|"If you ever get tired of fighting beside the Avatar, there's a job as a pirate waiting for you."|
|— Jiang to Katara.|
Katara and the Pirate's Silver is a standalone graphic novel set in the Avatar universe during the events of Book Two: Earth that follows Katara as she gets separated from the rest of Team Avatar. The graphic novel is written by Faith Erin Hicks in collaboration with Tim Hedrick, with art by Peter Wartman. It was released on October 13, 2020.
It's sink or swim for Katara! When Team Avatar is suddenly ambushed by the Fire Nation, Katara gets separated from the group. Unable to rendezvous with Aang, Toph, and Sokka, Katara must avoid capture by aligning herself with some unlikely allies! The normally sweet and sensitive Katara will need to explore her tougher side if she's going to reunite with the rest of Team Avatar...
Team Avatar flies through the Earth Kingdom on Appa's back. A cheerful Sokka expresses how much he enjoys their life and Toph sarcastically inquires whether being chased by Azula and spending the previous day stuck in a hole is something to relish. He explains that traveling through the skies and feeling the wind through his hair is what he finds pleasant, not the encounters with the Fire Nation. She replies that she will enjoy the wind in her hair when their enemies will cease to pursue them.
Katara tells the earthbender that there is no need to be so pessimistic and that she could try to relax from time to time. Toph says that she is realistic as ignoring their troubles will not make them any less real. The waterbender counters that she is realistic as well, stating that she and Sokka have been traveling with Aang longer than she has. Toph replies that the two of them have a different approach to things, giving Aang's bending training as an example. She states that she is a very direct person while Katara is surprised to hear she threw rocks at him instead of using positive reinforcement as she said she would. Sokka adds that his sister is "soft and gentle, like a crocokitten before its skin gets all tough and scaly."
Toph concludes that Aang learned waterbending in a couple of weeks, while she taught him earthbending in a day. Katara proceeds to ask the Avatar whether she behaves like a crocokitten or if she is a good teacher and he answers that the latter is true, telling her that, even though she and Toph use different methods, it is not a bad thing and that she does not have to be tough.
Their conversation is interrupted by a sudden attack from a Fire Army artillery unit which launches burning boulders at them. Aang quickly steers the flying bison upward in an attempt to avoid the projectiles, but, unable to grab hold of the saddle in time, Katara falls off and plunges toward a nearby river.
She creates a small waterspout to cushion her descent and, upon swimming up to the surface, the powerful current pushes her toward the cascade the river flows into. Katara bends an ice sphere around herself and after it falls along the path of the cascade, it bounces off the surrounding cliffs before ending up in a river once again. The sphere soon reaches the shore and she breaks through the ice, falling face-first on the ground.
Meanwhile, Toph, Aang, and Sokka continue riding Appa as they search for Katara. They land in a small clearing in the woods while Sokka calls out his sister. Toph tells him not to yell and that she is hearing something as he responds he will keep shouting if it helps to find Katara. However, he stops himself mid-sentence as he notices two catapults and some soldiers from the artillery unit that attacked them earlier. The three of them slowly walk away, unnoticed by the Fire Army troops, but they stumble across another soldier who is eating during his break. He stares at them, surprised as they do the same, before he hurriedly gets up and throws his food away.
Aang unsuccessfully tries to convince the man that he is not the Avatar, but he immediately takes a fighting stance, declaring that, in the name of his nation and of the Fire Lord, he arrests the Air Nomad. Toph effortlessly knocks him sideways with a small earth pillar and tells her friends they should go find Katara.
As they turn around to resume their search, the soldier sets the trees ablaze with firebending, stating that there is no escape for the Avatar as he will follow him all around the world. Aang is concerned that the forest is burning and Sokka says that if the firebender keeps yelling, the rest of the unit will hear him. The warrior, however, assures them he does not need help and that he will get all the glory.
Toph encases the soldier in rocks she bends upward and proceeds to help Aang put out the fire. Sokka impatiently asks if they can finally continue the search for Katara as the overconfident firebender warns Aang that the Fire Nation will keep hunting him down, not stopping until the world is safe from his malice. The Air Nomad, surprised by the statement, stops and asks him what harmful things he ever did to him. The soldier responds that the airbenders wanted to conquer the world and the Fire Nation had to stop them before Aang exclaims that that is a lie, which the man demands him to prove.
