Review by Ian Keogh
The Lost Adventures is an anthology featuring adventures taking place during the continuity of the Avatar animated series, largely sourced from assorted Nickelodeon magazines published when the series was running. As such the content is predominantly aimed at people who already love the show rather than a sampler for anyone wanting to try it out, and are set before the subsequent adventures, which kick off with The Promise.
Many of the series animators and story creators contribute, and because they already have a feel for the cast they’re able to add something worthwhile in strips that can extend over twenty pages. It takes four writers to produce the ten pages of ‘Going Home Again’, but the story of how Zuko is persuaded to return to the Fire Nation hits the spot. That’s set in the darkest before the dawn days separating seasons two and three, as is ‘The Bridge’, in which the Avatar is smuggled through to occupied Earth Kingdom territory. That’s also notable for giving Sokka a role closer to his screen appearances. All too many of the shorter pieces have Sokka as the butt of the jokes, which is a pity. As the only major series character without powers he’s an avatar for the audience, and while he’s funny, he’s also brave and quick-witted, but it’s only rarely on display. That said, some of the comedy moments are a real treat. Johane Matte and Joshua Hamilton co-plot several stories, then illustrated by Matte (sample art left), the best of which is Sokka attempting to teach Bosco how to be a proper bear. Their later story of Sokka joining the Fire Nation army is the longest in the book, dragged on too long actually, but working toward an excellent final scene.
Justin Ridge (sample art right) also draws several longer stories, Tom McWeeney’s great on two adventure strips, and Gurihiru would go on to draw the sequel adventures, but also excellent and not as well known is Elsa Garagarza. Her style is more exaggerated, but equally appealing. Not all the content works, Corey Lewis’ style well away from the template, but pretty well all the major characters from the animated series are on view somewhere in The Lost Adventures, down to Brian Ralph contributing a two page Momo solo. This is a collection of far more good than bad, and Dark Horse issued it at a bargain $15, so there’s not much to dislike.