Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blogger: Margaret Atwood and I

A Short Story.

"When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. 
We want to believe it was all like that."
from: The Handmaid's Tale

Take this roller coaster ride as an open letter. You see, I can't even remember the first time I heard your name. Perhaps a lecture, that seems likely, yes. Either way, it didn't remain unknown for long, I had underestimated the force of the avalanche that came with knowing that name. Then there it was: your book in the hands of a friend. Then, another friend. And yet another! There was one very specific week, I remember, that I had five different friends who were reading you! I thought wow! She must be great! But something changed... yes, it changed drastically because not only my friends couldn't tell me why they liked your work, but some of them harshly criticized me for not reading your books. And I grew angry, you know? During my years at the university I was taught to be able to come up with arguments, to prove that my opinion is not just there and you have to "deal with it". I also tried to recommend books to those friends of mines who were more open to discuss your works, but even their responses varied from "No!" to "Just read Atwood!", and finally "How can you not read Atwood?".
Their unwillingness to actually discuss things made me care less step by step. I reached a point where I would cringe when I heard your name, or rolled my eyes disapprovingly. "How can you not like Atwood?" they would ask me, while laughing, but it wasn't fun for me. I still couldn't quite put my hands on what my problem was. And when a teacher of mine advertised a whole seminar to discuss your works, I thought, why not? I'm not an expert! There is a set reading list, and for the first time if I had questions the answer wouldn't just be "Read!". So here we were, and I went in with an open mind. Remember that, please. I went in with an open mind!

"Longed for him. Got him. Shit."
from: "Very Short Stories", Wired, Nov. 2006

Stone Mattress, the short story, was the first one. Such depth, the whole story? Mesmerizing! I liked reading it, I truly did, and loved the layers! And then we spent 60 minutes discussing whether or not Verna was right to kill her rapist. OK, that's important too, but why 60 minutes? Here I was, looking forward to finally discussing your work, talk about the characters, the way you write, and again... none of that happened! And it wasn't even the teacher's fault, there was just too many of us and all of them eager to speak. I didn't mind that, later on as much as I did in the beginning, but we got from point A to B very slowly and I felt the same way I did before: No real answers to real questions.
I thought I was going to lose it. I was so mad. And then I thought, is this general? Does your work do this to people? They are either crazy about it or hate it and there is no in-between? The question was simple, was she right to do it or not? I said no. Everyone answering that question should've been the end of that argument, instead, everyone felt the need to keep on talking about that... OK. And perhaps the biggest problem was that it was made clear in the beginning that nobody will expect anything other than criticism from me, so even if I did try to be unbiased: it didn't live a long life.

"The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; 
there ought to be as many for love."
from: Surfacing

It still puzzles me how different my brain is from my classmates', because when I read This Is A Photograph of Me I could feel a Polaroid picture in my hands, taken of a frozen lake where a simple accident happened in a Canadian winter. Let me tell you that is not at all what the others saw! And all they said kept going further and further from my vision and I couldn't step in, I couldn't say, "Hey! Wait!". And even when I did manage to find something I could criticize - something I spend a lot of time on improving in my own works - like the dialogue in Death By Landscape, I was told "No, it's brilliant!".
I was on the verge of giving up. I had fun with Circe & Mud Poems because I've read that you watch Game Of Thrones, and the mythology behind that just brought the game to a whole other level. I started to take my mission to complete the course seriously. And while reading The Girl Without Hands I felt truly that perhaps I am not the only one out there who sometimes feels like they are in no way in control of their own faith. My enthusiasm quickly faded after reading Sunrise, but then there it was, like a gift from the gods: Isis in Darkness. I don't know how you did it, but every single word in that story was pure perfection! Richard? The main character? He was me. And I say that knowing that I am not a grown man who left his wife and doesn't care for his child. But his feelings, his heart, his foolishness? I got it all. Only two other authors before - David Lodge and Stephen King - had managed to come up with a protagonist that I could relate to so easily. This short story made its way into my heart like an arrow.
And the class started comparing him to Yvonne, the main character in Sunrise and I just--- NO! My brain shouted, I'm nothing like her! - I thought to myself. And I was very critical. Yvonne's approach to her life as an artist filled me with rage! And I might not have received awards or written the best novel of the 21st century, but I do think of myself as an artist and if I want to punch Yvonne in the face it's not because I have problems with your work! No, it's not because I am blinded by a premeditated wish to dislike any and all your works that might come may way! I remind you, I had an open mind. I remind you that I couldn't find anything wrong with Isis in Darkness, and as I read I imagined Florence Welch reading her poems to Richard and a sense of bliss ensued. I was Richard, I knew that, I was even proud of it, and I would debate anyone who said otherwise.