Katara rubs her head after the bumpy ride down the river as she takes in her surroundings. She notices a barricade preventing people from leaving a town and she carefully walks to its outskirts. The waterbender sees some Fire Nation troops talking to a local as she realizes the barricade keeps people inside the settlement. A soldier suddenly comes up from behind her, demanding to know what she is doing outside the town without an escort. He is also suspicious of her as she is wearing Water Tribe clothing since there are not any inhabitants from that part of the world here.
She knocks him out with frozen water from her water skin and hides the unconscious man in some bushes. She sneaks past more soldiers and takes a green cloak from a clothesline in order to keep her identity secret, passing by a stall. Katara stops, asking the vendor if more Fire Army troops arrived today and he answers that their numbers have not increased, complaining that they ate all of his produce. He adds, however, that earlier today he heard rumors about the Avatar's bison being stopped nearby.
Katara walks away, wondering how she could find Toph, Aang, and her brother as a man at the corner of the alley tells her to follow him. She politely declines as she turns around before strolling further. Immediately afterward, two people cut her off, followed by another pair from behind. She grabs her water skin, warning the group that she knows how to defend herself. One of them replies that she noticed how Katara took out the Fire Nation soldier from earlier, but the waterbender denies it. The woman sarcastically replies that it must be a coincidence that ice leapt from the river and hit the soldier, after which Katara decides to confirm it. The stranger then says she is the captain of a ship which will soon sail downriver and that she is looking for a waterbender for the journey.
Katara, wishing to leave the town, asks what she needs to do to earn a spot on the ship and the person who has been talking to her, the apparent leader of the group, answers that they need extra help in case they run into Fire Nation forces. Katara admits to being a waterbender and the woman throws the water from a pouch at her to test her. She easily guides the water away from herself, splashing a member of the group.
As they start walking, the leader introduces herself as Jiang, the captain of the Flying Wolfbat, apologizing that she wanted Katara to prove her abilities. She explains that a boy who attempted to take part in their mission lied about being a waterbender and that she was upset about that. Katara inquires as to what happened to him and Jiang assures her that he is perfectly fine as she recalls feeding him to a saber-tooth moose lion.
At the same time, Aang tells Toph and Sokka that he wants to talk to the overconfident soldier and try changing his mind about Air Nomads. Toph replies that he is a Fire Nation and that he would bring them to the Fire Lord as soon as he would be able to. The Avatar states that Sozin was not satisfied with killing the airbenders, wishing to lie about them planning to take over the world as well. He insists on letting the man know what actually happened and Sokka asks him if he is sure he wants to talk to the soldier as he does not seem to be very intelligent. He adds that his sister can handle herself for a while and Toph counters that he is the one who said she is as soft as a crocokitten. Sokka replies that he was just teasing her and that, after its scales come in, a crocokitten might be able to fight a half-grown platypus bear.
Aang goes to the trapped soldier and salutes him politely, saying that, even though they met under unpleasant circumstances, they can still get to know each other. He blows a leaf of the man's forehead with airbending as his ability scares him. The Avatar assures him he will not hurt him and the soldier says he knows everything about dark airbending abilities and the Air Nomad's "army of winged people". The Avatar responds that his people were peaceful and that they did not have an army, nor could they fly, only glide with the help of gliders.
The warrior inquires as to where his glider is and Aang says that it is with his sky bison. The man triumphantly states that the Avatar admitted to having an animal that is able to fly and that, had the Fire Nation not stopped his people, they would have taken over the world with the help of the bison. Aang dismisses that as nonsense and asks him where he heard that. He answers that he was told that by his cousin who heard it from his sister who, in turn, heard it from her roommate after that person read the information on a poster. The Air Nomad is surprised to hear the soldier think what was written on a poster is definitely true and he returns to his friends, discouraged.
Katara, Jiang, and the other pirates walk through the Earth Kingdom town as the waterbender encourages herself to behave like Toph in order to look like a strong person. She subsequently gazes around confidently and spits on a nearby house, disgusting two members of the crew before she becomes embarrassed.
