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Author Topic: [DH Comics #21] Imbalance, Part 3  (Read 5713 times)
Icy_Ashford
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« on: Feb 18, 2019 07:43 am »

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



Penguin Random House announced that Imbalance, Part 3 will be available from Sep 10 2019. 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:

Quote
Team Avatar faces their most dangerous foe yet as the bender vs. non-bender conflict turns into an all-out war in this action-packed conclusion to the Imbalance arc!

While Aang grapples with a life-changing decision that only he can make as the Avatar, Toph and Katara implore him--from opposite sides--to choose a path. Meanwhile, Ru and Yaling concoct a fiery ploy to get their mother back. The bender vs. non-bender conflict finally reaches a powerful boiling point, and for better or for worse, Cranefish Town will never be the same!

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, only post if you've read the comic. As usual, illegal links/scans are NOT allowed to be posted and all forum rules apply.
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2019 07:27 pm by Icy_Ashford » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: Oct 02, 2019 08:48 pm »

I just finished and thought it was an okay ending to a mostly strong trilogy. I was kind of disappointed actually, but at least the characters where all in character and the dialog was mostly good. Aang’s line about cleaning up the crime in this polluted city seemed a bit out of place for him though. I could see that fitting in Sokka’s mouth, but hearing Aang say something that sounded like it came out of a parody of the super hero genre was a bit off.

I also didn’t like how Liling basically degenerated into Hiroshi Sato at the end. I thought the writer did a pretty good job at portraying her as a loving parent who is unaware of how her hateful rhetoric affects her daughter up to that point. Sure you had that moment where Ruji points that very cognitive dissonance out, but the transition from that scene to Liling trying to bury her daughter alive seemed a bit sudden. And even if it wasn’t, I was hoping Faith would have not gone down that route for Liling’s character in the first place.
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2019 10:11 pm by Colonel_Brian » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 02, 2019 09:05 pm »

Got the chance to read it today.

I'd say this trilogy ended in a pretty predictable and underwhelming manner, but I think most of us saw it coming. Thankfully, there were a lot of cool character moments throughout the whole thing, and overall it was an enjoyable read.

I just wish the three-part format wasn't a thing, as I feel that's the main reason these comics aren't allowed to shine.

Anyway, if we get more comics in the future, I hope Peter Wartman gets to work on one more trilogy. The artwork for Imbalance was one of its biggest strengths in my opinion. The character writing was pretty damn good too, so I wouldn't mind giving Hicks another shot at it.

Judging by the ending, it seems we're gonna be stuck in Republic City for a while. Bummer.

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« Reply #3 on: Oct 03, 2019 10:32 am »

Something even more of an equalizer than a boomerang would be automatic weapons and crossbows. I can only imagine how brutal things would get if they had some archer snipers.
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 03, 2019 04:30 pm »

It was okay. It was nice to see that there was no easy solution but part of the lack of that was the continued continuity handicap of  "this is something Aang can't solve because it's something Korra has to." And as others have mentioned Ru's mom does have the Hoshi Sato problem, but even more annoying was not seeing any sort of reaction from her sister - does she feel just as betrayed or is she appalled their mom tried to bury Ru alive? On the bright side, the art was good and Team Avatar felt mostly in character, especially Sokka. I really liked his talks with Ru and later Aang. And boomerang does the job again. I hope the next story takes us back to the Fire Nation.
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 05, 2019 08:58 pm »

Yes I feel like they probably shouldn't lean so hard on 'Korra' connectivity with the issues in 'Republic Crane Town' this early on.  They could create problems for Aang and the Gang to solve on their own that act as just 'the history of Republic City' and not necessarily an issue of the city that has to linger on into Korra's timeline.  I suppose it stands that 'bender/non-bender' tensions should logically exist here... I just wonder if the whole 'equalist' thing shouldn't have happened SOONER than it ends up doing since those tensions apparently began so early in RC's development.

Anyway.  I feel like the trilogy fell into a familiar pattern for its conclusion as previous books... while still maintaining better overall characterizations than previous books, so overall still liked it.

Observations

-Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors have left their Island behind for years at this point.  Are they just Mercs for hire now?  Does Zuko not need them anymore?  That aside, if they are involved at all in the building blocks of RC's police force it might potentially lean into one of my earliest observations about Lin's character design (and in fact all the metalbending cops) that her armor looked vaguely inspired by the Kyoshi Warrior's outfits.

