Avatar: Between Combustion Man and June, Who Was The Last Airbender’s Best Bounty Hunter?

In between the battles for good and evil, there were some in Avatar: The Last Airbender just trying to make a living in the world. Taking up Zuko's payment to hunt down the Avatar, both the bounty hunter June and the mercenary Combustion Man proved to be lethally effective in their own ways.With completely different strategies for hunting down their quarry, fans are left to wonder: just which of the two deserves the title of Avatar's greatest bounty hunter?


First introduced in Book One's "Bato of the Water Tribe," the bounty hunter June makes quite the Avatar debut. Proving herself to be a rough-and-tumble Fire Nation native, her shirshu Nyla tears through Zuko's ship on a mission before Zuko himself recruits the pair's services. Nyla needs nothing more than her target's scent in order to track them across continents, and is one of the fastest creatures on land in all of Avatar. Aided by a tongue coated in paralytic toxin, June and Nyla prove quickly capable of tracking the Avatar down using nothing more than Katara's necklace. And yet, they still might not be the Fire Nation's best hunters.

In Book Three, Zuko ends up recruiting a silent figure later known as Combustion Man to the same task of hunting down the Avatar. The metal-limbed Firebender possesses a unique talent unseen elsewhere in the original series, with his combustionbending creating devastating explosions that tear through every attack and defense thrown against it. He hunts down Aang and his friend relentlessly, finding them wherever they go and forcing them into pitched combat which they only narrowly survive. In comparing his abilities to June and Nyla's, there is a clear difference in strategy.

June and Nyla would seemingly have the edge across several metrics. Nyla's speed and tracking abilities are top tier, and with her aid June managed to track Aang and his friends down in a single day. Later, when she was recruited to find Iroh, she managed to do so even while the old master was hidden in the White Lotus encampment -- where no others in the Fire Nation knew they were present. Nyla's tongue even manages to take down Katara and Sokka with almost no effort, and while Combustion Man was one of Avatar's deadliest fighters, he never made apprehending his targets look quite so easy.

And yet, it's important to remember the two hunters pursued Team Avatar under very different contexts. Not only was Combustion Man facing far more matured, powerful, and skilled versions of the team when he was brought on later in the season, he actually had to perform his mission under the secrecy Zuko hired him for. With the world believing the Avatar to be dead, Combustion Man utilized a trained bird of prey and informants to aid in tracking Aang down under far more restrictive means than June and Nyla ever had to endure. Whereas the massive shirshu burst into one place after the other while on the hunt, Combustion Man constructed clever ambushes from which Team Avatar had to rely on luck in order to escape.

Combustion Man reads a letter with a hawk on his shoulder

Though it ended up making him more of a villain, there's also no doubting that Combustion Man was far more committed to fulfilling his task. Even when Zuko ordered him to drop his mission and offered greater payment to do so, Combustion Man fought to the very end. June and Nyla were far more fickle in their interests, losing interest after payment and rarely recurring again.

With all that in mind, it looks like the question is settled: Combustion Man was Avatar's greatest bounty hunter. Much like Boba Fett of Star Wars, it seems there is something about the mysterious and silent type that makes for the greatest hunters a villain can hire.

star and stripe from my hero academia and susanoo from naruto
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