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Combustion Man, given his nickname by Sokka, was a firebending assassin and a silent bounty hunter hired by Prince Zuko to track down and eliminate Avatar Aang.[1] Following Team Avatar through the Fire Nation, he terrorized them with his unique combustionbending abilities which allowed him to project and detonate large explosions at will from his third-eye tattoo.

After three nearly successful attempts at ending Aang's life, Combustion Man tracked Team Avatar down at the Western Air Temple. Unwilling to let the Avatar escape again, the assassin overcame all defenses, causing enormous destruction in the process. However, his third eye was hit by Sokka's boomerang during the ferocious battle, and he unintentionally unleashed a massive point-blank explosion that killed him and destroyed the surrounding area.

Quick Answers

What is the real name of the character known as Combustion Man in Avatar? toggle section
The real name of the character Sokka dubbed "Combustion Man" was never revealed, despite Zuko appearing to know his real name.
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What unique firebending ability does Combustion Man possess? toggle section
Combustion Man possesses a unique firebending ability known as combustionbending. This rare style of firebending channels chi through the forehead, often marked by an intricate third-eye tattoo, superheating the surrounding air and producing a beam of explosive energy capable of immense damage, both in short and long range. It requires a clear and uninterrupted chi flow and a properly calibrated focus in order to be effective, as the ability will catastrophically malfunction if the chi flow is even slightly disrupted; a glancing blow like from a pebble will cause the charged attack to detonate the air around the user.
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Who hired Combustion Man to track down and eliminate Avatar Aang? toggle section
Prince Zuko hired Combustion Man to track down and eliminate Aang, as he was convinced Katara had revived the Avatar after Azula had shot him.
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What is the significance of Combustion Man's third-eye tattoo? toggle section
Combustion Man performs combustionbending, a rare style of firebending that allows him to channel chi from the stomach through his forehead to trigger explosions; the point of exit is marked by the third-eye tattoo. While it is unknown if the tattoo actually adds to the ability of combustionbending, it is also a partial weakness, as a hit to the tattoo, thus disrupting the chi flow, will cause the charged attack to detonate the air around the user or even cause a point-blank explosion.
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Why is Combustion Man also referred to as 'sparky sparky boom boom man'? toggle section
Not knowing the real name of the man attacking them by shooting "fire out of his mind", Sokka dubbed him "Sparky Sparky Boom Man". However, Sokka and the rest of the group eventually agreed that this name didn't quite capture the formidable nature of this character, and so they settled on the moniker "Combustion Man". Aang was the only one other than Sokka to ever use the original nickname "Sparky Sparky Boom Man".
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Early life[]

This Fire Nation assassin discovered his ability when he was a young child, but was initially unable to control it and accidentally blew his right arm and leg off, which he replaced with his trademark metal prosthetic limbs.[4] He went on to acquire a status of infamy in a series of quick successful Agni Kai matches.[2] Silent, willing to do any dirty job with no questions asked, and driven to complete his assignments, he was a formidable opponent with a reputation for being "good at what [he does] and even better at keeping secrets".[1]

Assassination attempts on Aang[]

First attempt[]

Combustion Man was hired by Zuko to kill Aang, since the Prince believed there was a chance that the Avatar might have survived Azula's attack at Ba Sing Se, an outcome which would jeopardize the new-found respect his father, Fire Lord Ozai, had for him. This news drove the firebending assassin to utilize any means possible in eliminating such a potential threat.[1]

Combustion Man attacking Aang

Combustion Man attacked Aang in an attempt to prevent his escape.

Combustion Man eliminated or intercepted any evidence that could compromise his mission. When Aang was spotted by two Fire Nation soldiers, the assassin's raven eagle intercepted the soldiers' messenger hawk, enabling Combustion Man to read and subsequently destroy the message. That night, he stealthily approached Aang and his friends' campsite, but his metallic footsteps were detected by Toph. Eschewing stealth, Combustion Man attacked, his powerful bolts countered both Katara's waterbending and Toph's earthbending, forcing them to take cover. He followed Aang as the Avatar led him away from his friends. Following a running battle, Combustion Man's attacks were countered by Aang's airbending and earthbending, and he eventually had to halt his pursuit as the Avatar escaped on Appa with the rest of the group.[6]

Second attempt[]

Combustion Man and Aang

Combustion Man nearly killed Aang in Fire Fountain City.

