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Author Topic: [DH Comics #19] Imbalance, Part 1  (Read 1150 times)
Icy_Ashford
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« on: Feb 27, 2018 08:30 am »

Thread will be unlocked as soon as the comic is released.



Entertainment Weekly announced that Imbalance, Part 1 will be from online sources from Dec 18th 2018. You can pre-order this on Amazon.

Imbalance is written by Faith Erin Hicks and illustrated by Peter Wartman with feedback from Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creators of the series. This is a summary of the series "This story finds Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph dealing with a conflict between benders and non-benders in a booming industrial town." and "When Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph return to Earthen Fire Industries–the factory owned by Toph’s father–Team Avatar finds that the once small town is now booming. Expecting a warm welcome, Aang is surprised when their arrival is met with unimpressed, cold-shouldered spectators. As soon as the team is asked for help at a business council meeting, the reason for the slight becomes clear–a massive bender versus non-bender conflict has gripped the town and is threatening to turn violent."

This thread is for opinions & discussion about the story. A thread for professional reviews will be created in due time. For questions on release dates and buying the books, see A:TLA & TLOK Graphic Novels in the Marketplace. For speculation of other future comics, please see Official Avatar Comics News thread respectively.



Remember, post only if you’ve read the comic and no illegal links/scans to the comics is allowed. As usual, all forum rules apply.
« Last Edit: Dec 19, 2018 06:08 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
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 19, 2018 08:41 pm »

My Official Review:

So far, so good.


Unofficial Addendum: Everyone's in-character, the interactions are fun, the Issue Of The Day makes sense and reflects the real world without being a direct copy of any one situation, and Katara said, "The worst city ever." I really enjoyed it.
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Aerial
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 20, 2018 08:03 am »

I enjoyed it for the most part  Grin

There were many things that I liked. First of all, the change in art style. I really liked Gurihuru's designs, but after 5 years and 5 trilogies, bringing in a new artist to change things up is very much welcome. There were a couple of weird facial expressions here and there, but nothing too major to complain about. Also, one problem I had with Chifuyu Sasaki's style is that bending always felt very "static" in previous comics, so I'm looking forward to more bending moments in Imbalance.

As Loopy said above, everyone is in-character... except maybe Sokka? I don't know, ever since The Promise, it feels like whenever they have to come up with dialogue for him, the writers ask themselves "How can we make this line funny?" instead of "What would Sokka say?" and, as a result, most of his jokes end up being cringy rather than amusing. But maybe that's just me. To be honest, I've never been a fan of Sokka's humour, not even in the show. I'm more fond of his noble and ingenious side. I did like how Sokka was interested in seeing how the council works (as the future chief of the SWT, I'm sure he's into politics) and he does have one funny moment at the of the comic, after he asks Aang if he's got a new fan club and says that he only hangs out with him to impress strangers. It was a joke with the right amount of douche Cheesy

So far I'm digging the new "villain." The moment I saw her in the background wearing that smug smile while everyone else in the council was debating, I wondered if she would have a more prominent role, or if she would at least get a few lines and, wouldn't you know, a couple of pages later she stands up and takes control of the situation like the cunning and calculating mastermind that she is. Left a great first impression on me. I hope she's able to keep it up!

I'm waiting to see how the conflict develops and keeping my expectations in check, but overall, I think we're off to a good start. Thank you, Faith Erin Hicks, and so long, Gene Yang!



(all joking aside, I hope he does well in his future works)
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fireywaters
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 20, 2018 10:46 am »

It is a good start. It is no Smoke and Shadows, but still could be better than North and South. I do think they trying to hard to make Sokka funny, but outside of that, all the characters are on point.

And we some seeds of stuff we later, like the Metal Bending police force, the Triads, etc. The story is pretty much a "they took our jobs" plot. I understanding where both sides are coming from, and so far both sympathetic. I hope they don't make the antagonists out right crazy evil like they did in North and South. Can we just resolves this to reasonable peaceful solution?

