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Avatar: Adapt or Die is a six-part comic series being published by Dark Horse Comics. It is a prequel to the first film, following Grace Augustine's attempts to bridge a peace with the Omatikaya clan.

The first issue was released on May 11, 2022,[1] after seeing a week-long delay. The next five issues were released the same year on June 1,[2] July 6,[3] August 3, September 7 and October 5. A paperback combining all six issues released on March 21, 2023.

It is unclear when exactly the comic is set, but it is most likely the late 2130s to early 2140s, but highly unlikely it is set past 2142. Grace has not opened the schoolhouse yet in the comic, and she mentions she poured a decade of her life into the school during the movie, while the schoolhouse was closed in 2152.

Plot[]

Synopsis[]

Decades into the advent of the Avatar program on Pandora, pressure to bridge the divide between humans and Na'vi has hit a peak. As an ally of the Omatikaya clan, Dr. Grace Augustine begins negotiations to open a school for Na'vi children, but her plans for peace, hope, and unity could trigger an unprecedented disaster—one afflicting the most vulnerable and protected of Na'vi.

Issue 1[]

Over a decade after the first avatar drivers arrived on Pandora, Grace Augustine is heading the Avatar Program and working to establish peaceful negotiations with the nearby Omatikaya clan. She meets with Mo'at, who is with a group of children all playing a game involving catching flying insects with baskets. Grace proposes the idea of a schoolhouse, but Mo'at is apprehensive and unconvinced that the Na'vi stand to gain anything from learning from humans. Grace, however, convinces her that sharing knowledge is important and beneficial, and reminds her that sky people are there to stay. Mo'at dismisses Grace and tells her although her arguments have merit, she will not make a decision that day. Grace returns to her Samson escort. As they are in the air, a swarm of insects that the children had been playing with engulfs the vehicle but does not cause harm.

Mo'at meets with Eytukan to discuss Grace's idea. Eytukan remains staunchly against the idea, but Mo'at concedes that it is the children who would attend, not the adults. The two of them gather the village's children, including Sylwanin and her sister, Neytiri, who is performing tricks on the vines that hang from hometree.

Children playing on the base

The Omatikaya children play on the avatar compound building.

The following day, Mo'at brings the children to Hell's Gate to explore and decide for themselves whether they want to learn from the sky people. Grace is enthusiastic and shows the children around the base; a human scientist approaches her with an urgent concern, but Grace dismisses her. She teaches the children how to play basketball but is later concerned when they start climbing on the base itself. Mo'at scolds them for misbehaving in what is the humans' hometree and Grace explains to her that some human things can be dangerous to those who don't understand them. The group then follows behind a bulldozer and looks at the tracks it leaves in the ground. The children are fascinated, but Mo'at is unsettled by the machine's destruction. Grace empathizes with her just as Parker Selfridge interrupts and tells Grace that the Na'vi need to leave.

Back at hometree, Mo'at and the children discuss the events and whether they want to learn more from the sky people. Neytiri is excited about the idea and Sylwanin remarks that the schoolhouse would be an opportunity for the Na'vi to teach the humans, rather than vice versa. Mo'at and Eytukan agree and settle on the schoolhouse being opened. Just as they do, however, Ateyo approaches Mo'at carrying a sick child, who has been running a fever since shortly after disembarking from the Samson aircraft. Mo'at thinks his sickness is caused by too much excitement until another Na'vi brings a sick child to her. Mo'at initially also assumes it is something mundane until the child collapses to the ground. Eytukan becomes enraged, saying that the humans poisoned the children while they were at Hell's Gate.

Issue 2[]

"A common childhood ailment is revealed to be much more as symptoms among Na'vi children intensify. As Mo'at searches for a cure, she worries the infection was caused by humans. Meanwhile, Grace makes a discovery--one that questions her role in this crisis."