In his second attempt, the Combustion Man operated more subtly by setting up a trap in Fire Fountain City via a wanted poster to capture Katara and Toph. He locked them in a wooden cell, depriving them both of earth and water to bend, and used them as nothing more than bait to lure in Aang, which proved successful. After Katara inventively used her sweat to waterbend and escape, the two girls arrived just in time to help Aang and Sokka, who had only narrowly avoided the ambush because Aang heard the assassin inhaling. Katara momentarily hampered his assassination attempt by freezing his head in a block of ice, allowing the group to escape. Toph launched a boulder at him to cover the group's escape, prompting him to destroy it. As the rock exploded, a single pebble flew off of the rock and struck him directly on his third eye tattoo, blocking his chi. He got up and attempted to shoot another explosion in the group's direction, only to find his ability hampered. The air around him detonated, sending him flying against a nearby wall, enabling the group to escape, much to his anger.

It was during this attack that Sokka stated that "Sparky Sparky Boom Man" was an unfitting name for the assassin and dubbed him "Combustion Man" instead.[7]

Third attempt[]

Combustion Man vs Aang on the train

Combustion Man fought Aang on a train.

After he had traced them at a train station, Combustion Man next targeted Aang while he and Sokka were accompanying a little girl named Sho on a train to her grandmother's house. During the train ride, the assassin attacked the Avatar, preventing his escape by threatening the lives of the other passengers. The explosions caused the train to go faster and knocked out the engineer. After a short hand-to-hand confrontation, Aang convinced Combustion Man to face him atop the train, giving Sokka time to fix the engine. After Sokka stopped the train, Aang used water from a nearby lake to waterbend Combustion Man into the water below.[8]

Last attempt and death[]

Combustion Man's death

Combustion Man caused his own death by unintentionally unleashing a massive point-blank explosion.

Combustion Man managed to locate the group during their stay at the Western Air Temple, though Zuko interfered with his surprise attack and ordered him to stop going after the Avatar. Having shoved the prince aside and launched another attack against the group, he was threatened by Zuko that he would not receive any payment, an offer that quickly changed to the promise of double payment when he grabbed hold of the young firebender's shirt to hold him off. Combustion Man ignored these, however, appearing to attack for reasons other than money. Meanwhile, Zuko's antics proved to be a useful distraction for the group, who used the time to take cover. When Combustion Man resorted to blowing up pylons supporting the temple, Sokka took aim and used his boomerang to strike Combustion Man square on the forehead where his tattoo was, briefly stunning him and blocking his chi. Despite his previous experience in Fire Fountain City, Combustion Man ignored the blow and tried to combustionbend anyway, causing a massive point-blank explosion which killed him and destroyed much of the surrounding area.[9] His metal claw was seen falling into the misty abyss.[3]


An actor played the role of Combustion Man in the play The Boy in the Iceberg.[10]

During the verdict of Yakone's trial, Sokka brought up Combustion Man as a unique bender that could firebend with his mind, whom he had "bested with [his] trusty boomerang".[11]

Sometime after the Hundred Year War, Combustion Man's technique was replicated by a firebender named P'Li, who also had a third eye tattooed on her forehead but whose technique was more advanced and refined. While attempting to secure P'Li's prison, an elderly Zuko told Desna and Eska of how he had previously sent Combustion Man after Avatar Aang.[12]



Combustion Man's attack

Combustion Man was able to firebend with his mind.

Combustion Man's primary ability reflected his given moniker, the ability to perform combustionbending. A rare style of firebending that allows him to trigger explosions from a third-eye tattoo on his forehead. This is done by channeling chi energy from his stomach, focused it into his forehead on a third-eye tattoo.[4] This energy created thin transparent energy bolts that cracked like firecrackers as they traveled until exploding violently upon impact with a surface. This ability was mentally driven, requiring only inhalation and focus on his part, making his fighting style much less dynamic than standard firebending, and could be used at great ranges with considerable accuracy.[6] A single energy bolt was very powerful and could disintegrate large boulders or evaporate entire bodies of water with ease. The true degree of his power and skill was considerable, and in almost all encounters he overpowered everything Aang's group attacked him with. He was also capable of normal firebending, as he burnt a stolen message without forming an energy bolt,[6] but he always relied on his combustionbending during combat.

Combustion Man stymied

Combustion Man's third eye failed to work properly after being struck.

Combustion Man showed no physical weaknesses when being attacked and was usually impossible to get close to, as he was always shooting explosive bolts. Ironically, his only known weakness involved his greatest weapon. By striking him on his third eye tattoo with even a pebble,[7] he will be temporarily stunned and, even more significantly, doing so will cause his bolts to backfire, the chi energy in the blast causing an explosion due to its inability to leave his body. This occurred when he was hit by Sokka's boomerang, the resulting explosion destroying a large portion of the temple where he was standing and ultimately killing him,[9] leaving only his metal arm.[3]

Other skills[]

Combustion Man blocking icicle-striking

Combustion Man blocked Katara's "icicle-striking" technique.

