When The Legend of Korra ended, fans reveled in the finally confirmed romance between the titular character and her best friend Asami. Naturally, such a shippable romance deserves a followup, which Dark Horse Comics delivers in The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars. Featuring writers and artists from the original hit Nickelodeon show, Turf Wars picks right up where the animated series left off. A beautiful mesh of the show's distinctive style and comic book brilliance, Turf Wars translates well into the graphic novel medium, as engaging in-hand as it feels onscreen.
Even more exciting, the series delves into the nature of Korra and Asami's burgeoning relationship, exploring LGBTQ themes not often tackled by a comic book, much less a former children's show. Overall, this graphic novel looks looks like it will bend as many preconceptions as it will fire, water, earth, and air.
If you remember, The Legend of Korra ends with the avatar and Asami deciding to begin their lives together as a couple, and they enter the spirit world hand-in-hand to take their much deserved vacation. While among the world of spirits, they swim with schools of fish, embrace under magic waterfalls, and even ride a freaking phoenix. Keep your photos from Maui to yourself.
Though Korra and Asami are the first queer characters the viewer is made aware of, Turf Wars reveals other characters from both Avatar and The Legend of Korra who happen to be queer as well. Avatar Kyoshi, who came before Avatar Roku, was bisexual, while Avatar Aang's daughter, Kya, shares her coming-out story to the new couple. By writing in these characters as something other than queer, the writers highlight that the relationship between Korra and Asami is not entirely unorthodox in the Avatar world.
Though turmoil and a new villain arrive in the vacuum left by Kuvira's defeat, they remain only part of Turf Wars's plotline. Korra coming out to her parents serves as its own plot point equally as compelling as the new antagonist, perhaps even more so because it adds dimension to Avatar's already complex and compelling world. Readers learn that while more-or-less accepted the Water Tribe, queerness is considered a private matter. Meanwhile, it encounters hostility in both the Earth and Fire Nations, only truly embraced by the long-gone Air Nomads of old. These types of struggles are ones that resound with young comic book readers, especially those who find themselves coming to terms with their sexuality.