the Fire Nation plot as being the only real continuous storyline in the comics. The issue I think this creates is that by being the only continuing thread throughout the comics, the Fire Nation plot needs to run perpetually, because there's nothing else there to fall back on.
Zuko's the only main character in any sort of position where he has responsibilities and restrictions. Aang might be the Avatar but without a Fire Lord to take down, that basically just means responding to issues when and where they arise, aside from that he can basically do as he pleases. Katara and Sokka are even more free, they're just helping Aang without the "Chosen one" pressure hanging over their heads. There isn't anything to tie these characters down so soon after the war, this is still their carefree downtime, relaxing after ending the war before they have to grow up. That's fine, but it makes it virtually impossible for them to be able to carry a story that isn't short and self-contained (like Toph in The Rift and hopefully the water siblings in North & South) There's nothing wrong with those smaller series', The Rift is my favorite trilogy so far, but it means the heavier, longer stuff has to be heaped onto Zuko, because he does have responsibility, his actions effect his people and his family and he has a nemesis out to get him. The outcome seems to be that the Fire Nation plot both has to be continually moving forward (because there's nothing else to fall back on) and also cannot end (because there's nothing else to fall back on). Which is why I predict that returning antagonist Azula will continue to disappoint for some time yet, showing up whenever necessary but never actually doing anything. Everything returns to the status-quo, the story creates the illusion of progress but nothing really happens.

Having said all of that, Gurihiru's art was on point. They clearly enjoyed themselves drawing Azula and it shows. Onwards and upwards to North and South, I say. I could do with something a little lighter and Katara and Sokka seem just the ticket. I can't wait to see them actually get some of the spotlight, it's long overdue.
Logged
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #6 on: Mar 18, 2016 05:51 pm »

This is the post I had made and refrained from posting, because it was still considered spoilers. This was before reading anyone else’s opinion; I haven’t changed anything. Spelling mistakes in the initial Avatar Wiki summary preserved and all.
XXXXXXXXXXX
Wow, that was fast - Avatar Wiki already has the entire summary, even if I don't see any reviews. Reading now.

Why would Mai have ANY qualms about outing her father? She didn't like him in the show, and didn't like when he kidnapped Tom Tom in a post-show comic... huh?

"Aang argues that such drastic actions will only breed mistrust, and Mai counters that drastic situations call for drastic actions."
Okay, so now they have the Avatar acting foolish to make another character look better for little reason. *coughTLOKcough*

Zuko has Aang escorted out? HUH?

"In a separate room, the fake Kemurikage unmask themselves, Zirin asking their leader, Azula..."
Okay, totally saw that coming, but let's see.

"Azula wants Ukano to have the Safe Nation Society go on a protest, and the protest to grow into a riot..."
Never figured Azula as one to rely on a riot, which is an angry rabble of people. Maybe she learned from Suki's prison riot trick.

"After he leaves, Azula says to herself Ozai was never part of the plan..."
Okay now that I buy.

"Iroh is almost arriving in the capital in an airship. The pilot asks what brings him back, and Iroh explains preparations must begin for National Tea Appreciation Day."

Seriously, National Tea Appreciation Day, not to see if his "nephew"/practically son needs some help? Is Iroh becoming a big goof? A bigger goof than he was in the show?

"Kiyi firebends at the door, melting a whole in it."
Cool - wonder if they'll ever show Ursa firebending?

"Ursa wonders how the future will be, and Iroh urges her not to lose hope. She asks how he got over Lu Ten's death, and Iroh answers he never has. He tells her despite parents' efforts, the world will always be a dangerous place for their children, and the best they can do is teach them to see fear with unclouded eyes."
Okay, that's better. He's still serious when he needs to be.

Azula's end plan (by opposing him from the shadows, forcing Zuko to rule like their father) was clever and interesting, until I remembered something - we already know Zuko doesn't become a horrible ruler, thanks to TLOK.

"Azula and her subordinates, still dress and masked as Kemurikage watch from afar, and vanish in the smoke..."
Are you... eugh. So Azula can show up again... see previous Sokka picture.

I do like that it ends with Ursa having a spine, but... I just don't know. It was even more convoluted than what I thought it was going to be(an Azula redemption), what with Ukano getting "Hiroshi who helped and lived" status and Azula being shuffled off into darkness, likely to appear yet again... I'm not sure if that's better or worse than a rushed redemption?

