After a very long wait, Legend of Korra fans finally get to see what happens to our beloved characters and it does not disappoint. “Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One” picks up directly following the moment in the show where Korra and Asami take each other’s hands and go off on their vacation in the Spirit World. While it is not the only plot point that is being developed, the main focus in this issue is making the subtext that Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino developed in the show uncontestable text in the comic.
It should be no surprise that DiMartino excels at keeping the characters true to who they were and this issue feels exactly like the extension of the show that it is. The main focus in this issue is the addition of LGBT+ into the mythology. We learn that each tribe has its own way of understanding those who are outside of heterosexual norms and even a little bit about the laws and history surrounding these issues. As Korra and Asami consider the matters surrounding coming out, “Part One” also takes Aang’s daughter Kya out of the closet (although we learn she wasn’t exactly in one to begin with) and they reveal that the Avatar was bisexual before with Avatar Kyoshi having loved both men and women. In other words, instead of shying away from the subject, they double down. DiMartino goes as far as to write an explicit conversation between the two women where they each express when they realized how they really felt. This might just provide a way to bring the fandom back together after their mixed reactions to the canonization of the Korrasami ship.
This search for common ground is a theme throughout “Part One,” which makes sense as the title is “Turf Wars.” Not only is this a battle for Korra and Asami, both in the comic and outside it, every place they go is tinged with the possibility of a violent outbreak. The main location looks like it will once again be Republic City and there are several pieces at work there already with post-Kuvira politics, Bolin working as Mako’s partner on Chief Beifong’s Triad Task Force, the rising conflicts between the spirits and humans surrounding the new portal, as well as environmental and evacuees concerns. All this in addition to a new member on the most wanted list. As always, the Avatar has her work cut out for her.
The art is consistently amazing with Irene Koh absolutely nailing the breadth and scope of the Spirit World. It really does feel like a beautiful vacation with the large luxurious panels filled with pure fantasy. This contrasts expertly against the claustrophobic paneling when the demands of each of the evacuees are placed in a panel of their own literally surrounding Korra. Furthermore, the fight scenes are dynamic and exciting; the various types of bending are perfectly adapted. Nate Peikos’ lettering and Vivian Ng’s coloring at also top-notch.
Compared to other adaptations, this is remarkably well done. The characters look slightly different, but they are clearly still recognizable as are the situations they are all in. It also sets the board quite nicely for future issues making it superb for an introductory issue. If you are a fan of the show at all, this is a must read. There was a moment I laughed out loud and a few where I had tears in my eyes. Legend of Korra really is back. Five Stars!!
(W) Michael Dante Dimartino (A) Irene Koh (CA) Heather Campbell