We have our antagonist from the bending side, I wonder in part 2 if they be an antagonist from the non bending side?

What interests me more is Toph's family situation, she and her dad have meant fences, but what about Toph and her mother, have they seen each other since the end of the war? We need to see Toph and her mother see each other.

Still this story got prudential for a non Fire Nation story at least. I make no secrets I find it more interesting when we got the Fire Nation royals involved, weather Zuko, Azula, or Iroh, etc. when they are involved it peaks my interest a bit more.
« Last Edit: Dec 20, 2018 06:19 pm by fireywaters » Logged

Peace between the Fire Nation and the other nations, before peace in our world
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 20, 2018 05:56 pm »

Digging it so far. The characters definitely feel much like themselves than they have in the previous comics, although Sokka might be a bit too comical at times. I find it interesting that for once we have a villainous mother and an absent father...
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Loopy
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 20, 2018 06:58 pm »

I'm surprised that Sokka's being called out as maybe not in-character. I enjoyed his jokes, and his clever side was on display a bit with his interest in the council and his observations. I mean, sure, he's still a secondary character, but he's not goofing off too much or breaking forklifts or doing wild takes in the background. I really like his moment where he noticed how quickly Toph spoke up about caring about him, as well as the way he teased Aang in the scene Aerial mentioned. He felt like he had some intelligence to him, even when he was being silly.

I also liked the Enforcer daughters. They have a nice dynamic as the Voice and the Muscle, and their mother doesn't play them off against each other or neglect them, which might put her in the top 10% of Avatar parents. (How sad when a mother using her daughters as criminals can still qualify as a relatively decent parent. Cheesy) I notice the younger never did any bending, so I'm curious if this exploitation of the Bender/nonBender divide might not be a little self-sabotaging.
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Urmom666
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 20, 2018 10:10 pm »

I’m not saying he was terribly written or anything; certainly not as bad as the other comics. Maybe that’s what it is. I really would like to see him get his own arc at one point.
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ayziks
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 22, 2018 10:46 am »

I'm a fan of the graphic novels as a means to carry on the canon of the Avatar Universe, and there have been mixed results as others have said. But for me, the change of artist and writer is very effective with "Imbalance". 

The detail and subtlety in the art is what strikes me first. This rendered world seems completely alive in its detail and its bridge between Aang and Korra.

For example. I got the biggest smile when the high altitude "reveal" from Appa's perch to the Gaang of the mountains, bay, islands, and peninsulas makes it perfectly clear to any fan that Cranefish Town is Republic City 70 years earlier!!!!  Even the islands are where they are supposed to be.

Another example is how the buildings are rendered to show how thrown together and ramshackle and poor they are.

But the biggest difference is in the tone - the colors are lighter and more subdued than Gurihiru's more vibrant colors. Just put one graphic novel of Gene's novels next to "Imbalance" and it will be immediately obvious. In addition, the new artist is "just showing off" skills in the Business Council scene with the shadows - note the benders are in the light, non benders in the shadow. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I like Guriihiru's wonderful art, but the new artist renders things so realistically. There is not only detail in the characters and their expressions (a Katara "eye" roll and lip curl here and there at her brother's shenanigans, the genuine joy she beams whenever she's near Aang, especially on the island, Aang's intensity in some scenes and boyish adoration at Katara in another scene, and Toph's looks of disgust and annoyance and superiority at just about everyone are just priceless.

I think others have captured the mostly "in character" descriptions of the characters (Sokka's penchant for shopping is perfect in the marketplace for the helmet).

I have high hopes for the plotline and bridging to Korra's time.  The beginnings of Republic City bender gangs is all there, and the tensions between bender and non bender. And one has to speculate - what are the bloodlines between Satoru and the Republic City industrialsts?

