Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all spent your break productively. Personally, I spent the break re-watching all of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, so, I certainly had a great time. (I also managed to read the comics for the first time! Fantastic break.) Watching both Avatar cycles in quick succession got me thinking about the past Avatars and the adventures they must have had. We only really learn about Roku and Kyoshi—surely the rest of them did things worth mentioning? So, after finishing Korra, I turned to fanfic and found a great fic about one of our old Avatars—Yangchen.
In just a few short weeks, Avatar: The Legend of Korra will air its final episodes online, and the animated Avatar franchise will come to an end. The fourth season of the show was pulled from television a couple of months ago, but still airs every Friday online. Was it the nasty Friday night time slot, a lack of advertising, or just plain uninterested viewers that caused its failing ratings? I don’t know. But fans of Avatar need not fear, because Dark Horse and Nickelodeon have been steadily churning out some excellent graphic novels following the original Gaang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first comic trilogy, The Promise, shows the Gaang struggling to figure out what to do with Fire Nation Colonies in the Earth Kingdom in the new post-war world. The second, The Search, finally answers the question of what really happened to Zuko’s mom. The final installment of The Rift trilogy came out this past November, and deals with whether or not humans and spirits can really coexist, and Smoke and Shadow is due for release beginning in late 2015.
The Rift raises some interesting questions about how religion can and should adapt and evolve to new times and places, questions that are especially relevant to religious people’s lives today. What’s the value in maintaining ancient religious traditions and practices? How can religious traditions be meaningful in a modern world? Can any changes ever be good?
Spoilers for The Rift under the cut.
Since the premiere of the second season of Legend of Korra (Book 2: Spirits), I’ve noticed that a lot of fans are griping every week about Korra: she’s stupid, she’s overly emotional, she’s reactionary. At first I agreed. Why is Korra being so dense? Isn’t it obvious that she’s being manipulated? Is it just heavy-handed storytelling? Then I realized what I think is the source of Korra’s problems—she has no true sense of self. (Spoilers through episodes 7 and 8, “Beginnings”).
Happy San Diego Comic-Con, freaks and geeks! If anyone reading this is there right now, know that I’m very jealous and that I hate you. As I write this, it is Day 3 of the con and it looks like things are in full swing, and people are having a blast.
Anyway, something lovely came across my feeds yesterday, the official trailer for The Legend of Korra Book Two: Spirits.
There are no words, just a lot of interest-piquing badassery over lovely music, like the classic montage of an old Chinese film. It’s very well done, and the instrumental adds a certain gravity to the very cool happenings on screen.
Now, we already know that Book Two is going to deal more with the Spirit World, Korra having already defeated the opponent who seems best equipped to defeat her. The trailer shows some action which is explicitly Spirit World, and then others which I can only presume are also happening there (like at 1:20 when Korra seems to be struggling in a rushing waterfall, without the aid of her bending). We get a couple of cool shots of past avatars, including Aang, Roku, and Kyoshi, and some exciting shots of Mako. And one scene of Bolin running next to him.
You also may have noticed some cuts where the animation style seems to reference a more old-school (and I mean old-old school) Asian art, woodblock prints and all. The young man in those scenes is the first Avatar, as discussed at the Comic-Con panel yesterday. They talked about episode direction, the recently released Book One soundtrack, showed off some cool fan-art, and among other reasons that I hate people who had the chance to attend, showed the whole first episode.I’m not going to address how jealous and hateful that makes me feel other than to say that I would likely sell my closest friend to be in San Diego yesterday to watch that.
Returning to the subject of the first Avatar, it seems that he will be voiced by Steven Yeun, who you may know as Glenn from The Walking Dead. That early agent of worldly balance was named Wan, and is a great example of the show’s creative team reaching way back into the history of their world, something that they are very good at.
Well, that’s all I have for you today. Wander around the site this week for more good stuff, as it turns out we’re pretty Comic-Con-crazy over here at LGG&F.