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  • Writer's pictureTheLittLibrarian

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Imbalance - Review

Updated: Nov 14, 2021


We're almost at the end of the Avatar series, and we see some new changes to the franchise. As mentioned before, Gene Luen Yang and artist team Gurihiru parted ways with the comic series, and we're introduced to new production staff. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Imbalance is written by Faith Erin Hicks and illustrated by Peter Wartman. Originally there were three separate publications for this book, but of course, I read the omnibus.


I've never been a fan of a production change in the middle of a project. New people tend not to capture the essence of an original assignment—kind of like what they did to "Teen Titans" over at Cartoon Network. In 2003, we had an incredible teen-rated superhero cartoon that was adored by even the non-comic book reader. Ten years later, they revamped the series into a more childish whimsical caricature of the original. The cartoonish drawings, kiddie storylines, nonsensical babbling … and they had the nerve to keep the same voice actors! The gall! "Teen Titans Go!" is thriving with the younger community, but the rest of us who misses the dark undertone would like to napalm the entire show. I feel the same disappointment with the new issue of ATLA – Imbalance.


Now let me be clear, Hicks did no wrong in my eyes. Where I was expecting a change of tone in the story, Hicks picked up right where Yang left off and delivered Avatar-like messages beautifully throughout the issue. She even toned down Aang and Katara's sugary relationship! I don't ever want to hear the Avatar, master of all four elements to refer to their girlfriend as "Sweetie" or their "forever girl." It was the illustrations that were the biggest distraction for me. For five books, I was used to Gurihiru's bold use of color and the precise layout of sketches they presented us. Now, it looks like a Bob Ross watercolored mess. Wartman tried to keep the elements of ATLA the same, but with a touch of his creativity. I'm not too fond of it. Please give me back Guihiru!



Imbalance is a classic tale of benders vs. non-benders with a mixture of superior complex and discrimination. Benders are mighty and powerful against non-benders and feel they should be forced out of their jobs and homes. A dark choice was brought up to take out a leader, but for once, it was Sokka's wisdom echoing through the entire storyline. I like to see Sokka at the forefront. We usually see him as this goofy planner guy because he can't bend like the others, but when he does take the stage, it's always meaningful towards how the rest of the group moves. Unbeknown to him, Sokka outshined everyone in this journey, for being the regular person he is.


Imbalance isn't just another adventure in the gang's timeline, but a future plot in the Legend of Korra series currently on Netflix. Consider this comic as a prequel to the future antagonists Korra is going to have to face.


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