-Carried over from my last observation, I appreciated that Suki was more involved here than ordinary... but It's high time someone put a stamp on who Suki actually is?  It makes sense she'd be the least fleshed out character at this point since she only really reached 'full Team Avatar' status with about four episodes remaining in the series... but she mostly just says expository dialogue and clarifications here.  Even her biggest contribution in the book, teaching chi blocking to the non-benders, isn't actually her own idea as it comes immediately after a scene of one of the Crane Fish people directly asking to learn chi blocking.  So I'd like to see the writers stop wondering 'how do we fit her in faithfully' and just acknowledge that she'd never been fleshed out to begin with so its probably safe to start just deciding who she is going forward.

-I liked the conclusion of Toph's feud with Liling's daughter.  While Sokka 'saved' her, it seems probable she could have just got back up on her own and dealt with the whelp, but Sokka finishing her off was a better statement than Toph could have made clobbering the girl on her own, and it seemed that Toph was aware of, and acknowledges that... and its always good to see some Sokka love in these comics.  He'd been left off and 'Ron Weaslified' as JUST the comic relief for so long that his continued presence in this trilogy as more than just the comic of the group remains a huge bonus... in fact many of the best scenes of this comic are just Sokka talking with Aang.

-Finally, those last words 'I'll get Sokka right on that' in regards to Crane Fish Town needing a new name were pretty on point.
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2019 09:01 pm by ViridianIV » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: Oct 06, 2019 02:43 am »

Something even more of an equalizer than a boomerang would be automatic weapons and crossbows.

Automatic weapons, in particular, would just give metalbenders a massive advantage. Projectile weapons ain't that hot when people can literally create cover out of thin air at a moment's notice.

-Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors have left their Island behind for years at this point.  Are they just Mercs for hire now?  Does Zuko not need them anymore?

They are more like your average superhero team: answering calls and helping people wherever they can. 

-Carried over from my last observation, I appreciated that Suki was more involved here than ordinary... but It's high time someone put a stamp on who Suki actually is?

I don't think that this is necessarily needed because Suki's already established character traits do not allow for great revelations. She is really just a Brave Compassionate Warrior Girl, there is not a whole lot more to say about her.
« Last Edit: Oct 06, 2019 03:27 am by AtoMaki » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: Oct 06, 2019 12:42 pm »

I don't think that this is necessarily needed because Suki's already established character traits do not allow for great revelations. She is really just a Brave Compassionate Warrior Girl, there is not a whole lot more to say about her.

I don't know that I feel even that is adequately pushed in the stories though.  I've always liked Suki, I was pleased as punch when they remembered to included her in that long intro in the first episode of LoK, but I suspect that has more to do with the aesthetic design of the Kyoshi Warriors and her position as 'the lead' of that from the start.  If we're being honest, Ty Lee is the most 'interesting' Kyoshi Warrior at this juncture and she's only brand new at that.  When Suki speaks it is to provide exposition and basically nothing else.  Her relationship with Sokka is devolving into Sokka just shouting 'SUKI!!!! *Heart*' whenever shes in the room... cute... but surface deep.  The fact she's a 'brave compassionate warrior girl' is a characters RESULT not their 'cause'.  I guess that what I'm looking for if they intend to keep her involved in the series more prominently (which judging by her remaining in RC with the rest of the gang I expect she probably will?) is that they need to start filling out the 'why' of who she is... and since we know very little about her from the series, I think that the writers of the comics here have a chance to just go ahead and do that on their own.  That doesn't necessarily need to be 'complex' as I guess my complaint probably made it out like I'm saying 'she needs a daaaark background!!!' (I'm not, she doesn't) Just that she needs to be more than just expository and reactionary dialogue if she's going to be more involved in the story going forward.
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 06, 2019 01:40 pm »

-I liked the conclusion of Toph's feud with Liling's daughter.  While Sokka 'saved' her, it seems probable she could have just got back up on her own and dealt with the whelp, but Sokka finishing her off was a better statement than Toph could have made clobbering the girl on her own, and it seemed that Toph was aware of, and acknowledges that... and its always good to see some Sokka love in these comics.

That was one of my favourite moments. As someone on Tumblr pointed out, it really shows how much Toph has grown since the show ended




Quote from: AtoMaki
They are more like your average superhero team: answering calls and helping people wherever they can.

Leaving Kyoshi Island completely defenceless is not the smartest move though. I suppose it's not a big deal now that the war is over, but back in Books 2 and 3 I always wondered whether Suki and co. at least left someone in charge of protecting their home.

