Dark Horse Comics revamped Avatar: The Last Airbender with the graphic novel continuing where the series left off. The latest installment follows Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph and a trio of very enthusiastic Air Acolytes to the sacred sight of the Ancient Air Nomad festival, only to find the land defiled by the Earthen Fire refinery.
The tension throughout Avatar the Last Airbender: The Rift Book One revolves around tradition and progress, the environmental costs of this industrialization and the tête-à-tête of Toph and Aaang. In particular, I loved seeing the slow transition of industry that is indicated between the Avatar era and into the The Legend of Korra times.
Although time passed since the end of the war, these are the same characters fans connected to. Sokka is still obsessed with food, an understandable quality, Aang is still trying to grapple with tradition in a modern time while Toph struggles with her past. At first, it was a little strange to see the next step into adulthood for the characters but their progression felt natural. Not a fan when the pet name “sweetie” comes up, (sorry Katara, you’re not River Song), but each of the character dialogue and portrayals remained as lively and colorful as they did on the television screen. Even Colonel Mongke and the Rough Rhinos, a name I still struggle with, makes an appearance!
This story is exceedingly more enjoyable having the previous knowledge from the TV show, particularly once reaching the conclusion of the piece. The flashbacks, visions and plot development was authentic to the series. However new fans will find the story easy to follow and just as entertaining despite lacking previous Avatar knowledge.
To be rather cliched in my response, reading The Rift felt like coming home. Reentering the lives of The Avatar with a clean stated story brought me back to the excitement of when I first began watching the series. I believe this is a solid addition to the canon, including easily accepted extensions of the characters and the artwork. It felt like a natural transition for where you’d expect the characters to land after the series ended.