ESPN made a “Body Issue” based on Marvel superheroes, and it’s glorious. But before we get to that, let’s go through some fascinating history first. The first Body Issue was published in 2009 in response to a significant decline in ESPN magazine’s revenue during the financial crisis. Not only that, because it was also a response for that pesky high-selling publication from their competitor, Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue. ESPN photographers took shots of athletes — some more famous, others less known — nearly or completely naked, bearing it all with a soccer ball, or a baseball bat, or the snowboard they ride on. Where the Swimsuit Issue focused on homogeneous models showcasing bikinis and pandering to the typical standard of Hollywood beauty however, the Body Issue saw an opportunity: ESPN the Magazine would focus on the diversity of the human form by centering on the athletes themselves.
And focusing on diversity proved to be an amazingly successful strategy. Who knew?
In the 1990s, Xena: Warrior Princess — starring Lucy Lawless — ruled TV. Her chakram, armor, and famous warrior cry helped elevate Xena to one of the 25 best TV shows of all time. It’s 2015, and we have a new TV super woman, and her name is Korra, the Avatar (voiced by Janet Varney). The Legend of Korra is the Nickelodeon animated series that tells the story of a young woman who has the power to control the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Her power to control the elements makes her the most powerful human on the planet. Korra is tasked with bringing balance to the world by merging the spirit and human world in perfect harmony.
Being a fan of both Xena and Korra, the wheels started turning in my head, so I came up with a theory that the creators of Legend of Korra had a little Xena inspiration.
A month ago, at New York Comic-Con, I attended a panel for The Legend of Korra. It was full of sneak peeks, laughs, and goodbyes (considering this is likely their last panel for the series) but there was also a reminder — that Platinum Games is making a video game derived from the series. It takes place between the second and third books of the series, where Korra is stripped of her bending by a chi-blocker, and must regain her abilities throughout the game.
What I’ve found is that people aren’t really talking much about the game. I even forgot myself, considering it was a nice reminder at New York Comic-Con. The creators basically mentioned it as a passing thought, but that may have been due to time constraints. The game isn’t meant to be long (it’s about four to six hours to play), and is a digital download, so that’s likely an aspect of it. The game isn’t a full-fledged entity, but a charming addition to the series. It’s not the most important thing. However, forgetting Korra… this isn’t exactly new. Let’s talk about how Nickelodeon has been treating the series.
This first part of Book 3 has been fast and full of non-stop action. So you know there would be some “set up” episodes and “The Stakeout” falls under this category. There isn’t too much revealed and not much action, but we do see the return of the spirit world and we learned about Zaheer’s past and perhaps clues to his intentions with Avatar Korra.
We begin with a sparring session between Uncle Bumi and Kai, led by Jinora. Uncle Bumi’s stance is all old-school fisticuffs, and Kai makes easy work of him. Jinora’s crush on Kai grows deeper, and Kai starts the charm offensive on her.
Team Avatar (minus Mako the Brooding Teenager) is ready to set off for Operation Air Nation. Pema, Kya, Ikki, and Meelo are staying on Air Temple Island in order to receive any potential pilgrims. But first, two words: HOLY AIRSHIP.
Two weeks have passed since Avatar Korra’s amazing triumph against UnaVaatu during Harmonic Convergence. The portals between the Spirit World and the human one have remained open all this time, with at least one annoying side effect: giant Spirit Vines have been growing all over Republic City, taking over entire buildings and displacing many people from their homes. Korra has yet to figure out how to deal with the vines, so her approval ratings are down to a dismal 8%, with even President Raiko distancing himself from her. Our poor teenage Avatar is questioning whether her victory was a victory at all.
On Air Temple Island, however, things are on the up-and-up. Uncle Bumi, after chasing Bum-Ju off a cliff, has discovered he can now… airbend!?!?
Team Korra, we have a date! On Friday afternoon, Nickelodeon announced that the first THREE episodes of the third season of The Legend of Korra will air this Friday, June 27, starting at 7 PM/6 Central. They will then take a week hiatus for 4th of July weekend, then air weekly on Fridays at 8 PM.
And of course, being the NOC’s resident Korra experts, Rodrigo and I will be on-hand to recap every episode!
Vaatu is free. Harmonic Convergence is upon us. Unalaq is still being an ass and making no sense. It’s like those winter mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed. So, who do you call? The Fire Ferrets. Mako, Bolin, and Korra take on Vaatu and Unalaq in a Wrestlemania meets Celebrity Death Match quarrel. We’ve been waiting for this, when Korra goes Hulk smash… and slams Vaatulaq!
I am not going to lie. This season of The Legend of Korra has been better than I expected. So the next four episodes are for sure going to make me drop some F-bombs and some holy expletives with tons of exclamation points to fill in my excitement. So you’ve been warned.
“The Night of a Thousand Stars” was a filler episode and a warm-up to what we all have been waiting for, the “Harmonic Convergence” show down.
The last two episodes of Korra have been intense. Which has reflected the way my life has been the past two weeks as well. A year ago, around this time, I lost a close friend of mine: a family member, the godfather to my son, and one of the biggest nerds of color I’ve ever known.
The wife and I introduced him to A:TLA, and I know he would geek out over LOK. So forgive me, if this post is a little bit different.
This week’s The Legend of Korra was all about Girls Rule, Boys Drool.
The Family von Airbender is still on vacation, this time at the Eastern Air Temple, blissfully unaware of the world burning down around them. Tenzin was in the middle of trying to convince his kids that ancient relics are fun, when in walks…Korra!!! She’s looking good, considering she was a complete amnesiac two weeks ago.
Ed. Note: Starting on Monday, we’re going to be recapping new episodes of The Legend of Korra. First, here’s Julie‘s look back at last week’s one-hour premiere of Book Two.
Episodes One and Two: “Rebel Spirit” and “The Southern Lights”
Set six months after the end of Book One, the first two episodes debuted with tons of action and new characters. We see Korra at Air Temple Island, and she seems to have a much stronger handle on air bending. She can also comfortably enter the Avatar state, but still does not fully grasp the depths of her spiritual side.
One major theme shows up immediately: politics, family, and the messy ways they mix. Korra’s uncle Unalaq is the chief of the Northern Water Tribe, and he pays her a visit. “But Korra is from the Southern Water Tribe!” you exclaim. Well, it turns out her dad was originally from the north, but fled south after being banished from his tribe! That made dinner awkward.