Nickelodeon has been a channel that’s loved by kids, and some adults, because of the cartoons that it has made over the years. But one of the most legendary, and probably the one with the best story, that Nick has ever shown was Avatar: The Legend of Aang. It is a story that has made us laugh, burst into tears, felt suspense, and even anger over some nasty villains in the show.
The Legend of Aang follows the story of a young boy who trapped himself on ice for several years, just when people needed him the most. Aang’s role as the Avatar is to bring balance to all of the four elements, which are governed by the Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, Air Nomads, and the Fire Nation. The Fire Nation, however, wants to take over the world, which is why they decided to stop the Avatar.
The Avatar gets reincarnated through a cycle of the 4 elements. With an Airbender being the next reincarnation of the Avatar, Fire King Ozai launched a mass murder of the Airbenders to ensure that the Avatar cycle will stop. However, Aang was forced to hide for several years in ice to “vanish” from the world. The first parts of the show explain this summary that I just made, and this made me curious about the show until I became a fan of it.
In this article, I will explain everything you need to know regarding The Legend of Aang, how to start chronologically, and many more details about each book and comic released so far. I will also include a few details about The Legend of Korra by the end of the article, as it’s a direct sequel after Aang’s timeline. It’s also important to know for everyone (especially for fans who just can’t get enough of the TV’s epic story) that there’s more than just the books of the entire TV series.
The comics also give more in-depth stories, about some of the good and bad characters of the show, which might even reveal more details about their past or background. So, just read the next part to get started with what happened after Aang liberated everyone from the tyranny of Phoenix King Ozai.
How Many Avatar Comics are There?
After the TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender continued its story through a series of comic books named after the same title as the show. Note that this is the canon continuation of the TV series, and is published by Dark Horse Comics. The stories began one year after the final episode of the series.
The “Sequel” Comic Book Series
Also called graphic novels, the continuation of The Last Airbender series consists of 5 titles, divided into trilogies, with a total of 15 comics. Later on, a reading order will be provided to give you a guide if you want to read the comics chronologically. For now, I will only provide the title and the release dates of the comic books that served as the continuation of Aang’s story, one year after defeating Ozai.
The Promise is the very first comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics in 2012, which began Aang’s new story after a one-year time skip. Part 1 of The Promise was published on January 26, 2012, Part 2 was released on May 30, 2012, and Part 3 on September 26, 2012.
The story shows Aang and Zuko in a tough situation when they visited Yu Dao, a colony owned by the Fire Nation. Neighboring communities in the colony are having a conflict with their beliefs and may cause a new war to emerge. The first part of the comic book series also reveals further information about Zuko’s missing mother.
The Search is the continuation of The Promise. The Search was also released by Dark Horse Comics in 2013. Aang seems to play a supporting character in this story, as it focuses more on Zuko and Azula. Part 1 of the comic book was released on March 20, 2013, Part 2 on July 10, 2013, and Part 3 on October 30, 2013.
The story focuses on Zuko’s search for his mother, Ursa. This part of the series also shows Azula, who is imprisoned in a mental institution in the Fire Nation, following the events of her final battle in the TV series where she grew insane. The series reveals a lot about Ursa, and who she ran away from Ozai. This part also focuses on the spirit world.
The Rift is the third comic book in the series, which was published by Dark Horse Comics in 2014. The story focuses on the Air Nation, which was not shown in full detail in the TV series, as Aang needed to focus on his quest to learn the other bending styles to fully become the Avatar. Part 1 was released on March 5, 2014, Part 2 on July 29, 2014, and Part 3 on November 18, 2014.
The Rift focuses on Aang, as he plans on creating Republic City, which would become the main setting of The Legend of Korra. It also focuses on the Air Nation as Aang and his friends visit there, to find out that a malevolent spirit is planning to destroy the human world. The story also focuses more on Toph, who was missing in The Search.
Smoke and Shadow
Smoke and Shadow is the fourth comic book in the series, published once more by Dark Horse Comics in 2015. The story focuses once more on the royal family. Part 1 of Smoke and Shadow was released on October 6, 2015, Part 2 on December 26, 2015, while Part 3 was released on April 12, 2016.
This time, Azula is shown as a villain once more, disguising as the Kemurikage, a spirit that abducts children, to wreak havoc into the Nation that Zuko is now leading. At the same time, Zuko is encountering an issue where a group called the New Ozai Society, led by his ex-girlfriend’s father, is planning to overthrow him.