They stop by Tu's storage house to pick up the goods they plan on smuggling. Tu suspiciously tells Katara she reminds him of the waterbender who his cousin Oh said stole a waterbending scroll from him. He also says that the girl was traveling with the Avatar before Katara thrusts an icicle into the table he is sitting at to intimidate him. She responds that she is not a friend of the Avatar and that she wants to escape from Fire Nation territory without being asked any questions.
As the rest of the group prepare the cargo for transport to the Flying Wolfbat, Katara asks Jiang why the boxes have the Earth Kingdom army seal on them. The pirate captain responds that she should not ask any questions per her own advice to Tu and hands her an Earth Kingdom collaborator uniform. Katara is also curious as to why they have to wear those disguises and Jiang says that they will need them in order to avoid battles with the Fire Nation. Katara is unsettled as she acknowledges that the soldiers who owned those uniforms are likely dead.
Back in the forest, Sokka offers to convince the overconfident soldier of the Air Nomads' innocence using facts. He tells the man that they would love to coexist in harmony with the Fire Lord and his nation, but the soldier looks at him confused. Sokka continues inquiring whether it is not strange that, even though he is from the Fire Nation, the soldier was sent to the Earth Kingdom to occupy it. The firebender yells that the other nations should be honored that his country is sharing its wealth and prosperity with them.
Sokka prompts him to consider that the citizens of the Earth Kingdom did not welcome the Fire Army and that it is possible that the other countries also want to live in harmony with the Fire Nation. He suggests that Ozai might want to dominate the world instead of coexisting peacefully with the other nations.
The overconfident soldier denies this and begins singing about the Fire Lord as Sokka smacks himself. He tells Toph and Aang that they wasted enough with the firebender and that they should go. The Avatar calls Appa with the bison whistle.
Before they leave, the firebender breaks free from the rocks encasing him and challenges Aang once again before Appa swallows and spits him toward a tree. The soldier hangs from a branch, watching them fly away on the bison's back.
As they reach the docks of the Earth Kingdom village, Jiang shows Katara the Flying Wolfbat, explaining that the ship has been used by her family for generations. The waterbender says that Jiang's relatives must have been pirates, robbing the crews of other ships and selling the stolen goods. The captain acknowledges this, stating that her heritage made her strong and that, fighting alongside her crew, she managed to prevent Fire Army troops from capturing her vessel. Jiang adds that, even if her crew does not seem impressive, it is dedicated and she will do everything in her power to keep it safe. Katara inquires whether she would steal from her own people and she replies that the Earth Kingdom soldiers are not her people as the country abandoned the people outside Ba Sing Se.
Katara encourages herself to act more like Toph as Jiang gives her ship's documentation to a Fire Army officer. He states that the papers seem to be in order, but he is cut off by his superior, who says that he wants to look more carefully at the Flying Wolfbat. As the man inspects the ship, Jiang tells Katara that the time when she has to earn her passage might be now and the waterbender assures her that she can handle herself. The captain, annoyed, replies that there is more at stake than Katara's life if they do not deliver the stolen goods.
The higher-ranking officer recognizes the ship as the one they failed to capture earlier that same year and becomes furious as he orders his troops to arrest Katara and the pirates. She and Jiang run toward the Flying Wolfbat as the rest of the crew, already aboard, hurriedly cut the ropes tying it to the dock. Katara stops right beside the boarding plank and throws away her disguise, revealing her Water Tribe clothes.
As the soldiers close in on her, she waterbends a massive wave, knocking them backward on the docks. She takes out two firebenders with a water jet as Jiang tells the others to secure the cargo. Katara creates an ice slope, using it to board the ship. She insists on leaving the crates in order to escape and Jiang refuses, saying that they need all of them. A soldier gets on the ship and sneaks behind the pirate captain, but Katara launches water at him and Jiang punches him before he falls into the water.
They set sail as enemy troops keep sending fireballs toward them and a Fire Nation patrol boat blocks their path, launching a flaming boulder from its catapult. The projectile tears through the Flying Wolfbat's hull and the vessel starts sinking. Jiang prioritizes saving the boxes again and Katara inquires as to why they matter so much to her. The pirate tells her to get out of her way and the waterbender freezes water into a glacier which she rides to and hits the patrol both with. She throws the Fire Army crew offboard with two powerful waves and commandeers their craft, waterbending to move it toward the village docks. Jiang and her crew surrender to the Fire Nation forces as Katara sails the ship through the docks, tearing them apart. The soldiers fall into the water as the pirates get aboard the captured vessel.
