Zukos Story is an OEL Manga Prequel to The Last Airbender, written by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus and illustrated by Nina Matsumoto (best known for her own series Yokaiden). It details the years between prince Zukos banishment and the reappearance of the Avatar.
Tropes in this story include:
- Adaptational Villainy: Fire Lord Ozai actually manages to be even worse in this version. Like in the cartoon canon, he scarred and banished his son, but in the cartoon he at least gave his son a small ship and crew, even if they were not royal guards or special forces. Zukos Story revealed that when Zuko was banished from the palace in the film universe, he was forced to live on the streets and try to recruit a crew from bars and failed. Ultimately, Zuko had to resort to asking Azula to ask Ozai to give him a ship. And even then, Ozai only give Zuko the ship to get rid of Iroh.
- Animesque: Deliberately mimics the looks of a manga.
- The Cameo: Mai and Ty Lee appear at Zuko's departure, behind Azula. Commander Zhao, sporting his trademark sideburns, also makes an appearance.
- Just Like Robin Hood: The Red Spirit, who steals from the rich Fire Nation army and gives to the poor Fire Nation villagers they take advantage of.
- Kick the Dog: Not only did Fire Lord Ozai scar and banish his son, he didn't even bother to give Zuko anything to help him. He did not even pretend that Zuko's quest to capture the Avatar wasn't a way to get rid of Zuko, and only gave him a ship and crew to get rid of Iroh.
- Loose Canon: It ties in to the film, however the writers went out of their way to include references to the animated series with the Western and Eastern Air Temples, the Great Gates of Azulon, Crescent Island, Avatar Roku, Fire Sage Shyu, Guru Pahtik, the Sun Warriors, and Azula all looking identical to their animated selves. Except for Zuko and Iroh being drawn like their film counterparts, this would fit right in with the animated series' canon. There is however no word whether the series considers this manga to be canon. (Indeed, the canonical comic Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search suggests a different inspiration for Zuko's alter ego the Blue Spirit.)
- Mythology Gag: The Red Spirit's look is identical to the animated Blue Spirit, with a red mask. His name comes from the original animated concept for the Blue Spirit.
- Pet the Dog: After Zuko is banished and is forced to live on the streets and fails to find a crew, he resorts to asking Azula to ask Ozai to give him a ship, noticing that Ozai would listen to her because she's his favorite child. Azula agrees, and gets Zuko the ship and crew he needed.
- The Prophecy: Guru Pahtik delivers one to Zuko.
- Rage Against the Reflection: The scene where Zuko removes a bandage and sees his scar for the first time ends with him shattering the mirror with one punch.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Zuko gives an epic one to Iroh.
- Snipe Hunt: Zuko's search for the Avatar is shown to be this, even more so in Zuko's Story than in canon. When Zuko was banished from the palace, he was left to live on the street, Ozai not even bothering to give him anything to help him, as opposed to canon, where he at least gave him a small ship and crew. Here, Zuko has to resort to trying to recruit a crew in bars, which fails, with one bar patron outright telling Zuko his quest to get the Avatar was just a way for his father to get rid of him. Zuko had to ask Azula to ask Ozai to give him a ship, but even then Ozai only give Zuko the ship to get rid of Iroh. Upon arriving at the docks of a nondescript town celebrating the Fire Days festival, Commander Kanku refuses to produce any maps or intel on the surrounding region for the banished prince in fear of losing the Fire Lord's good favor. Basically everyone can see that Zuko's quest for the Avatar for what it is except Zuko, because of his misplaced love and loyalty to his father and hope that capturing the Avatar can end his banishment.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Guru Pahtik encounters Zuko, Zuko immediately assumes he's the Avatar and attacks him, even physically tackling him at a point. Once Iroh intervenes, Zuko snaps at Iroh, who had come to the guru's aid, only for Iroh to snap back that he was obviously not the Avatar, not even an Airbender, and there is no excusing harming an elder who's done no harm in return.