Avatar: The Last Airbender - North & South - Review
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
I am on book five of Avatar: The Last Airbender collections, and it still gives me the same energy I felt since tuning in to the first episode of the show. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko created gold and continue to do so with these fantastic comics. Written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by artist team Gurihiru, North and South is the last comic book either of them will be working on for the ATLA series. The trilogy is published initially as separate mangas, but I read the omnibus for this review.
When Katara and Sokka return home to the Southern Water Tribe, they are shocked to find that it has gone from a small village to a bustling city! From the Northern Water Tribe, Malina is behind the change and plans to unify the two groups, but Gilak, a Southerner, leads a fierce rebellion to stop her. In the face of these two opposing tribes, Katara will have to make peace with her nostalgia and distrust to save the home she loves from being permanently torn apart.
I’ve always wondered what happened to the Southern Water Tribe during the 100 Year War and its aftermath. As much flying around the Aang Gang has done, they never made it back over to ground zero. So I’m as shocked as Katara and Sokka seeing that their quaint homely village is now a new ice crystal city. While Sokka is ecstatic about the changes, Katara is her usual Debby Downer self. I don’t blame the girl. If I have been away for months at a time, I’d like to see things stay the same as well. I only wish Katara would give it a chance. Change is good! Her father is in a new position as Head Chief of the Southern Water Tribe and has a girlfriend. Technology has been introduced, so now even the non-benders can feel included. There are even plans to reconnect the Water Tribes to the rest of the nations to solidify partnerships better. I don’t think Katara sees the bright side to all the fortune that’s happened. I feel as though if she were to welcome the new traditions the tribe has accepted, all the old customs would be forgotten, which is not the case. She hangs out with Aang for crying out loud! She sees abandoned traditions come back to life every day! So I’m not sure why she’s worried.
I like seeing the classic North vs. South issues. Both sides made great argument points on what they think is right for their tribe. I can see why the tension in the book was so thick. It’s a shame people resort to violence to get what they think needs to be done instead of talking it out. It shouldn’t take the outside world to step in to intervene what goes on at home. Whoo if this doesn’t relate to the real world!
We’re getting close to the end of the ATLA read-a-thon with only two more books to go! Are you still with me? Imbalance is up next!
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