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Author Topic: [DH Comics #11] Smoke and Shadow, Part 2  (Read 10511 times)
FireGuardian89
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 31, 2015 09:03 pm »

The link to the past could have been something about the royal lineage before Sozin, or even Mai's family's history, or Kemikurage that have some association other than with kidnappings of children. Nope - construct the story such that it links the past to kidnapping of children, the most convenient thing to link it to, or the most plot relevant thing to link it to. The thing already present in the comic series' plotline, something that's been mentioned more in the comics than the show (Mai's father taking Tom Tom to his New Ozai Society meeting and Mai rescuing him in an independent ish comic).

Given the importance of child kidnappings in this particular comic series, part of the Fire Nation's origin depending on kidnappings to me comes across as extremely artificial. As though it was done just to tie the current storyline into something older than the current storyline. If you took away Smoke and Shadow, the context of kidnappings, and told this Fire Nation origin story, the part about warlords and conflict would fit and make sense, but the things about kidnapping would seem out of place.

I still really like my idea of fleshing out the Unnamed Fire Avatar before Yangchen and giving him some backstory related to the Kemurikage. I agree wholeheartedly that it was so mechanical and was just 'enough' I guess. There could have been more detail and exposition if it was spread out over more than one issue. I'd also wish it had gone into details about what time this occurred, because it doesn't outright contradict the Beginnings info, but it does need clarification as far as Fire Sages and the Fire Lord go.

The Tom-Tom thing you brought up kind of bothers me as well- its kind of a retcon of the Omashu issue only instead of bargaining for his life and Bumi's, you're bargaining to take Zuko off the throne. Azula's a pivotal player again just like last time, only now she's wearing a mask and who knows where her mental state is at.

LOL, I finally just noticed your Avatar Yahtzee icon. Smiley

It's all heavy-handed contrivance. Why does Mai believe that her father could have somehow kept Tom-Tom safe from evil spirits? Because plot. Why does Zuko himself have to be the one to go into the Catacombs to find out the secret history that any lockpick could have uncovered while he stayed to actually rule his nation? Because plot. Why do the real Spirits merely warn Aang that they're being impersonated by humans, rather than appearing to take vengeance on the kidnappers directly? Because plot. Why does an inspector not wonder why his child was targeted mere hours after Ukano warned him, when Tom-Tom had been the only previous kidnapping? Because plot. Why do the all the locked doors in the Catacombs not use Firebending like all the other doors, but rather pickable locks? Because Love Triangle plot.

You pretty much read my cynical mind and the numerous issues I had with the plot in general. I almost disagree with you on The Promise- I'd argue Smoke and Shadow is worse in some ways writing-wise. This is definitely a step down from The Rift, which despite its flaws, I feel is the most strongly cohesive out of all the trilogies. The fact the Kemurikage themselves aren't helping with things on either side really killed the plot for me. Why was that one Kemurkage just chilling in the tomb anyways? I'm dead serious when I say Aang's role could have easily been nixed from the plot.

5/10 is honestly the highest I can rate this. I really want to like this comic because individually there are some really neat concepts in it, but the execution and direction isn't working for me. If you liked Part 1 as Avatar Epsilon said, then you'll probably enjoy it far more than I did.

The 'Safety Society' didn't work for me either- in one day, they 'save' ONE child and all of a sudden we are supposed to believe that people are starting to question Zuko's leadership? If you want this to work, then this society should have 'saved' several kids over the course of a few days to at least give the public evidence to believe Zuko needs to be ousted. The whole Safety Society also negates the value of the scene where the 'Kemurikage' punish Ukano in Part 1 for failing to dethrone Zuko: if his kid was kidnapped and he had nothing to do with it, then that's punishment. Having him conspire with the masked women negates that and makes the scene seem pointless.

I'm also not liking the fact there isn't a main antagonist behind the scheming: it can't be Ukano because in Part 1 he was threatened by the 'Kemurikage' and its clear in that one panel he's afraid of the masked women. This also gives him way too much credit, because I've never thought he was capable of executing a good plan. It really, really cannot be Azula because her mental capacity is no way healed in such a short time frame. It also doesn't really fit the narrative at the end of The Search. Unless Yang read the How I Became Yours comic and decided to give Azula a lobotomy and suddenly she's capable of such endeavors? So who is running this show then?

Yeah, and how in the world did the 'Kemurikage' get into Kiyi's room in the first place? Why would Zuko think it would be a good idea to let a child sleep alone knowing there are kidnappers on the loose?

Quote
Speaking of which, the Maiko stuff is a walking worst-case-scenario. I disliked that all the fault is being shoved onto Mai, that she still loves Zuko and wants to be with him but she can't handle being hurt, as if she just needs to learn that hurt is an essential part of love. No. An essential part of love is trust and communication and respect and Zuko showed none of that for her, but Zuko is Gene Yang's favorite character so of course Zuko can't be the one to change and learn a lesson, it's all that shrew Mai's fault.

