Avatar – The Last Airbender was an animated series that originally ran on Nickelodeon from February of 2005 to July 2008. The series was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, with Aaron Ehasz serving as head writer of the program.
The series centered on the adventures of 12-year-old Aang, the Avatar, who had the ability to “bend” the four elements – air, water, fire, and air – uniting the fractured world of the series. Aang was joined on his adventures by his friends Katara, Sokka, and later Toph. The series also follows Zuko, exiled prince of the Fire Nation, on his quest to capture Aang, accompanied by his uncle Iroh and his sister Azula.
After the animated show ended, Avatar continued through a series of graphic novels published by Dark Horse that explored several key storylines. These stories are, in order: The Lost Adventures, Katara and the Pirate’s Silver, Suki, Alone, Team Avatar Tales, The Promise, The Search, The Rift, Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy, Smoke and Shadow, North and South, and Imbalance.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Graphic Novel Reading Order
Avatar: The Lost Adventures
The Lost Adventures (buy here) collects stories that take place during the original timeline of the Avatar TV show. The adventures were originally published in Nickelodeon Magazine and in inserts sold with series DVDS. There are also 70 pages of new material included in the collection by the publishers. Key questions answered in this graphic novel are – Where did the last of the Airbenders hide? When was Zuko and Mai’s first kiss? Who would win in an earthbending fight – Toph or King Bumi? Why did the Earth King travel the world in disguise?
To avoid spoilers, it is recommended that The Lost Adventures be read in the following order:
- Book One: Water – read between Season 1 and Season 2
- Book Two: Earth – read between Season 2 and Season 3
- Book Three: Fired – read after Season 3
The Lost Adventures was illustrated by Joaquim Dos Santos and written by Aaron Ehasz, Josh Hamilton, Tim Hedrick, Dave Roman, and J. Torres.
Katara and the Pirate’s Silver
Katara and the Pirate’s Silver (buy here) is a standalone Avatar story that follows Katara after she got separated from the rest of Team Avatar during the events that took place in Book Two of The Lost Adventures: Earth.
When Team Avatar encounters an ambushed by the Fire Nation, Katara gets suddenly separated from the group of friends. Now unable to meet up with Aang, Toph, and Sokka, Katara has to avoid capture by aligning herself with unlikely allies. Normally sweet and sensitive, Katara must explore her tougher side if she has any hopes of reuniting with Team Avatar.
Katara and the Pirate’s Silver is illustrated by Peter Wartman and Adele Matera and written by Faith Erin Hicks.
Suki, Alone (buy here) is a standalone Avatar story following Suki during her time as a prisoner in the Boiling Rock prison, which occurs during Book Three of The Lost Adventures: Fire.
Suki is captured by the Fire Nation and brought to the Boiling Rock, a grim and prison situated in the middle of a dormant volcano. Now separated from Team Avatar and her Kyoshi Warrior sisters, Suki decides to build her own unique community among with other prisoners at Boiling Rock.
Suki, Alone is illustrated by Peter Wartman and Adele Matera and written by Faith Erin Hicks.
Team Avatar Tales
Team Avatar Tales (buy here) is an anthology of Avatar short stories set before and after the events of the original series. It also includes the Free Comic Book Day story involving Team Avatar that was published. This volume can be read as one complete collection.
Stories included: Team Avatar rescues a pumpkin farmer waylaid by monsters, they go undercover in the Fire Nation, help an old rival with a hair-raising problem, and together they reflect on what it means to save the world alongside the Last Airbender.
Team Avatar Tales is illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks and written by Gene Luen Yang, Dave Scheidt, Sara Goetter, and Ron Koertge.
The Promise is a three part collection (buy here) that has been described as “season four” of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The entire storyline can be purchased as The Promise Omnibus or one volume at a time.
The Promise, Part 1
In The Promise, Part 1 (buy here), Team Avatar begins with a face-off against the Fire Nation, who are now threatening to throw the world into another war. The mission will test all of Aang’s powers and his ingenuity.
The Promise, Part 1 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, and Gene Luen Yang.
