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The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars
refer to caption
Cover of The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – Part One, art by Heather Campbell and Jane Bak
Date July 26, 2017 (Part One)
January 17, 2018 (Part Two)
August 22, 2018 (Part Three)
No. of issues 3
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Creative team
Writers Michael Dante DiMartino
Artists Irene Koh
Letterers Nate Piekos
Colourists Killian Ng
Editors Dave Marshall
Original publication
Published in The Legend of Korra
ISBN 9781506700151 (Part One)
9781506700403 (Part Two)
9781506701851 (Part Three)
Chronology
Preceded by The Legend of Korra (TV series)
Followed by Ruins of the Empire

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars is a three-part graphic novel series written by Michael Dante DiMartino, with art by Irene Koh. It serves as a canonical continuation of the animated television series The Legend of Korra, created by DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The graphic novel trilogy is set after the show's final season, with Avatar Korra dealing with the aftermath of Kuvira's attack on Republic City, while also exploring her new relationship with Asami Sato.

Following the conclusion of The Legend of Korra, DiMartino was touched by positive reactions to Korra and Asami's relationship and felt that there were more stories to tell with the show's characters. Although the shift to the comic book medium was a challenge for DiMartino, it gave the creative team more freedom to explore LGBT narratives. The series was announced in July 2015 and The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – Part One was published by Dark Horse Comics on July 26, 2017. Part Two was published on January 17, 2018, followed by Part Three on August 22, 2018. Part One and Two were the publisher's best-selling graphic novels of 2017 and 2018 respectively. A library edition collecting the three volumes was released on March 13, 2019.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars received positive reviews for its handling of Korra and Asami's romance. Critics also praised DiMartino's writing and Koh's art for evoking the style of the original series. On the other hand, the new villain Tokuga was found to be lacking in depth.

Plot

Part One

Korra and Asami, now a couple, are forced to cut their spirit world holiday short after an altercation with a giant rock spirit, who resents Korra for creating a new spirit portal following her battle with Kuvira. The pair travel to the Southern Water Tribe to come out to Korra's parents. Although they are supportive of the relationship, Korra is upset when her father warns her against coming out publicly, owing to Water Tribe traditions. They then return to Republic City to discover that property developer Wonyong Keum is planning to turn the land surrounding the spirit portal into a tourist attraction, despite opposition from the Air Nomads and the spirits. A dragon-eel spirit urges Korra to close the portal to prevent its exploitation, but Korra refuses, believing the portal will ultimately benefit Republic City.

The next day, Korra and Asami join Tenzin and Zhu Li in helping out the refugees left homeless by Kuvira's attack, but have trouble working with President Raiko, who is more concerned with the upcoming presidential election. That evening, the Triple Threat Triad, a major crime syndicate in Republic City, attack the Air Nomads at the portal on Keum's orders. Korra and Asami, as well as their friends Mako and Bolin, both of whom are now police officers, show up to help the Air Nomads. A group of spirits attack despite Korra's efforts, and Korra is distracted when Asami is nearly killed in the fighting, allowing the dragon-eel spirit to attack Tokuga, the new leader of the Triple Threats, mutating him into a spirit-human hybrid. In the aftermath of the battle, Korra kisses Asami out of relief, leading to their friends discovering their relationship. Elsewhere, a furious Tokuga confronts Keum and takes control of his assets.

Part Two

The day after Tokuga's attack, Korra and a group of Air Nomads travel into the spirit world to try and reconcile with the spirits, only to discover the spirits are now hostile to them. They return to Republic City to find that President Raiko has ordered the United Armed Forces to fortify the land around the spirit portal. Asami and Zhu Li begin constructing new housing for the refugees, but Raiko claims all the credit so as to boost his low approval ratings. Korra and Tenzin then show up to tell Raiko to pull back the United Armed Forces, fearful that they will further anger the spirits, but Raiko refuses and publicly blames Korra for the whole incident. As they leave, Korra, Asami and Tenzin encourage Zhu Li to run against Raiko in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, police chief Lin Beifong orders Mako and Bolin to stay away from the wealthy and connected Keum until they have hard evidence of his crimes. They later obtain a tip-off about Tokuga's location, but it turns out to be a trap, and they narrowly escape with their lives. Mako and Bolin decide to investigate Keum by themselves, and discover that he has been missing since Tokuga's attack. Elsewhere, Asami does not show up for a date with Korra, leading Korra, Mako and Bolin to learn that she has been kidnapped. The Triple Threat Triad then attack a weapons depot, intending to use the weapons leftover from Kuvira's attack to take over Republic City. Korra, Mako and Bolin try to stop them, but back off after Tokuga threatens to kill Asami if they interfere.

Part Three

Tokuga threatens a captive Keum's life to force Asami to build an airship-mounted gas weapon, intending to use it to threaten Republic City into submission. Korra, Mako and Bolin track them down, but they are unable to stop Tokuga's airship from taking off with Asami and Keum on board. Korra makes it onto the airship and battles Tokuga, while Asami overpowers Tokuga's men and pilots the airship into the spirit world so as to prevent Tokuga from using his weapon on the people of Republic City. Tokuga is sent falling from the airship, but survives and flees into the spirit world.

Out of gratitude to Korra and Asami for saving his life, Keum gives up his claim to the land around the spirit portal, ending the conflict with the spirits. At a party in support of Zhu Li, Korra reconciles with her father, who chooses not to let his people's traditions influence his behavior towards his daughter. Zhu Li later wins the election in a landslide victory, and as she gives her victory speech, Korra and Asami observe the new spirit portal and admit their love for one another.

LGBT themes

The ending of The Legend of Korra, depicting its two female leads starting a same-sex relationship with each other, was unprecedented for LGBT representation in American children's television at the time. However, it was met with mixed reactions over the perceived subtle and last-minute reveal of the relationship. With The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, the shift to the comic book medium gave the creative team more flexibility to explore LGBT themes, including showing the couple's first kiss.

The romance between Korra and Asami is a major focus of the graphic novels. DiMartino felt that it was natural for the books to give prominence to a same-sex couple as he and Konietzko had always considered the franchise to be "very inclusive." Jason Segarra, writing for Adventures in Poor Taste, saw this focus as DiMartino's attempt to address concerns over the ending of the animated series. Unlike the original series which had time jumps between each season, DiMartino felt that it was important for readers of the comics to see the early stages of Korra and Asami's relationship. As such, Part One begins immediately after the ending of the animated series, with the first part of the book dedicated solely to the pair's getaway in the spirit world. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars also looks at the coming out process as Korra and Asami come out to friends and family to varying reactions.

Part One establishes the historical treatment of LGBT individuals by the different nations of this fantasy world, with some nations revealed to be unaccepting of them. According to DiMartino, he and Konietzko "thought the best approach was to view LGBTQ representation through the lens of the different cultures." Kya and Avatar Kyoshi were also revealed to be queer. On the decision to introduce homophobia into this fictional universe, artist Irene Koh noted that "there's a lot of potency to seeing loved, powerful characters like Korra and Asami dealing with the same struggles I (and other queer people) face." According to Koh, the creative team wanted Korra and Asami to be "empathetic parallels" for LGBT readers.

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