I didn't get the impression from the writing that the fault is on Mai, I got the impression that based on the omnipresent narrative that Zuko was more in the wrong for breaking Mai's heart twice and that both of them lack communication and trust in each other. I do agree with your analysis on Mai though- Yang is really showing Mai's side of the issue and things she 'has to work on' but not really Zuko's need to change. Unless you count his 'I miss you' confession at the most inappropriate time as character growth.  

However, Yang seems to be setting Mai up for a major kick in the ovaries: how is Zuko going to react when he finds out Mai lied about her dad's role in the NOS? I just have a hard time believing these two are going to resolve their issues by the end of Part 3 unless Zuko goes OOC (which is realistic given Yang's glorification of him) and Yang rushes it by saying 'oh, well we have serious communication and trust issues but lol let's just promise to be more honest with each other and call it a day.'

I really, really dislike the love triangle. Yang is handling it with more finesse than Bryke ever had (which really isn't that flattering or impressive), but you know what? I don't think the narrative Yang is pushing is having the effect on me that it should have. If the intent was to prove that Mai and Zuko are meant to be together 'despite highlighting their major trust and communication issues the entire arc in a dysfunctional manner, this is proof that true love exists!' then apparently tumblr and I have been reading very different comics.

That's my issue with Kei Lo: how do you get Mai and Zuko back together without regressing their characters, or at the very least not make anyone (especially Mai) look bad?

1) Kei Lo breaks up with Mai (most probable): but then, it just makes him more deserving of the prize for being the most kind and level-headed out of the three. What the prize is, I don't know. Perhaps giving him some depth and purpose besides being the roadblock to Maiko?

Seriously, people have griped that Satoru is boring, but I would take Satoru over Kei Lo any day because we actually have a background story on him, know his interests, and see him go through character growth. I cannot even tell you what Kei Lo's interests are, what happened to his parents, or anything other than 'I'm going to date you Mai because I have serious abandonment issues and clearly this is the most healthy way to deal with them.'

2) You mercy kill Kei Lo: this just shows how contrived and ineffective the love triangle is.

Quote
Also, the compulsory Suzuki tease... I LOL'd

I have to say I really enjoy their friendship- its nice to see Zuko has someone to open up to. I'm not a fan of shipteasing though, especially when you have Zuko open up to Suki about personal issues when that's the main thing that broke him and Mai up.

Am I the only one wondering what Ozai is doing right now? He is even aware of what his 'society' is doing or does he even care? I find it a little odd he's had no role so far.
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luvavatar
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 31, 2015 09:11 pm »

I think the biggest question is why are there fire activated locks in the FIRE Nation. With the amount of firebenders concentrated in their home country, you'd think they'd use other means...
The same reason with the Air Nation, I mean every single member of that nation was an airbender. Might as well leave the door open.

I am starting to question the spirits. What made them interfere so much in the past, but now they don't really do that much? A warlord kidnapped all the children from a village and the mothers died of grief. So the spirits retaliated by taking theirs in return. Yet the Air Nation can be obliterated and the Lion turtles hunted to extinction (even though the Light spirit deferred to one) and they don't do a thing?
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Freedom153
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 31, 2015 10:34 pm »

The link to the past could have been something about the royal lineage before Sozin, or even Mai's family's history, or Kemikurage that have some association other than with kidnappings of children. Nope - construct the story such that it links the past to kidnapping of children, the most convenient thing to link it to, or the most plot relevant thing to link it to. The thing already present in the comic series' plotline, something that's been mentioned more in the comics than the show (Mai's father taking Tom Tom to his New Ozai Society meeting and Mai rescuing him in an independent ish comic).

Given the importance of child kidnappings in this particular comic series, part of the Fire Nation's origin depending on kidnappings to me comes across as extremely artificial. As though it was done just to tie the current storyline into something older than the current storyline. If you took away Smoke and Shadow, the context of kidnappings, and told this Fire Nation origin story, the part about warlords and conflict would fit and make sense, but the things about kidnapping would seem out of place.

I still really like my idea of fleshing out the Unnamed Fire Avatar before Yangchen and giving him some backstory related to the Kemurikage. I agree wholeheartedly that it was so mechanical and was just 'enough' I guess. There could have been more detail and exposition if it was spread out over more than one issue. I'd also wish it had gone into details about what time this occurred, because it doesn't outright contradict the Beginnings info, but it does need clarification as far as Fire Sages and the Fire Lord go.

The Tom-Tom thing you brought up kind of bothers me as well- its kind of a retcon of the Omashu issue only instead of bargaining for his life and Bumi's, you're bargaining to take Zuko off the throne. Azula's a pivotal player again just like last time, only now she's wearing a mask and who knows where her mental state is at.

LOL, I finally just noticed your Avatar Yahtzee icon. Smiley
I don't have any idea how they are supposed to reconcile this origin info, plus the original story of the show (Fire Nation descended from Sun Warriors, my headcanon has some Sun Warriors being the island's initial colonists the same way the Aborigines colonized Australia), AND the lion turtle firebenders. What, did all the firebenders from Wan's lion turtle and the other Fire lion turtles just so happen to settle on the Sun Warrior's island? Wan and his friends - they look nothing like the Sun Warriors in "The Firebending Masters"! And it sounded like there were many lion turtles - so there should have been many firebender origins...

My best guess/fix is, there were other lion turtles that could grant fire with a shared Sun Warrior-esque civilization on them, more spiritually advanced than the others. These people's lion turtles hung out the closest to the Fire Islands, and the Sun Warrior's island. Let's call the others, like Wan's friends, simply "firetossers", and assume they were spread out over the world more.
During the process of settling, the Sun Warrior ethos is diluted and lost, and lower-level conflict breaks out. The firetossers wait until Sun Warrior settlers of the Fire Islands had mostly tamed the lands of the future Fire Nation, and then the firetossers come in a second wave. Like English settlers in Australia, without the tech advantage. The firetossers cause the existing trouble to worsen, then you enter the era of warlords and this Toz character (whose name is Turkish for "powder" according to Google translate, I assume like gunpowder) makes thing even worse.

On Avatar Yahtzee - thanks.  Tongue
Edit: forgot the Sages. Maybe they come in after the "firetossers", and the first Fire Lord comes from their ranks, combining Bhanti Tribe and Sun Warrior wisdom?

Yang read the How I Became Yours comic
OH GOD NO

I think the biggest question is why are there fire activated locks in the FIRE Nation. With the amount of firebenders concentrated in their home country, you'd think they'd use other means...
The same reason with the Air Nation, I mean every single member of that nation was an airbender. Might as well leave the door open.

I am starting to question the spirits. What made them interfere so much in the past, but now they don't really do that much? A warlord kidnapped all the children from a village and the mothers died of grief. So the spirits retaliated by taking theirs in return. Yet the Air Nation can be obliterated and the Lion turtles hunted to extinction (even though the Light spirit deferred to one) and they don't do a thing?
Between ATLA, TLOK, and the comics, spirits are very inconsistent. And you forgot Old Iron freaking out about humans settling and making a city in "his" area.

So we have spirits refusing to fight off Kuvira at Republic City and stop her from abusing spirit vines, something which is denoted as their home, and also spirits themselves, where thousands of years before spirits revenge kidnapped bad guy's children because they were kidnapping good guy's or subject's children. Not logical or consistent, unless spirits just said f**k it over the thousands of years and stopped caring about humans. And themselves...?
That, or Kemukirage are human spirits in the style of the Painted Lady, immortalized spirits of the mothers who died of grief. This makes the most sense in a continuity sense.
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2016 02:02 am by Freedom153 » Logged

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AtoMaki
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« Reply #28 on: Jan 01, 2016 07:16 am »

There is one thing that Aang brought up that made sense, where exactly was the Avatar when all of this was happening in the past? It couldn't have been before the time of the Avatar as Mai suggested, because humans weren't living on the lion turtles at the time.

There were human civilizations before the Lion Turtle cities. Those cities had to get their tech somewhere. Steel weapons don't grow on trees, after all.

The institution of the Fire Lord can't be pre-Lion Turtle, though, because the Chou family didn't seem to have that title even though they ran the Fire Lion Turtle city.

Well, the first Fire Lord predates firebending (as none of the warriors in the story were firebenders), so he must predate the Lion Turtle city unless the art of firebending was lost at one point.
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fireywaters
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« Reply #29 on: Jan 01, 2016 10:20 am »

What Mai is using Kei Lo, it is not that different from how Korra used Bolin in "Spirit Of Competition", anyone sees that similarity.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #30 on: Jan 01, 2016 11:44 am »

There is one thing that Aang brought up that made sense, where exactly was the Avatar when all of this was happening in the past? It couldn't have been before the time of the Avatar as Mai suggested, because humans weren't living on the lion turtles at the time.

There were human civilizations before the Lion Turtle cities. Those cities had to get their tech somewhere. Steel weapons don't grow on trees, after all.

The institution of the Fire Lord can't be pre-Lion Turtle, though, because the Chou family didn't seem to have that title even though they ran the Fire Lion Turtle city.

Well, the first Fire Lord predates firebending (as none of the warriors in the story were firebenders), so he must predate the Lion Turtle city unless the art of firebending was lost at one point.