In the meantime I was taken out of the short stories and listened to a presentation by my best friend. She worked with your trilogy, Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009) and Maddaddam (2013), for her thesis. The presentation was wonderful, and I knew I should read this trilogy the moment I can. And then it happened: I realized what was my first problem when the sentence "The main character's rape--" was uttered and I just gave up. "OF COURSE SHE WAS RAPED! WTF MARGARET?" I shouted. In my head. Because if it wasn't my best friend out there on the podium trying to analyze your work, I don't know what would've happened.

"If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged."
from: Alias Grace

I was done.

No seriously, I was done. Why do you keep raping your protagonists? And I mean that both physically and mentally! It's not the actual rape that I have a problem with! That's the thing I have encountered in the first half of the semester: I never felt that you like the women you wrote about. Why is that? I wonder out loud if anyone had ever encountered this or is it just me? Was I wrong in supposing I could have an open mind about it all? They all suffer, go insane, they are damaged goods and not in a very inspiring way! And I can only tell from what I've read so far, but boy, it's so incredibly hard for me to identify with your protagonists! There is something wrong there - for me - let there be no mistake, this is just me! But the women? ... Is that why I liked Richard so much? I could endure his pain, he didn't make me mad, he was hurt too, yes, damaged goods like all the others, but I think you loved him. You made him something that your women lack. And I don't know what it is, god knows, if I did I wouldn't be here writing this in the first place! I do, however, feel that these women had suffered far more pain because of your pen, rather than the life they lived. (And I know you have a short story entitled Rape Fantasies, but to avoid this story turning into an angry rant I'm going to evoke salutary neglect on that one.)

"War is what happens when language fails."
from: The Robber Bride

The semester was not over yet. Next up was a series of poems, extracts from The Journals of Susan Moodie to be exact, and it all reminded me of "Landscape" by Florence And The Machine... I've found that strange, but this artist has come to my mind for the second time ever since I've been reading your works - and again due to poems - and she wasn't the only one. Music, lyrics especially kept sneaking up on me in my brain while reading and I would find myself singing. And then came the second short story where the main character was a man, George, in Wilderness Tips. A cunning fox, nevermind Hungarian, but still an exquisite character. I loved George. George made the women around him lovable as well, even the smallest of their quirks became charming, because he was a charmer! Second time a male character - despite being far from perfect - got to my heart in a matter of seconds.
Then I got to know two women and their mom, and while reading The Art of Cooking and Serving and The Boys At The Lab in my ears I could hear the lyrics "Things we lost to the flames / Things we'll never see again / All that we've amassed / Sits before us, shattered into ash." (by Bastille).
And then I realized what you do to me. It was a pleasent feeling, but if I read your work I could hear really music. And when I did, the story in front of me stayed with me. And it was strange, I'll admit, that every review I've read spoke of son, but I saw a daughter - perhaps because I saw myself - narrating the story of her sick father as he tells her about the The Labrador Fiasco. I can't tell you if the story ever said he or she, because I could never read it back. It was too real, like a picture from the future - my future - and I wasn't ready to see it yet. We also read Tricks with Mirrors, which very accurately reflected they way I let the ones I love use me - shamelessly to add - and I heard in my head "When we fall in love/ We're just falling/ In love with ourselves/ We're spiraling" (by Keane), not to mention the Variations on The Word Love, which for me had a very painful tone. Painful, yes, but something I could write myself and then You Made Your Escape and at first I felt that sense of relief when you realize that you are no longer in love, no longer have that unsatiable desire toward someone, who doesn't love you back and-- wait. "(...) nothing/ remembers you but the bruises/ on my thighs and the inside of my skull." ... This is about rape, isn't it? Goddamn it Margaret! NOT AGAIN! It was going so well for the two of us, we didn't fight anymore, we even found our common tone. What happened, I wonder, is it the fear that makes you write about it, or simply the notion that you can? Did you grow up knowing that such taboo should be talked about instead of being swept under the rug? It would be easy to tell me to avoid stories of yours with such content, but how can I? They are everywhere! Or is that the message perhaps? I don't know.

