I'm not sure where the comics stand in terms of canon -- if they are 100% canonical, or merely hypothetical could-be-canon, but they feel like canon. The character interactions are wonderful. On a pure shallow fangirl level, I adore the way the comics have developed the conflict between Zuko and Aang, and between Zuko and the Earth Kingdom; it feels very natural to the characters, but the angst potential is lovely. :D (Oh, Aang, what a terrible promise to have to make, and an even more terrible one to possibly have to keep! It's also unexpectedly dark for a comic that is presumably aimed at grade-school kids -- not just "Kill me if I start to go evil", but actually going down that road -- but it really hasn't been handled in a contrived way, and I love how Zuko is getting visibly worn down as he starts to crumble.)
While I am never going to complain about lots of Zuko, I don't want all-Zuko-all-the-time at everyone else's expense, so I'm happy that the whole cast gets their moments in the sun as well. Toph and Sokka's side of the story could easily have been a very minor sideline to the main Zuko vs. Aang conflict, but instead they got their fair share of the spotlight in the second book. (And, hee, Toph's students are wonderful! I really loved that they each have very distinct personalities, and her reasons for choosing them.)
And I love, love, LOVE how the writers are dealing with the very complicated repatriation situation. I adore that Team Good Guy are split between the different sides of the issue, and that there aren't actually any bad guys in any of this. Zuko is more or less on the "right" side (finding ways for everyone to live together rather than trying to rebuild the walls between them), but for the wrong reasons, while Aang is doing the more-or-less wrong thing for the right reasons. Even the insurgents are portrayed sympathetically, but without the story whitewashing their more ruthless elements. It just feels very convincing and realistically complicated, and the conflict grows naturally out of the situation rather than feeling like anyone is being forced into a bad-guy role.
The art is really gorgeous too!
I was also unexpectedly pleased with how the Aang fan club subplot worked out, after it set off a certain amount of embarrassment squick with me at first. I like that Aang was flattered rather than bothered, and it even looks like the fangirls are going to be useful allies in the third book. I think I would've been 100% happy with it if not for that one scene where the one girl is so catty to Katara. I know this element exists in fandom -- the over-invested ones who are ugly to the significant others of their fannish love interests -- but I wish the comic hadn't gone that route. Other than that, though, it was a much nicer and more sympathetic portrayal of super-invested fandom that we usually get, and I really appreciated that!
So yeah - very happy, really enjoying it, and looking forward to the last book. :D
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