What about relationships?  The start of this story has me wondering if Aang's observation on the island with Katara regarding his feeling of "chaos" about Cranefish Town is the cue that causes him to stay there to bring balance and build his home on that totally forested island and what is in Korra's time - Air Temple Island. Will we see him discover the lost flock of Air Bison? Will we see him ask Katara to marry and build their home there across the bay? Another year later in this story means Aang is about 16-17 and Katara is about 18-19, Sokka in his early 20s. I also like the reference that Sokka and Suki appear to be together but with the Tokka undertone.

And although all the Kataang hand holding and longing/devoted looks and asides were fun, let's see a really big kiss somewhere along the way! Smiley

But in another year where to Zuko and Mai stand??? Maybe we'll find out!

March can't come soon enough for me for the second installment of this latest ATLA story!
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Aerial
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 22, 2018 03:26 pm »

For example. I got the biggest smile when the high altitude "reveal" from Appa's perch to the Gaang of the mountains, bay, islands, and peninsulas makes it perfectly clear to any fan that Cranefish Town is Republic City 70 years earlier!!!!  Even the islands are where they are supposed to be.

I felt like a dummy reading this comic. For the longest time I thought Yu Dao was supposed to be Republic City.

 
Quote
There is not only detail in the characters and their expressions (a Katara "eye" roll and lip curl here and there at her brother's shenanigans, the genuine joy she beams whenever she's near Aang, especially on the island, Aang's intensity in some scenes and boyish adoration at Katara in another scene, and Toph's looks of disgust and annoyance and superiority at just about everyone are just priceless.

I forgot to mention, but I liked how every interaction between Aang and Katara felt so genuine. As you said, the scene with the two of them on the island is a good example (and I loved that comment about "the Avatar look"  Cheesy), but my favourite one has to be right before the council meeting, when the Gaang splits up. The way Aang and Katara hold hands and look at each other made me go "D'aaaw", and it wasn't even a romantic scene or anything. Props to Peter Wartman for showcasing the chemistry between characters through visuals alone.
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Loopy
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 22, 2018 08:47 pm »

Have we ever gotten a precise location for Yu Dao? At some point I saw it on a fan-map at a different location, so I've been wondering about whether Gene or someone clarified its location. There's definitely been a wide-ranging fandom assumption that Yu Dao would become Republic City, but the landscape never seemed to match up to me.
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Aerial
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 23, 2018 12:35 am »

Have we ever gotten a precise location for Yu Dao?

I don't think we have. Maybe the exact location was given in the library edition of the comics?

According to the Wikia:

Quote
The town's name was first conceived in Chinese and later translated into English. Yang chose the two characters that compose the name, 玉島, for two reasons: 玉, meaning "jade", calls to mind the color green, which "explicitly [ties] the city to its Earth Kingdom roots", while 島, meaning "island", comes from the second character of Qingdao, which, as mentioned above, was a large influence on the creation of Yu Dao.

So I'm guessing it's here? Then again, that doesn't coincide with this map from The Promise (and Qingdao isn't even located on an island to begin with).
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Red Hawk
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 23, 2018 06:23 pm »

Read it, enjoyed it.  I was concerned with the art on the first couple pages, but it got much better after that.  Dialogue moves along smoothly.  Loved how the nighttime lighting and the fire from the explosion was rendered, really bringing depth to the image that Gurihiru rarely had, much as I loved them. Looking forward to the next part.

Have we ever gotten a precise location for Yu Dao? At some point I saw it on a fan-map at a different location, so I've been wondering about whether Gene or someone clarified its location. There's definitely been a wide-ranging fandom assumption that Yu Dao would become Republic City, but the landscape never seemed to match up to me.

The landscape never did match.  Yu Dao isn't a coastal town (plus no sign of that big ol' chasm Aang put around it.) It was never clearly signaled that Yu Dao was supposed to become Republic City, that was all fan assumptions, yeah.  But it's obvious from all the signals here that Crane Town is Republic City.  Nearby mountains, a growing harbor, and Aang and Katara clearly made a stop on what will become Air Temple Island.  And they're setting it up with Sokka calling all the names unimaginative that the name change will happen at some point. Maybe not in this series, but eventually.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 23, 2018 07:34 pm »

I hate to have to break it to Sokka, but "Republic City" and "United Republic Council" aren't more imaginative than "Crane Town" or "Business Council." Cheesy
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Helldars
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 01, 2019 05:20 pm »

Well, that was certainly a great Christmas gift!