You are no fairy tale, let me tell you that!

Having had an inside look I know what it is about your style that just simply wasn't meant for me. But having written so many things, I'm not afraid to say that I will surely encounter more of your work that I will like. The Dead Hand Loves You is open here by my side right now, and I'm in chapter three in The Handmaid's Tale. However, having started writing this story I couldn't help but wish to dig deeper. I just... I had to know what was it that made it so easy for me to hate you blindly.
Then I got it. And it's stupid, you know? I feel like such a fool for not seeing it. I write myself - and all of them - all of my friends that one summer had my books. I gave it to them. I entrusted them with my work. Some people think it's easy, because I'm outgoing and have a blog and so on. It's not. Stephen King once said that "Fear is the root of all bad writing", and he wasn't lying. You said it in a way yourself in The Blind Assassin "The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read". So when I pour my heart out in my work I have to be strong enough to give it to someone else to get some feedback. Because I need the criticism, I know I do, every artist does! And that summer... that summer they all had one book in their hands. All yours. None mine.

"As with all knowledge, once you knew it, 
you couldn't imagine how it was that you hadn't known it before."
from: The Year of the Flood

I'm not sorry for having learned about you, because unlike some professors at my university from other departments who like to pretend they know every author and their every work, I at least had an actual insight. I can now participate in discussions, know where to look for your work, and who to talk to. You have inspired me, I'll admit that proudly, and I will work even harder than before. I will read more from you - might keep it to myself to avoid getting enraged in senseless conversations with people who can't recognize the depth of certain stories - because I can learn from them. As I reach the end of this very story, allow me to quote one last time Mr. King:"If you don't have time to read, you don't have time and the tools to write. Simple as that." And I take that sentence to heart.
_ _ _

And if you, reader, have reached the end of this story, you'll recognize that sometimes we can be hurt by the smallest of things and not realize it. The only thing to do is to try and find the source of that pain - that's the only way to make it stop! And if you just take the amount of work I put into this one story (with the clearly Googled, but very well positioned quotes), maybe you, dear reader, won't tell me off from now on for reading something other than Margaret Atwood.

"I would rather dance as a ballerina, though faultily, than as a flawless clown."
from: Lady Oracle

PS: Can we all agree that if they made a movie out of your life, the actress who portrays you should be Rhea Perlman? Thank you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: Avengers - Age Of Ultron

Let's crack the next item of the big Marvel movie franchise! (Contains spoilers!)

The Avengers stop a Hydra base where they discover a couple of twins with superhuman abilities as well the basis for artificial intelligence. Tony Stark uses this and with the help of Bruce Banner they create Ultron, who unfortunately sees that the only way to eradicate war and violence from the planet is to eradicate its inhabitants with it as well. He first uses the help of two superhumans, created by Hydra, who after realizing what he wishes to do turn against him and help the Avengers too, who - in the meantime - steal the perfect creation of Ultron and give life to it, Vision: an artificial intellingce made with human tissue and vibranium. He, unlike Ultron, sees that the fault of men is also part of their beauty. The team joins forces again to stop Ultron from using part of the Earth as a meteor that will crush into the planet.

Let me say that I wasn't too excited about this one. Especially because I noticed a huge mistake with Stark's storyline and I can't get over that... I'll talk about it later on. However, Ultron alone was fantastic! I don't really care about the action scenes anymore and if you ask me, you could easily confuse those robots with the chitauri they fought in the previous movie... That having been said, what makes artificial intelligence viable? The fact that they have emotions. And Ultron actually evolved during the movie. You know, I hate it when they give villains no motivation and you can't at all connect with them. Here? You know that he thinks thanks to the initial data he was given and he truly tries to do the best with that. I loved him very much - easily best villain ever on screen!
Moving on, I don't understand still why they insisted on using mutants when they don't have the rights to call them that. I did like them, they were true (as much as they could be) to their comic version, and I especially liked Quicksilver. With another version of him out there and a DC version (my favorite superhero of all time!), they really had to kick it up a bit to make him interesting still, and they did! So good job with that! Next point, I don't get what Tony was doing in this movie. Do you remember the end of Iron Man 3? He quit. Yes, he got back his last suit - which I thought was going to be Ultron, but no - and suddenly he is doing the exact same thing he was physically incapable of doing at the end of his own movie? Uhm... explanation please? I also thought there was a good set up for Civil War, between Captain and Tony, but the fairytale ending was still there so I have no idea what's going to happen next.
What worked? Hawkeye did. The creators heard the comments of the fans - people thought he was a joke - and he even recognizes his own merit and he has a background in this movie that gives such depth to his character! I loved that. And I heard people criticizing Natasha and Bruce's romance, I actually liked that. Bruce Banner is one of my favorite characters of all time and I missed his Betty - his true love - because she is the only one that can calm him. And to me it made a lot of sense that the person who could calm him now was someone he cherished in his heart. I f*cking hated the "I'm always angry." sentence in the previous movie. And the best idea of the movie? To show that the Avengers are not just these six people, it introduced new characters as well as correctly retire those who's life now has to come before that of others.

Watch it? I would say of course, but the action scenes are only funny in the beginning, then they become quite repetitive. Funny? Definitley. Sad? Of course somebody dies, it wouldn't be a Whedon film without it, but they did go about it differently than I thought they would. Surprising? Yes. If you have the feeling that you already saw this movie, don't worry about it (mostly because you are right), but the last 20 minutes will change that!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tony Stark / Iron Man - Robert Downey Jr.
Bruce Banner / Hulk - Mark Ruffalo
Steve Rogers / Captain America - Chris Evans
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow - Scarlett Johansson
Clint Barton / Hawkeye - Jeremy Renner
Ultron - James Spader
Nick Fury - Samuel L. Jackson
James Rhodes / War Machine - Don Cheadle
Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver - Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch - Elizabeth Olsen
Jarvis / Vision - Paul Bettany
Maria Hill - Cobie Smulders
Sam Wilson / Falcon - Anthony Mackie
Peggy Carter - Hayley Atwell

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's Next On My List? The Legend Of Korra

The spin-off continued with a new Avatar, a young girl from the Water Tribe who has to face adulthood sooner than she was prepared for it.

Book One - Air: Korra of the Southern Water Tribe is the next avatar after Aang. She is kept hidden for several reasons until she masters all of the elements, but her airbending training cannot start without Tenzin (Aang's son). Tenzin, however, cannot leave Republic City as the nonbenders are turning on the benders. Korra decides to move to the city - against Tenzin's approval - only to find that a man named Amon is guiding the nonbenders in a revolution. Amon is capable of taking others' bending away and as his power and followers grow stronger, so does he. Korra tries to fight him with her new found friends - brothers Mako and Bolin and a nonbender called Asami - make up Team Avatar! Korra, however, seems to be outmatched. She is unable to unlock her airbending and she has a problem with connecting to the spirit world. Aang sends her visions, dreams and she finds out that Amon is really a waterbender who learned how to bloodbend with his mind. His father was stopped by Aang and Amon feels like he is avenging not only his father, but the way he treated him and his brother all those years. Forcing them to bloodbend each other and to be away from their mother for years to learn something that is prohibited by law. Amon tries to run away with his brother, but the latter is ashamed of what his brother had done and blows up the boat they try to escape in.

Book Two - Spirits: Korra has a new problem to face. As Republic City is rebuilding itself, her uncle Unalaq asks for her help to control the balance between the living and the spirit world. During one trip to the Spirit World, Korra gets to know the legend of the first Avatar. Wan was a boy who didn't do much good in his life, until he was given the power of firebending by a great Sea Turtle Lion. Wan was supposed to give back his powers, but he understands that his kind treates the spirits in the forests unfairly. He gets onto a journey and encounters Raava and Vaatu - the spirits of good and evil - and he is tricked by the later and frees him from Raava. He learns that the two cannot be separate, or evil will become more powerful. Wan decides to find the other Sea Turtle Lions to gain bending of all elements in order to stop Vaatu. When Korra awakes, she realizes that Unalaq plans to release Vaatu again and give in to the power of the spirits. With Raava's help she manages to stop him, only to find herself disconnected from her previous lives but with spiritual energy overwhelming her world.

Book Three - Change: During the harmonic convergence Republic City gets inhabited by spirits and many nonbenders around the world wake up with the capability of airbending. Tenzin - moved by the idea that he and his children are not the only airbenders left in the world - travels around the world with Korra to gather the airbenders and teach them how to use their powers. Unfortunatey, one man achieved this power, who uses it to get free and go after Korra. This man is Zaheer, he is part of the Red Lotus - and organizations whose ideals resemble that of anarchism - as opposed to the White Lotus who swore to protect the Avatar. Zaheer goes after Korra with the help of his old crew: an earthbender who can bend lava; an armless waterbender who uses water like an extension of her arms and a firebender who can cause explosions with her mind. Zaheer also masters an ancient technique: that of an airbender monk who was able to fly. Zaheer tries to kill Korra in her avatar state to break the cycle of the Avatar. Korra fights off Zaheer, and they get the poison he injected into her out of her body as it is metal based. She is, however, broken for what seems to be forever.

Book Four - Balance: During Zaheer's attempt to find Korra and rid the world of leaders, he killed the Earth Queen and the whole Earth Kingdom is now in ruins. One of the most powerful earthbenders, Suyin Beifong of the metal clan (daughter of Toph and the sister of Lin Beifong, the chief of police), is asked to bring back balance to the Earth Kingdom, but she refuses as she finds that giving another ruler to the Kingdom is not the answer. Her right hand Kuvira, however, feels that they should and she heads out to restore balance, but driven by the power she grows to believe that Earthbenders are the greatest nation and she wishes to divide the world once again - the way it was a houndred years ago when the Fire Nation attacked. Kuvira has to be stopped, but Korra is missing. She seeks to find herself in a spiritual forest, where she encounters Toph. Toph tells her that the reason she keeps seeing nightmares is that some of the poison is still in her. Korra has to remove it herself and decides to visit Zaheer, who - realizing that with his actions he created an evil far worse then the one he was fighting - helps Korra to reach her spiritual self. Kuvira is finally stopped in Republic City - which occupies a land originally part of the Earth Kingdom - and in during their fight a new spirit portal opens up right in the heart of the city.