It makes way more sense to think that the comic decided not to show anyone firebending to keep things ambiguous (due to the writer's lack of consideration of what that would mean) than to think that events that happened significantly longer than ten thousand years earlier were accurately recorded.

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost would explain the separate origins of bending posited by A:tLA and LoK, though.  The easiest solution is for the supposed geneticization of the powers granted by the lion-turtle to never have happened -- everyone in the generation after Wan (other than the Avatar) was born a non-bender, and the abilities only returned after people started learning from the animal masters.  That way, the Sun Warriors could have learned from the dragons before the Fire Lord's people did, and the chain of knowledge posited by A:tLA would remain intact.

Given everything else we know, though -- particularly that this history was recorded in significant depth in the Dragonbone Catacombs -- I'm inclined to think that the Fire Lord would have plausibly been the first of his people to learn from the Sun Warriors' dragons (along with the Fire Sages who functioned as his council, per the Lost Scrolls).
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« Reply #31 on: Jan 01, 2016 11:48 am »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?
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« Reply #32 on: Jan 01, 2016 12:05 pm »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?

That makes literally no sense -- if humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction, they wouldn't be fighting each other over non-lion turtle land.  =P  Besides, it's heavily implied that humans never had bending before the lion turtles gave it to them.
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« Reply #33 on: Jan 01, 2016 12:35 pm »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?

That makes literally no sense -- if humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction, they wouldn't be fighting each other over non-lion turtle land. 

If the hadn't, then they wouldn't have had to get onto the Lion Turtles. There was definitely a human civilization before the Lion Turtle cities, a civilization that invented metallurgy, architecture and basic industry. You can't get these things out of nothing, you need infrastructure and such that would take up a lot more than a single city.

Besides, it's heavily implied that humans never had bending before the lion turtles gave it to them.

How it was implied? The Lion Turtles definitely seemed very knowledgeable about the topic, and I don't think that they made conclusions without actual experience. How did the Fire Lion Turtle knew that firebending is no-OK in a city? How did the Air Lion Turtle knew that humans can't hold more than one element?
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luvavatar
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 01, 2016 02:05 pm »

It seems odd that the nations would pre-date the period of living on the lion turtles. It's more likely that there was a time before humans went to live on the lion turtles, but that the nations came about AFTER that period. While Aang did ask where his past life was, this could've happened before the position of the Avatar was established. I mean if the average person didn't discover it until later in their lives, then it is possible that this happened before that person discovered they were the Avatar.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #35 on: Jan 01, 2016 05:34 pm »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?

That makes literally no sense -- if humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction, they wouldn't be fighting each other over non-lion turtle land.

If the hadn't, then they wouldn't have had to get onto the Lion Turtles. There was definitely a human civilization before the Lion Turtle cities, a civilization that invented metallurgy, architecture and basic industry. You can't get these things out of nothing, you need infrastructure and such that would take up a lot more than a single city.

I think you missed my point, namely, that even if a relatively advanced, bending-capable civilization existed prior to the spirits devastating the human population, it's completely implausible that the events shown in the comic would have happened between the time that happened and the time the humans began living on the lion turtles.

In other words, the events shown in the comics would have had to have been either prior to the lion turtles (which would be incredibly strange due to the level of detail in the recorded history and the fact that the Fire Lord didn't exist in the fire lion turtle's society!) or after the lion turtles left.  And, as far as I'm concerned, the latter makes way more sense than the former.


Quote
Besides, it's heavily implied that humans never had bending before the lion turtles gave it to them.

How it was implied? The Lion Turtles definitely seemed very knowledgeable about the topic, and I don't think that they made conclusions without actual experience. How did the Fire Lion Turtle knew that firebending is no-OK in a city? How did the Air Lion Turtle knew that humans can't hold more than one element?

The lion turtles seemed to have been granting humans bending for ages.  It's more plausible that a human who'd been granted bending from one lion turtle would have asked another lion turtle for a second bending type/for problems to have arisen due to humans using their lion turtle-granted bending in the lion turtle cities than it is for there to have been bending prior to the lion turtles.  I mean, for one thing, bending was granted as protection against the spirits -- if it could be used for that purpose, a bending-capable human society shouldn't have needed the lion turtles to begin with.  For another, Wan's dragon-influenced firebending was treated as something completely new and unique to the world.  For a third, the lion turtles are treated like the only source of bending from all characters involved (Raava certainly doesn't suggest Wan learn from the animal masters rather than ask the lion turtles for help!).
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« Reply #36 on: Jan 01, 2016 05:49 pm »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?

That makes literally no sense -- if humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction, they wouldn't be fighting each other over non-lion turtle land.

If the hadn't, then they wouldn't have had to get onto the Lion Turtles. There was definitely a human civilization before the Lion Turtle cities, a civilization that invented metallurgy, architecture and basic industry. You can't get these things out of nothing, you need infrastructure and such that would take up a lot more than a single city.

