lizbee: (LoK: Pema (clutching hands))
[personal profile] lizbee
At long last, the new LoK graphic novel that picks up directly where the animated series left off.

This was meant to arrive at my local comic shop on Wednesday, and I had basically blocked off a whole evening to have FEELINGS ... only the shipment was delayed, so I wound up staying longer than planned at a work function, accordingly drank more wine than intended, and ended up listening to Hamilton and texting my mother about the American Revolution.

Then the book arrived yesterday Thursday, and I'm not saying I was so excited I had a blood sugar crash as soon as I had finished it, but I did have to make an emergency stop at my local for a burrito and a pint of cider, and spent much of that meal frantically texting my friends.

Okay, SO, the thing is that this is the Korrasami comic, and I'm not necessarily here for that. I like the pairing, I enjoy it in canon and fan art, but it's not what has kept me in the fandom for years after the series finished.

Here's what I said on Tumblr this morning on Friday morning:

It has been 14 hours...

And I’m still having Emotions about Turf Wars.

Some of my Emotions are expressing themselves as questions about the United Republic’s political system, constitution and delegation of powers.

Because while the rest of the fandom has a really fun Korrasami party, apparently I’m going to be in the kitchen, rifling through the pantry and using someone else’s ingredients to bake a cake that no one asked for.

(Like, 90% of the reason I just quoted myself is that I'm really into that metaphor for fandom.)

SO. I really liked the Korrasami relationship, and the way they're figuring out how to be a couple, and to what extent that means they work directly together, and to what extent that means they take on complementary but different tasks.

Like, Korra gets snippy when Asami says that, rather than watch Korra being inspirational, she'll do something practical to help the refugees of Republic City. Asami isn't being critical of Korra, it's just that she's not the Avatar, so how much can she really do for morale? But Korra takes it as a dig.

This is similar to Korra's issues when she was going out with Mako, and I love that consistency in her character -- and that, because she and Asami are older, more experienced and mature, and also Asami is less argumentative than Mako, it doesn't turn into a big deal.

Likewise, the bit where Korra is all gung ho about coming out to her parents, and then really mad when her dad points out that not everyone will approve. While Asami's going, "Yeah, but I don't know if I was ready for that step.

It's just really cool, important stuff about figuring out how to transform a friendship into a romantic relationship, and how to be in a same sex relationship in a world that doesn't wholeheartedly approve, and how to just be a partner in a romantic sense.

It's also not gratuitously sexualised, which I think is important for both the target audience (middle grade to YA), and pushes back against the idea that same sex relationships are hypersexual. There's a lot of eye contact and hand holding, but it's not -- despite what one Makorra Tumblr I saw will tell you -- exploitative or explicit. It is, in fact, romantic.

ANYWAY. All of that is very good, and I'm pleased about it, now here is a list of Feelpinions, Questions and Flails related to my extremely niche interests:

Important Lin Stuff

  • Lin gets two scenes, one of which is a cool action bit as she drops down from an airship in the middle of a triad battle. HI, LIN, I LOVE YOU.
Photograph of a panel of Lin, with a coloured pencil portrait of me looking excited. Speech bubble: "You're doing great, sweetie!"