In addition to his unique talents, his enormous size conferred considerable physical strength, easily overpowering Zuko with only one hand even when looking the other way, and his metal prosthetics made dangerous weapons.[3] Despite his huge frame and two metal limbs, he was surprisingly agile, using his clawed metal hand and foot to break falls from great heights.[7][3]

His durability and quick thinking enabled him to charge through Aang's tornadoes unfazed and block Katara's "icicle-striking" technique by shielding himself with his metal arm and leg. It also endowed him with considerable stamina in combat, as seen when he fired an extended combustion blast at Zuko's fire shield to push him backward.[3] He also proved to be intelligent and a skilled tracker, such as when he teamed up with an authority of Fire Fountain City to capture Katara, who was expecting to get a reward for ratting out Toph.


Avatar: The Last Airbender[]

Book Three: Fire (火)[]

Avatar comics[]

Book Three: Fire (火)[]


  • Combustion Man's tattoo of a third eye is an exact replica of the third eye of the Hindu God Shiva, who is associated with the cycle of destruction, transformation, and rebirth. Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, which when opened, engulfs anyone and anything before him in flames. Shiva is also associated with the Vedic god of fire, Agni.
  • A rumor said that Combustion Man was a Fire Nation soldier injured in battle, who was later healed using experimental techniques and those experimental techniques gave him the ability to firebend using his mind.[13]
  • It was said that he did not speak at all.[13]
  • Although Zuko appears to know his real name, he never said it.[3]
  • The creators explained in the DVD commentary for "The Western Air Temple" that Combustion Man continued to attack the group because despite having been absolved from his mission by Zuko, he figured Fire Lord Ozai would be grateful for the elimination of the Avatar.[14]
  • When encountering Combustion Man, Sokka referred to him as "Sparky Sparky Boom Man", though he agreed with everyone else that the name did not do the overwhelming firebender justice and settled on the moniker "Combustion Man", which was immediately adopted. Aang was the only other companion shown to call the assassin "Sparky Sparky Boom Man" when he announced his arrival.[7]
  • The first time Combustion Man attacked Aang and his friends,[6] he fought Aang in a remote field with many tall spires. Aang would later duel Fire Lord Ozai in an area with similar terrain in the Earth Kingdom.
  • Combustion Man is one of the tallest figures in the original series, and is the only human character confirmed to stand over seven feet tall.
  • His weakness of being struck in the forehead is similar to the Biblical figure Goliath, an approximately ten-foot tall giant who received a blow to the forehead from a small stone.
  • An early draft of the character had Ruon-Jian's hair, as he was designed after a friend of Bryan Konietzko. However, Aaron Ehasz considered it was better to draw him with a shaved head.[2]
  • Combustion Man served as the secondary villain in Book Three, a role similar to that of Admiral Zhao and Long Feng in Book One and Book Two, respectively. These three antagonists were all introduced and defeated in their respective books.
  • Combustion Man, the mechanist, the Ba Sing Se airship captain, and an old man from Omashu who participated in Sokka's "Pentapox"-plague ruse are the only characters known to have a prosthesis.
  • Combustion Man was the third known character to have a physical disability, following Teo and Toph Beifong. Like Teo, he was not born with his disability but received it later in life.
  • Combustion Man and P'Li were the first two combustionbenders in the Avatar franchise in terms of release order and shared several traits: they were both very tall, had no compunctions attacking innocents and children, attempted to kill the Avatar, and died by their own technique in the vicinity of an air temple.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (September 28, 2007). "The Headband". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Konietzko, Bryan; Dos Santos, Joaquim & Mattila, Katie (October 30, 2007). "The Beach" commentary. Book 3: Fire, Volume 1 DVD.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 14, 2008). "The Western Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Combustion Man.
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 142.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Mattila, Katie (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (October 19, 2007). "The Beach". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 2, 2007). "The Runaway". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  8. Lumumba, Rawles; Wilgus, Benjamin (writer), McWeeney, Tom (artist), Dzioba, Wes (colorist), Comicraft (letterer). "Combustion Man on a Train" (July 5, 2011 [Dark Horse Comics edition]), Nickelodeon.
  9. 9.0 9.1 It was later confirmed by Mike and Bryan at New York Comic-Con 2008 that he was dead.
  10. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Josh, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 18, 2008). "The Ember Island Players". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.
  11. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 9, 2012). "Out of the Past". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  12. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian. (June 27, 2014). "The Earth Queen". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Avatar Extras for "The Beach" on Nicktoons Network.
  14. DiMartino, Michael Dante & Konietzko, Bryan (May 6, 2008). "The Western Air Temple" commentary. Book 3: Fire, Volume 3 DVD.