The Promise, Part 2
In The Promise, Part 2 (buy here), Aang and Katara are working to create peace but an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei over Fire Nation colonies within the borders of the Earth Nation suddenly threatens to plunge the entire world back into war. Meanwhile, Sokka has to help Toph prepare her inept first class of metalbending students to defend their school against a rival class of firebenders.
The Promise, Part 2 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang and Bryan Koneitzko.
The Promise, Part 3
In The Promise, Part 3 (buy here), the Harmony Restoration Movement has failed, and the four nations are now back at war! In the middle of the battle, can Aang and Fire Lord Zuko mend the rift existing between them, or will Aang be forced to take actions that can never be undone?
The Promise, Part 3 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko.
The Search (buy here) is the immediate follow up to The Promise. It follows Zuko’s quest to find his mother, Ursa. He is helped in the quest by his sister and a few old friends. The Search is available in one volume in The Search Omnibus or in individual volumes.
The Search, Part 1
In The Search, Part 1 (buy here), Fire Lord Zukko enlists Team Avatar to solve one of the biggest mysteries of the entire series: finding the whereabouts of his mother.
The Search, Part 1 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang and Bryan Konietzko.
The Search, Part 2
In The Search, Part 2 (buy here), Fire Lord Zuko and his deadly and equally insane sister Azula bring Aang and Team Avatar into a mysterious forest, but what they discover within may be more than they can handle.
The Search, Part 2 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko.
The Search, Part 3
In The Search, Part 3 (buy here), Aang travels to the spirit world to parley with an ancient power which brings Zuko ever closer to discovering the truth about his mother’s fate and revealing previously unknown details of his own past. At the same time Zuko’s sister Azula is becoming increasingly dangerous to the group, which threatens to ruin everything that Zuko; Aang; Katara; and Sokka have struggled to achieve on their quest.
The Search, Part 3 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
The Rift, Part 1
In The Rift Part 1 (buy here), Aang asks his friends on Team Avatar to help him honor Yangchen’s Festival — one of the highest Air Nomad holidays, which hasn’t been celebrated in over one hundred years. But mysterious visits from the spirit of Avatar Yangchen herself leads Aang to discover that a jointly owned Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom refinery currently operating on land sacred to the Airbenders. Aang must discover if this is the cause of the pollution he finds there, or if a more mysterious menace is afoot.
The Rift Part 1 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
The Rift, Part 2
In The Rift Part 2 (buy here) Team Avatar continues to investigate the mysterious Fire Nation/Earth Kingdom refinery, which is connected to Toph’s father. Aang travels to the spirit world and discovers more secrets there.
The Rift Part 2 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
The Rift, Part 3
In The Rift Part 3 (buy here), Team Avatar is in danger as a powerful ancient spirit awakens with vengeance and destruction on its mind. The bonds between team members are tested and new truths revealed as Aang must answer a key question: Can humans and spirits co-exist?
The Rift Part 3 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy
Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy (buy here) is a standalone Avatar graphic novel. But after all the adventures Toph’s has had with Aang, Sokka, Zuko, and Katara, the Metalbinding Academy feels a bit dull. Luckily for her, Sokka and Suki come to visit and reintroduce some familiar faces from their adventuring days. While out and about to celebrate, Toph discovers something that just might put the sparkle back in her eye.
Toph Beifong’s Metalbending Academy was illustrated by Peter Wartman and Adele Matera and written by Faith Erin Hicks.
Smoke and Shadow
Smoke and Shadow (buy here) is a continuation of the Avatar storyline following the events of The Rift. It is available as a one-volume omnibus in Smoke and Shadow: Omnibus or as individual volumes in three parts.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 1
In Smoke and Shadow, Part 1 (buy here), the Fire Nation is threatened by a prophecy revealed by the mysterious Kemurikage, who were thought only to exist in legend. The prophecy says that Zuko must be removed from the throne, or the country will die. Aang and Team Avatar escorts Zuko and his family back to the capital, unaware of the threat growing in the city. Unrest continues to brew as the New Ozai Society gets ready to make its move against the crown, and children begin go missing from their homes under shocking and mysterious circumstances.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 1 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 2
In Smoke and Shadow, Part 2 (buy here), Aang and Team Avatar are doing everything they can to understand the disappearances of children in the Fire Nation Capitol. Aang and Zuko must work with each other to keep the peace, but the arrival of the New Ozai Society and the mysterious Kemurikage may prove to be too much even for the Avatar when the real culprit of the kidnappings is revealed.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 2 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 3
In Smoke and Shadow, Part 3 (buy here), Team Avatar is close to uncovering the mystery of the missing children. But things get worse when Azula–the mad sister of Fire Lord Zuko–appears on the scene. In response, Zuko locks down the capitol to catch her, igniting fear and riots in the streets. Worry rises that Zuko will follow in his evil father’s footsteps to save those he holds dear.
