The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1
Written by Michael Dante DiMartino
Art by Irene Koh and Vivian Ng
Lettering by Nate Piekos
Published by Dark Horse
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 marks the continuation of the hit Nickelodeon television show The Legend of Korra in comic book form. This graphic novel beautifully focuses on the blossoming relationship between Korra and Asami, while also building tension between the spirits and the people of Republic City.
The Legend of Korra television show ended with Korra and Asami holding hands as they literally walked into the sunset - well, the proverbial sunset of the Spirit World portal. This was a huge step for Nickelodeon and children programing because it confirmed the same-sex relationship between two female leads. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 focuses on the continuation of that moment, and gives the necessary panel time to explore Korra and Asami’s new romantic relationship.
This relationship is the strongest aspect of the graphic novel. Korra and Asami spend time in the Spirit World to explore their romantic feelings for each other, but when they return home to Republic City the couple must figure out who they want to tell about their relationship. Writer Michael Dante DiMartino does a great job at showcasing the different reactions from the people closest to Korra and Asami, all while the couple start learning more about each other through this coming out process.
The chemistry between Korra and Asami is electric, and it’s wonderful to see their relationship slowly blossoming throughout the story. In the show, Korra and Asami were friends for a very long time, but in the graphic novel DiMartino nicely shows a change in their bond now that they’re in a romantic relationship. A big part of the story is the couple learning how to make each other feel most comfortable. It’s the mistakes they make along the way that help them build a stronger partnership.
Korra and Asami’s relationship is rightfully the focal point of The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1, but DiMartino also uses this volume to build an interesting tense atmosphere between the people of the Spirit World and Republic City. At the end of The Legend of Korra television series, Korra left the Spirit World portals open, and this continuation shows that there’s going to be consequences to this choice. It makes for an interesting villain arc that has a nice, slow build-up in this first part of Turf Wars.
Artist Irene Koh does a great job at bringing the same tone from the TV show to the comic book medium. Koh’s biggest strength is how she draws the characters’ emotions. The reader can feel the chemistry between Korra and Asami through the loving glances the couple give each other and the way they hold each other’s hands.
The weaker aspect of Koh’s pencils is her background work. The television show was very detailed when depicting the setting of both the Spirit World and Republic City, but in The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 the backgrounds felt a bit simplistic because of Koh’s soft pencils.
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 should be considered a must-read for fans of The Legend of Korra television show. With its superb characterization and chemistry, this is a great continuation that builds upon the important relationship between Korra and Asami that was left tantalizingly open-ended at the end of the animated series, while also building the already well-rounded mythology of The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender.