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The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko's Story
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2010
This is a decent book, but nothing exciting. It is more meant for children that adult fans of the Avatar television series. Unfortunately, this is book is heavily tied in to the abysmal movie by M.N. Shyamalan., less to the amazing television series by Mike and Bryan. One big downside is that the characters are drawn in a mixture of styles - Zuko and Iroh are drawn as their movie characters look, but Azula and Patik look as they did in the cartoon series - so it feels a little strange. Overall, it was cute, but did not snap and crackle with the amazing storytelling we all came to expect from the Avatar on television.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2010
For those that couldn't tell, this book is really short and is a nice little manga about Zuko's banaishment. I'm guessing this is supposed to be for people who haven't exactly watched the series and want to know why Zuko is hunting for the avatar. But, if you have watched the series then this gives you a lot of new insight as well. A few things have changed though, one being the artists rendition of Iroh who looks more like his actor than are big old fluffy friend from TV. For the characters who have yet to be casted like Mai, Ty Lee, and Azula, they look like their normal TV selves. Anyways, this manga comic maps out the first days of Zuko's banishment where he goes around searching for the avatar in the air temples while also dealing with his emotions (which are really fired up....haha...) Different from the original series, this shows you how Zuko becomes the Blue Spirit. It's different from the tv show because it gives the hint that he's been the blue spirit for a long time. (Remeber Zuko is banished a full 2 years before he finds the avatar) All in all, it was a good read especially for a hard core Avatar fan like me. I expect the movie to be really good and I can't wait. 3D whoo!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2010
Written much better than the film but occupying much less of your time, this short manga is still a better value than a ticket to The Last Airbender.

Zuko's Story centers on the eponymous prince, clarifying parts of his past and answering a few questions. It's cleverly written in a way to make it canonically feasible for both the series and the movie, and you'll even find the character designs mixing between the two. Zuko is written to be just as frustrating and angry as he is for the majority of the series. Azula is an evil little wretch. Iroh is a pleasant combination of his movie and series self - if he had his series design, you probably couldn't tell the difference. If you hate the movie and love the series, don't snub this book.

There are two irritating points though. The artwork is adequate but it's sparse and sketchy, very light on tones, and the artist has some problems rendering fire (or maybe she wasn't paid enough to dedicate time to punching up pages, I don't know). Finally, with a retail price of eleven dollars, the book is entirely too short to cost as much as it does. I would not pay that and recommend buying from Amazon.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
This is a seriously charming, if slight, addition to Avatar for fans of the series. In fact, I suspect it's the only product associated with Shyamalan's racist, sexist, and apparently boring and incoherent film which is worth mentioning in the same breath as the excellent original material.

Unfortunately, it *is* tied in to the film, which is one of its substantial drawbacks. The film versions of Zuko and Iroh are actually much less of a distraction than I expected, thanks to Nina Matsumoto's fantastic work with expressions and the fact that the writers largely nail the characters' voices. Uncle Iroh works especially well, while Zuko, though rather generic design-wise, thankfully has a visible scar, and does look amusingly close to his season three self on occasion. On the other hand, the need for firebenders to have an outside source of fire to draw on, also a detail from the film, was more annoying than I'd anticipated: Matsumoto does her best to make it look as organic as possible, but there's always the niggling thought that it's just as well there was a lantern or whatever handy.

The other big problem is the length. The manga is largely a character piece, which is all to the good: the interaction between Zuko and his uncle was one of the great pleasures of the original series, and the creative team here manage to do it justice without slipping into sentimentality - no small feat given the subject matter. As such, though, it thrives on more meditative moments, which are just the kind of thing manga is great at providing. So it's a pity that there wasn't room for, say, a few pages of scene-setting, or of Zuko and Iroh drinking tea or eating together - the sort of thing the tv series got a lot of mileage out of whenever it was able to fit it in. As it is, the manga is really a series of brief vignettes, with not enough pauses for breath in between to properly ground the world and the characters.

Having said that, the world is very much that of the animated series - ironically, given the film's racebending, a lot of the Fire Nation incidental characters look even more specifically Japanese than in the original. Matsumoto's work is great - clear, energetic and unfussy, with a lot of solid blacks. Some of it does feel a bit rushed, but I'll definitely be seeking out her other stuff after this. And Matsumoto does a lot to keep the tone from getting too angst-ridden, as well: she has a great line in Zuko's trademark teenage stomping, and her Iroh is often hilarious.

All this adds up to a slightly odd artifact which certainly doesn't stand on its own, but which works very well as a footnote to the animated series - it's got some nice easter eggs for fans, and it does some particularly interesting work with the great villain Azula. There are also some 'making of' pages padding it out at the back, which are fun: it's especially good to get a look at the script. For a movie tie-in which deals with Zuko at his woobiest, it's a really solid piece, very much better than it needed to be. It's a pity that this creative team didn't get a chance to get to grips with this material without space constraints and the need to fit in with the movie holding them back.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2010
Two things: I liked the story, I'm disappointed in it's presentation.

PRESENTATION.

1. The content of this book is in black and white.
If anything, Avatar: The Last Airbender's series is a colorful world. To open this product and see it fully in black and white was the first disappointmet.

2. There are NO page numbers.
Avid reader or not, one expects a certain quality in the books you buy. That includes PAGE NUMBERS. What? Ran out of black ink?

3. The drawings and the insertion of dialogue balloons where sometimes at odds. Some Characters would be blocked by the dialogue balloons on some pages.

STOY (no spoilers, I promise)

1. Azula is not a cunning character here. She's almost sympathetic. Bad decision.

2. Zuko and Iroh both witness a premonition that should have never taken place. The fact that they know this information by the end of this book minimizes their character arks impact through the TV series. They should have never known about such premonition, oherwise, they already known about what's going to happen.

3. I agree Zuko's character should be this impulsive, it was the thing I most admired about this book.

All in all, this book had so much opportunities, but it seemd like they rushed it through the printing line, in order to meet a deadline. Disappointing.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2010
The artwork in this book is pretty sweet, and I have to say that I enjoy Zuko's hair better like this than the shaved scalp/queue he had on the TV series in the first season.

This book provides a nice look into some of the time Zuko spent in exile, so it gives some more depth to his character. I was surprised and pleased by the appearance of Guru Pathik and his interactions with Zuko. I do wish that there had been a bit more of the more distant past (childhood, with Mom and Grandpa Azulon, his relationship with his father) but overall, this is a solid read. Whether you're a fan of the TV series or the movie, this is a fun book, and I really liked the artwork. This is a definite collectible for any Zuko fan. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
I may not like the live action movie from which this was based on, but I do like the show. As a fan of the show, I can say that this book was quite enjoyable to read and to give some insight on Zuko's dark past. Unlike that other graphic novel that I reviewed, this one was pretty solid. Since Zuko is my favorite character from the show, buying and enjoying a book about him is a no brainer. The drawing and art (like the other TLA graphic novel) is a little iffy and could use a lot of improvement. It's also pretty short. An hour at least. That aside, the story is awesome. Prince Zuko is banished by his father, Fire Lord Ozai, from the Fire Nation to hunt down and capture the Avatar. His Uncle Iroh comes along to help with his search and offer advice. It explains a lot like how Zuko got the Blue Spirit mask from the show and the events of his life leading up to the show and the movie. You will also see a familiar face from the show, but I won't spoil it. :) Anyhow, even though it has M. Night's Last Airbender's logo on it (which will undoubtly scare people off), I would say check this book out as a fan of the show. It won't dissapoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
I've been a fan of this series since I was in middle school and it came out. I have to say this book didn't do it for me.

All of the other Avatar books are in color, why isn't this one?

Why based it off of the movie? The movie was terrible. I do not know a single Avatar fan that enjoyed the movie.

Overall, I just couldn't get into it. Maybe it's because I love the original characters so much and am not friendly to the change... (why is Azula being nice?!?!)Some of the story was interesting, but other parts (one particular scene with a premonition) really just took away from the overall plot instead of add to it. I found myself wishing that I hadn't read that scene.

For an expansion of Zuko's story-line I'd much rather read The Search. Now that was a good read.

So, I still have it because I have all the other Avatar books so I needed this one too just because. But honestly, if you're not a huge fan, it's not worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2014
Since watching the Nickelodeon Avatar series I always wanted to see a more close up look on Zuko's past and how his life was during his exile. This manga does just that! Even though its character drawings are based of those of the movie, you get used to it and instead get hooked up on the story line. My favorite part, which made me love this book, was the story of how Zuko came to be the Blue Spirit and learn to wield the twin blades (which sadly the Nickelodeon series did not include). I also loved the ending: just as things seemed to be getting well again and Zuko is achieving peace of mind, the ray of light signaling Aang's awakening fires and the story comes to an end! At which point I was thinking, "NO! i want to read what happens next!" before I remembered that I already KNOW what happens next! lol Avatar fans will love this book no matter what, its a great prequel and an excellent beginning to the Air-Bender series!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
This 'manga', even though it isn't in the traditional manga form is quite enjoyable. The story takes us back to the days after Zuko has been scarred by his Father, and it a lot of ways, he[Zuko] suffers emotionally and mentally. It gives us a better insight on Iroh and Zuko's relationship - and it thrilled me that they used some of the dialogue from the "Airbender" series in some of the panels. It's worth the purchase; it's an awesome back story that's drawn rather well! Any true fan would want this added to their collection. Well done.
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