Right then, the overconfident Fire Nation soldier runs out of the woods and spots Katara. He yells that he will not let the Avatar's collaborators escape as he jumps toward the boat. The waterbender freezes him in an ice column while another patrol boat emerges from the docks. Jiang's crew launches a boulder from the catapult, effectively sinking it as the column detaining the overconfident soldier snaps in two and he plunges into the water.
The pirate captain thanks Katara and she tells her to keep her promise to get her out of Fire Nation territory. Jiang assures her that they will take her as far away as she wants after they make one stop. Katara glances at an open crate containing stolen medicine and, disgusted, states that the pirates are worse than she thought as they will make sick people pay for the medicine. The captain smiles and says that since she is a pirate, she never does anything without payment.
Meanwhile, Toph, Aang, and Sokka ride Appa above the Earth Kingdom village Katara and the pirates have escaped from. Sokka notices the ice below them and concludes that his sister must have been here as Aang inquires to where she could be now. Having found a clue, they resume their search.
Katara and the pirates arrive at a small settlement and the crew begins offloading the boxes. A young boy named Lian cheerfully calls out Jiang's name and runs toward her with some flowers. She thanks him for the gift as Katara is utterly surprised to see what the pirates' reward actually is. Jiang explains that these are silver lilies, flowers that only grow in this area, and that she would never ask her people to pay for medicine with money they do not have. She says that she has been a pirate for many years, stealing goods and selling them for profit, before the Fire Nation attacked her and her crew's country. They subsequently swore to make helping their co-nationals their top priority and to fight the Fire Army at least until the war would end. Jiang turns her attention to Lian, walking with him as she holds his hand.
Katara then sees Appa landing there and greets her friends, hugging them. She asks them how they found her and Sokka responds that they spotted the frozen Fire Nation boat upriver and in turn inquires to how she got there. She explains that she reached the village occupied by the Fire Army and joined a pirate crew with which she broke through the blockade. Toph, Aang, and Sokka are surprised and confused to hear she worked with pirates and she tells them that they temporarily ceased illegal activities to fight the Fire Nation.
Katara tries to convince them this is true as they do not believe her, but Jiang and her crew come to thank her for her help, offering to make her an official member of the crew. Katara respectfully declines to join them and Jiang says that if she is ever tired of fighting beside the Avatar, they will welcome her with open arms.
Team Avatar and the pirates part ways and Sokka enthusiastically says that Katara is the coolest sister in the world. They proceed to fly away from the settlement on Appa's back.
- The graphic novel confirms the existence of pro-Fire Nation Earth Kingdom collaborators as well as groups opposing both the Earth Kingdom government and the Fire Nation during the Hundred Year War. This hints at greater infighting and divisions of loyalty in the Earth Kingdom during the war than shown in previous media while concurring with the divided state of the Earth Kingdom as shown in The Rise of Kyoshi.
- Aang learns from the overconfident Fire Nation soldier that in the Fire Nation, it is believed that the Air Nomads had a secret army. However, Aang is only supposed to learn this when posing as Kuzon in a Fire Nation school in "The Headband".
- It could be argued that the soldier explains that he learned this information in a convoluted hearsay manner. As a result, Aang would not know the extent of the Fire Nation propaganda, including that an "Air Nation army" is included in the country's national history books and taught in school.
- When Katara explains to Team Avatar what happened to her while she was separated from the group, Toph expresses disbelief in her tale. However, Toph is capable of sensing lies with her seismic sense, and should be able to tell Katara was being sincere.
- Katara and the Pirate's Silver is the first standalone graphic novel, as well as the first set during the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- The graphic novel takes place between the events of "Bitter Work" and "The Library".
- Avatar: The Last Airbender–Katara and the Pirate's Silver. Penguin Random House (March 20, 2020). Retrieved on March 21, 2020.
- 🌊 A new standalone ATLA graphic novel, Katara and the Pirate's Silver, is coming this October!. korranews on Tumblr (March 20, 2020). Retrieved on March 20, 2020.
- First preview pages from the upcoming ATLA standalone graphic novel Katara and the Pirate's Silver!. korranews on Tumblr (July 29, 2020). Retrieved on July 29, 2020.