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TV

Legend of Korra, Five Years Later

Five years ago, The Legend of Korra first aired on Nickelodeon in the US, as a sequel series to the much-beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender.  While not the critical smash that A:TLA was, for me Korra stands up well as an amazing piece of storytelling, with gorgeous visuals to boot.

In case you’re not familiar with either series, the world of Avatar takes cues from ancient Indian, Asian and various indigenous cultures around the world.  The twist is, some people are born with the ability to ‘bend’ earth, fire, air or water, and there is always one Avatar that can learn to bend all four.  When the Avatar dies, their spirit is reincarnated to the next nation in a cycle (in the same order of elements above).  As you might guess, A:TLA follow an airbender Avatar (Aang), and The Legend of Korra follows his immediate successor, Korra who is a waterbender.

Right away, the new series made sure to show us how different Korra herself would be from Aang.  Aang had started out as a reluctant hero – he had run away from the Avatar responsibility, she dove in head-first.  Aang had been contemplative and looked to solve problems peacefully first.  Korra would often punch first and ask questions later.  In fact, it’s one of Korra’s central issues she has to overcome, as that sort of personality is diametrically opposed to airbending principles.  Throughout the first season (Book One: Air), Korra struggles to connect with her spiritual self, butting heads with Aang’s son Tenzin as he tries to teach her to airbend.  It’s very parental, and it’s something most tweens and teens can relate to.  In fact, if there’s one thing that seemed to bother some fans that grew up with Aang, it’s that the new show definitely skewed older with the issues that were tackled.

One of my favorite things Legend of Korra did was realistically advance the world from the previous show.  On Avatar: The Last Airbender, we saw the beginnings of industrialization.  There were rudimentary mechanized vehicles and ships, and it would’ve been easy for the show to just stick with that, but they went full industrial revolution in Republic City.  The problems facing the world also matured.  Book One’s villain, Amon, made you take a hard look at how you treat the ‘others’ in your life, especially when you have more power than they do.  Book Three and Four swung the pendulum between chaos and order, showing how bad things can be at both ends of the spectrum.

I am the solution – Amon

Another aspect I love about Legend of Korra is how the relationships grow over time.  Sure, it starts out with typical teen angsty love triangles, but it ends with a some amazing friendships and even a same-sex couple that goes about as far as Nickelodeon would let them.  And that develops over years, by overturning the media tendency to have women be rivals for the affections of whatever men happen to be around.  Korra and Asami have every reason to dislike each other, but end up close friends, and finally more.

Legend of Korra does what any sequel or continuation should do – it deepens the lore, pays homage to the past but isn’t beholden to it, and only serves to improve the Avatar legend.  If you never gave Korra a shot, you owe it to yourself to try it now.  The first three books (seasons) are available on Amazon Prime for free though you do need to buy Book Four (which is totally worth it).

Categories
Comics TV

The First Legend of Korra Comic, “Turf Wars”, Starts June 2017!

It was first announced that Korra’s adventures would continue in comics (much like Aang’s) last New York Comic-Con, but it’s taken until this one to get an update.  The new comic, titled “Turf Wars”, begins June of 2017.  The details:

This three-part graphic novel series is written by Nickelodeon TV series co-creator and executive producer Michael Dante DiMartino, drawn by Irene Koh (Batgirl, 1602, TMNT), with covers by Heather Campbell (Free Comic Book Day 2016: The Legend of Korra), and consultation by TV series co-creator and executive producer Bryan Konietzko.

Turf Wars begins with Korra and Asami leaving the spirit world and returning to Republic City only to find political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict, as a pompous developer plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. In addition, the triads have realigned and are in a brutal brawl at the city’s borders where hundreds of evacuees have relocated.  In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other—but first, they’ve got to get better at being a team.
No information as to why Brittney Williams (who’s been great on Hellcat) isn’t the artist but Koh does great work.  I’m very curious to see if they will be showing more of the Korra/Asami relationship, which would be great to show some LGBTQ representation to younger readers.  The story sounds like classic Avatar, with a mix of serious and fun.  Can’t wait!  I’ll update the post when pre-orders show up at Amazon, or head to your local comics shop and pre-order there!
Categories
Review TV

The Legend of Korra Book 3 and 4

The above picture shows a happy time, with Korra and Asami bonding like sisters (or depending on how you ‘ship’, something more).  It’s pretty much the last happy moment Korra will have in her life.  I might be exaggerating but not by much.  Book 4 starts tomorrow so if you aren’t caught up, here are my long-delayed Book 3 thoughts.

After the uneven Book 2, Korra had left the Spirit Portals open, and Book 3 dealt with some of the ramifications of that.  Korra is maturing, but it’s still tough to be the Avatar in a rapidly progressing world.  I thought the antagonists of this season, the Red Lotus, were fantastic.  Varied, with real personalities that could shine through.  Too often the bad guys in a cartoon are a faceless organization or you have one guy who has to carry the villainy.  We had the ‘one guy’ method with the first two books with Unalaq and Amon, so this was a nice change.  Henry Rollins was downright creepy voicing Zaheer.  I got chills when he said he had ‘entered the void’ after witnessing the death of his love, P’Li.

