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Drop in on Pandora with Dark Horse's new Avatar sequel comic series, 'The Next Shadow'

By Jeff Spry

Yes, the swarm of Avatar sequels from director James Cameron is still waiting in the Hollywood wings and should start rolling out in theaters in 2022 with Avatar 2. But while we hold onto our round-trip tickets to Pandora, a new sequel comic book series from Dark Horse might make the wait a little easier — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive first look inside the premiere issue.

Bridging the gap between James Cameron's original movie from 2009 and the long-awaited follow-up, Avatar: The Next Shadow #1 is a four-issue miniseries creeping into comic shops on Jan. 6.

Penned by Jeremy Barlow (AVP: Thicker Than BloodStar Wars: Darth Maul­ — Son of Dathomir) with artwork courtesy of Josh Hood (We Can Never Go Home, JLA: Scary Monsters), this latest excursion into the wild realm of Avatar showcases atmospheric covers by Gui Balbi (Alien: The Original Screenplay). 


Avatar: The Next Shadow is a continuation of Jake Sully's saga taking place between Avatar movies. Here Jake maintains his position as chieftan of the Omatikaya Na'vi tribe, but with their homeland decimated, he starts to doubt his place among them and struggles to maintain peace in the aftermath of war.

Right after the destruction of the Na' vi Hometree, with the Na'vi versus Humans feud still hot, Jake discovers himself ineffective in trying to calm the simmering tensions of the tribes. Family rivalries rise to the surface with treachery and betrayal rearing their ugly heads. Will the internal strife rip the Omatikaya apart and banish Jake from the clan forever?

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No stranger to the exotic planet of Pandora, this represents Dark Horse Comics' third Avatar comic book offering following 2017's Avatar: Brothers and 2019's Avatar: Tsu'tey's Path. Avatar: The Next Shadow will be the first-ever comic book dip into the events unfolding directly after the blockbuster sci-fi film that held the worldwide box office record at an astonishing $2.7 billion until Avengers: Endgame narrowly topped it last year.

"Avatar: The Next Shadow explores living with regret, the fallout of decisions made under pressure, finding meaning in trauma and chaos, and how it feels to be a stranger in your own body—all set in the spectacular world of Pandora," Barlow tells SYFY WIRE. "I went deep on this one, trying to understand how a warrior like Jake would adjust to his new, unfamiliar place among the Na’vi, and how the Na’vi would adjust to him."  

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"Artist Josh Hood and colorist Wed Dzioba bring Pandora to life and make this story soar," he adds. "I’m so grateful to have collaborated with such talented people. We’re all excited to be part of this next phase of James Cameron’s incredible storytelling."

Now blast back to Pandora in our exclusive look at Dark Horse Comics' Avatar: The Next Shadow #1 in the full gallery below.