(This bit also appears in my review of The Last Airbender, so if you to read that first, skip to the end!)
From a critical point of view: I watched The Last Airbender series while I waited for the second season of Korra. I loved this a lot, for several reasons, but I noticed a huge difference between the two shows. All of my friends seem to have preferred either one to the other, but not me. I saw the genius behind both of them and I enjoyed the evolution from one to the other. Be honest, if they would've copied the first series it would not have been nearly as good. And I will debate anyone who doesn't feel that the first was excellent ground work for the second one!
That being said, when you watch both series, you will realize something: Korra barely has any non-benders. On one side, this is not a problem because you will also see that Korra brought bending to a whole other level! And the non-benders? They are kickass too. But, they are still limited. Asami (a beautiful and smart girl), Pema (a fierce mother), Varrick (a backstabbing business man who really only does good in the end) and his assistant Zhu Li (a bad-ass girl with the brain of a genius). And if you don't feel connection with either of these characters, you are somewhat bound to be left out, you know? Think about Sokka, the Kyoshi Warriors, the Air Acolytes who learn about the nomad cultures of airbenders, the inventors and just a series of people who have never needed bending in their life for it to be full. I think, or at least I have seen, that people found it easier to get lost in this world - or feel like they are a part of it - when they could be one of those humans themselves. And I get that. But I am for full fantasy all the time, which means, that the less it has to do with sucky reality the more I love it.
I will tell you this, however, that you should watch both series and I would even recommend starting with Korra. Why? Well, people who started with Aang's adventures had problems with the other that I never quite got my head around too - besides the ones mentioned above. Also, there is something fun about seeing what was the origin for a series. The Legend of Korra took it to a next level with several nods to the old series and a lot of inside jokes, but ultimately, you know the story is good because it stands on it own! Imagine, if you will that Korra is the era in which you live in, while that of Aang is inside a history book that comes to life when you open it. If you check out the first series while watching the second, I think you will find it a lot more fun. Getting answers to questions while they are being asked is a wonderful feeling!

If I am completely honest, if you grew up with Aang, then you should be grown up enough to enjoy Korra. So, if you don't... I just have no clue what is wrong with you. This series was spectacular: You had a fierce strong girl as your leader who admitted to having her own faults and who grew up right before your eyes. I dare you to name any female characters who are this badass! She fears death, like we all do, she loves and protects her friends, like we all do! She depends on her family as much as they depend on her and even if sometimes she thinks she is stronger than she is, she gets knocked right back into reality! It's smart, beautifully written and something I just can't wait to share with my kids! Korra is truly my hero!

Make sure you check out these four awesome seasons!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _

Korra - Janet Varney
Bolin - P.J. Byrne
Tenzin - J.K. Simmons
Asami Sato - Seychelle Gabriel
Lin Beifong - Mindy Sterling
Suyin Beifong - Anne Heche
Tonraq - James Remar
Zaheer - Henry Rollins
Amon - Steve Blum
Kuvira - Zelda Williams

Monday, April 13, 2015

What's Next On My List? (Comic) Avatar: The Last Airbender

People loved this series, and I am glad that they did because it also gave life to a series of comic books that took the time to continue the original story and give answers to questions that were left open. This is a summary of the first four series of stories that are already available, with a fifth coming later this year (2015)! I will try to summarize without giving too much away, but a few things will be discussed in more detail about the stories!

If you want the short version: You love this series? Read the graphic novels: NOW!

The Lost Adventures
The first installment was an extension of the three seasons with extra adventures among the ones we all knew from the cartoon. The idea behind it was to show more thoroughly how the relationship among the four main characters developed, as well as giving us an insight to the fact that they barely got any rest between fighting with the enemy and getting from point A to B. The novel is divided into the three books, like the series, and contains almost every character from the cartoon. We can see how the others taught the Earth King to live in the wild with his bear; what happened when Zuko encountered again the girl who knew him as Lee in Ba Sing Se; we can also read Katara's journal on how they saved Aang and got a hold of a Fire Nation ship with her father at the command. We can also see the return of Sparky Sparky Boom man (Combustion Man); Zuko practising sword fighting with Sokka, and a duel among Toph and Bumi to decide who is the best Earthbender of all time. The graphic novel contains the art work of several artists with stories ranging from the adventures of Momo and Appa, to smaller bickerings among Zuko and Azula. If you long for the old series, I highly recommend reading this while doing a marathon!