I think you missed my point, namely, that even if a relatively advanced, bending-capable civilization existed prior to the spirits devastating the human population, it's completely implausible that the events shown in the comic would have happened between the time that happened and the time the humans began living on the lion turtles.

Why so? It could be perfectly fitting. Something like:
- Sun Warriors as the first civilization, the inventors of firebending (learnt from the dragons)
- Offshot tribes form the Fire Islands
- The first Fire Lord rises from the Sun Warriors and untie the islands under the banner of the Fire Nation
- Spirit Apocalypse kicks in (maybe Vaatu's portal opening?) and the Fire Nation has to continue on the Lion Turtles
- Increasing isolation leads to a social-spiritual depression, the whole Fire Nation and its achievements including firebending) become largely forgotten if technically functioning (as there is still a Lion Turtle city somewhere, ruled by the Fire Lord)
- Wan happens, and the actual Fire Lord reforges the Fire Nation
- Current time

There are massive time gaps between these steps, probably several thousand years.

I mean, for one thing, bending was granted as protection against the spirits -- if it could be used for that purpose, a bending-capable human society shouldn't have needed the lion turtles to begin with.

Spirits beat benders. As we could see with Wan's buddies. Hell, Korra's world is pretty clueless when it comes to spirits, now imagine a pre-industrial society trying to deal with the supernatural.
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« Reply #37 on: Jan 01, 2016 06:00 pm »

This was one of the most inconsistent plot points of the series. First bending doesn't harm spirits. Then the Lion Turtles grant it to for protection against spirits, but then we see it as useless against spirits. And finally it does hurt spirits again. Now we have Aang saying bending doesn't work on spirits. Will they ever make up their mind?
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« Reply #38 on: Jan 01, 2016 08:35 pm »

A catastrophic event in which most bending was lost

Like the Spirit Wilds pushing the humans onto the brink of extinction (or at least into the Lion Turtle cities) Wink?

That makes literally no sense -- if humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction, they wouldn't be fighting each other over non-lion turtle land.

If the hadn't, then they wouldn't have had to get onto the Lion Turtles. There was definitely a human civilization before the Lion Turtle cities, a civilization that invented metallurgy, architecture and basic industry. You can't get these things out of nothing, you need infrastructure and such that would take up a lot more than a single city.

I think you missed my point, namely, that even if a relatively advanced, bending-capable civilization existed prior to the spirits devastating the human population, it's completely implausible that the events shown in the comic would have happened between the time that happened and the time the humans began living on the lion turtles.

Why so? It could be perfectly fitting. Something like:
- Sun Warriors as the first civilization, the inventors of firebending (learnt from the dragons)
- Offshot tribes form the Fire Islands
- The first Fire Lord rises from the Sun Warriors and untie the islands under the banner of the Fire Nation
- Spirit Apocalypse kicks in (maybe Vaatu's portal opening?) and the Fire Nation has to continue on the Lion Turtles
- Increasing isolation leads to a social-spiritual depression, the whole Fire Nation and its achievements including firebending) become largely forgotten if technically functioning (as there is still a Lion Turtle city somewhere, ruled by the Fire Lord)
- Wan happens, and the actual Fire Lord reforges the Fire Nation
- Current time

There are massive time gaps between these steps, probably several thousand years.

Well, for one thing, it's impossible to have a consistent historical record in the Dragonbone Catacombs if humanity moved to the lion turtles for a significant amount of time.  =P

For another thing, it's way less complicated to think that the Fire Nation was united once rather than multiple times for no good reason.


Quote
I mean, for one thing, bending was granted as protection against the spirits -- if it could be used for that purpose, a bending-capable human society shouldn't have needed the lion turtles to begin with.

Spirits beat benders. As we could see with Wan's buddies. Hell, Korra's world is pretty clueless when it comes to spirits, now imagine a pre-industrial society trying to deal with the supernatural.

Jaya and co. seemed to be surviving until Vaatu came in and intentionally made the spirits go dark.  They also seemed to believe they could destroy spirits given that they attacked Raava.

I don't think bending is as useless against spirits as you're suggesting.  Otherwise, why would the lion turtles give it to humans as protection against spirits?
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 02, 2016 05:38 am »

Well, for one thing, it's impossible to have a consistent historical record in the Dragonbone Catacombs if humanity moved to the lion turtles for a significant amount of time.  =P

The historical records stop at the Kemurikage (theirs is the last pic on the wall). There are only statues of Fire Lords after that.

For another thing, it's way less complicated to think that the Fire Nation was united once rather than multiple times for no good reason.

You have to do multiples in each case. You either have the Fire Nation rising for several times or the tech level (and to an extent, firebending) doing the same. I think the former is more plausible than the latter.

I don't think bending is as useless against spirits as you're suggesting.  Otherwise, why would the lion turtles give it to humans as protection against spirits?

Having bending is still better than not having anything!
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« Reply #40 on: Jan 02, 2016 09:39 am »

Well, for one thing, it's impossible to have a consistent historical record in the Dragonbone Catacombs if humanity moved to the lion turtles for a significant amount of time.  =P

The historical records stop at the Kemurikage (theirs is the last pic on the wall). There are only statues of Fire Lords after that.

Presumably, the statues themselves comprise a consistent record from the first Fire Lord to the last one.  That doesn't appear to be true even of the Avatars, and the Avatar was a post-lion turtle invention.  It makes no sense to have a consistent statue record of Fire Lords including ones prior to the lion turtles, ones during the era of the lion turtles, and ones after.


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For another thing, it's way less complicated to think that the Fire Nation was united once rather than multiple times for no good reason.

You have to do multiples in each case. You either have the Fire Nation rising for several times or the tech level (and to an extent, firebending) doing the same. I think the former is more plausible than the latter.

No you don't.  There's nothing in Beginnings that seems more technologically-advanced than what we were shown in the Kemurikage flashback.  As for firebending, we know that there were giant groups of non-benders post-lion turtle per the Omashu flashback (where Oma and Shu were the first benders in their area), so having bending largely die out at some point after the lion turtles is consistent with what we saw elsewhere.  Unless you want to argue that Omashu was also founded pre-lion turtle, but that's just silly for a number of reasons (not the least of which being that the fortress-like Omashu ought to be at least as much protection against spirits as the lion turtle cities were).


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I don't think bending is as useless against spirits as you're suggesting.  Otherwise, why would the lion turtles give it to humans as protection against spirits?

Having bending is still better than not having anything!

Having a sip of water is better than having no water whatsoever, but it's just postponing the inevitable if there's no expectation that you're ever going to get more than that.  =P
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« Reply #41 on: Jan 02, 2016 10:08 am »

It makes no sense to have a consistent statue record of Fire Lords including ones prior to the lion turtles, ones during the era of the lion turtles, and ones after.

Why not? The city where the Fire Lord lived could keep continuous records. For them, the Fire Nation would always exist, if only for a single city on the back of a Lion Turtle.

No you don't.  There's nothing in Beginnings that seems more technologically-advanced than what we were shown in the Kemurikage flashback.

Uhm... like the buildings? Even Wan's friends managed to build normal houses, while everyone in the pre-FN world lived in primitive tents and huts.

Having a sip of water is better than having no water whatsoever, but it's just postponing the inevitable if there's no expectation that you're ever going to get more than that.  =P

Luckily for the humans, the solution was not bending but the cities. Bending was better than nothing for the hunters, but if it had been good enough for all humanity, then there would have been no need for the cities (obviously).
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« Reply #42 on: Jan 02, 2016 11:22 am »

It's far more likely that this event happened shortly after humans were living on the backs of lion turtles. We saw that there were wars shortly after humans left the backs of the lion turtles and it makes sense that this would be one of those events. It makes far less sense that the Fire Nation came about BEFORE the time of living on the lion turtles than it does for coming afterwards.
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« Reply #43 on: Jan 02, 2016 12:43 pm »

It makes no sense to have a consistent statue record of Fire Lords including ones prior to the lion turtles, ones during the era of the lion turtles, and ones after.

Why not? The city where the Fire Lord lived could keep continuous records. For them, the Fire Nation would always exist, if only for a single city on the back of a Lion Turtle.

Maybe written records, but portraits?  The painted walls of the catacombs? The first Fire Lord's physical remains?  Objects like those are supremely unlikely to have been moved from a pre-lion turtle human civilization to the back of a lion turtle and then again to a post-lion turtle civilization, and, as such, it makes far more sense that the events in question took place after the Fire Nation had reached its permanent location.


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No you don't.  There's nothing in Beginnings that seems more technologically-advanced than what we were shown in the Kemurikage flashback.

Uhm... like the buildings? Even Wan's friends managed to build normal houses, while everyone in the pre-FN world lived in primitive tents and huts.

The warlords lived in primitive tents and huts.  The Fire Lord's people's living arrangements were never shown, but his soldiers dressed almost exactly the same way the ones in the Wan flashbacks did instead of wearing furs, so they were probably more advanced than the warlords anyway (and we've always had different levels of technological advancement on display).


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Having a sip of water is better than having no water whatsoever, but it's just postponing the inevitable if there's no expectation that you're ever going to get more than that.  =P

Luckily for the humans, the solution was not bending but the cities. Bending was better than nothing for the hunters, but if it had been good enough for all humanity, then there would have been no need for the cities (obviously).