Kinda like what Hakoda did. That worked out great  Cheesy

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« Reply #9 on: Oct 06, 2019 09:42 pm »

Something even more of an equalizer than a boomerang would be automatic weapons and crossbows.

Automatic weapons, in particular, would just give metalbenders a massive advantage. Projectile weapons ain't that hot when people can literally create cover out of thin air at a moment's notice.
Until we have proof a metalbender can react to something as fast as a bullet at point blank range, it's safe to say that automatic weapons can bridge the gap a bit more. Especially if used for stealth based attacks. Though, it would be pretty foolish to use a metal weapon against a metalbender in plain sight anyway.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 07, 2019 12:29 pm »

The fact she's a 'brave compassionate warrior girl' is a characters RESULT not their 'cause'.

She is the kind of character who doesn't have a "cause": I bet she was always like this and she will be sticking to it for the rest of her life. I think this will be the "official" standpoint with Suki's character because...

...because exploring her character in-depth would require a huge effort. At least one trilogy, possibly more. There are so many things to build up and so many things connecting to these things that also require explanation it would be impossible to wind it out as some kind of side-plot. And a comic trilogy just for Suki? That's risky, to say at least.

Leaving Kyoshi Island completely defenceless is not the smartest move though. I suppose it's not a big deal now that the war is over, but back in Books 2 and 3 I always wondered whether Suki and co. at least left someone in charge of protecting their home.

They have the same-looking Kyoshi Warriors defending Kyoshi Island while the different-looking Kyoshi Warriors go on exciting adventures.

Until we have proof a metalbender can react to something as fast as a bullet at point blank range, it's safe to say that automatic weapons can bridge the gap a bit more./quote]

I'm thinking more about metalbenders making the guns fly around and shoot at targets from unexpected angles (over cover, across corners, etc.).
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 07, 2019 01:16 pm »

I'm with pretty much everyone else on this conclusion. It was fairly predictable, but there were enough good character moments to make it enjoyable. I especially liked the conversation that Katara and Aang had about violence and Energybending, which came across as very insightful and mature. I would have liked the story to delve more into the issue, but perhaps it will continue to be an ongoing plot thread. Aang has definitely been given something to think about.

While I'd rate this volume as overall good, there were some points that annoyed me:

  • The call-forward with Toph and the metal rope thing. Seriously, people, every single thing the gAang do in their teenage years does not have to have a direct connection to something in LoK.
  • Aang still doesn't have control of his Avatar State. He managed to wrestle control back in this volume, but he's still doing the Lashing Out In Anger And Continuously Glowing Thing. I guess he still isn't a fully-realized Avatar.
  • Everyone in the world seems to know all about Chi-blocking, and it's a simple enough practice that any competent fighter can be trained to do it in a few hours. So what made Ty Lee so special a few years ago that she was the only one in the world who could do it, why did the defenders of Ba Sing Se need to have the gAang explain to them what Ty Lee had done to them, and why hasn't the art proliferated across the world long before now if it's so effective?

I hope more is done with Ru. She seems like she has more story to her.
« Last Edit: Oct 07, 2019 04:51 pm by Loopy » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: Oct 07, 2019 02:56 pm »

I'm thinking more about metalbenders making the guns fly around and shoot at targets from unexpected angles (over cover, across corners, etc.).
While that's something I can see Toph (and maybe Kurvia) doing, I'm not sure most metabenders have that amount of precision. I can see them slightly mess with their aim, but that's only if there's a standoff. Course, that would be null and void if they made firearms from pure metals. Have the bullets made of wood, rubber, or plastic, and we'd have a weapon that would make the Equalists cream themselves.

Maybe the next comic will tell us where everybody in LOK was getting the large quantities of platinum from.

Quote
Everyone in the world seems to know all about Chi-blocking, and it's a simple enough practice that any competent fighter can be trained to do it in a few hours. So what made Ty Lee so special a few years ago that she was the only one in the world who could do it, why did the defenders of Ba Sing Se need to have the gAang explain to them what Ty Lee had done to them, and why hasn't the art proliferated across the world long before now if it's so effective?
Probably the same reason it took nearly 10,000 years for someone to realize "Hey, the body has water. Maybe I can try to learn how to control that water."