The following day, Grace is on her way back to the Omatikaya hometree until her pilot relays a message from the Na'vi on the ground: Mo'at has ordered them not to land, adding that it is for their own safety. Mo'at and Eytukan discuss the children's illness, Eytukan still convinced it was a plot by the humans. Mo'at explains that the sickness is similar to the effects of the syekalin, a flower that releases sweet-smelling pollen that can cause illness when inhaled. However, the flower does not bloom in that season, with Mo'at needing to venture far from Hometree to find one. Eytukan ponders if someone - namely humans - could have deliberately poisoned the children with the flower. Mo'at does not agree and leaves to retrieve the remedy for the syekalin pollen from a river.

Grace, back at Hell's Gate, examines a sample of her avatar's hair under the microscope. Her assistant questions her and Grace tells her to look at the sample; when she does, she discovers that the hair of Grace's avatar is changing color, becoming paler in some places. They both conclude it must be something external causing the reaction; since avatars are genetically engineered and grown in-vitro, it is unusual for them to have any internal problems that are not accounted for.

Mo'at has administered the cure to the children. After eating some, they begin to feel slightly better but are not recovering. She and Eytukan ponder if the effects of the syekalin are especially potent this season. More Na'vi then arrive with children and infants in tow, all of whom are sick with the mysterious illness.

Following the examination of her avatar, Grace places it in the ambient room and administers it a biomarker to see if there is anything unusual in the avatar's system. When she links with it, she does not feel ill but notes that something feels off in the body. Parker then enters the ambient room and complains that Grace is not with the Na'vi and working on setting up the schoolhouse. Even after Grace explains that they were ordered not to land, Parker is steadfast.

Angry Na'vi woman

An Omatikayan woman becomes enraged at Mo'at.

Mo'at crafts a new cure for the children, this time adding new ingredients along with the other remedy. She tries giving it to a child but she refuses. Mo'at tells the child's mother to try giving it to her but the mother becomes annoyed and asks Mo'at why she is trying to give the children the same cure as before. Mo'at explains that it has new ingredients since the blight of the syekalin might be different that year. The Na'vi woman becomes angry, accusing Mo'at of calling the children liars. She asks the children if they ever touched the syekalin and they all deny that they did. Mo'at leaves to tell Eytukan that she is going to Hell's Gate to discover what might have unintentionally poisoned the kids and speak to Grace. Eytukan forbids her from leaving, whilst Grace, back at Hell's Gate, decides to leave on her own to visit the Omatikaya and find out what's wrong.

Issue 3[]

"The origin of the disease remains a mystery, but a routine hunt may lead Eytukan to the shocking answer. While Selfridge attempts to seize the crisis to his advantage, Grace utilizes human technology to aid in finding a cure, but Mo'at has a better idea . . ."

Grace, with a bag full of supplies, orders her pilot to take her to visit the Omatikaya clan. The pilot initially refuses as the expedition is unauthorized, but Grace convinces him to take her on a flyby. As they're flying toward Hometree, they spot Mo'at on the ground below and land. Mo'at informs Grace that the children are still ill and questions her on if the disease came from Hell's Gate. Grace is shocked and denies it; Mo'at says she believes that there was no malice, but is unconvinced that the disease didn't come from humans. Grace is then called away by her pilot who says they must leave. Grace leaves Mo'at the supplies.

Back at Hell's Gate, Grace finds out Parker is the one who ordered them back out of fear of the disease. Grace is angered by this but has an idea about the disease.

At hometree, Eytukan questions Mo'at about Grace's supplies and is against them entirely. He tells Mo'at that Neytiri's sickness is getting worse. Mo'at tries to convince Eytukan to let humans help with the disease, but he angrily refuses. Finally, Mo'at asks to know why Eytukan is so convinced of his position, and Eytukan tells her about an incident he observed while hunting. After shooting a hexapede, but not fatally, the creature had limped off near the Hell's Gate fence. As Eytukan followed it to end its life, he observed humans dumping oil into a stream. Mo'at argues that the clan does not get water from the stream, nor do the children play by it, but Eytukan remains firm.

Grace's illness AOD

Grace has strange visions of ill Na'vi.

Parker then finds Grace in her lab. He asks why Grace is trying to find a cure for the children and states that their death might be a good thing for the RDA, which enrages Grace, although he's confident that they were not responsible for the sickness. Grace then continues her work and drinks a green substance. Parker tries to stop her, but Grace informs him it's just a harmless compound she's drinking to compare between herself and her avatar.

