The next part of Fire Lord Zuko’s story will be told in the upcoming graphic novel Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow.
Welcome news has arrived for the Avatar-verse! Though The Legend of Korra will take its final bow later this month, the story of Korra’s predecessor Aang will continue to be told through graphic novels.
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow will take the tale back to the eternally tempestuous Fire Lord Zuko, and is written by Printz Award winner Gene Yang and with illustrations by Gurihiru. With input from show creators Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Yang and Gurihiru have produced the earlier graphic novel continuations The Promise, The Search, and most recently The Rift. Part One of this fourth installment will arrive next September.
The title cover for two of the three parts of Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow were also unveiled, offering a gratifying look at Zuko’s on-again, off-again girlfriend (and badass in her own right) the dagger-dealing Mai.
Gene Yang spoke about the details of Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow, promising that the story will tie into Rebound, a story released as a free comic in 2013. That story focused on Mai’s lingering feelings for Zuko, and introduced a major element of Smoke and Shadow – Mai’s father’s secret New Ozai society.
“The story will begin with Zuko bringing his mom and his mom’s family back to the Fire Nation for the first time,” Yang says, but “The New Ozai Society… will be the focal point of the first book. It’ll be all about how Zuko deals with rebellion… that’s bent on getting him off the throne.”
“The book will be about Zuko protecting his mom and her family from this group and from the legacy of Ozai,” Yang adds.
Yang also says that he returning to the character of Mai – who has been absent so far from the official graphic novels – “is a thrill,” promising that “she will play a central role in these upcoming three books.”
And Mai’s role will not only be political, Yang adds. “We finally hope to resolve the question of whether she’s going to move on from [Zuko] or she’s going to get back together with him.”
Fans can also look forward to appearances from the venerable Uncle Iroh – and perhaps the tortured, violent, and eternally unpredictable Princess Azula.
“It kind of makes sense for Azula to be there, right?” Yang teases. “If the story is all about the Fire Nation and the royal family, you’d figure Azula would be there.”
Yes we would, Gene. Yes, we would.
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow will be released on Sept. 15, 2015.