Smoke and Shadow, Part 3 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
North and South
North and South, Part 1
In North and South Part 1 (buy here), Aang leaves to help Zuko with the Kemurikage, and Katara and Sokka go back to the Southern Water Tribe by themselves. Katara is surprised to find that her beloved village has become a bustling city, with their father, Hakoda, in charge. A Northerner named Malina seems to be behind this change to the village, pushing the North and South to be more unified — but Team Avatar is wary of her true goals.
North and South Part 1 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
North and South, Part 2
In North and South Part 2 (buy here) Southerner Gilak attempts to kidnap Katara and Sokka, leaving a haunting note for Hakoda: “Soon you will see the truth, chieftain”. The vow puts everyone on edge–including Katara, who remains suspicious of the two tribes’ integration. As Northerner Malina announces an alliance with the company owned by Toph Beifong’s father, her own brother comes forward and defames her. Katara now worries her worst fears have been confirmed.
North and South Part 2 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
North and South, Part 3
In North and South Part 3 (buy here), Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei arrive in the Southern Water Tribe during protests about Gilak’s imprisonment. While the leaders hold a council to solidify Malina and Hakoda’s plans for unification, Gilak breaks free and leads a rebellion. In the face of the two opposing tribes, Katara has to make peace with her nostalgia and distrust to save the home she loves from being permanently ripped apart.
North and South Part 3 was illustrated by Gurihiru and written by Gene Luen Yang.
Avatar: Imbalance is a three-volume storyline and the most recent Avatar adventure following the events of North and South. It is available as a single-volume Avatar: Imbalance Library Edition or through each volume individually.
Imbalance, Part 1
In Imbalance Part 1 (buy here), Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph return to Earthen Fire Industries–the factory owned by Toph’s father–and finds that the once small town is now booming. Expecting a warm welcome, Aang is shocked when their arrival is met with unimpressed, cold-shouldered spectators. As soon as Team Avatar is asked for help at a business council meeting, the motivation for the slight becomes clear–a massive bender versus non-bender conflict has gripped the town and is threatening to turn extremely violent.
Imbalance Part 1 was illustrated by Peter Wartman and Ryan Hill and written by Faith Erin Hicks, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino.
Imbalance, Part 2
In Imbalance Part 2 (buy here), Aang and Team Avatar rush to resolve rising tensions between benders and non-benders before a town is torn apart. There’s something strange going on in Cranefish Town, and it’s up to Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph to find out what, before the growing conflict between benders and non-benders boils over into all-out war. But danger is where they least expect it, and uncovering the truth will expose a threat unlike any they’ve ever faced–and a fatal choice for Aang he can never undo.
Imbalance Part 2 was illustrated by Peter Wartman and Ryan Hill and written by Faith Erin Hicks, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino.
Imbalance, Part 3
In Imbalance Part 3 (buy here), Aang wrestles with a life-changing decision that only he can make as the Avatar. Meanwhile, Toph and Katara beg him–from opposite sides–to choose a path. At the same time, Ru and Yaling come up with a fiery plot to get their mother back. The bender vs. non-bender conflict finally reaches a strong boiling point, and for better or for worse, Cranefish Town will never be the same.
Imbalance Part 3 was illustrated by Peter Wartman and Ryan Hill and written by Faith Erin Hicks, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino.
What To Do After Reading and Watching All of Avatar
The Legend of Korra is the follow-up to Avatar, following the adventures of Korra an airbender who lives in the same world as Avatar. Th Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after the events of Avatar and aired for four seasons between 2012 and 2014.