Grace then returns in her avatar to her and Mo'at's meeting area in the jungle, but she becomes fatigued. She sits down and sees visions of sick Na'vi until Mo'at finds her and rouses her. Grace worries over the strange things she saw. Mo'at tells her that the sickness has begun infecting adults as well as children. Mo'at and Grace then begin a journey to the mountains to visit the Tawkami Clan, Pandora's master botanists, hoping that they will have more knowledge of the sickness.

Issue 4[]

"Mo'at and Grace travel to meet the Tawkami clan, but the presence of an avatar draws skepticism and suspicion. As time passes, the disease progresses, setting off a chain of new infections . . . with a newly susceptible group."
Tawkami members AOD

The Tawkami clan find Grace and Mo'at.

On their way to the Tawkami clan, Grace becomes more ill and collapses. Mo'at leaves her for a few moments to retrieve a pa'li so they can travel faster. They soon arrive in the jungle of the Tawkami clan and are greeted by Mireya, Rawm, and Lunapey. Mireya is initially uncomfortable with the presence of a dreamwalker and asks for Grace to leave. Mo'at explains the sickness to her, but Mireya worries that Mo'at may have brought the sickness with her to the Tawkami. Grace tries to intervene and explain herself, but collapses again, this time unlinking with her avatar. Mo'at convinces Mireya to examine Grace's avatar, and they both notice lightly colored blotches on the avatar's backside.

Meanwhile, as Grace emerges from her link unit back at Hell's Gate, a scientist informs her that something has gone terribly wrong with the other avatars. They visit the avatar compound where several drivers have experienced a strange sensation whilst driving their avatars before the bodies abruptly fainted, and now have the same light blotches on their backside. Grace calls for the avatars to be quarantined.

Mireya and Mo'at continue examining Grace's avatar. Mireya retrieves some pollen of the syekalin flower and blows it onto the blotches on Grace's avatar's backside; she and Mo'at observe the blotches absorb the pollen and become bigger. Mireya states that the syekalin did not cause the illness, but believes that it might still have answers on how to treat it. She orders Rawm to bring a sled and pa'li, then tells Mo'at that only the two of them will touch Grace's avatar and no one else. They then drag the avatar to a large field of syekalin.

Back at Hell's Gate, Grace and the other scientists observe the quarantined avatars. Grace has a theory that the sickness may be a result of the avatars being deprived of something, rather than being overexposed to something. She decides that the answers must be outside Hell's Gate and orders another scientist to accompany her.

Issue 5[]

"Mo'at and the Tawkami Clan try botanical and herbal antidotes on Grace's idle avatar, while back in her human body at Hell's Gate, Grace and her team of scientists find the source of the infection . . . but who is to blame?"

As Grace and her team are leaving Hell's Gate, they are intercepted by Parker. He demands that Grace tell him what they're doing before they can leave the base, to which Grace refuses. After the two argue, Grace and the other scientists finally leave the base to look for clues about the disease.

Back at the Tawkami, Mo'at notes that leaving Grace's avatar in the field of syekalin seems to have improved its condition somewhat. Mireya is confused as to why Grace isn't waking up if she's getting better, and Mo'at explains that she does not have her "animating force", and that the avatar cannot be roused as long as Grace's spirit wanders elsewhere. Mireya muses again about how unnatural the avatars are and Mo'at asks what Mireya did to make Grace regain health.

Mireya explains it as the powder of the syekalin drawing out anything unnatural to the body and that whatever the avatar initially reacted to must've been similar to the flowers. Lunapey then arrives and asks if Grace's avatar can't awake without her controlling it, and Mo'at confirms that it cannot. Mireya says that it is best if Mo'at leaves with the avatar, to which she agrees. Mireya summons their direhorse and she and Lunapey help secure the avatar to it. The three say their goodbyes and Mo'at departs from the Tawkami clan.

