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Avatar: The Next Shadow is a four-issue comic book miniseries from Dark Horse's Avatar comic line. The comic is the first official continuation of the Avatar storyline past the events of the first Avatar film, set two weeks after it. The comic follows Avatar: Tsu'tey's Path and is chronologically followed by Avatar: The High Ground.

The miniseries is written by Jeremy Barlow with interior art by Josh Hood, covers by Gui Balbi, and coloring by Wes Dzioba. The first issue was released in print and digital on January 6, 2021.

Similar to the accidental reveal of The High Ground, The Next Shadow was first revealed by a later deleted tweet from the official Avatar Twitter account on October 15. The announcement was officially posted the day after with an exclusive preview from The Hollywood Reporter.[5][6]



Set just after the events of AVATAR, the story continues as Jake Sully finds himself ill-equipped to defuse the internal conflicts threatening to tear the Omatikaya apart.

Issue 1[]

"Jake Sully maintains his position as leader of the Omatikaya Na'vi clan, but with their homeland in ruins, he begins to doubt his place among them. As the Na'vi and human feud persists, tensions between the tribes begin to escalate as longstanding family rivalries ignite--spawning treachery and betrayal!"

Two weeks after the assault on the Tree of Souls, Jake Sully visits the grave of his human body. In the process of digging it up to look at it, he cuts his hand on a thorny branch and reminisces about regret over his choices. Neytiri finds him and is concerned about his behavior, which Jake appreciates, feeling she understands him better than anyone. Neytiri tells Jake that she is leaving to meet with Ikeyni and visit the Olangi clan, who suffered the most casualties during the war. Jake feels that the other Na'vi clans trust Neytiri more than him. Jake has also moved the Omatikaya clan to a temporary setup near Hell's Gate.

Jake Katherine

Jake orders Katherine to be conservative with her group's mining efforts

After Neytiri leaves, Jake is radioed by Norm Spellman who informs him that the grinders in Hell's Gate have stopped and that Katherine Hale and her field team need help. Ka'ani and his group of hunters order Hale's dozers to turn around and go back, which annoys Hale, as she had previously negotiated with Ka'ani on the new mine location, but Ka'ani is upset over the destruction the dozers cause on their way to the mine. Ka'ani pulls Hale aside to talk, but his hunters become restless and fire arrows at the dozer's tires. Before a fight breaks out, Jake shows up on a direhorse and quells the fight. Hale explains that Hell's Gate is desperately low on supplies and that they need a new mine. Jake asks why they can't make use of the old mine the RDA had already set up, but Hale says that all of its equipment was destroyed by the RDA before they left Pandora as an act of spite. Jake suggests that Hale and her men strip down the old machinery for supplies, which Hale agrees to, but notes that it is not a solution. Ka'ani reminds Jake that he should be prioritizing the Na'vi.

Meanwhile, Ateyo and Arvok, the father and younger brother of Tsu'tey respectively, are looking out at the remains of the Omatikaya's hometree. Having waited until Neytiri left, Ateyo introduces Arvok to he and Artsut's plan to overthrow Jake and make Arvok the new clan leader. Ateyo believes it is Arvok's duty to rule and that Jake is leading the Omatikaya toward ruin. Arvok, at first, disagrees, upset over the idea of defying his brother's dying wish and killing Jake. Ateyo assures him he will not kill Jake, but rather challenge him to non-lethal ritual combat, First Blood; to win First Blood, one only needs to draw blood from their opponent, and its outcome is non-negotiable. Arvok reluctantly agrees, and Ateyo leaves to inform his mate, Artsut. Without Arvok's knowledge, Artsut laces his knife with poison, so that when Arvok strikes Jake with the blade, he will inadvertently kill him.

Issue 2[]

"With grievances of the past compounding and the Omatikaya refuge in unrest, an uprising begins! A member of the clan challenges Jake's claim to leadership--invoking a trial by combat!"

Arvok prepares for First Blood, killing a tetrapteron and painting his face with its blood. He is still conflicted about going through with the plan. Norm accompanies Hale to an old mine and sees that the Na'vi youth have destroyed much of the equipment as a way of letting off steam. Hale's men then begin firing their weapons at the old equipment, which shocks Norm. Hale invites him to take a turn for some stress relief, but Norm refuses, and Hale joins in without him.

First Blood

Arvok challenges Jake to First Blood.

