Of Unlikely Pairings and Unlikely Young Heroes

Valiona
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Chapter 1, Part 1/?: And With Strange Aeons, Even The Author's OTP May Die

Hello and welcome to my liveblog of How I Became Yours: Rise of the Agni Army. It's a sequel to Jackie Diaz's fan comic, How I Became Yours, and both comics are fan works for Avatar: The Last Airbender .

If you haven't read my liveblog on How I Became Yours, I'll give you a brief recap. After the end of ATLA, the Gaang went their separate ways to rebuild their nations, but Katara got pregnant with Zuko's child. Unfortunately, Mai interfered, poisoning Katara and causing her to miscarry, while hiding the child's existence from Zuko. After three years of Wangst, Zuko learned of his child, beat up and divorced Mai, and reunited with Katara at her eighteenth birthday party, with Aang doing the same with Toph.

Meanwhile, an amnesiac Azula came into their lives, and after some debate, the Gaang chose to care for her while she regained her memories and her character was rewritten, with Sokka falling in love with her in the process. But then Mai and her brother Sho (who's new to this comic, even if we're meant to think that he was always in Mai's life) attacked in hopes of killing Katara. Mai was killed, but Azula was badly injured, and only barely survived after being taken to the North Pole. Several years pass, with all three couples- Aang and Toph, Zuko and Katara, and Sokka and Azula- having children. But it seems trouble is on the horizon.

What follows is my liveblog of this comic, although I will warn you again- this comic is not finished and likely never will be.

The comic opens in a palace with Cherry Blossoms, with Kuzon and Lilly (Zuko and Katara's kids) calling out for their parents. They find their father with a bloody chest wound, inflicted by a cloaked attacker with a yellow eye. At this point, it's all but explicitly stated that the killer is Mai, inflicting some karmic payback on Zuko.

Lilly then wakes up, evidently having had another nightmare, but refuses to talk to Kuzon about it. Kuzon insists that she will have to talk about it at some point, "because it's killing you not too!"- it seems the proofreading errors are back. Lily apologizes and says she doesn't want to talk, but Kuzon hopes that one day, Lily, whose full name is Lilith, will.

Lily goes outside and does training, doing some sort of handstand. As traumatic memories of what happened to her parents come into her eyes, fire shoots out her mouth, perpendicular to the ground.

Meanwhile, Kuzon is training in waterbending, and we realize what is troubling Lily- their father is dead, and their mother "suffered fatal wounds," when the eponymous Agni Army, once "awakened," attacked the palace during the Agni festival.

The scene flashes back to shortly after the attack, and an old man says that it took everything he had to get Katara and her kids out of there, much to Azula's horror. As someone (Sokka? It's hard to tell with the odd style of artwork), asks how this could have happened, Lily asks her aunt, Azula, whether her mother will be alright, and she tries to reassure her. Kuzon, meanwhile, is staring off into space.

Back in the present day, Kuzon somehow is riding a wave of water through the forest, while Lily is seemingly vomiting fire into a crevasse, with both of the elements they're using clearly photoshopped in. Now that I think about it, the original fic didn't have much in the way of bending, so now that the author's trying to trace and photoshop her way through it, it naturally looks odd.

The flashback continues, with a woman, presumably a healer, saying that she can't do anything more for Katara. Azula asks about her sister-in-law's condition, and is told that it's "fatal," (which should imply that she's already dead), and that her heart rate grows "sounder" (which vaguely sounds like a sign of recovery) every day. The healer concludes the stab wound wasn't ordinary, and carries the curse of a demon, from the times of Agni, "Twi" (for a second, I thought the author actually spelled the Moon Spirit's name right) and La. All their efforts to heal Katara have failed, even calling upon the help of the Moon Spirit.

Everyone involved is aware that the end is near. Toph asks for arrangements for a funeral for the rulers of the Fire Nation, while noticing that Katara's heartbeat is getting weaker. Lily asks if her mother will be alright, and Katara says no. Lily asks why Katara won't better, but Katara says she will understand one day. Katara asks her children to take care of each other and do what their aunt and uncle tell them to. She asks them to be strong when destiny comes for them, and they promise. Katara asks Sokka to raise them as his own, and he agrees.

Katara beckons them closer, says "Come here. I love you so much. Don't be scared. Remember your promise," and dies.

I have to admit that it's a bold move to kill off the author's OTP so early on in the story, but knowing the author, it's a cheap plot device for some more Wangst.