The summary doesn't particularly make me want to go out and buy these, even at steep discount, and the last minute Azula vanishing... what I said in my linked post applies, I think, even if it wasn't for the reason I said originally:
Quote
Azula being a major actor against Zuko in this series after all the stuff she's done and the second chances, and then getting anything other than a prison sentence (should she live) for whatever she's going to do in Part 3 and for her presumed role helping the New Ozai Society and Ukano...

I wouldn't even be following Gene Yang's little illustrated second or third rate fanfiction works after, period. I feel like whatever chance of a proper Azula redemption(like what I outlined in that link) died with that lightning, and this latest picture of an apparently Royal garbed foot and leg kicking.

I guess with the whole thing about "finally silencing the voice in my head" with her plan's purpose implying she's still evil, redemption's out of the picture. And given she's already run off once into God knows where (The Forgetful Valley at the end of The Search) and returned, and then promptly run off again, after her plan's foiled...
Yeah, that is sort of worse than a botched redemption, if she's going to be used as a recurring antagonist, when by all rights she should have been captured and de-bended by Aang.

I also feel like if that really was Azula's plan, it would have been better accomplished by a decade-long insurgency, like what al Qaeda did in Afghanistan, twice, not just kidnapping some children and vanishing after the plan goes sour.
XXXXXXXXXXXX
End

Add-in, post: I didn’t think it was possible, but I think Gene’s vision for Azula and her future somehow manages to be more ridiculous than what I had in mind (a large part of that an “Oh crap, I just wrote myself into a corner” realization moment driving the backstory) for my own sub-glacial speed writing. But I guess like Fat said, the Kemikurage ended up being something out of Scooby Doo, and(no disrespect intended to the show) it can’t get much worse than that.

And I see Azula escaping as something the Joker would be allowed to get away with in a Batman TV show or video game. I don't see a big problem when the Joker does it; as far as I understand, that's just what he does. Azula getting away when cornered... yeah, I'm "unsubbing".

Looks like she didn't go anywhere from the finale:
« Last Edit: Mar 18, 2016 05:55 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Cybersun
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 86



« Reply #7 on: Mar 18, 2016 06:57 pm »

This was definitely the worst avatar comic EVER!!! I can't believe they did not have azula interact with her mother at all i mean her belief that ursa did not love her was the main cause of her insanity and for them not to have any dialogue at all is just pitiful, i like Gene Yang but she should be ashamed of himself for writing this comic.
Logged
Loopy
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 31458


I'm Loooooooopy!


« Reply #8 on: Mar 18, 2016 06:59 pm »

Overall, i wasn't too impressed with this one. I'd give it a 3 or 4/10 depending on the time of day. The art is good as always, Azula looks nice, but meh storytelling.  Tongue
I hate to admit it but that's by some degree the most disappointed I've been with any of the Avatar comics so far, which I've mostly enjoyed up until now. There are a lot of questionable decisions being made in this issue anyway and even the interesting ones aren't given enough attention to really make them work.

Great write-ups, you two! Smiley If I hadn't already made something for my tumblr, I'd just give your posts approval and call it a day. In fact, you still both get approvals:

These reviews are Loopy Approved TM.

However, since I did already do a write-up, here it is:



Overall, I found this comic to be a frustrating mix of interesting concepts and disappointing execution thus my review is going to be in a new format. It's time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea...



Good Idea: Azula is back, and she doesn't want to steal the throne from her brother, but rather 'toughen' him into what she sees as a proper Fire Lord.
Bad Idea: Azula defines a proper Fire Lord as one who rules through fear rather than love. Aside from turning a good line into a reductive running plot, it casts Azula as being in utter denial of what led to her downfall in the cartoon's finale. Her fall came from the realization that love was more powerful than fear, giving Zuko everything he wanted and taking away everything that she wanted, so that even before they fought their Agni Kai, Azula was having a complete breakdown and knew that she was coming apart. This comic rewinds things so that Azula is going to have to learn the same lesson again, dragging her into Gene Yang's frustrating habit of reducing the cartoon characters to their most iconic moment from the cartoon.