  • Like, I'm sad she's not in it more, but I also understand that she is a supporting character who is quite separate from the main story at this point. "Turf Wars" is a Korrasami story with a politics/organised crime B plot, and I'm honestly okay with that.
  • And Lin is jumping out of airships and interrogating criminals, she is clearly living her best life.
  • (I still can't believe she even has a job post-unauthorised incursion into enemy state to rescue her sister and niblings, but that's just me; were I Kuvira, I would have absolutely used it as my pretext for invading the United Republic.)
  • The police are housed in temporary headquarters, so obviously the big HQ -- and Toph's statue -- were destroyed. The temporary digs look like they may have belonged to the White Lotus, judging by the design over the door; I have elected to headcanon that Lin owns that building herself.
  • I am always here for Lin and Mako playing mindgames with criminals. Even very obvious mindgames and extremely gullible criminals.
Worldbuilding and political stuff
  • SERIOUSLY, I have so many questions about the United Republic constitution!
  • Like, half the city has been destroyed and a large proportion of citizens are still living in refugee camps on the outskirts, and Raiko's first priority is his campaign for re-election? I know he's meant to be The Worst, but how is that possible?
  • I mean, this is exactly the sort of situation where you declare a state of emergency, direct the military to assist police and pour its resources into rebuilding infrastructure as quickly as possible, and worry about the election when people have, you know, homes.
  • I'm not saying they should suspend elections and install a military dictatorship, obviously; I don't even think this situation necessarily calls for martial law. States of emergency can obviously be misused to undermine democratic systems, and generally -- in western democracies -- come with built-in limitations. But this is exactly what that kind of power is for.
  • And how is Raiko running unopposed?! Because we know of a whole lot of qualified, capable people who should be opposing him as their civic duty. I can only assume that the period for nomination opened up after Kuvira's attack, and everyone else was too busy attending to the massive disaster to think about it.
  • I believe the blurb for part 2 tells us that Zhu Li is going to run for the presidency, and the only reason I'm opposed to that is that she is way too close to Varrick. Hmmm, a super-competent woman whose main problem is that she's linked to capitalism and a sleazy dude, running against a self-centred semi-incompetent man? That doesn't remind me of anything.
  • I'm just kind of appalled that people like Tenzin, and his siblings, are letting Raiko run unopposed. Like, guys, you're capable leaders, all of you, and you could easily win by playing the "previous Avatar's kid AND current Avatar's ally/mentor" card, you have a civic duty here.
  • The only way this is okay is if my theory about nominations only opening after the attack, and everyone else having higher priorities, is correct.
  • Speaking of, how are people going to get to the polls when half the city is in ruins?
  • ...I bet the United Republic, being modelled loosely on the US system, doesn't have compulsory voting.
  • C I V I C D U T Y !
  • Speaking of duties, I bet that emergency powers, if they were in place, would require Bumi to return to active service temporarily, which makes for interesting issues, since he's now an airbender -- does that affect his citizenship of the United Republic? It shouldn't, but it raises more questions, since Tenzin now speaks for the Air Nation as if it's a separate entity.
  • Hmmm, maybe Tenzin can't run for the presidency now...
  • I wonder if dual citizenship exists in the United Republic? And also whether dual citizens are allowed to hold office?
  • Note that, despite my whole AU, I don't think that Lin, in the main timeline, is remotely suited for politics. Her precious authoritarian self needs to stay in the police force, where she can't do too much damage.
  • Actually, maybe it's good that either the United Republic doesn't have emergency powers, or Raiko has chosen not to enable them. Because I can see him reacting to his unpopularity and going the full dictator, and he could conceivably still do that if Zhu Li is a strong enough opponent.
  • Also maybe when this is all over, the United Republic should seriously consider constitutional reform
  • (The short answer to my questions is probably, "Bryke didn't think about it and didn't put that much work into the political worldbuilding," but that's such a boring answer, I'd rather assume that the United Republic has a deeply flawed constitution, and maybe also separate legislative and judicial branches we don't know about, and let's pretend Republic City has a mayor so the president of the whole nation isn't also doing that job.)
Worldbuilding that's not about politics
  • I saw someone who was really, really mad about the bit where Sozin outlawed same-sex relationships in the Fire Nation, because this -- I quote -- "turned him into some kind of cartoon villain".
  • I mean.
  • He is literally a villain in an animated series.
  • Really.
  • ALSO, to me it makes sense that a guy who is pivoting his nation from "cool place, bit hierarchical" to "colonialist warmongers with a dash of genocide" would be very into state control of relationships, and encouraging the sorts of relationships that lead to faster population growth.
  • And, you know, he had a really bad break-up with Roku and was probably a bit bummed, you know how it is.
  • I do like that the various nations have different attitudes towards sexuality, and find it particularly interesting that the Water Tribe -- in the south, at least -- has the expectation that you keep your private life private. Because clearly that's not so much the case for heterosexual relationships there.
  • ALSO, for all that Kya says the Earth Kingdom is the most conservative, I expect that attitudes do vary a lot across the vast geographic area it inhabits -- so Omashu, for example, might be more liberal than Ba Sing Se. (Everywhere is more liberal than Ba Sing Se.)
  • ALSO ALSO ALSO Avatar Kyoshi was bisexual, good news, everyone, let's all high five.
DID YOU KNOW it's possible to overuse the word "also"?

Other things
  • I love Irene Koh's art -- it's so vivid and full of movement, and even really simple sketches have a lot of expression.
  • I'm a bit thrown by the western collars on Wonyong Keum's shirt and coat, but they seem to be deliberate choices on Koh's part, to emphasise his jeogori waistcoat, and I'm not gonna get my white feels all up in her work.
  • But I'm actually quite mad about the dialogue where Bolin says Tuesday. I've ranted before about how that kind of westerncentricity really ruins Avatarverse fic for me, and I hate seeing it in an official piece like this. I assume it's an actual error on Michael Di Martino's part, and I hope it gets corrected in future editions. I can headcanon my way around almost anything, but not that.
  • Neither Keum nor Tokuga really excite me as villains yet, but I'm intrigued by what will happen now Tokuga has been merged with a spirit -- is he the first to be so disfigured since Avatar Wan's day? -- and I guess it's always nice to have another really terrible capitalist around. (Wanted: more female terrible capitalists, please.)
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