The Promise
If you watched The Legend Of Korra you will know that Republic City is a place where benders and nonbenders from all nations of the world live peacefully together. But how? If you recall, at the end of the series people were pretty set on getting rid of the Fire Nation everywhere. But a 100 years can make a lifetime of difference! The colonies have changed, in a lot of cities Fire Nation men have made up families with the Earth Nation, and vice-versa. And even if there is peace, Zuko realizes that people now hate him for forcing the citizens of the Fire Nation back into a home they no longer have - didn't have for years, as a matter of fact. But Aang becomes angry, as he feels that Zuko's refusal to go along with the reconstructionplans may have something to do with him being his father's son. Zuko takes the time to open Aang's eyes: They no longer live in a world where nations have to be separated. Slowly Aang to realizes that perhaps to live in peace together, they should indeed live together! Zuko's struggle with his demons as well as the continuous presence of his father in his mind costs him his relationship with Mae. The graphic novel had three installments and it is a great basis to understand how Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko created Republic City together for future generations.

The Search
Remember Zuko's mother? Remember how Ozai told Zuko that she is alive? Well, he wasn't lying. The next adventure brings Zuko and his friends to a small town in the Fire Nation, near to an enchanted forest where a spirit lives. This spirit, Mother of Faces, has the ability to give a person new faces and erase their memories. For this adventure Zuko decides to bring Azula along with them, who turns out had hidden a letter of their mother's that points at her being the rightful heir to the throne, but how? In the forest the gang comes across a sister and her brother, who reveal that there are five lakes in the forest, and the Mother of Faces appears from the one in which a big wolf spirit drinks from. Each time, however, they were at the wrong lake and have waited for years. When the Spirit appears, Azula uses the wish of the sister and brother to find out the location of their mother, while Aang begs the spirit to help the siblings too - but she grows tired as humans keep wanting and wanting. However, when she finds out that one of the siblings was the victim of Koh, the Face Stealer, she reveals that he was her son and she does not condone his behaviour. She helps the siblings and the gang reaches the town just in time to get Azula. I won't tell you whether or not they do find their mom, because trust me, you'll want to read this one! You'll also find out what happened to their grandfather before Ozai was coronated!

The Rift
We move to Toph, who as you know has had her share of oppression over the years. On a trip to honor an airbender tradition Toph grows tired of Aang telling her what she is supposed to do and how she is supposed to pay her respects. Even more she grows tired of Aang not even remembering what the festival they are honorating is about! They move onto a valley to continue the route of the festival when they see that there is a town there along with a factory that seems to be polluting the area around it. The workers of the factory tell Aang that they have nothing to do with the pollution, and indeed, they discover that there was also a mine underneath the surface which functioned illegally. But more problems arise, when Toph recognises her father as one of the owners of the factory and she feels the need to confront him, but he sends her away. In an accident, however, everyone except Aang falls in a trap underground and he remains on the surface, awaiting the arrival of a spirit who wishes to reclaim the land that the humans have ruined on the day of the festival of his long lost friend. Do you think the others make it out of the cave? Or that Toph can talk it out with her father? One this is sure, you'll have to read it to find out!

I loved all of these because they stayed true to the characters and although I have my imagination as to what happened between the two series, it is still fun to discover and see what the creators actually had in mind! They know the material and they know the audience they are dealing with! 10/10 to all of them! But, if I had to choose a favorite, I will go with the one that is about to come out:

What's next? This September the next trilogy will be made available, which features Mae on the cover so I am very excited :D Maybe we'll see them rekindle their relationship? I really hope so, I loved them!

Until the next item on my list: The Legend Of Korra! Stay tuned!

Want more? There is one more story that was made available at the end of Star Wars: The Assassination of Darth Vader, a one-shot comic released on May 4, 2013, as part of the annual Free Comic Book Day. This short, entitled Rebound, focused on Mae, her living in a small Fire Nation town, still very much in love with Zuko, but on a date with a nice boy. The boy really likes Mae, but he has ulterior motives, as he was told to get her to a secret layer where she is trapped by her father. Her father tells her that there is a small group within the Fire Nation who still wish to rule, but Mae has had enough war for a life time. She tells him off, and then fights off his henchmen and finds her little brother in the layer as well. She takes him with her, but we never find out where she goes. Will we in the next series? I sure hope so! :)