Good Idea: Putting Azula in a vampire cape. (Props to Gurihiru for making it look great!)
Bad Idea: Saving Azula's reveal until a quarter through this volume when she was the true villain of the whole thing. Why hide her face and voice on the last page of the previous comic and whole first scene of this comic? No reason, other than to keep fans speculating after the preview pages were released. Thus, we're left with Azula being relegated to an afterthought in the whole story, rather than an organic and essential part of it.

Good Idea: Allowing Zuko to be wrong for once, countering claims that he is Gene Yang's Gary Stu.
Bad Idea: Having Zuko act in extreme anger and literally throwing Aang out of his palace for simply saying that there are probably better strategies then sending soldiers to randomly break into people's houses looking for kidnapping victims (as though the victims are locked in someone's closet when it’s known that Azula is involved at this point and has magic teleporting powers) and arresting people for sedition. As with The Promise (and sadly unlike The Rift), we don't see characters conflicting out of differing personalities or philosophies, we have characters switching between Good and Evil extremes at the drop of a hat and backing up their opinions with violence at the first sign of respectful disagreement. I guess the assumed target audience is too young and stupid to handle dialogue like, "Okay, Aang, then what do you think we should do?" Also, if Zuko is this flawed, how was he randomly bending rainbow fire in the first part of this trilogy, and what was that supposed to convey besides Zuko's OVER 9000 power level?

Good Idea: Not using Mai's lying about her father's culpability in Azula's plot as an excuse for why she shouldn't be so snotty about not taking Zuko back.
Bad Idea: The whole concept of Mai lying about that in the first place despite it being out of character and also an overwhelmingly obvious bad idea, but also that it literally comes to no consequence in this volume, so the whole purpose of Mai's actions is revealed to be padding out the story to get three volumes out of it. Good thing she and Gene Yang coordinated or he might have had to come up with three books worth of plot.

Good Idea: Breaking up Mai and Kei Lo, the least interesting Terrorist Boyfriend in the world.
Bad Idea: Having Kei Lo just walk away as a result of seeing Mai hug Zuko once, apparently making him realize that he was never anything more than a plot device. The end result is that Kei Lo's entire existence and role in this comics can be summed up as "The boy who just wanted to belong, but never did." I never thought much of the character, so I'm not sorry to see him go, but this was a massive anti-climax. Maiko didn't actually get back together, so this whole trilogy ends with Mai and Zuko in literally the exact same place they were in at the end of Mai's FCBD one-shot story Rebound, published THREE YEARS AGO, which itself only revealed Mai's state of affairs as of her exit from The Promise, which was published FOUR YEARS AGO. Is it too much to ask to finally get some advancement on this story so that people stop seriously claiming that Suki is trying to seduce Zuko?

Good Idea: Azula survives and escapes to continue playing a part in these stories.
Bad Idea: Azula literally teleports away after explaining her plan to Zuko, ensuring that he'll be on guard for future manipulations and her dissident supporters will be rounded up and defanged. So, uh, way to compound the setback, Princess! I guess that smoke you’ve been using to pretend to be a spirit isn’t a good thing to be breathing!

Good Idea: A complicated plot with a fake-out.
Bad Idea: So, why was Azula pretending to be a spirit? As far as I can tell, her plan was to have Zuko start to rule out of fear by inciting him to crack down on dissidents. Said dissidents were already in rebellion, as seen in Rebound, and all they needed to do to rile up Zuko here was kidnap some kids from among his current supporters. Was the whole spirit-angle necessary in any way? Couldn't Azula just have accomplished this all by performing the kidnappings dressed like a normal ninja, and then having the dissidents perform the same anti-Zuko protests? Zuko would have blamed the dissidents for the kidnappings, Azula could have ‘proven’ to the dissidents that it was someone else, and it all would have worked at least just as well! Oh, but then the READERS wouldn't have been fooled! We don't have character-driven stories here; we have ADVERTISING-driven stories.

Good Idea: Tying Mai to Azula's decision to dress like a vampire.
Bad Idea: Suggesting that MAI of all people had nightmares about evil kidnapper spirits after stealing some special treats that her mom made. Um, since when does Mai care about disobeying or respecting her parents? Sure, she might have been more into that as a kid, but that’s a fairly extreme reaction, and comes across as contrived.

Good Idea: Giving the whole story a theme of fear- Mai fears being hurt again, Zuko fears losing his new sister and his control of the Fire Nation, Mai's dad goes along with Azula's plot out of fear, Ursa fears Ozai and losing her new daughter especially after the kidnapping, etc.
Bad Idea: Going one too far with Ursa's subplot. She is understandably upset when Kiyi is kidnapped, but is cured of her fear when Iroh says, "Yeah, but as parents we have to let go and trust." The problem is that Iroh goes from literally talking about Lu Ten's death to saying this with no transition, and Ursa has no reason to accept it considering that she walked away from Zuko and Azula and that ended in unmitigated disaster, turning Azula into Azula and making Zuko into a guy who's kind of all right when everything is going his way but who tries to murder his best friends over disagreements. In the end Kiyi comes back and Ursa gets to take a nap with her, so what is the real message here if Ursa doesn't have to make a choice to step back and let go? Yes, that final scene is probably just to show that Ursa's hands are no longer cold (apparently that happens when she's afraid), but the fear she conquered was only partial, so will she be doing the same plot in future comics, or are we finally done with Not Ursa?

Good Idea: Making Kiyi a Firebender.
Bad Idea: Making Kiyi's very first instance of Firebending the act of melting a hole through a solid metal door with one punch. Let me guess, she's an Alpha-Level mutant, just like Zuko? Will she be bending rainbow fire after training with King Kai? (I’m told that’s a Dragonball Z reference.)



As an addendum, based on a question I answered privately through tumblr, I wouldn't be as down on Azula's depiction if I thought there was a chance of another writer, one more willing to advance the characters, might have a shot of doing something with Azula. The problem is that this fits with what I see as Gene Yang's established pattern, so I don't see Azula getting a proper story-arc (ideally, it would be her accepting that love is powerful but having to deal with the fact that her upbringing and personality means she's doesn't know how to love like everyone else, which could still very much lead to her serving as an antagonist) any time soon.

Basically, with another writer on the horizon, I'd be fine calling this a good start, since we're avoiding the unfortunate fanfic trend of making Azula lust after the throne and just mess with Zuko and Mai out of spite. Since we're stuck for the foreseeable future, though, this is just another mark in an increasingly obvious pattern.
Logged

luvavatar
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 7804


« Reply #9 on: Mar 18, 2016 09:59 pm »

Kiyi melting through a thick metal door like it was nothing was the straw that broke the camelephant's back for me. We get it, Zuko and his family are powerful firebenders, but don't throw out all former precedent for another "kick-ass" moment. That was just a bit much in my opinion.
Logged
Prince Ire
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 4


« Reply #10 on: Mar 18, 2016 11:01 pm »

To play Devil's Advocate, we do not in fact know that Zuko isn't a terrible ruler. We never actually see the Fire Nation in TLOK, it could be North Korea, But with Fire for all we know.

Also, Azula has been able to teleport since The Chase. Tongue
Logged
Stormy Daze
Banned Member
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 183


You're gonna regret doing that, pal.


« Reply #11 on: Mar 19, 2016 07:41 am »

Yeah even though I like that Kiyi is a firebender, the fact that she can melt through a solid metal door at the age of like 6, just by watching Zuko practice, that's was definitely off. But metal?! We've already seen that much more experienced benders can't burn through metal that effortlessly. Maybe she was focusing for a long time?...


Took Mako a good minute to do this.

I'm looking foward to seeing Zuko train Kiyi into becoming a firebending Meelo, though he would probably be a little less strict of a fire teacher on her, he would pass down all of Iroh's teachings.



Logged

I came to slay.
luvavatar
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 7804


« Reply #12 on: Mar 19, 2016 08:55 am »

It looked like she did it in seconds, that was just really bad in my opinion. Not even comet powered firebenders could get through metal easily and so now we have to believe Kiyi is capable of doing so even with far less training than a soldier whose own abilities would be greatly amplified? I am kind of hoping for a retcon at this point or at the very least the things in the comics never get mentioned in any future animated series, that way we can pretend they exist in an alternate reality.
Logged
Stormy Daze
Banned Member
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 183


You're gonna regret doing that, pal.


