The Search - Part One by Gene Luen Yang
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search #1
Published March 20th 2013 by Dark Horse
For years, fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have burned with one question--what happened to Fire Lord Zuko's mother? Finding a clue at last, Zuko enlists the aid of Team Avatar--and the most unlikely ally of all--to help uncover the biggest secret of his life.
The Search is a three-part series that focuses on (finally) tackling the question that fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been pining for since the animated series ended: what happened to Zuko's mother? Needless to say, I was dying to read this trilogy since I first heard it was coming out. I was also excited that the same team that brought us the previous manga trilogy The Promise were returning for this story as well. Yes, my expectations were up and with this first installment I can safely say that so far I'm happy with the outcome.
Part one of The Search starts off with a brief re-establishment of events past and the characters that will return for this story. I was instantly drawn into this story because the focus is on our young new Firelord, Zuko who has always been a favorite of mine. The glimpses into his life, not to mention the opening scene which featured both ex-Firelord Ozai and freshly derailed Princess Azula got me hooked quick. More than that though, the promise of finding out anything at all about Zuko's mother was seriously exciting! I mean, this is an huge unsolved mystery for fans and I, for one *need* to know every. little. detail. Even though I knew that the answers I was after wouldn't all be revealed in the 1st book, I was eager to learn whatever I could. I loved piecing things together with Zuko, Aang and the gang but I most definitely was not ready for the mind-blowing reveal at the end of this one! Wow...I won't spoil it for anyone but hold on to your jaws guys - you'll be picking them up off the floor!
As with the previous Avatar mangas I've read penned by Gene Luen Yang, I delighted at how each and every one of the characters stay true to their essences - reading these stories really feels like you're watching the animated series in your head. I loved getting glimpses of Zuko's early years as the new Fire Lord, Zuko and Aang's growing friendship, Aang and Katara's romance and even a little bit of Sokka and Suki goodness. On the chilling side of things though, Azula's continued descent into madness and the aftermath of her downfall was especially dark. She's more of a loose canon now than ever and that's troubling...to say the least O.O
Part one of The Search was a really satisfying start to a promising trilogy. Character wise, all the favorites returned (except Toph! Boo!) and I love the added depth these manga series give all of them. The art work (done once again by the brilliant Gurihiru) truly brings the story alive; it sets the tone, adding humor to funny moments and amping up the intensity of shocking scenes. It is a direct continuation from the animated series too! The ending will leave you reeling though, so make sure you have the next books handy.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars