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Water Tribe 447 by NoSelfControl Water Tribe 447 by NoSelfControl
This is it.
The end.

It is an open ending- Zhao's misadventures with spirits could continue, but I'll end it there. It's a good place to stop.

Thank you everyone, for reading this long, very long, too long exercise in storytelling (now if I can make as many pages for my personal projects...).


The Avatar universe belongs to Mike, Bryan, Nickelodeon-Viacom-MTV.
All the characters belong to them, but a few of the extras are my own creation.
Art by :iconrufftoon:

Previous: [link]

Start of Chapter 1: [link]
Start of Chapter 2: [link]
Start of Chapter 3: [link]
Start of Chapter 4: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconfluffyterrorist:
FluffyTerrorist Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015
This was the greatest three hours of reading i've had in a while. Wish it didn't end here though.
Reply
:icontiptah52:
tiptah52 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW. Just...wow. That was amazing!!
Reply
:iconhaggis53:
Haggis53 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Student Artist
Welp. Zhao is my favorite character now. I am not denying this. 

This was amazing! This "exercise" in storytelling is so amazing, it might as well be one of the official printed comics from the avatar peoples!! The story and pages and artwork flowed so brilliantly and perfectly that I want to own my own hard copy!! 
Thank you so much for spending your time and effort on this, it was well worth it.
Reply
:iconveronaswift:
VeronaSwift Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
It's 11 pm. I haven't had sleep in 30 hours. I have a debate paper due tomorrow on conspiracies based around 9/11. I'm not even half way done. I have to print out twenty copies of my speech for my class for Wednesday, using color ink that I don't actually have.

And I spent my entire afternoon reading this comic on a character I was never particularly fond of from one of my favorite cartoons. Five years after it was finished.

Time well spent, obviously. Llama Emoji 27 (Awesome) [V2] 

Though, to be a bit more serious, your work is absolutely fantastic. Your humor, your storytelling, your artwork, and especially your dialogue are top notch. You tell a damn good story, and I'm honestly a bit awed by it. You inserted original characters and wove them seamlessly into the story to the point that they feel just as fleshed out and real as the characters that we all have come to know and love. I was legitimately concerned for Arluk, and was relieved to find out that he'd survived. You also had a mastery over the characters from A:tLA, which isn't always easy. This was great insight into what makes Zhao tick, and it never felt like he had truly changed, even though he had adapted enough to survive in a new context. It wasn't until the very end that I realized that yes, he really did. It was really subtle that way. 

Your artwork is beautiful. That cannot be said enough. 

I loved the open ending you gave us. It was satisfying enough to tie up most of the loose ends presented in your story, and still left us something to decide on our own. 

What more can I say? Your comic was awesome. A+ material!

Thank you so much for devoting your time and energy into this comic, and I hope to see more from you again soon.
Reply
:iconsophienewman21:
SophieNewman21 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
This is so awesome! I have truly enjoyed reading this work! I love the art, and the plot too! This is a very intriguing piece, and I absolutely adore it! Keep it up. :D
Reply
:iconbubbly026:
Bubbly026 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
Welp, I read all of it! 2 - 3 hours later… I wish there was more, nicely done!
Reply
:iconforbiddenattraction:
ForbiddenAttraction Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Sad this is over. Wishing there was more, but content with the magic that was offered. Thank you for this amazing story.
Reply
:iconnah223445566:
NAH223445566 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014
Más, por fa.
Reply
:iconmoonwolfdragonfox:
MoonWolfDragonFox Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
so its going to continue or not, if not,  ''BIG CLIFFHANGER THANKS I LOVE CLIFFHANGERS''
Reply
:icona-hippocampus:
A-Hippocampus Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Wow. You know how to tell a great story. You didn't 180 Zhao, you didn't make him something he's not, but you did make him grow outside what we thought we all knew of him. I have enjoyed reading through this and the skill in the drawing and movement of the characters made this something really special. I know I will return to read through again. And thank you, for making me root for the very small good part of Zhao. 
Reply
:iconphoenix-of-athena:
Phoenix-of-Athena Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014
This...is brilliant and beautiful.  I never would have thought that I could like a character like Zhao, but you obviously changed that.  :D
Truly, this is perfect.  You embody the character of the show, with your odd bits of humor, and every characterization (of characters) is spot on.  And that's not even mentioning your gorgeous artwork!  I absolutely loved this. 
Reply
:iconxxyukixyvonnexx:
xXYukixYvonneXx Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
I am angry . . . but thoroughly satisfied all at the same time. I commend your art and fantastic story writing abilities (Lord knows I couldn't write a sizable story to save my life).
Reply
:iconanimelover08831:
animelover08831 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
All beginnings are some other beginnings end. A really nice introduction to what would be an epic tale.
Reply
:iconwatchingonahill:
watchingonahill Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014
I raise a cup of steaming tea to you and your storytelling skills!
Reply
:iconspidermilkshake:
SpiderMilkshake Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
Now THIS...