The final battle between Zaheer and Korra was every bit as action-packed as Aang versus Ozai – it even recalled that fight visually with the pillars of stone.  Korra fought valiantly but the poison Zaheer used on her took too much of a toll.  Zaheer was taken down by the airbenders though, with Jinora at the lead – earning her arrow tattoos! – and Suyin was able to metalbend the poison from Korra just in time.  It appeared to be mercury.  Mako and Bolin both take out the other Red Lotus members – with Mako FINALLY getting a chance to be clever, and using a burst of lightning on Ming-Hua while she was in water to subdue her.  Loved that moment for him.

Two weeks later we see a wheelchair bound, depressed Korra appearing at the ceremony for Jinora.

The-Legend-of-Korra-Book-3-Finale-10

Moreso than the physical toll the combat and poisoning took on her, it’s her mental well-being everyone is worried about.  And I know Tenzin was trying to help when he told her that he, Jinora and the airbenders would take care of things while she recovered, it had to feel like a “we don’t really need you” to an already depressed Avatar.  Seriously, this is how Book 3 ends:

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So where will Book 4 find Korra?  It’s three years later, and the Air Nomads, ably led by Master Jinora seem to have things in hand.  From the first few minutes put online the other day, Republic City has adjusted to the spirits, and Asami helped rebuilt things with Future Industries.  Beyond that, we don’t know a lot.  The trailer shows a ton of images of Korra up and moving, but seemingly fighting against herself.  Is Kuvira (one of Suyin’s trusted metalbenders) the bad guy?  Does Zaheer escape custody?  There’s very little to go on for enemies from what we’ve seen, but it sure looks like it’s shaping up to be a dynamite final season.

Categories
TV

Legend of Korra Book 2 Trailer!

Okay, we FINALLY have something to sink our teeth into here, but we have to wait until September to for Book 2 to start.  So let’s obsess over the trailer!

  1. Korra and Tenzin meditating.  Spirit world connection!
  2. Unalaq bending.  Such beautiful animation.
  3. Looks like…A FUNERAL??  Who are you killing, Bryke?
  4. The next part looks like some of the stuff about the first Avatar, notice the different animation style of the clouds.
  5. A few more quick scenes – Unalaq looking sinister (or badass depending on your perspective), a Satoplane with Korra and Mako on the wings.
  6. Bolin and Mako going into a light – to the spirit world?
  7. Korra and Jinora appear to be entering the spirit world.
  8. A bit of the Dark Spirit being voiced by Grey Delisle, followed by Korra going into the Avatar State.
  9. Some cool battle scenes – a boat chase, a waterbender slinging ice, Korra airbending.
  10. The ‘first’ Avatar, Wan, perhaps in his first trip to the spirit world.
  11. Korra, with some sort of dark spirits flying past her?
  12. Mako with some superior firebending.
  13. Korra, attacking with earth and waterbending.
  14. Desna and Eska, Korra’s twin cousins, sort of snow-rollerblading via waterbending.
  15. Korra over the falls!
  16. A spirit taking what looks like Jinora to Wan Shi Tong’s library?
  17. The United Forces fleet?
  18. Mako, defending that spirit world entrance?  If that’s what it is.
  19. Korra waterbending, seems like it’s Katara-style.
  20. Asami driving the hell out of a boat.
  21. Wan meeting a froglike spirit.
  22. Wan Shi Tong meets Jinora!  I hope she brought some knowledge for his library.  May still not want to see her, or the Avatar.
  23. Hard to tell, looks like Wan battling snake or eel spirits.
  24. Tenzin, Kya and Bumi being thrown or chased off a cliff?  Look like some kind of animal up there.
  25. Korra talking to Roku…and Kyoshi!  I was waiting for that.
  26. Korra and Jinora being swallowed by some sort of glowy-mouth giant crocodile spirit?
  27. Korra, seems like snow flying around her.
  28. Motorcycle policeman Mako.  That sounds like an Anime title all on it’s own.
  29. Tenzin’s family at some sort of rock formation, Korra appears to be within the rocks, possibly creating that flash of light.
  30. Bolin, doing flips and shit.  Maybe he’s been learning from Lin!
  31. Desna and Eska, surfing.
  32. Wan takes a direct strike, but what was it?  Energybending?
  33. Korra, bending, then Unalaq, defending against a firebender.
  34. Wan, seeming in full Avatar mode, keeping peace between humans and spirits?
  35. Korra, touching some sort of sphere, triggering the Avatar state.

So glad to see the other previous Avatars returning.  I bet Korra gets along a lot better with Kyoshi than Aang did.  Love seeing Jinora involved in some serious stuff, perhaps showing some trust coming her way.  The scene that looks like a funeral has me worried for Katara or Lin – we see nothing of them.  No way to tell if teary Asami is from that same time though.  Love the art style in the Wan portions.  So awesome that we get to see how the Avatar formed.  Wan Shi Tong is back!  It makes sense to seek out his library if there’s a need to research the original Avatar.  Why can’t it be September now?