North and South
This is the fifth part of the comic series of The Legend of Aang. It was also published by none other than Dark Horse Comics in 2016 but had its two parts released in 2017. Part 1 was released on September 28, 2016, Part 2 was a bit delayed which is why it was released on February 7, 2017, and Part 3 on April 26, 2017.
North and South follows the story of Aang, along with Katara and Sokka as they visit the Southern Water Tribe. This time, the tribe now looks like a well-developed community just like the Northern Water Tribe. Katara is trying to embrace the challenges that her hometown is undergoing, while she and her friends fend off a group of nationalists.
This is the latest comic book for the sequel series. Dark Horse Comics published Imbalance in December 2018 and continued throughout 2019. Part One of the trilogy was published on December 18, 2018, Part Two was released the following year on May 14, 2019, while Part 3 was released quite late on October 1, 2019.
Imbalance explores the modernization and industrialization of the Avatar world, much like what we mostly saw in The Legend of Korra. It also explores more about political tension, much like what was further elaborated in The Legend of Korra. Imbalance, as the title suggests, shows the conflict between benders and non-benders at Earthen Fire Industries. Team Avatar, once again, faces a huge problem in this conflict, which is up to them to solve once more to bring balance to everyone.
Other Comic Books
There are also comic books that talk about other stories that are still canon but are somewhere between the TV series and some of the comic book trilogies. These are optional to read, and you can read them either before or after the comic book series. An overview of each of the comic books below will be discussed later in the comic book guide.
The Lost Adventures
The Lost Adventures is not connected to the main storyline. However, note that it is still canon. The Lost Adventures was a collection of short stories from the series that were taken from 2005 to 2011 and was published by Dark Horse Comics in 2011. Most of the artists and writers of this story were part of the staff of the TV series.
The Lost Adventures are divided into 3 books, like the TV series. There are 5 stories for Book 1 – Water, 9 for Book 2 – Earth, and 12 for Book 3 – Fire. It also has 2 out-of-continuity stories as a bonus.
Team Avatar Tales
The Team Avatar Tales is another comic book anthology published by Dark Horse Comics in 2019. This is the collection of the Free Comic Book Day Issues from 2013 to 2015, as well as extra stories. These are just short stories of Team Avatar’s adventures that were not shown in the TV series.
There are a total of 8 stories in Team Avatar Tales, whereas 3 of them are from the Free Comic Book Day Issues. The details of the Free Comic Book Day Issues will be discussed below. Here are the other 5 that were not in the Free Comic Book Day:
- The Substitute
- Sokka’s Poem
- The Scarecrow
- Toph The Boulder
Katara And The Pirate’s Silver
Katara and The Pirate’s Silver was published on October 13, 2020. The story of this comic book took place in Book 2 – Earth of the TV series. This is somewhere around the time when Team Avatar was about to visit the Earth Kingdom.
Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy
This comic book was published on February 17, 2021. It depicts Toph as she sets up her metalbending academy to teach the advanced earthbending technique that she created. This is like seeing how Republic City’s police division of metalbenders was first idealized in the form of creating a school focused on teaching this powerful technique. Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy’s timeline was between the comic book The Rift and Smoke and Shadow.
The comic book story was published on July 28, 2021. This is the newest comic book of the entire series. The story of the comic took place within Book 2 – Earth and Book 3 – Fire of the TV series. The story focuses on the Kyoshi Warrior Suki and the trials that she faced.
Free Comic Book Day Issues
There are a total of 5 Free Comic Book Day Issues for The Last Airbender that was published by Dark Horse Comics. It started with “Relics” on May 7, 2011, “Rebound” on May 4, 2013, “Shells” on May 3, 2014, “Sisters” on May 2, 2015, and “Matcha Makers” on August 14, 2021. These are very light stories for the Avatar fans out there and are optional to read. That’s why I am not including them in the comics-reading guide later on.
How Many Avatar Books are There?
The Books of The Last Airbender are actually what we consider as “Seasons” in a TV Series. Books 1 and 2, respectively named Water and Earth, consist of 20 episodes. The final book, which is Book 3 – Fire, has 21 episodes. I will provide an overview of each book later in the reading order since they are called so despite actually being “seasons” in terms of TV series.
Aside from the seasons of the TV show, The Last Airbender had books that were published a long time ago. The series has published 11 novels for The Last Airbender, with one being a story that took place several years ago. Here are the following:
The Earth Kingdom Chronicles
The Earth Kingdom Chronicles was written by Michael Teitelbaum, and was published by Nickelodeon and Simon Spotlight. This book is season 2, or Book 2 – Earth, of the TV series. It contained 6 of the 11 books that I mentioned, namely:
- The Tale of Aang – This talks about the adventures of Team Avatar from the perspective of Aang. It was released on May 8, 2007.