Is a story.

Thank you for making this (and my evening). :D
Reply
:iconadjamemnon:
Adjamemnon Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013   Writer
I saw some of your work on Reddit about the peril of leaving the spirit portals open, with Zhao coming back and seeing Tenzin.  In the comments, someone said, "If you liked that, you should read this" and linked to Water Tribe 001.

I did like that, so I did read this...all in one sitting.

Thank you very much for making this.
Reply
:iconinferno-bolt:
Inferno-Bolt Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013
Great comic. Much better story than Korra. Too bad you're not in there team(maybe yet, lol). I do hope we'll see more of this goodness in the future.
Reply
:iconlegrosclown:
legrosclown Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I just recently discovored this comic and I love it! You were really true to the avatar universe!
Reply
:icondoomboy911:
doomboy911 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Student General Artist
Wow I really thought Lao had managed to hide the spirits in the pot he stole.  
Reply
:iconcasper-viccc:
Casper-viccc Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013
You and me both
Reply
:icondoomboy911:
doomboy911 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Student General Artist
Would've just made for an awesome twist, Zhao finds out and has to hunt down Lao while he deals with being a man without a country.
Reply
:iconduskillusion:
DuskIllusion Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
They're on the same ship.
Reply
:icondoomboy911:
doomboy911 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Zhao and I are not ones to let such simple things as logic get in the way of a good plan.
Reply
:iconeyesandfingers:
eyesandfingers Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Student Filmographer
This was fantastic and now I'm behind in all my homework. TOTALLY worth it though :D
Reply
:iconvroop:
Vroop Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013
Oh my lord, this was absolutely amazing. Read it from start to finish in one day. You have heaps of talent! I wish the Avatar team would just hire you.

Your story was so much more clean and consistent than Korra Book 2 ended up being :P

I actually came across this after finishing Book 2 and marinating in my feels. It was time well spent, and reminded me of how much I loved the original series. I think when all's said and done I'm going to invest in some Blu-rays.

Consider me a new fan of yours. Cheers!
Reply
:icontuckitucki:
TuckiTucki Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll just agree with that coment and tag along.
This was a great story and it made me really happy to get some, sorry legend of korra fans, real quality storrytelling.

Great work !
Reply
:iconramirogalletti:
ramirogalletti Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Student
so lather you will put zhao helping people to hunt azula?
Reply
:iconspartanlion:
SpartanLion Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013
Holy cow this was good...I only wish there was more (although after 447 pages I should probably be satisfied :P). Great job and many thanks, whoever created this.
Reply
:iconw1llowdove:
W1llowdove Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Student General Artist
WHY DID YOU STOP HERE YOU CAN'T JUST STOP.  IT WAS PERFECT.  AND HE CAN'T JUST BE A SLAVE, NO.  AND NAUJA NEEDED TO MARRY HIM.  AND AND AND
Reply
:iconbrasmussen89:
brasmussen89 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013
this should be a spin off movie special. Sooooo detailed!!!
Reply
:icongresace:
GRESACE Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
all the awards
Reply
:icondarkbane1905:
darkbane1905 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013
hmmm, still don't like him but i still really enjoyed this
Reply
:iconthreefourthree:
threefourthree Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Wow. Despite my... distaste for canon Zhao, this comic was really eye-opening. I might've even rooted for him a few times ;)

Engaging story, excellent art (to be expected!), amazing work.
Reply
:icondarkxnight:
DarkxNight Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Student General Artist
it's...over...