Jake, meanwhile, is with Mo'at in the healing area of the temporary camp. Some human medics are trying to help Yeyongo and her child, who has been badly burned, but Yeyongo refuses out of fear. Artsut, distrustful of the humans, intervenes and tells Yeyongo that she doesn't have to accept the humans' medicine, but Jake orders her away. Mo'at convinces Yeyongo to let the humans treat her child, and she is thankful when her child is no longer in pain. Jake expresses his guilt over the situation to Mo'at, but she assures him that Eywa chose him for a reason and expresses gratitude that Na'vi and humans are working together. Artsut interrupts, enraged, and accuses Mo'at of being responsible for the fall of hometree and stealing away leadership from Arvok. Mo'at, annoyed, states to Jake that it is only part of her and Artsut's years-long rivalry. Arvok and Ateyo then arrive in the healing area and Arvok challenges Jake to First Blood. Mo'at explains the ritual to the confused Jake and warns him against agreeing to the fight; although non-lethal, First Blood is especially dangerous because the outcome is forever binding and cannot be negotiated after the fact. Jake agrees to the challenge despite the risks.

Max Patel Comic

Jake in a coma after being poisoned by Arvok's knife

Mo'at gathers the clan and announces the terms of the fight - whoever wins would be the new clan leader. Jake is confident and eager to fight, which worries Ka'ani and Norm, whilst Ateyo encourages Arvok to keep cutting Jake even after he wins to humiliate him. The fight begins, and Jake, calm and playful about the whole thing, easily gets the upper hand and cuts Arvok lightly on the arm, winning the battle. Arvok throws his knife at Jake in a fit of rage, not knowing it had been laced with poison by Artsut; Jake catches the knife in his hand and cuts it, letting the poison into his system. He collapses, and Mo'at declares he's been poisoned by Arvok. Ateyo and Artsut embrace as Arvok turns to them in shock and demands an explanation.

Issue 3[]

"Jake Sully has been defeated, and a new leader is declared. Traditions are betrayed and further the divide between members of the Omatikaya. With poison running through Jake's veins, fear and pains of the past manifest as he comes face to face with a familiar foe."

As Mo'at holds an unconscious Jake in her arms, Artsut joyfully announces that she and Ateyo are the new clan leaders. Ka'ani questions the two about their son killing Jake and going against tradition, to which Ateyo lies and claims Artsut and him had nothing to do with Arvok's actions. A group of warriors pursues Arvok into the jungle and Artsut confronts Mo'at about her perceived wrongdoings, but Ka'ani intervenes. Before things become violent between him and Artsut, Jake gasps for air, proving that he is still alive and that Ateyo and Artsut's leadership is moot. Mo'at demands he be taken to the Tree of Souls to be healed, but Artsut protests, saying that if Jake bonds with the tree, the poison could spread to it and kill it. She remarks that if he was truly chosen by Eywa, to let him save himself.

Meanwhile, Hale and her team are at a mining site discussing the possibility of using the First Blood ceremony as a distraction to mine even further. Hale shuts down the idea before Norm radios for her and Max Patel to come to the Tree of Souls, where Jake has been taken despite Artsut's protests. Ka'ani remains firm in his loyalty to Jake, rejecting Artsut's offer to step away and have it not be held against him.

Hale and her team, along with Max, then arrive at the tree to the dismay of Artsut. Hale is uncomfortable being there and Mo'at explains that she and the other humans may be the only ones that can save Jake. She is confused as to how Jake is surviving poison that would've otherwise killed a Na'vi, and Max explains that it must be because Jake's avatar is not fully Na'vi. Mo'at then tells the humans that a flower needed for the antidote to the poison can only be found in a cave system with an opening too large for an adult Na'vi to access; only a child or a human could get through. Ateyo and Ka'ani both protest as the cave is a sacred area that humans should not trespass in, and that doing so would destroy the goodwill between humans and the Omatikaya, but Norm argues that it won't matter if Jake dies.

Artsut finds Arvok hiding behind a waterfall and tries to convince him to trust her and Ateyo, but he no longer trusts his parents after their betrayal. Artsut encourages him to return with her, but Arvok argues he'll be exiled or worse if he ever goes back to the Omatikaya - Artust promises to protect him and, that under her and Ateyo's leadership, they will send him to a clan that won't judge him for his crimes. Arvok, though reluctant, seems convinced, and when he asks about Mo'at and the others, Artsut states that they are beyond saving - and that that night would be their last.

Jake weeps

Jake weeps due to his intense emotions and guilt in his vision

Jake, still laying at the roots of the trees, inadvertently connects to the Tree of Souls and is plunged into nightmares of being back in his human body among the burning remains of hometree. Apparitions of his brother and deceased Omatikaya taunt him before Tsu'tey appears and bears down on Jake with his knife, declaring that Jake deceived him and that he would correct his mistake.

Issue 4[]

"The race for the antidote is underway as Jake descends into a fever dream--plunged into the horrors of a burning Home Tree, and reliving confrontations with nightmarish past enemies. Will he reconcile with the choices of his past, or fight them?"

In his nightmares, Jake is plagued by guilt and terrible visions about what he could have done differently, the deaths he caused with his inaction, and his own perceived selfishness. Meanwhile, Hale and her team, having made up their minds, descend into the cave to search for the antidote.

Quaritch blame

Jake haunted by Quaritch

In Jake's mind, the image of Tsu'tey is replaced by that of a giant Colonel Quaritch, standing with two arrows protruding from his chest. He calls Jake a fool "playing house" and kicks him to the ground where he is surrounded by the apparitions of the dead Omatikaya and the giant Tsu'tey. However, the dream suddenly shifts, and the spirits of Eytukan and the real Tsu'tey appear to Jake. Eytukan tells Jake that he does not deserve to die or suffer and Jake pleads for his help, saying his soul is sick. Eytukan and Tsu'tey reassure Jake that only his body is sick and that the things he heard in the dream were not true: Neytiri loves him and chose him just as Eywa chose him to lead the Omatikaya clan. Jake asks if they can really forgive him, but Tsu'tey counters that that is the wrong question: can Jake forgive himself?

A much larger Jake lifts Jake's human self and he is transformed back into his avatar as the fire and destruction fade into green to Jake's amazement. In the real world, Hale and her men retrieve the flower from the cave and return it to Mo'at to begin being crafted into the antidote.

Tsu'tey and Jake visit the fallen AMP suit of Quaritch and Tsu'tey examines the wound on Jake's hand from grabbing Arvok's knife. He deduces that it must've been Artsut's doing, including the manipulation of Arvok. Jake climbs onto the AMP suit and peers inside while Tsu'tey explains that Arvok spent much of his life in Tsu'tey's shadow instead of finding his own way to shine. Jake doesn't think Arvok should be written off so quickly, but Tsu'tey explains that the influence of their parents on Arvok cannot be undone. He agrees with Jake that Artsut and Ateyo must be punished, but assures Jake that he can be merciful while doing so. Tsu'tey and Jake's spirits then watch as Mo'at crafts the flower into the antidote and pours it into the mouth of the comatose Jake. Tsu'tey tells Jake not to give up on himself before his avatar finally wakes up.

Artsut and Ateyo watch in disbelief as Jake rises again; Artsut gasps that it is impossible, to which Arvok replies that all things are possible through Eywa. Some Omatikaya warriors then grab Arvok and call for the family to be punished, but Jake stops them. Although he plans on punishing them, he says there will be mercy while doing so. Artsut spits that they don't need his mercy, but Arvok defies her and says that she does not speak for him. He speaks in front of the clan, admitting to the plot to kill Jake and stating that he and his parents should not remain in the clan. Ateyo frantically argues that no other clan would take them, but Arvok counters that Artsut knows of one who would. Mo'at agrees that exile is an acceptable punishment and the Rongloa family departs from the Omatikaya. Jake addresses the clan, asking for their trust as well as their guidance and vowing that they will lead each other to a better future.

At night, the exiled family stops to rest. Artsut admits that everything worked out for the best: the Mangkwan Clan will accept them. Arvok, however, states that he will not join his parents for the rest of the journey as every path he follows with them only leads to ruin. Ateyo is distraught, begging Arvok not to leave, but Artsut seems indifferent, saying that Arvok was only slowing them down anyway. Arvok leaves his parents on his direhorse, whereafter his fate is unknown.

Jake burial

Jake and Neytiri visit his human body's burial site

The next morning, Neytiri returns to the Omatikaya clan after receiving news of the situation. She finds Jake at the grave of his human body and asks what happened; Jake downplays the situation, saying it was "just a scratch". Neytiri is concerned, saying that Jake doesn't seem quite himself, but Jake says that on the contrary, he's never felt more like himself.