I don't think we were meant to see Jaya's decision to try to make a living for himself outside of the city as inherently foolish, though.  His people had been successfully fending off the spirits before Vaatu showed up even though they were acting in ways that angered the spirits before that.  As such, it seems like we're meant to think that humans with bending could survive in the wilds and the decision to remain on the lion turtles was based on a mix between superstition and convenience.

And, obviously, the need for the lion turtles can't be used as evidence that humanity couldn't have survived without bending, because bending was said to have come from the lion turtles.  =P
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« Reply #44 on: Jan 02, 2016 01:16 pm »

It makes no sense to have a consistent statue record of Fire Lords including ones prior to the lion turtles, ones during the era of the lion turtles, and ones after.

Why not? The city where the Fire Lord lived could keep continuous records. For them, the Fire Nation would always exist, if only for a single city on the back of a Lion Turtle.

Maybe written records, but portraits?  The painted walls of the catacombs? The first Fire Lord's physical remains?  Objects like those are supremely unlikely to have been moved from a pre-lion turtle human civilization to the back of a lion turtle and then again to a post-lion turtle civilization

They don't have to be moved. They could be left behind and picked back up later no problem. Especially if the Fire Nation Lion Turtle was the Capital City, thus the catacombs were just a short walk away.

The warlords lived in primitive tents and huts.

Why would the most powerful warlord live in primitive tents instead of, say, a massive stronghold? Also, the village that started this Kemirukage mess had the primitive huts, so there is that.


Like, the only way the story could happen after the Lion Turtles was if all the firebenders (who also happened to be all the architects, carpenters, and so on) had become the Sun Warriors after Wan.
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« Reply #45 on: Jan 02, 2016 01:36 pm »

Like, the only way the story could happen after the Lion Turtles was if all the firebenders (who also happened to be all the architects, carpenters, and so on) had become the Sun Warriors after Wan.
I guess this is my problem with the whole thing, aside from the whole KIDNAPPINGZ thing. The Sun Warriors look nothing like Wan and his friends and their rulers, and definitely don't act like them, so it doesn't make a ton of sense, unless there were already existing "Sun Warriors" on different Fire lion turtles - perhaps ones that were frequently visited by dragons...

Also, the Sun Warriors in the show had a complex enough civilization - metal (the traps and statues), large Mesoamerican-style structures, and a more advanced philosophy (fire as life and not destruction). Then, you get huts when some of them settle elsewhere.

That being said, the first English settlements in the New World weren't particularly impressive when compared to, say, London. Even then, it sounds like a rather large knock backwards compared to what came before - unless the Sun Warriors hadn't built any of their larger structures before Toz's time.
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« Reply #46 on: Jan 02, 2016 03:18 pm »

It makes no sense to have a consistent statue record of Fire Lords including ones prior to the lion turtles, ones during the era of the lion turtles, and ones after.

Why not? The city where the Fire Lord lived could keep continuous records. For them, the Fire Nation would always exist, if only for a single city on the back of a Lion Turtle.

Maybe written records, but portraits?  The painted walls of the catacombs? The first Fire Lord's physical remains?  Objects like those are supremely unlikely to have been moved from a pre-lion turtle human civilization to the back of a lion turtle and then again to a post-lion turtle civilization

They don't have to be moved. They could be left behind and picked back up later no problem. Especially if the Fire Nation Lion Turtle was the Capital City, thus the catacombs were just a short walk away.

If it's safe enough to go visit the Dragonbone Catacombs often enough to ensure its proper upkeep, why even bother with the lion turtles in the first place?  =P  Presumably, if things were so bad that the Fire Nation people had to evacuate to the lion turtles, they wouldn't be going back to visit their old homes.  Plus, one would imagine that something like picking up their entire civilization, moving onto lion turtles, and then moving back would have been mentioned in the Catacombs' records.


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The warlords lived in primitive tents and huts.

Why would the most powerful warlord live in primitive tents instead of, say, a massive stronghold? Also, the village that started this Kemirukage mess had the primitive huts, so there is that.

Because the warlord in question was heavily implied through visual cues to have been a barbarian warlord, while the Fire Lord dressed in a more civilized manner?  (Like, say, the warring tribes from The Great Divide?  =P )

Also, we don't know that that was the village whose children Toz kidnapped.  He could have demanded them to come to his encampment to give him his tribute.  (And, even if the subjugated villages were also low-technology, that doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of the world was likewise technologically limited.)


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Like, the only way the story could happen after the Lion Turtles was if all the firebenders (who also happened to be all the architects, carpenters, and so on) had become the Sun Warriors after Wan.