D:

Well that was absolutela-fricking wonderful! :D Thank you for this comic :)
Reply
:iconkitty-kat-neko-chan:
Kitty-kat-neko-chan Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Best Avatar fan comic i have ever read
Reply
:iconcheetaboy7:
cheetaboy7 Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
Nooooo! It can't be over!
Reply
:iconzabilac:
Zabilac Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2013
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Rufftoon have a Part 5 in her livejournal?
Reply
:iconstitchez17:
stitchez17 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I read this all in one night; great story, interesting characters and awesome art. How to see more Zhao misadventures.
Reply
:iconlunamoths:
LunaMoths Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Open endings are the best kind of endings. Loved it!
Reply
:iconmeglindsey:
MegLindsey Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Looks like I get to be the first comment of 2013 :w00t:

I can't believe I never read this before. I've been following :iconrufftoon: for a very long time (under my other da names, of course) and this story is so brilliant I don't think there are any words that would adequately convey how wonderfully perfect the storytelling is. Not only that, but the art... the ART!! Just like the show, breathtaking. :la:

I love where this was ended, but I'd also love to see more. Perhaps in the future a series of mini adventures may come to pass? I'd rather enjoy seeing Nauja's children returned home, Zhao finally finding a woman (preferrably not Nauja, however. I like the relationship she currently has with Zhao, but to pair them up as a couple would be greatly disappointing), Arluk's revenge, finding a new home for the Moon and Ocean spirits, or all the other little things that were touched upon but left unexplored :D

As I said, the achievement here is remarkable and I loved reading it—haven't read a doujin in a looong time, and this one was just stellar. Thanks for all the hard work that was put into this and for giving me another ATLA comic to read :happybounce:
Reply
:iconnocturnalscribbler:
nocturnalScribbler Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Student General Artist
Agreed
Reply
:iconnouge:
nouge Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Can't end here! D:
Reply
:iconohtotally:
ohtotally Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
it cannot end here.
Reply
:iconellemen3:
ellemen3 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012
Good job on the story! You actually made Zhao a deeper character and made me want to know how this story of yours ended. I like your additions of other charactersas well, especially Naoja. She's firey and no nonsense!
Reply
:iconcyuli:
CYuLi Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012
Thank you so much for this vonderful comic about Zhao! Wow, 447 pages! It was thrilling to read, and Your art is amazing! The story and characters are all so believable" lOve it!
Reply
:iconbubble-y:
bubble-y Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
absolutely fantastic. no words could describe how amazing this was!

did you work on the avatar team? the art is so professional and perfect! honestly, if you haven't already, you should show this to the animators. simply magnificent. i hope to see more works like this in the future.
Reply
:iconcofie:
Cofie Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm really happy I found this. This story was very well told! It was engaging and exciting! I am amazed at your pencil skills, you gave such expression to the characters they were all alive on every image. i really enjoyed the small funnies, Zao cursing about the cold, not willing to come out of the bath, the poisoning attempt at Aang, t he soldiers being scared when Azula got angry... this was a great read and very inspirational! Thank you for putting all that time and hard work to create this story! I was rooting for Zao all along even when he did the stupidest things, I was hoping he would just go and tell the watertribe about Azula for example, but he stayed true to his greedy self. :3 NoSelfControl indeed. I really enjoyed the other characters. Truth be told I am sad Nauja's children didn't got back to their mother. :(

The expressions are still the best. :) Beyond amazing. Thank you! Also the part where you drew all the people! so good ^^ ah and when Zao was hunting and his mustache and beard grew! It's so good you cared about such details! :3

And officer Kwon! and his little mustache! : 3 What can I say, He was a man with a good heart! :3
Reply
:iconzzsleepyheadzz:
zzsleepyheadzz Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WAITWUT. IT'S OVER?! FFFUUUU!!
This was really amazing!
Reply
:iconskilly-n-duff:
Skilly-n-Duff Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student
Oh bother, I just read the whole thing in one go, it's 4 am, around page 200 I sent the link to people telling them to READ IT ALL, READ IT NOW and now I KNOW there are people I have to retract that statement from because they hate open endings.

LOVED it, though! What a great story! Know I'm a few years late to the party but I really enjoyed this project from start to finish.
Reply
:iconi-am-melonlord:
I-Am-Melonlord Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
So are you going to make more? I will be sad if you don't because these were great
Reply
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April 11, 2009
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