Turf Wars, written by Michael Dante Dimartino with art by Irene Koh is a three-part graphic novel series continuation of the much loved (and much hated) Nickelodeon animated series The Legend of Korra by created by Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko.
The library edition combining all three parts into one epic adventure will be released by Dark Horse on March 12, 2019.
Overall I’d say there was a lot going on in Turf Wars and it was all captured fairly well in the 244 pages of the series. Turf Wars has a couple different agendas running through the story arch. There were three different “turf wars” going on. The battle over the land near the spirit portal. The battles between the Creeping Crystals and the Triads. Then, there was the political battle for the presidency between Zhuli and the incumbent Raiko. It made for an interesting mix when the stories weaved and crossed over each other.
The author and artist also provided a decent amount of fan service (you know what I’m talking about) considering the need to keep the book readable for a large age group.
The story picks up right where the animated series left off, with Korra and Asami beginning their vacation in the spirit world. The vacation is short lived after their supplies are lost and they must return to the human world. Dimartino uses these first few pages to clarify when the two began to have feelings for each other. Personally I appreciated the clarification, however, I’m sure there are others who liked the ambiguity, preferring to draw their own conclusions.
Throughout the series, the audience is also able to witness multiple moments where the couple comes out and meets mostly positive or neutral reactions. Korra confronts her own cultures’ preference to keep such information to oneself and struggles to accept it. We also witness another character come out to Korra and Asami.
These scenes are practical and functional in the story. However, they also serve to educate readers on the misconception that once someone is out, that they’re out everywhere. I think many people in the LGBTQ community can relate to Korra and Asami’s discussions of who do they tell and when. They’re very small parts of the scenes but they are there and I appreciated them.
My only real criticism of the series is that the dialogue seemed unnatural and rushed in a few places. I also felt that with so much going on, we especially didn’t get to hear much from Asami. While Korra’s personality still shown through, I left the book feeling like I still don’t know Asami that well.
Though Turf Wars has ended, the adventure isn’t over. The Legend of Korra, Ruins of the Empire Part One, featuring Kuvira’s return is set to be released on May 21, 2019.