It’s time for another Avatar: The Last Airbender set of comics, continuing to bridge the gap between that TV series and the Legend of Korra show. This time, my favorite character Toph Bei Fong gets to have some focus on her! The greatest Earthbender the world has ever seen, discoverer and master of metalbending, one of the best combatants, teacher of Avatar Aang, and honestly I could go on. The good news is she’s getting some of the limelight in this new comic series, The Rift. So does the first part live up to the great bender? Let’s find out.
The Rift centers on Aang trying to celebrate the holidays and traditions of his people, and Toph avoiding the traditions of her family. I won’t spoil anything beyond that, there is more story, but that is kind of the core theme. Aang has his Air Acolyte fan club and is dealing with their overenthusiastic attempts at following in Airbender ways. He wants to celebrate his old holidays so he can feel connected to his past. Meanwhile, Toph has memories a rough childhood of being raised with parents too sensitive to her being blind. Each side brings up valid points when they argue over following versus ignoring tradition, and I like that that is shown in the story.
The art in this is still top notch; if you saw the show or read the other comics you know that the art is stellar. Just skimming through the book you can get the gist of the story by visuals alone. That’s a great sign for the art when you can just look at a panel, and without a single word bubble know what is likely happening in the scene. The art still looks like it’s right from the cartoon, and I love that.
This story seems interesting and has me wondering what the title could mean since we have strife between Aang and Toph, a spiritual disaster seeping into the material world, and the very beginnings of the four Nations trying to work together, predominantly between the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation. There’s a lot of story potential and I’m excited to see where it goes. Toph being a major focus is also really nice; my main complaint would be not enough Toph, but we do have two more chapters in this series, so who knows.
If you’re a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I don’t have to really recommend this to you so much as say, it’s definitely worth getting. If you’re new to the series this isn’t really the best entry for you, but it’s also not completely alienating as it gives you some background information for many things. I’m excited to see where this series goes, and can’t wait for more Toph scenes.
Dr. Alexander Bustos