Legend of Korra – Turf Wars Part 2 Review
The Legend of Korra is back in the much anticipated comics, Turf Wars. Part 2 was released just this past month and now we’ve had a chance to give it a read or two, let’s get to the review.
Where we left off
The story jumps right in moments after the ending of part one. The gang returns to the spirit world to find things not quite as they left them. We get a few glimpses of a ruined and desolate land and those of us who enjoyed part one’s beautifully realised images of the spirit world will be hit hard by this.
Indeed, much of this volume speaks of contrasts, change, and complications. Where once was a lush world where two women could share a romantic getaway, now there is ashes. Where once was a city celebrating the defeat of a tyrant, now there is uncertainty and unrest.
Things pick up as the United Forces, led by General Iroh, arrive and build a wall around the spirit portal. As the book delves into the political ramifications of our heroes’ actions, it is not without note that this happened. We live in a world now where dangerous politicians speak of walls and keeping people separate with military power.
The themes explored last time are expanded on throughout part two. While Riko’s political corruption was played for laughs last time, now it takes on serious tones. We see rash promises being made and the consequences of trying to fulfil them; how the pressure mounts up on people, and the choices it makes people take.
But the politics go deeper than simply the President of Republic City trying to sway public opinion. The triads are mounting up for a turf war, and we finally get a good look at our villain. Tokuga, infused with an angry spirit, leads the Triple Threat Triad to take the land around the portal. What motivates him? What is he after? We still don’t know.
Given the history of Korra and the Avatar franchise in general I am inclined to wait for the later installments to cast judgement on this aspect. But, so far, the Tokuga storyline is the weakest element (no pun intended). It’s hard to really get a grasp on who he is or what he’s fighting for. Where previous villains have had an ideology, this guy is just in it for the power.
The internal power struggles of the Triads is certainly fertile ground for interesting stories. It also helps expose some of the social inequalities in Republic City. These gangs exist for a reason, and it’s not just because some people are mean and want to hurt others. There are real social and economic causes and effects at play. My hope is that we see more of this in the upcoming sagas.
Of course, a simplified villain has left more space for the main characters to flourish. Korra and Asami are having a few growing pains in their relationship, but it is still very sweet and endearing. Korra’s hot headedness and desire to protect the people she loves at all costs can sometimes lead to mistakes. Asami is a very capable person who can hold her own in most battles, but Korra still falls into the trap of being over protective.
They talk it out, though, and come to an understanding. This shows great growth on Korra’s part, as we saw in her relationship with Mako she was once too proud to really listen or change. Now she has grown, and she has a loving partner who knows her well enough to help her become better. It’s great to see how they affect one another in this way.
Mako and Bolin are both on good form in this volume. Bolin has a few good lines, and Mako is also growing as a detective and as a brother. We see them getting on with their jobs, Bolin learning from Mako, and also vice versa.
This is a solid volume in what is shaping up to be a pretty good saga for Korra. There are a lot of ideas at play and I really hope we get to see them explored in detail and that DiMartino won’t shy away from difficult decisions. Politics, gangs, and spirit portals can all get a little messy.