« Reply #13 on: Mar 19, 2016 10:15 am »

It wasn't seconds, it showed her practicing while Tom fights that one kid, the panel switches, next Ukano is shown crying then it comes back to Tom-Tom picking another fight before she bends. I would say that was a few minutes but still doesn't make since. The only other instance of someone instantly burning through metal was when Iroh escaped prison off screen but that's understandable because it's Iroh.


I'll just assume that she was doing extended breathing exercises for maximum heat or something, the only possible explanation...
Logged

I came to slay.
luvavatar
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 7804


« Reply #14 on: Mar 19, 2016 11:52 am »

Other explanation is that the writers like to use the "rule of cool" trope and don't want the readers to overthink it. Personally I am not a fan of that type of storytelling in this context. In a comedic situation it's perfectly fine, but this definitely wasn't meant to be portrayed as one.
Logged
Loopy
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 31458


I'm Loooooooopy!


« Reply #15 on: Mar 19, 2016 01:36 pm »

It wasn't seconds, it showed her practicing while Tom fights that one kid, the panel switches, next Ukano is shown crying then it comes back to Tom-Tom picking another fight before she bends. I would say that was a few minutes but still doesn't make since. The only other instance of someone instantly burning through metal was when Iroh escaped prison off screen but that's understandable because it's Iroh.

http://dvdscreenshots.avatarspiritmedia.net/atla/311/722.jpg

Actually, I've always wondered about that. Those bars don't look like they were melted, they look like they were cut and bent outward. I can't imagine what would have that kind of an effect. An explosion would have bent them more, I think, and they wouldn't be broken to form such a neat hole. If the bars were frozen and shattered, they wouldn't be bent. Likewise, if they were melted, the edges would be more droopy and I still don't think they would be bent.

I've long wanted to write a one-shot fanfic about Iroh escaping, some cool Mission: Impossible-style thing with lots of kickbutt action and twists, but I never have because I can't figure out what he did to those bars.
Logged

Colonel_Brian
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 3987



« Reply #16 on: Mar 19, 2016 01:57 pm »

...He punched a hole through them? That's my headcannon. I mean why else did he beef up?
Logged
Loopy
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 31458


I'm Loooooooopy!


« Reply #17 on: Mar 19, 2016 02:03 pm »

Yeah, I did consider that he turned into the Incredible Hulk and made a Smash, but dismissed it as too green for a Fire Nation character. Grin Thinking on the idea, though, I guess he could have weakened the bars are the break points without cutting through them- perhaps heating the bars up a lot without melting them- and then tackled the center point.

If Kiyi were a strategic thinker like Iroh, she would have focused her fire on the lock and just melted it. Clearly Ikum doesn't have a lot of military geniuses in his ancestry.
Logged

Cybersun
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 86



« Reply #18 on: Mar 19, 2016 02:06 pm »

So i guess instead of progressing Azula's character they just reverted her back to the way she was in book 2. What a joke.
Logged
Stormy Daze
Banned Member
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 183


You're gonna regret doing that, pal.


« Reply #19 on: Mar 19, 2016 02:57 pm »

Quote
Actually, I've always wondered about that. Those bars don't look like they were melted, they look like they were cut and bent outward. I can't imagine what would have that kind of an effect. An explosion would have bent them more, I think, and they wouldn't be broken to form such a neat hole. If the bars were frozen and shattered, they wouldn't be bent. Likewise, if they were melted, the edges would be more droopy and I still don't think they would be bent.
No one, no matter how strong is simply gonna force there way through all of that metal with physical strength. Just look at the radius, why would he go through all of the trouble of bending 9 different bars. Also I think you're forgetting that there's a guard on watch that would come in to check up on Iroh if he even hears Iroh clap his hands. He firebent his way out.


He wouldn't have time to remove cell bars, much less noisily rip them out of place with his hands before the guards put him down.

Quote
I've long wanted to write a one-shot fanfic about Iroh escaping, some cool Mission: Impossible-style thing with lots of kickbutt action and twists, but I never have because I can't figure out what he did to those bars.
Do it. Iroh did firebend at the cell and it's worth noting that even Zuko could fire punch metal and cause it to snap:



Well I'm not that sure if it's actually metal(80% sure it is though)...Iroh still has giant lightning bolts or you could have him do a sick dragon fire blast.