The scene briefly shifts back to the present, with Lily doing fiery backflips and seemingly defying gravity.

The scene shifts to "Bong Sing Sai" (that's a new spelling. At least they got one of the parts of the name right). Poe, evidently having stolen something, challenges the old man he stole it from to get it back if he can while speeding through the city on a ball of air, and vaguely implying that this is because the old man called him names. Poe barely avoids a man in a robe, but then collides headfirst into a pillar of earth and falls to the ground. The latter was no accident, as Poe's annoyed sister, who earthbended the pillar into place, asks if she can leave him alone for two seconds.

Poe's sister apologizes to the old man and returns what Kuzon stole. The old man isn't very gracious about it, saying that they're lucky he doesn't tell their mother.

Poe's sister then turns to her brother, suspecting that between the siblings, she got all the brains. Poe complains that what his sister- whose name is Ling- did to stop him "really fucking hurt," and given that he collided into stone at high speed, that's probably an Under Statement if anything. He comments that he has the good looks, and threatens to airbend Ling into a tall tree.

Ling says she's tired of cleaning up Poe's messes and insists that he grow up. Poe insists that he would have returned it, but he couldn't stand for people calling his hair spiky, like "a porky pine's ass," (how did the author misspell it this way?), and I can't help but think of Phoenix Wright having some sensitivity about his hair, but mostly keeping those feelings to himself.

Ling has no patience for Poe's antics, especially in a time of war, and with their father sick. Poe points out that it's because he's upset that he's acting out. He angrily starts to walk off, but Ling is not done talking with him. Poe stops, and says "Ling, I...", apparently the start of an apology. This turns out to be a mistake, as Ling takes advantage of his hesitation and earthbends him into the ground until he learns manners.

Poe is horrified, and gets Cross-Popping Veins, demanding to be let out. She decides to leave him there for an hour, as he screams and threatens to make her fart in front of everyone.

Obviously, we're meant to think of Poe as the bratty one, but Ling's punishment for him was far worse than what he did, and had the risk of causing actual harm.

On a side note, one thing I forgot to mention earlier is that Toph's parents don't live in Ba Sing Se; the author seems to have forgotten that there's more than one city in the Earth Kingdom.

Back at the North Pole, two kids kick a ball into Miracle's head, and from how she's drawn, she doesn't even seem to notice it. She asks who did it, and suggests that they'll be punished for doing that to a princess, but clearly indicates that it was in jest (although it's a strange way to make a request, to say the least), as she asks to join their game.

Unfortunately, once they join the others, trouble starts. A boy named Omar(an oddly Arabic name for the setting) and his friends refuse to play ball with Zuko and Katara's orphaned children. Miracle tells Omar and the others to show respect to the royal family, but Omar says they don't look like one of them, and says he hates their entire family. Lilly threatens Omar and his friends with violence.

The Water Tribe kids continue taunting Lilly, even saying they're glad her parents are dead and she flies into a rage and unleashes her firebending; an excessive but not entirely unwarranted reprisal. Kuzon and Miracle call out to her to stop, using their waterbending to douse the flames. After receiving a warning from Miracle to never talk that way again, the boys depart.

What I liked
  • It's a somewhat bold move into Darker and Edgier territory
  • "a porky pine's ass"
  • Some of the completely bizarre ways characters practice bending.
  • Focus on Original Character offspring means that the canon characters don't appear as much, and aren't as derailed. Of course, how consistent those characters' portrayals will be has yet to be seen.

What I didn't like
  • Poe being portrayed as unsympathetic in spite of his circumstances.
  • The artwork isn't very good, but isn't as amusingly terrible as in the first comic.

That's it for now. The comic ends right here. Even considering how predictable the author is most of the time, we only have the vaguest idea of what will happen next- presumably a showdown of some sort with the Agni Army, which appears to be led by Mai, Sho (her Original Character brother) and some armored man.

Of course, this tends to happen all the time with fanfic writers, who don't work on deadlines, or for money. When a fic hits a long delay, asking how much longer you will have to wait for the next chapter tends to be less relevant than asking whether it will come out at all. And if this happens with popular fics, such as Team8, it's natural that it would happen to this fic, which is not even liked among militant Zutarians. Still, I'm interested in seeing where this goes from here, and which unintentional hilarity the author will produce next.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any information on the comic continuing, as well as whether or where where I can find additional pages of it, I'd appreciate seeing it.

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