At Hell's Gate, Grace, her team, and a SecOps mercenary are patrolling the base's perimeter for anything unusual. One of the scientists spots something and calls Grace over, whilst Mo'at runs into a pack of viperwolves who quickly swarm around her direhorse and bite at Grace's avatar. Human Grace, oblivious, joins the other scientist near a stream of black, oily liquid, which concerns them both, but Grace isn't entirely convinced it caused the sickness. Grace then spots a tapirus grazing nearby and carefully approaches it to analyze its behavior, but the SecOps mercenary loudly asks if she wants to collect the creature as a sample and scares it off, which Grace scolds him for. She and her pilot then scan the area from above in a Samson; the scans reveal that the stream of black liquid has spread far into the jungle.

Mo'at fends off the viperwolves

Mo'at leaves the viperwolves peacefully

Grace finally deduces what has caused the sickness: the black liquid, a toxin, gets into the water, which is absorbed by plants; the plants are eaten by animals, which the Na'vi then eat. Another scientist argues and asks why the toxin only affects children, but Grace points out that it isn't just affecting children anymore. Meanwhile, Mo'at, still swarmed by viperwolves, gets off of the direhorse and orders it to run away with Grace's avatar still on its back, protecting it from harm. She successfully thwarts the viperwolves without causing them any harm and leaves to track down Grace's avatar again.

Grace's team collects a sample of the black goo and takes it back to the lab. Grace runs an experiment on it and drops some liquid onto it in a petri dish. The goo appears to consume the liquid completely. Grace deduces that the goo isn't just a toxin, rather it uses up essential nutrients which the body cannot replace quickly enough. As the Na'vi children - and the avatars, who are the same chronological age as children - have fewer reserves of these vital nutrients, it makes sense why they were affected first, but it eventually affecting adults as well was inevitable.

Issue 6[]

"Grace hastens to meet Mo'at at Hometree with her findings, while Mo'at searches for Graces dormant avatar--but deep in uncharted territory, danger lurks. The afflicted Omatikaya demand answers from Grace, but will the cure lead to harmony between the humans and Na'vi . . . or pave the way for even more destruction?"

Mo'at tracks down Grace's avatar after she ordered her direhorse to take him away from a pack of viperwolves. In the end, he finds the avatar: he couldn't resist riding the animal and lies on the ground, all wounded. Mo'at has to weave a new drag herself to drag the avatar behind her; she emphasizes that she would not have done this if she had not been sure that Grace would have done the same thing in a similar situation.

Meanwhile, at Hell's Gate, Grace prepares for her flight despite the pilot's objections. Selfridge joins the fray, concerned that Grace's avatar is in the hands of the Na'vi and hopes it will be returned in good condition. Grace agrees that if it's more convenient for him to perceive information this way, so be it, and heads to the Hometree. Meanwhile, Mo'at drags the avatar's body with all her might, upset that Grace has not passed out in her human body. Suddenly, he hears a whistle, and at first he thinks it's a viperwolf, but this is a completely different animal: some thanators appear from the jungle, while they were reaching the bank of a river. To save herself and the defenseless avatar, Mo'at jumps into the water.

Meanwhile, Grace goes into the Hometree looking for Mo'at, but runs into an adult Na'vi. He blames the Sky People for poisoning the Omatikaya children and tries to chase Grace away, but loses his balance and falls to the ground. An arrow flies towards Grace's attempt to help: the patient's wife is not going to tolerate a stranger in her home, and only Mo'at's timely return makes it possible to avoid conflict. Grace is surprised to find that her avatar is completely healthy: while Mo'at knows how to cure the disease, Grace discovered its causes. Now it only remains for them to combine their knowledge to heal the Folk, though there is one more problem: the Tawkami have forbidden them to return to their clan lands, and only enough syekalin grows there. Grace suggests synthesizing the disease in the lab, but Mo'at is against "unnatural" treatments, and in the end, Grace takes the avatar and is about to leave...but still decides to try again.

She shows Mo'at how she extracts the extract from the syekalin flower, after which she invites her to come to "Hell's Gate" and work on a cure. Selfridge, of course, is not happy, but Grace ignores his objections and begins to work in the garden, in the fresh air.

Gallery[]

References[]

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