Now that we're getting a story based on the Fire Nation, maybe a story on Yakone's rise to power would be great.
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 07, 2019 04:52 pm »

Probably the same reason it took nearly 10,000 years for someone to realize "Hey, the body has water. Maybe I can try to learn how to control that water."

Well, if they didn't try it during a full moon, it wouldn't have worked. Grin
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 08, 2019 01:53 am »

  • Aang still doesn't have control of his Avatar State. He managed to wrestle control back in this volume, but he's still doing the Lashing Out In Anger And Continuously Glowing Thing. I guess he still isn't a fully-realized Avatar.

I didn't get the impression that he wasn't in control. He entered the Avatar State out of his own will and, in order for him to energybend, he has to remain in that state, hence the continuous glowing (or at least that's how it was with Yakone and Korra).

What actually bothered me about that moment was how unimpressive it felt compared to other Avatar State Moments™. Usually these involve earthquakes, creating tsunamis, or making volcanoes erupt. That sort of thing. Here we just see Aang bending water out of a barrel. It honestly made me chuckle.
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ViridianIV
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« Reply #15 on: Oct 08, 2019 02:02 am »

Avatar State Moments are trademarked now :O

Crap... there goes my summer Sad
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 08, 2019 12:20 pm »

Anyway, in addition to Aang and Katara’s conversation being mature and insightful. I also thought that Aang and Sokka’s conversation about the effects of industrialization to be pretty well written. I’m glad we got that conversation, because Aang and Sokka need way more screen-time together. Their relationship is one of the most under-explored in the original series in my opinion. Not that it was ever completely absent, but I kind of want to see more  scenes like the one I described. And as usual Sokka was especially well-written. His rebuttal to Aang’s simplistic argument that industrialization, and not say Sozin’s imperialistic ambitions, was the cause of the War was pretty great. But Aang’s response back was also pretty good. It’s refreshing to see people act as friends would do for a change.
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« Reply #17 on: Oct 09, 2019 09:12 pm »

I didn't get the impression that he wasn't in control. He entered the Avatar State out of his own will and, in order for him to energybend, he has to remain in that state, hence the continuous glowing (or at least that's how it was with Yakone and Korra).

Does he? If you look at the screenshots, Aang doesn't light up until after he puts his hands into position. In this comic, Aang lights up to defend himself during the fight, but as you note, he doesn't make use of the Avatar State's power and doesn't even need it. He glows the whole time he finishes the fight, and then just floats in place while pondering whether to commit to the Energybending, long enough for Katara to intervene. And Katara talks him out of it by specifically mentioning his anger, so I think it's meant to be implied that his Avatar State is the result of another internal freakout.

I mean, theoretically, the comic could have just gotten the depiction wrong and doesn't mean to imply that Aang lost control, but it's a consistent Wrongness throughout all the comics (both Yang's run and now Hicks) that doesn't match what we see in both appearances in the cartoons. I think the ending of the AtLA cartoon has been retconned to Aang not having fully mastered the Avatar State; that was just a one-time deal.


Anyway, in addition to Aang and Katara’s conversation being mature and insightful. I also thought that Aang and Sokka’s conversation about the effects of industrialization to be pretty well written. I’m glad we got that conversation, because Aang and Sokka need way more screen-time together. Their relationship is one of the most under-explored in the original series in my opinion. Not that it was ever completely absent, but I kind of want to see more  scenes like the one I described. And as usual Sokka was especially well-written. His rebuttal to Aang’s simplistic argument that industrialization, and not say Sozin’s imperialistic ambitions, was the cause of the War was pretty great. But Aang’s response back was also pretty good. It’s refreshing to see people act as friends would do for a change.

Yeah, I liked that part, too.
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« Reply #18 on: Oct 12, 2019 09:31 am »

Gotta admit, the action for this trilogy is pretty well drawn, I could imagine the movements in my head from one panel to the next.

Story wise, it's alright. Though I have a very slight inkling Ru may or may not have Equalist thoughts in her mind. Who knows? Though it'll take years before Equalists exist.
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« Reply #19 on: Oct 16, 2019 10:18 pm »

Gotta admit, the action for this trilogy is pretty well drawn, I could imagine the movements in my head from one panel to the next.

Story wise, it's alright. Though I have a very slight inkling Ru may or may not have Equalist thoughts in her mind. Who knows? Though it'll take years before Equalists exist.

