Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: The Last Airbender (Del Rey Manga)

Inspired by the summer blockbuster directed by M.Night Shyamalan

Story by: Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus
Art by Joon Choi

Based on the series Avatar: The Last Airbender
Created by Michael Dante DiMartino an Bryan Konietzko. Based on the Screenplay written by M.Night Shyamalan

A Del Rey Manga Trade Paperback Original

The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko's Story

Status: Owned

What's it about?
Katara and Sokka freed a young boy named Aang trapped inside the ice along with Appa, a flying bison-like creature. Upon his arrival of what's left of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang was accosted by Prince Zuko. There, three tests given by Iroh to ascertain the authenticity of the boy if he is the long-lost avatar. The tests brought positive results but Aang escaped and found Sokka and Katara's timing impeccable and the three left for the Southern Air Temple, home to Aang. Unfortunately, Aang didn't realize that he had been trapped inside the ice far longer than he anticipated, 100 years in fact and in his grief of finding of what was left of the temple, his monk friends and his dear master, in anguish, Aang slipped into a meditative state and connected with the dragon spirit. The spirit warned him of the imbalance the Fire Nation has done and how it all came to be. Katara managed to calm Aang down and the trio set off to the Northern Temple hoping there were other monks who survived the destruction brought by the Fire Nation. Along the way, Aang began rekindling the hearts of the Earth benders and began freeing villages under the Fire Nations grip. Stories of the Avatar return spread and an elite warrior women followed his tracks ensuring the safety should the Avatar needed and clearing a path for him as well from adversaries. With Fire Nation's goal to dominate, Aang faced a decision to learn the next element, Water and the trio journeyed to the Northern Water tribe were one of the greatest waterbender masters reside. It was also here where the Fire Nation lay their siege to city and Commander Zhao killed the ocean spirit thus rendering the waterbenders powerless, however it was Princess Yui's sacrifice that turned the tide and Northern Waterbenders regained their powers and Aang let his anguish flow along the ocean currents and soon a wall of water was created thus saving the city from further incursions from the Fire Nation's army.

What made me go for it?
I saw the movie and I wanted to see if the manga showed difference from the movie release. Someday, I hope to check out if my video store has the animated series in VCD in stocks. I used to see them before though but I didn't think much of it then. Man.

What are my thoughts after reading it?
After reading the manga, I was fascinated to find there were panels that were left off. I also found out a bit about the dialogue being a little on the nose which could suggest the material used wasn't the final production/ shooting script yet. It was funny though that while I reading a scene, I could hear snippets of the dialogue from the movie and I thought the writers did a good job at tightening the lines and made scenes carry enough depth in the movie. I would love to get The Last Airbender script but the Internet Movie Script Database hasn't included it yet. I hope they would add it soon. I would like to do more comparisons, it's one of the ways to learn. 

Prince Zuko Prequel
Last Airbender
The manga drawing here was lighter than the one from Prince Zuko Prequel as attested by the artists differing styles which I find it very interesting. I wonder if the heavy on the dark (in Prince Zuko) has significance. I was thinking that perhaps since he represented the Fire element, it would be dark, bold and heavy while in the Last Airbender comic, Aang represented air so the drawings were clear, light, and fine-tuned.

I recommend this to anyone who likes checking out the movie related stuff and doesn't get all too bothered by the differences and can keep an open mind.

4/5 stars


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