It's got everything I wanted from an Avatar comic.
I know it's only the first part of a new trilogy but the writing is already more compelling overall than anything Gene Yang ever produced. Sure, there were parts of his run that I enjoyed, but the whole bulk of it felt off and artificial most of the time. The chain of events seemed to follow a narrow path that often clashed against logic and also caused characters to make questionable choices that went against previous development in the series. It's like I could see the strings of a puppetmaster moving these people in a way that never felt organic.

With Faith Erin Hicks we have once again characters that feel like their animated selves, humans that are true to their own quirks and personalities without becoming caricatures. This is also the first time I feel like our characters might evolve as a result of in-comic events. I especially enjoyed Sokka, he is definitely Hicks' favorite and it shows in her writing of his dialogue and attitudes which are The Real DealTM. Hicks also gave us the best interaction between Aang & Katara since the series finale with the island scene.
I'm curious to see Liling's plan unfold and find out what her motives are. I'm betting on hostile takeover of the city's economy and law through the exploitation and exacerbation of the bending/non-bending divide.

As for the art, we got good character designs and nicely detailed backgrounds. We finally have properly designed action pieces and I must particularly commend Peter Wartman's work on the shading and facial expressions. These people now actually "feel" real, like they're actually living in a 3D universe and the work of colorist Ryan Hill also added to this feeling. This is a vast improvement over Gurihiru's design that were most of the time featurless and bland.

Two panels in particular really caught my eye. The first one is the top panel on page 10, which I think is a perfect representation of how well the authors get these characters. On it, we see the Gaang's reactions to the cold welcome of the city's inhabitants: Toph looks vaguely bored as this is not her first visit and she's probably the most unflappable of the group anyway. Sokka and Katara, ever the responsible adults in this group of kids, are immediately worried and Sokka's social awkwardness even flares up with his hand gesture and shifty eyes. And Aang is his usual 'welcome everyone with a warm smile' self.

The second one is the last panel of the future Air Temple island scene on page 49, with Aang & Katara holding hands and looking upon a literal manifestation of the future. The sunset colors and beautiful shading really helped drive that point home, underscored the talk our characters had and the melancholy Aang feels about this situation. The whole panel is a perfect sum up of my favorite scene of this issue.

I'd also like to give honorable mentions to the chain of events on pages 63 & 64, the cut-out to the explosion felt properly sudden and brutal, like something out of Sparky Sparky Boom Man scene. And also great coloring on pages 63-67, I could feel the heat!

This is the best continuation of Team Avatar's adventures since the series finale. I hope Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartman are going to stay and give us many more stories.
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2019 05:26 pm by Helldars » Logged

"I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-Rays, and I want to - I want to smell dark matter! I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I could know much more..."
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 03, 2019 07:11 pm »

I was never personally a fan of Gurihiru's art because it tended to extremes in expression and body language. It was "cartoony" to a degree it didn't need to be, but also lacked the personality of art like in Ember Island Arcade. That's personal preference, of course, but the cartoon's art style already seemed like it was doing what Gurihiru wanted to do, so to have them go further with their style left me cold.

Wartman definitely brings back some degree of control to the 'acting' of the characters. His detailing is a little 'looser' than I tend to like (Dustin Weaver is about where my tastes lie on that axis), but he definitely captures the visual language of the Avatar cartoons while still also bringing his own personal style.

The coloring is deceptively simple, but it really does a good job delivering tone and impact.

Disclaimer: I know nothing of art of any kind, except as a consumer of comic books. I know what I like, but I have difficulty figuring out the words to describe it.
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