‘Avatar: Adapt or Die #1’ - Comic Book Review

It has been a decade since I’ve seen the first Avatar film. I saw it three times in the theatre and not since then. I’m more than curious to see where the next film takes us, but before that we have a sort of prelude series to bring us up to date.

Drawing strong parallels to Europeans coming to the Americas and Native Americans' first steps with them, writer Corinna Bechko (The Expanse comic, Invisible Republic) is crafting a thoughtful piece of science fiction that explores two cultures trying to come to grasp with needing to find a common path forward together.

Dr. Grace Augustine (who in the film was played by Sigourney Weaver and is now living her life in an Avatar as one of the Na’vi people) wishes to build a school so that there can be a free exchange of ideas between both peoples, where they can learn from each other. Two of the Na’vi leaders, Mo’at and Eytukan, have a difficult decision to make: allow it and brace for the cultural impact or deny it and perhaps end up losing more by not working with the humans. Either way, their culture is at stake in different ways, and the youth are perhaps the ones to find a way forward.

Bechko navigates these conflicts with grace and intelligence. As we find out, not everyone is as graceful as Augustine, and perhaps not everything goes to plan. There’s a big bump in the road that also echoes our shared history in America; I’ll let you discover what that is.

This issue is groundwork, not so concerned with getting us into an adventure but in building the “human” elements. As with much of Bechko’s previous work, that’s where it begins and that’s what makes the adventure later on soar that much higher.

The artwork here is really clean and lovely. The colors of the forest are vibrant, and the few pages we spend in the human compound are juxtaposed nicely with that. The cover artwork is really gorgeous.
Where the first film was a love story being two beings, this seems to be focused more on culture and community and how fragile or perhaps strong that is… we’ll see which way the water flows.


Creative Team: Corinna Bechko (script), Beni R. Lobel (art), Wes Dzioba (colors), Michael Heisler (letters), Mark Molchan (cover art), Kathleen Barnett (editor), Rose Weitz (assistant editor), Kathleen Barnett (designer), Samantha Hummer (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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