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‘The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire – Part One’ – Advance Trade Paperback Review

Michael Dante DiMartino is taking Korra where no Nickelodeon cartoon has gone before, dealing with real social paradigms, in some cases breaking them and in other cases playing to new ones. For those that stopped following Korra: She’s gay. It was a wonderful and beautiful decision from DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and the story is being explored in a positively healthy way. Now, after dealing with an Earth Kingdom Empire run amok, team Korra has to deal with the creation of a democracy, and with that we see a different kind of villain – a political one that isn’t using all-out war to win. The parallels to what ours and many other countries face in the real world with hacked elections and outside interference is difficult to ignore. It goes to show just how flexible the world of Avatar is.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is rightfully considered one of the greatest TV shows ever made by many audiences, myself included. And I find Korra to be a brilliant follow up. Where Aang’s story is one of myths and legends, following the hero’s journey through ancient locations, Korra’s story is modern, trying to find not only one’s power in a new, modern, and more complex world, but also trying to find one’s personal identity. It’s been about leaving the old ways behind that don’t work and embracing and being accepting of new ways. Korra carries that frustration of dealing with a shifting and changing world. On one hand, she represents history, and on the other hand, she needs to find herself separate from that history. In many ways, it’s made her a difficult character for other characters to deal with, but what’s come from that, the person we see in this new storyline, is one of maturity and strength, confidence and love.

I’ll follow Korra and team Korra (Yes, the entire team is still here!) wherever her journey takes me, and the first issue of Ruins of the Empire literally put her toe to toe with people who won’t leave behind old ways of thinking. I’m looking forward to seeing how Korra contends with a brilliant strategist like Commander Guan.

Creative Team: Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (creators), Michael Dante DiMartino (writer), Michelle Wong (art), Vivian Ng (colors), Rachel Deering (letters), Dave Marshall and Rachel Roberts (editor), Jenny Blenk (assistant editor), Sarah Terry (designer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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