Fans of THE LEGEND OF KORRA rejoiced when THE LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS PART 1 was announced. Part 1 reintroduced readers to Team Avatar following the show’s finale. Korra and Asami are officially in a relationship together. Mako and Bolin are now crime-fighting police officer partners. Asami, Zhu Li, and the Airbenders are rebuilding Republic City after the destruction left by Kuvira. Meanwhile, THE LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS PART 2 delves deeper into the heart of Republic City, touching upon the ongoing Triad Wars and official politics.

In the original TV series, the creators touched upon political ideologies, i.e. communism with Amon, anarchy with the Red Lotus, and fascism with Kuvira. The series won its acclaim for portraying real world issues within an fantasy setting, with genuine complexity and humanity. Now THE LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS PART 2 follows in the footsteps of the acclaimed cartoon series.

Incompetent Politicians

As fans of TURF WARS PART 1 know, Team Avatar is not happy with President Raiko. And why should they be? Every time he interacts with Korra, he pushes for another photo op or dismisses her ideas about saving the city. In the aftermath of the Kuvira crisis, President Raiko appears more concerned about his popularity polls than the citizens displaced after losing their homes. Rather than focusing on the refugee crisis right in front of him, Raiko is too busy talking with his sleazy campaign manager about his reelection campaign.

TURF WARS PART 2
Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Our own government has been known for neglecting others. Case in point: Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In the first eleven days after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, both Texas and Florida saw an influx of medical care and volunteer help supplied by the government. Meanwhile, in the first eleven days following the disaster in Puerto Rico, the island still lacked electricity and sufficient food and water supply. In his first visit to Puerto Rico, President Trump threw paper towels at survivors of the country’s worst natural disaster in years. He insulted Puerto Rico on social media, writing, “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They… want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

As we can see, politicians who focus more on their public image during a crisis can do real harm to real people.

Priorities Out of Line

Honestly speaking, President Raiko is not a bad person. He has shown instances of genuinely caring about Republic City. He has tried to find diplomatic solutions to difficult situations, like in his negotiation with Kuvira in the season four finale. Moreover, it’s also relevant that Raiko is the first democratically elected head of state in Republic City. Raiko represented symbolic change after prejudice against non-benders in season one. However, a decent person and a nice symbol don’t translate to a decent politician. TURF WARS shows very clearly that Raiko’s priorities are out of place. He is disengaged from the citizens of Republic City. He sees them more as potential votes than people in need of help.

LEGEND OF KORRA TURF WARS PART 1 Review: Korrasami the Comic

New Leadership in TURF WARS PART 2

Dissatisfied with Raiko, Team Avatar suggests a new leader for office: Zhu Li. In Part 1, Zhu Li led the initiative to help the displaced citizens of Republic City. In the Evacuee camp set up on the outskirts of the city, Zhu Li has shown her practicality and resourcefulness. There, she has been recruiting volunteers, organizing supplies, and looking out for the emotional welfare of the refugees. In short, Zhu Li is doing everything that President Raiko should have been doing. Team Avatar recognizes Zhu Li’s abilities, urging her to throw her hat into the voting ring. Zhu Li hadn’t initially considered the idea. However, after receiving encouragement from Team Avatar and her husband, she agrees to run for President.

TURF WARS PART 2
Image courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Unlike President Raiko, Zhu-li puts the needs of Republic City before her own. While Raiko engages in the world superficially, Zhu-Li gets down to the nitty-gritty. Zhu-Li is intelligent, compassionate, and efficient (especially considering her time with Varrick). She demonstrates all the qualities of a capable leader. Moreover, as a former female employee who had been undervalued for her work, Zhu-Li stepping up as a major humanitarian leader sends a powerful message. Zhu-Li engages with the people on a first-person basis. She knows what it means to be vulnerable and unheard by those in power.

Before You Buy LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS

Triad Wars

Another ongoing conflict in Republic City in TURF WARS PART 2 is the shifting territorial dynamics between the Triads. Familiar groups like the Triple Threats compete with new threats like the Creeping Crystals. Meanwhile, a nefarious character from Part 1 reappears, a mobster named Tokuga. After merging with a dragon eel spirit, Tokuga has transformed into a monster with new abilities. Since then, Tokuga has been gunning to unite all the Triads under his control, whether they want it or not.

The Triad Wars add another political anarchy to the world of Avatar. Unlike the Red Lotus, a militant organization whose original goals were embedded in good intentions, the triad wars stem from a more selfish chaos. To the Triads who divide the streets of the metropolis into their own separate territories, Republic City is a playroom and its people are toys. Tokuga is a potent example of this. A gifted fighter and dangerous strategist, Tokuga threatens to destroy anyone who stands in his way. Gang violence in real life stands to tear communities apart through senseless territorial violence, often without consideration for civilians around them.

TURF WARS PART 2
Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Conclusion

THE LEGEND OF KORRA series touched upon socio-political issues in our own world through the lens of steampunk fantasy. The animated series proved cartoons are for more than entertainment. Now, years after the television series, the creators continue to expand on this world. TURF WARS PART 2 delves into the political dynamics of both its own universe and ours. The comic engages discussion in topics, such as gang violence and political corruption. PART 2 demonstrates intellectual respect for its young readers as well as a critical eye toward issues within our world. Exhibiting the power of effective vs. ineffective leadership, THE LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS PART 2 illustrates the positive qualities we should look for in our politicians.

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