Personally speaking... I really hope not.  It doesn't make sense to me that the Equalist movement gain any kind of serious traction sixty whole years before it actually erupts in any meaningful wat.  While It's probably likely that seeds of non-bender's resentment of benders ought to continue at a steady simmer... outright hostility and serious aggression to an 'Equalist' degree feels like it should be explored more in the 10-20 years preceding the actual explosion.  I mean... sixty years is SOOOO long... it'd honestly probably make more sense for this bout of bender/nonbender conflict to entirely die down... neutralize then restart over something else than it'd be for this to be directly connected to Korra's stuff.

That said, I suppose its certainly possible that RC's been a hotbed of periodic bender/nonbender conflict this whole time and the story just didn't make us aware of it... just... I'd like to see the gang deal with their own stuff... not Korra's stuff.
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« Reply #20 on: Oct 17, 2019 06:18 pm »

I fully expect every element of LoK, right down to the creation of Amon's mask to wait for him to take it up, to be fully formed in the setting before Aang hits 18. Yes, Republic City will be completely transformed by that point, and Toph will have her Metalbending police in their full final uniforms. The Northern Air Temple will be reclaimed from the Mechanist by the Acolytes. The Water Tribes will be reorganized under a Southern Council of Chiefs that will answer to the Northern Chief. And the Red Lotus will be a fully active and subversive rogue nation within the White Lotus. Zuko will abdicate to his newborn baby daughter.

And then the world will remain in complete stasis until Yakone is arrested.

Gotta work that fanservice in.
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« Reply #21 on: Oct 26, 2019 04:03 am »

I didn't get the impression that he wasn't in control. He entered the Avatar State out of his own will and, in order for him to energybend, he has to remain in that state, hence the continuous glowing (or at least that's how it was with Yakone and Korra).

Does he? If you look at the screenshots, Aang doesn't light up until after he puts his hands into position. In this comic, Aang lights up to defend himself during the fight, but as you note, he doesn't make use of the Avatar State's power and doesn't even need it. He glows the whole time he finishes the fight, and then just floats in place while pondering whether to commit to the Energybending, long enough for Katara to intervene. And Katara talks him out of it by specifically mentioning his anger, so I think it's meant to be implied that his Avatar State is the result of another internal freakout.

I mean, theoretically, the comic could have just gotten the depiction wrong and doesn't mean to imply that Aang lost control, but it's a consistent Wrongness throughout all the comics (both Yang's run and now Hicks) that doesn't match what we see in both appearances in the cartoons. I think the ending of the AtLA cartoon has been retconned to Aang not having fully mastered the Avatar State; that was just a one-time deal.

I was wrong about the continuous glowing. Still, I believe it's as you say and Hicks just got the depiction wrong. Unlike Yang, however, she only got it wrong in terms of the glowing, and she didn't mean to imply that Aang lost control.

In the show, before Aang became a fully realized Avatar, the Avatar State was both chaotic and draining. This is exactly what we see in The Promise (notice how Aang can't even stand up without help):





However, in Imbalance, the Avatar State was very restrained. Had it been triggered by an internal freakout, Aang wouldn't have cared about Liling not being a threat; he would've made full use of his powers and gone all apeshit on her, but he didn't. Also, he was completely fine after he came out it:




As I previously mentioned, the continuous glowing was most likely Hick's way to show that Aang was about to energybend. That's where she got the depiction wrong, but other than that, I think it's safe to say that Aang was in control the whole time. Maybe I'm just being stubborn though. Feel free to call me out.

Also, sorry for the late response. Somehow I missed your post the first time around.



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« Reply #22 on: Oct 26, 2019 02:29 pm »

I do think it's subject to interpretation. It's certainly possible that they just messed things up in pursuit of an idea that was designed for animation and wound up implying something they didn't intend. The problem is that we don't know either way, and there's a very deep rabbit hole that we can fall down if start looking for such mistakes. Things are complicated by Gene Yang's earlier rather egregious misinterpretations, so that anyone coming in after the current creative team can see the Avatar State depiction as consistent.

Case study: in an official Star Wars book, the narration mentions a lightsaber form as existing a thousand years before it was previously established, by an earlier book by another creative team, as invented. By the time the author publicly confirmed that he'd just screwed up the reference and people should ignore it, it was already official canon that the form had existed a thousand years before it was merely reconstructed by the supposed inventor.

So in this work-for-hire franchises, I prefer to err on the side of assuming that the creative team misinterpreted something done by another creative team, rather than a mistake in their own work, since that's how it's going to be treated anyway.
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