Ruins of the Empire is a graphic novel trilogy set in the Avatar universe, following the events of The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars. The second graphic novel trilogy based on The Legend of Korra, it is written by franchise co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino, with art by Michelle Wong and Vivian Ng. The first issue of the series was released on May 21, 2019, with the release dates for the second and third issues to be announced.
The Earth Kingdom prepares for its first elections, but finds itself threatened by its past when remnants of the Earth Empire seek to undermine the nation's democratic efforts, even as Kuvira stands trial for her crimes. When Korra, Asami, Mako and Bolin don't see eye-to-eye on the situation, Korra must decide who to trust as drastic measures are taken to halt a new march to war.
The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire provides examples of:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Korra brings up the idea of having Kuvira assist against Commander Guan, everyone present lists off her crimes, including threatening Bolin's life, Mako nearly blowing off his arm zapping the Colossus' core, wrecking Republic City, killing Hiroshi, and ruining Wu's coronation. Wu admits he should have led with that.
- Accentuate the Negative: Kuvira accuses the judges at her tribunal of doing this after the charges against her are read out, arguing that they're eager to condemn her acts of tyranny in the Earth Kingdom while ignoring the fact that she stopped it from being overrun by chaos and anarchy. Suyin, however, argues that Kuvira's just refusing to take responsibility for her crimes.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: Guan decides to field himself and candidates loyal to him for the Earth Kingdom elections, legitimizing the Earth Empire through democracy. Since the elections are open, all he has to do is present the proper paperwork to apply. Given the lackluster candidates he's up against, it's a serious concern that he could pull it off.
- Big Bad: Commander Guan, an Earth Empire officer whom Kuvira put in charge of the southern part of the Earth Kingdom, and who refused to surrender after Kuvira's defeat.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Regarding Kuvira and bringing her to Gaoling. On one hand, she may be the best way to avoid a bloodbath. On the other, she has committed extremely serious crimes and is almost impossible to trust.
- Brainwashed: Guan uses brainwashing to create candidates for the Earth Kingdom elections that are completely loyal to him.
- The consequences of King Wu's decision to allow democratic elections in the Earth Kingdom are going to be focused on here.
- The latter half of Part 1 takes place near Gaoling, the town where Toph lived before joining the Gaang.
- While the method is different, the research at Commander Guan's camp is not too dissimilar to what Jet was subjected to by the Dai Li.
- Kuvira's prison seems to be the same complex that Zaheer was seen in during Beyond the Wilds.
- Consulting a Convicted Killer: Similar to Zaheer before, except this time Korra is asking for insight on her foe.
- Enemy Mine: Bringing Kuvira to help at all is seen as this, a sentiment that Kuvira does not really blame.
- Flashback: We see a a flashback to Kuvira's childhood. Her parents accuse her of breaking a vase, which she denies, so they take her toys and lock her in her room. She responds by Earthbending a hole in the wall and running off.
- Properly Paranoid: Asami builds remote-activated electrodes into Kuvira's belt so she can shock her unconscious at a moment's notice, which comes in handy when Kuvira starts a fight with Guan that threatens to get out of hand fast.
- Psychic Strangle: Kuvira uses the metal shoulder pads on Guan's uniform to choke him, just like she did to Varrick in "Enemy at the Gates". Guan won't back down, however, so Asami shocks her unconscious before things spiral out of control.
- Reality Ensues:
- Even though Kuvira may have seen the error of her ways and surrendered, it doesn't mean that all of her supporters will do the same. She also still defaults to her previous methods when talking doesn't work, as Guan gets a first-hand taste of.
- Any kind of political reform on a national scale will take time to implement; it's at least three months since King Wu confided his plans to introduce democracy to Korra and Mako before the first election is held, and the process is expected to take around a year to complete, which is considered to be an unrealistic timetable given the scale involved.
- Furthermore, the two magistrates running for Gaoling's governorship are from "the outdated bureaucracy" (Wu's own words), and both look old enough they may have once served King Kuei. Just because democracy was being introduced does not mean that the old order instantly vanishes into the ether.
- It's worth noting that while the Earth Kingdom is willing to give the Democracy thing a try, it's also difficult for a kingdom to try a new way of life after years of Monarchical rule. It's really hard to determine if the people's choices for leaders are really what they want or if it's just them reverting to old habits.
- The ugly side of freedom and democracy rears its head with Guan; and while Korra and Wu believe in the good of a democratic system, people like Guan can just as easily use it for their own ends as well.
- The Remnant: Commander Guan commands a group of Earth Empire soldiers following Kuvira's surrender and the disbandment of the Earth Kingdom.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Guan's proving himself to be quite the crafty commander. His limited military force isn't enough to seriously challenge the United Republic, so he lies low until Wu announces elections in the Earth Kingdom. Sensing an opportunity, he decides to enter himself and those loyal to him in the elections, allowing him to legitimize a new Earth Empire through democracy in a way that prevents that Avatar from stopping him without undermining herself. He also knows better to accept any Trial by Combat, which he would lose. Finally, he has brainwashed voters like the Dai Li did to Jet back in A:TLA to further hedge his bets.
- You Killed My Father: Asami still holds Hiroshi's death against Kuvira.