- The Tale of Azula – This tells the journey of Azula as she hunts Aang and her brother, Zuko. It was released on June 26, 2007.
- The Tale of Toph – This talks about Toph’s perspective as she goes through the events that transpired in season 2 of the TV show. Its release date was October 23, 2007.
- The Tale of Sokka – The book tells about the adventures of Sokka, Team Avatar’s funny yet smart member. The book was released back on November 27, 2007.
- The Tale of Zuko – This book shows Zuko and his journey towards redeeming himself for his good. This was released on February 5, 2008.
- The Tale of Katara – The book tells the perspective of Katara’s journey with her friends. The book was released on April 8, 2008.
The book was written by the same author as The Earth Kingdom Chronicles, and was published by Nickelodeon and Simon Spotlight as well. The story talks about events that happened in Book 3 – Fire, as well as an original story that’s out of the TV series.
- Sokka, The Sword Master – This tells the story of Sokka in his adventures in the Fire Nation, as well as his training under the tutelage of Master Pindao. This was released on July 1, 2008.
- Aang’s School Days – This shows the adventure of Aang when he pretended to be a student in a Fire Nation school. This was released on July 1, 2008.
- Love Potion #8 – This was released on April 8, 2008. It is an original story that also occurred in the Fire Nation, where the group drank a berry juice named after the title, which made them admit the truth about their feelings for each other.
Sozin’s Comet: The Final Battle
This is the novelized version of the final battle between Aang and Phoenix King Ozai when Sozin’s comet passed by, boosting the powers of all Firebenders. This was written by David Bergantino and was published by Simon Spotlight and Nickelodeon once again.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Books Reading Order
Now that you’re familiar with the books that tell the story of Avatar Aang, here is a reading order that you should take note of to know the series more. To make it more interesting and well-aligned with the storyline, here is the chronological order of the whole book series (including each “book” of the TV series):
The very first “book” that you should check out is the TV series itself. There’s a film comic adaptation of the series if you prefer watching it that way since the whole series is a marathon. Here’s how to chronologically read, and watch, the books:
Book 1 – Water
The beginning of the whole series, where Aang was found by Katara and Sokka encased in a globe of ice. The first book also introduces Zuko, son of the evil Fire Lord who got banished for challenging his father. He is accompanied by General Iroh, who’s also the uncle of Zuko, in his quest to redeem himself by hunting down the Avatar. This embark’s Aang’s quest to visit his old home in the Air Nation and to learn all elements.
Book 2 – Earth
After the events in the Northern Water Tribe, Aang and his friends go to the Earth Kingdom to find a master who would teach him how to Earthbend. This is where Aang will meet Zuko, as well as his sister Azula who’s hunting him as well. In this book, you will see Zuko undergo major character development. Personally, this is my favorite book since it’s packed with a lot of adventures.
The Earth Kingdom Chronicles
You can start reading The Earth Kingdom Chronicles once you’re finished with Book 2 – Earth in the TV series. This will give you elaboration of all the main characters’ respective points of view throughout their adventure in the Earth Kingdom.
Book 3 – Fire
The final book of the series shows Aang and his friends infiltrating the Fire Nation, while preparing to battle the Fire King, Ozai. This book also shows Aang as he tries to master Firebending, while trying to master the Avatar State to defeat the tyrant King of the Fire Nation and end his reign.
Sozin’s Comet: The Final Battle
You may read the final battle’s novel version after watching if you happen to love reading books. This is an excellent thing to do if you want to fully understand all the scenes of the final parts of the TV series.
The three books featured in Ready-to-Read give a relaxing mood once done with the TV series, especially after viewing the intense final battle of Aang vs Ozai. This is also good to do before reading the first comic book that I will suggest.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Comics Reading Order
If you’re already done with The Last Airbender books, then reading the comics is a perfect time, since you will never get yourself familiarized with most of the characters in the comics since they were introduced in the TV series. Here’s a better guide to view the whole comic series chronologically:
The Lost Adventures, and Team Avatar Tales, And So On…
Be sure to read these first, as they serve as the extra stories that happened during the timeline of the TV series. It also shows some light stories to make the story’s flow relaxing and “light”, before you getting all the mixed emotions once you read the comics sequels.
Katara and The Pirate’s Silver is also a good read before starting the comic book sequels, as well as Suki, Alone since both of them also happened during the TV series’s timeline. Take note that this is only for the sake of following the story in chronological order. But The Lost Adventures, Team Avatar Tales, and the other comics mentioned can be read in any order you want.
