Well, I wasn’t expecting this show to do an origin story for, well, all Avatars ever. But here we are.
See, Korra, is awake but amnesiac on a Fire Nation island, but if she doesn’t know who she is, as corny as amnesia is even for children’s television, she can’t do much to save the world like a good Avatar should. What Korra needs to do is talk to her past lives.
No, not Aang. Or Roku. We need to go even further back…all the way to Wan, the original Avatar from 10,000 years earlier. And Wan’s story is told in a washed out look to make the whole thing look like an old painting from a non-Western society which I thought was rather cool.
See, Wan lived in a city where a handful of wealthy types got to enjoy life and he spent a lot of time stealing food from them. And they weren’t polite when they noticed either. However, Wan doesn’t seem to keep what little food he brings back, giving some to a kid a little younger than himself, some more to an old man who seems to be half-tree, and the rest to the small animals that show up looking for something to eat. Wan sees he needs to do something more, so he volunteers to go on a hunt, given the power to toss fireballs temporarily by a giant lion-turtle that seems to either guard or carry the city. Possibly both. However, Wan fakes cowardice in the spirit-filled woods to get kicked off the expedition and then he just never returned the firebending. After an attempt to steal more food with his friends, Wan is caught and exiled to the spirit forest. His only gift is the lion-turtle declines to take the fire away so Wan can defend himself.
And then a remarkable thing happens. After floundering around for a while, Wan rescues an animal from a snare and scares off the hunters. Despite an injury, the local spirits see Wan is different, so they heal him up and teach him firebending. Also, he learns there are other lion-turtles with other cities. So, that may be good to know.
With his newfound skills and general knowledge, it isn’t long before Wan is the protector of the forest, but then he screws up. Coming across two giant spirits fighting, Wan attacks the one that seems to be winning the fight since the conflict will destroy the forest and get a lot of spirits and animals killed. And that was a mistake because he attacked the white spirit of light was Raava, spirit of peace. The other was Vaatu, the spirit of chaos and destruction. And Vaatu, he got away.
Titans “Caul’s Folly”
Comic Review: The Judas Coin
Noteworthy Issues: Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow #5 (November, 2021)