Or if it took a while for people to figure out how to bend after the lion turtles stopped granting bending.  Or if there were firebenders at that time but they carried melee weapons as well and the comic simply didn't have any reason to show them bending.
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« Reply #47 on: Jan 02, 2016 04:00 pm »

If it's safe enough to go visit the Dragonbone Catacombs often enough to ensure its proper upkeep, why even bother with the lion turtles in the first place?  =P  Presumably, if things were so bad that the Fire Nation people had to evacuate to the lion turtles, they wouldn't be going back to visit their old homes.  Plus, one would imagine that something like picking up their entire civilization, moving onto lion turtles, and then moving back would have been mentioned in the Catacombs' records.

Maintaining a permanent civilization and visiting a well-hidden place from time to time require vastly different amount of resources and effort, don't you think Tongue?

Because the warlord in question was heavily implied through visual cues to have been a barbarian warlord, while the Fire Lord dressed in a more civilized manner?

Barbarian warlords are maybe the biggest stronghold-builders. Civilized warlords tend to build nicer things like walled cities and/or palaces.

Also, we don't know that that was the village whose children Toz kidnapped.  He could have demanded them to come to his encampment to give him his tribute.

Considering that the soldiers are about to attack the huts on the pic, I would say that this is highly unlikely. Not to mention that the huts have similar symbols on their doors than the villagers on their clothes.

Or if it took a while for people to figure out how to bend after the lion turtles stopped granting bending.

Firebending was a big thing in the battle Wan lost his life, so there were probably plenty of firebenders.
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« Reply #48 on: Jan 02, 2016 04:13 pm »

I didn't get the impression from the writing that the fault is on Mai, I got the impression that based on the omnipresent narrative that Zuko was more in the wrong for breaking Mai's heart twice and that both of them lack communication and trust in each other. I do agree with your analysis on Mai though- Yang is really showing Mai's side of the issue and things she 'has to work on' but not really Zuko's need to change. Unless you count his 'I miss you' confession at the most inappropriate time as character growth.  

However, Yang seems to be setting Mai up for a major kick in the ovaries: how is Zuko going to react when he finds out Mai lied about her dad's role in the NOS? I just have a hard time believing these two are going to resolve their issues by the end of Part 3 unless Zuko goes OOC (which is realistic given Yang's glorification of him) and Yang rushes it by saying 'oh, well we have serious communication and trust issues but lol let's just promise to be more honest with each other and call it a day.'

Honestly, I think that's what's going to happen. Mai is going to realize that she's a hypocrite (although it will probably be phrased nicer), and accept Zuko back because he really loves her and she now recognizes that they both have issues but can work on them together.

I phrased it poorly, but I didn't really mean that the narrative is actually heaping blame on Mai, but rather that it's presenting her as the one who needs to change (even if it's just her mind) in order for the relationship to happen again. Zuko is in a holding pattern waiting for her, so the onus is on her to take him back. I feel like the presentation is aping the worst part of the similar plotline in The Beach, where Zuko gets taken back after his big confession even though it wasn't really a catharsis that had anything to do with why Mai broke up with him in the first place. (Yes, presumably Zuko was acting like a jealous idiot because he was angry with himself, but I don't feel like simply admitting that actually resolves the problem. Which it didn't, hence why Zuko joins the gAang later, but that leaves Mai's taking him back as an odd moment for her.)

I guess it's good that Mai has agency and is making the decision rather than being a prop, but I feel like there should be more to it than that.


That's my issue with Kei Lo: how do you get Mai and Zuko back together without regressing their characters, or at the very least not make anyone (especially Mai) look bad?

1) Kei Lo breaks up with Mai (most probable): but then, it just makes him more deserving of the prize for being the most kind and level-headed out of the three. What the prize is, I don't know. Perhaps giving him some depth and purpose besides being the roadblock to Maiko?

Seriously, people have griped that Satoru is boring, but I would take Satoru over Kei Lo any day because we actually have a background story on him, know his interests, and see him go through character growth. I cannot even tell you what Kei Lo's interests are, what happened to his parents, or anything other than 'I'm going to date you Mai because I have serious abandonment issues and clearly this is the most healthy way to deal with them.'

2) You mercy kill Kei Lo: this just shows how contrived and ineffective the love triangle is.

My feeling is that Mai will break up with Kei Lo by admitting that she just isn't into him, thus demonstrating that she has "learned her lessons" about honesty and the importance of true love (complete with Ty Lee complimenting her on it, thus completing the arc set up by that Date Scene in the first volume), and Kei Lo will take it like a man and disappear from reality immediately upon walking off stage.

Actually, now that I think about it, Kei Lo expressed a need for "belonging" that's pretty much his only motivation. Perhaps he'll join a Zuko Loyalist group and be shown to be happy now that he has a true belonging. He won't need Mai any more.

But then, I tend to make stories that put little bows on themselves, so take these predictions with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #49 on: Jan 02, 2016 05:43 pm »

Or they kill off Kei Lo and/or Mai just to tease Izumi's mother even more.
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