Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part 2 has all the strengths and weaknesses of part of 2 of a 3-part anime OVA in a 78 page comic.
This part of the story is what I call “the storm before the calm.” The team is broken up and become physically and emotionally distant from each other. They will have to pull together for them to win, but they are being assailed on too many fronts to do that right now. As if this isn’t enough, an extra piece is on the board now, making a whole ‘nother set of complications.
Korra is facing opposition from the Triads, the government and the spirits..and now another organized crime leader. As usual, she’s trying to do it all herself and her relationship with Asami is suffering because of it. Everyone is doing their best to help, but they are all isolated in their own verticals. They need coordination. And in this, this issue does two things that made it absolutely worth reading. Asami identifies the perfect coordinator, Zhu Li (although she is thinking on a larger scale than just their immediate needs, which is also a great piece of writing). Placing Zhu Li’s competence at the forefront of the story made me quite happy, and Varrick’s reaction of pure joy at the idea of Zhu Li as President put a period on it. This was a scene I would have loved to see and hear animated.
The color work in this issue is notably excellent. One of the defining characteristics of the Avatar world are the color palettes and art styles of the various kingdoms. This series has had to balance that with a palette of its own in which to tell this particular story. I really like the choices made here. Irene Koh’s work is getting better and better.
Also notable was a narrative buried in the story of President Raiko’s handling of the refugees which leads to Zhu Li considering a political campaign. There was no doubt in my mind at all that this section contained a clear rebuke on current politics, especially in reference to Puerto Rico’s sabotaged recovery after Hurricane Maria. Over 400,000 Puerto Ricans are still without power and the emergency management there under our current administration has been openly corrupt and incompetent.
The fast pacing is not helping this comic. This arc needs time to develop and time for us to have some relief from the multiple tensions of the emotional and physical conflicts. It’s almost a shame that it’ll have to wrap up next issue and so we’ll get the cathartic ending we’ll need, without the appropriate pacing for any of it. It’s all too rushed. Every four pages is another episode of this super-dense narrative. Yes, Korra and Asami will b reunited but, will they be given time to talk about what’s happening with them? Asami is so much emotionally mature than Korra. The Avatar’s going to have to be given the chance to do the work to get to Asami’s level. I hope so, at any rate.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Service – 0
Yuri – 10
Overall – A very solid 9
Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Irene Koh have a lot on their plate to make the third volume of this comic work. I have to believe they are up to the challenge. ^_^
Today’s review was once again sponsored by the kindness and generosity of Okazu Superhero Eric P.! Thank you very much for the chance to read and review this series!