Hello dear readers. Today I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world because I get to talk to you not only about books, but also my other great love, cartoons. More specifically, Nickelodeon’s Legend Of Korra.
The Legend of Korra was a spinoff of Avatar: The Last Airbender created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino that lasted for four seasons and ran from April of 2012 through December of 2014. This series was diverse, compelling, and totally original, resonating with so many people around the world, myself included. I would even go as far as saying this show is one of my favorites of all time. It has everything I like: action, magic, lore, humor, loveable characters, beautiful animation, immersive music, LGBT+ representation, the works. Needless to say, ever since that last episode aired nearly three years ago there has been a Korra shaped hole in my heart.
Thus, imagine my sheer joy upon finding out that this story that had impacted me so much would be continuing in comic form, written by none other than DiMartino himself.
There may have been some squealing involved. No big deal.
And although the wait was a long one, I am thrilled to report that the book was more than worth it.
Turf Wars Part One reads exactly like the opening of a new season, picking up right where the show left off. Immediately we’re thrust right back into the spirit world, which artist, Irene Koh, captures brilliantly. The colors and panel layouts for this section of the book feel just like coming home to a warm hug. I also adore the way she captures the characters’ expressions, particularly Korra and Asami.
Now, I’m wary of saying anything about the plot since technically everything in this comic is a spoiler for the show, but I will say that the adaptation is more than faithful. It rings so true that you can practically hear the voice actors speaking the dialogue in your head. You get to see all of your favorite characters and find out how they’re trying to quell the still unresolved chaos in Republic City following the series finale. Plus, you get the makings of a new and potentially very interesting villain. As I think anyone who watched the original show will say, this team excels at crafting really great villains.
I also really enjoyed learning a little bit more about the universe these two shows are set in and how the different nations feel about certain issues that are relevant to our own culture, namely homosexuality. I found it really fascinating how each nation’s sociopolitical views on this matter mimicked their corresponding element. For instance, the Earth Kingdom as a whole is very slow to accept change, much like the Earth itself, and is thus depicted as very conservative. The Air Nomads, however, seem to accept love in all different forms, allowing their people to be as free as the wind. Ultimately it’s little expository touches like these that really elevate the overall story. I’m so glad that DiMartino is using this new medium to expand upon important elements of the universe that Nickelodeon might not have allowed him to show.
Though admittedly not new-reader friendly, Turf Wars: Part One is fun, romantic, and completely true to its source material. A must read for fans of the cartoon as well as Gene Luen Yang’s Avatar comics.