Quote
Yeah, I did consider that he turned into the Incredible Hulk and made a Smash, but dismissed it as too green for a Fire Nation character. Grin Thinking on the idea, though, I guess he could have weakened the bars are the break points without cutting through them- perhaps heating the bars up a lot without melting them- and then tackled the center point.
Too noisy, I think he would have to had to burst out in one quick powerful attack, lightning was possibly the attack he used, it can cut through metal:

Zolt's was clearing the ceiling.

A injured and fat Iroh could do this.

Quote
He punched a hole through them? That's my headcannon. I mean why else did he beef up?
Because he needed to prepare for the final battle which required him to be in fighting shape but he could have fire punched it.
Logged

I came to slay.
plushu
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 3685

157% PIANDAOIST


« Reply #20 on: Mar 19, 2016 04:49 pm »

Quote
Actually, I've always wondered about that. Those bars don't look like they were melted, they look like they were cut and bent outward. I can't imagine what would have that kind of an effect. An explosion would have bent them more, I think, and they wouldn't be broken to form such a neat hole. If the bars were frozen and shattered, they wouldn't be bent. Likewise, if they were melted, the edges would be more droopy and I still don't think they would be bent.
No one, no matter how strong is simply gonna force there way through all of that metal with physical strength. Just look at the radius, why would he go through all of the trouble of bending 9 different bars. Also I think you're forgetting that there's a guard on watch that would come in to check up on Iroh if he even hears Iroh clap his hands. He firebent his way out.

The point of waiting until the eclipse to bust himself out was so that the guards couldn't firebend against him. (Why this matters to someone like Iroh, I don't know. Maybe he didn't feel like dodging fireballs.)  And unless Iroh can bend during a full eclipse, he Supermanned those bars. When Zuko entered his cell, he found the warden and several men just lying around, dazed and beaten.  They probably tried to stop him from busting out of his cell and he just literally beat the snot out of everyone who got in his way with his fists.  The warden referred to Iroh as a "one-man army".  I believe the whole point of that scene was to show that Iroh, even without his firebending, was incredibly powerful and he could and would utterly decimate his opponents.
Logged

Stormy Daze
Banned Member
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 183


You're gonna regret doing that, pal.


« Reply #21 on: Mar 19, 2016 06:35 pm »

Quote
The point of waiting until the eclipse to bust himself out was so that the guards couldn't firebend against him. (Why this matters to someone like Iroh, I don't know. Maybe he didn't feel like dodging fireballs.)  And unless Iroh can bend during a full eclipse, he Supermanned those bars. When Zuko entered his cell, he found the warden and several men just lying around, dazed and beaten.  They probably tried to stop him from busting out of his cell and he just literally beat the snot out of everyone who got in his way with his fists.  The warden referred to Iroh as a "one-man army".  I believe the whole point of that scene was to show that Iroh, even without his firebending, was incredibly powerful and he could and would utterly decimate his opponents.
Iroh didn't escape during the eclipse. No way Iroh supermanned a large hole into his cell without being shut down immediately. The warden called him a "one man army" because he found out just how powerful The Dragon Of The West is. Besides, I recall seeing too many craters and scorch marks on the walls of the prison for it to be a non bending escape:



Logged

I came to slay.
Cybersun
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 86



« Reply #22 on: Mar 19, 2016 07:50 pm »

Who thinks kiyi will surpass zuko and azula??
Logged
Stormy Daze
Banned Member
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 183


You're gonna regret doing that, pal.


« Reply #23 on: Mar 19, 2016 08:21 pm »

Who thinks kiyi will surpass zuko and azula??
Maybe after they're both dead. With proper training she should be right behind them. I hope Kiyi and Zuko team up on Azula in the next trilogy, I didn't like how she's all of a sudden at her strongest and is stomping Zuko again with no explanation, which is stupid because they were equals in book 3... Gene had fun with Azula beating everyone up.
Logged

I came to slay.
luvavatar
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

Offline Offline

Posts: 7804


« Reply #24 on: Mar 19, 2016 08:24 pm »

I was tired of Azula getting her butt handed to her, so it was refreshing to see her back on her game even though they completely threw character development out the window for her. Kiyi is already melting through thick steel doors, so I think that the comics will probably try to make her some "uber" powerful character. At this point I think I have to just read the comics without even thinking about what's being portrayed, it's less disappointing that way. 
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines LLC
MySQL | PHP | XHTML | CSS