Now, let us proceed with the sequels published in comic books:
After the long war, peace has only been achieved partially. Tensions within a Fire Nation colony and its neighboring communities are in high tension, causing Aang and Zuko to begin their tasks as the new leaders of a new generation that created peace. The story also talks about Ursa, Zuko’s mother whose fate is yet to be seen.
The search for Ursa begins, as Zuko embarks on a quest with Aang and his friends to find her due to the answers he got from Ozai. In a mental asylum in the Fire Nation, the former princess Azula attempts to know the whereabouts of her mother. Could this signify a change in Azula’s life?
Aang now plans to create Republic City, seeking the assistance of Toph as he needs her major assistance in creating the city. Aang is also visited repeatedly by Avatar Yangchen, which leads Aang to a refinery, which is suspected to be poisoning a nearby river, only to get into a situation involving a violent spirit who wishes to destroy the whole human world.
Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy
Toph is easily one of the most powerful characters in the series because of her insane sensing abilities that compensate well for her lack of sight, as well as metalbending – an advanced earthbending that she discovered. This ability of hers granted her the chance to teach it to earthbenders – in the form of her academy.
Smoke and Shadow
Zuko seeks the help of Aang, along with his ex-girlfriend Mai, to thwart the threat of a group called the New Ozai Society. The group aims to overthrow the new Fire King to restore Ozai to his former rule. Meanwhile, another threat called the Kemurikage is disrupting Zuko’s rule by laying civil unrest in his Nation.
North And South
Aang, Sokka, and Katara visit the Southern Water Tribe. Now, the tribe seems to have prospered as great as their northern counterparts, Katara and Sokka’s father is now the leader of the tribe. Despite the prosperity of the tribe, Katara fears that some old traditions might get lost along with the major changes in her hometown.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka return to the factory owned by Toph’s father – Earthen Fire Industries. But instead of a warm welcome, they saw turmoil right away because of a disagreement between benders and non-benders. With the turmoil growing more violent, it’s time for the Avatar to show the true meaning of balance in all things.
Are the Avatar Comics Still Going?
As of Imbalance, the story of Aang has come to a halt. Take note that that Imbalance already ended in October 2019. But due to the numerous questions that remain in the Avatar world, and regarding the background of some characters, and whatever happened to Azula, there’s a huge chance where a new story will be made.
But if you want more comics about the Avatar universe, then take note that The Legend of Korra also has its comic series. The Legend of Korra comic series started in 2016. It consists of Free Comic Book Day Issues since 2016. The series is also ongoing, with two trilogies made already. Here are the following:
- The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – The trilogy ran from July 26, 2017, to August 22, 2018. It shows more about Korra and Asami’s relationship and a new threat to Republic City.
- The Legend of Korra: Ruins of The Empire – The trilogy ran from May 21, 2019, to February 26, 2020. It tells about the events three months after the Earth Empire got abolished.
It is highly expected that both Legends of Aang and Korra will have more comic book trilogies in the future.
Will there be More Avatar Books?
More Avatar books were published. One of them is The Kiyoshi Novels. The Kiyoshi Novels is labeled as a young adult book, published by Amulet Books. It is a two-part story that tells some of the challenges that Avatar Kiyoshi faced to become the Avatar and some details about the founding of the Kiyoshi Warriors.
The setting of the story is outside the timeline of Aang, since Avatar Kiyoshi lived around 400 years ago, making it a prequel of the entire series. This is a must-read for fans who want to know more about the past Avatars, particularly the founder of the Kiyoshi Warriors.
- The Rise of Kiyoshi – The first part was released on July 16, 2019.
- The Shadow of Kiyoshi – The second part was released on July 21, 2020.
Just like some popular films, the live-action movie of The Last Airbender was also novelized for book readers to enjoy. The novelization shows all scenes from the film, and there’s also a novel version that consists of 4 parts.
There are also art books, which show details of characters and their designs, and steps on how to draw the characters as well. Some guides can be treated as encyclopedias of the series, such as The Lost Scrolls which talk about each nation of the Avatar world.
Due to the immense popularity of Avatar, with some now-parents share with their kids, there will surely be more books and comics that will be published as time passes by. Also, Avatar still has a lot of details and backgrounds that must be shown.
There’s the story about the adult versions of Team Avatar, perhaps more of their adventures when they were teenagers, or maybe the improvement of Republic City during its first few years – these are just some that are yet for fans to see.
After all, the story so far already revealed a lot of details that were never discussed in the show, such as Zuko’s mother and details about the Air Nation. Thus, the story of Aang and his friends will surely continue in both books and comics.