In the Avatar Universe, there are two characters who stand above the rest: Avatar Aang and Avatar Korra. Each being the stars of their own series, fans have been enamored watching them grow from inexperienced benders to fully fledged protectors of the world. They are what drive the shows and comics. Simultaneously, they are our connection to that universe as well as the connection between the physical and spirit worlds. Avatar Aang was the protagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender. After being frozen for 100 years, he awoke to a world dominated by the Fire Nation. Not only did he need to master three other elements, but he had to do so before Sozin's Comet arrived and Fire Lord Ozai used it to destroy the world.
Avatar Korra was the protagonist of The Legend of Korra. Birthed in a time of piece, she was a natural at her art, but didn't understand the seriousness of war. After several villains tried to take over Republic City and quench the Avatar for good, Korra had to learn to be true to herself and tap into all sorts of reserves to save the day. Both of these Avatars were the strongest characters in the universe. They both mastered four elements and protected the world numerous times. However, which one do you think would win in a fight? Who among these Avatars is the most powerful bender in the series? With both of these Avatars pitted against each other, here are 10 reasons why Aang is the most powerful bender and 10 reasons why it's Korra.
20 AANG: MASTER AIRBENDER
When we first meet Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, he already his airbending tattoos. Only masters of the art can get them, leading to Aang becoming one of the youngest in history. Before he learned the rest of the elements, Aang was already a competent fighter, capable of using his airbending to take on several Fire Nation soldiers at a time.
He could fly, run at high speeds, and even zip around his opponents with ease. While Korra eventually learned how to airbend, she was never as strong in the art as Aang was, even in the latter half of her show.
19 KORRA: MASTERY OF THREE ELEMENTS
While it doesn't quite make sense in the context of the Avatar Universe, Korra had a strong grasp of fire, water, and earth when she was just a little kid. By the time she was 16, she had practically mastered those three elements and was better than most of the Order of the White Lotus.
This made Korra a serious fighter when she went to Republic City, as she was able to take on gang leaders and even compete in the pro-bending arena without any prior knowledge or experience. Aang didn't quite master all four elements by the time the series was done, but Korra started hers with a strong grasp of three.
18 AANG: TAKE BENDING AWAY
Leading up to his confrontation with Fire Lord Ozai, Aang began to wonder if it was right to take his life, no matter how bad of a person he was. On his journey of self-discovery, Aang came upon a Lion Turtle who taught him the art of energybending. Aang would then use this ancient art to end his battle with Ozai by taking the Fire Lord's bending away.
Korra herself could never unlock this ability. While she discovered how to restore bending after Amon's bloodbending took it away, that skill was only given to her because Aang taught it in her hour of need.
17 KORRA: STRONG WITHOUT BENDING
If there's one visual difference between Aang and Korra, it's their respective statures. Aang was a much nimbler character but Korra, on the other hand, was lean and muscular. While this came from years of training, it also reflected her abilities outside of bending. Korra had a strong grasp of martial arts and could easily fight people without bending.
Even when the Chi Blockers started to prevent her from bending, she still fought against them and was quite effective. Without his bending, Aang would be essentially helpless, having neither his enhanced agility or defensive arts to back him up, especially during his series.
16 AANG: CONNECTED TO HIS SPIRITUAL SIDE
One of the responsibilities of the Avatar is to connect with the Spirit World. That includes communicating and traveling with spirits as well as connecting to their past lives. Being raised by the Air Nomads, Aang already had a strong understanding of the importance of spirituality. Without a teacher, he managed to travel to the Spirit World all on his own as well as communicate with his past lives.
His connection to the spirits made him a much stronger threat, as he was even able to call on his past lives to help him in the real world. Korra constantly struggled with her spiritual connection, even losing it altogether at the hands of Unalaq.
15 KORRA: HEALER
A rare extension of waterbending is healing. Not every waterbender possesses this ability, but those that do are given an edge in their travels. Korra was a healer taught by the best in the world: Katara. As such, she could heal serious injuries for herself and her friends with great skill. It became extremely useful in a pinch, as Korra was almost as good as her teacher.
While Aang proved to be a natural waterbender, he never learned how to use it for healing. That was always Katara's greatest asset, so Aang was more focused on using it in combat and traversal than anything else.
14 AANG: MASTERY OF THE AVATAR STATE
For the majority of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang struggled with the Avatar State. When in great distress or emotional peril, Aang would uncontrollably enter the Avatar State, taken over by his emotions, whether it be grief or rage. He eventually learned how to control the Avatar State at the end of Book 2 before mastering it in the series finale.
At just age 12, Aang had full control of the Avatar State and could enter and exit it freely. Korra had trouble accessing the Avatar State due to her lack of connection with her past lives. After Zaheer did his damage, Korra never quite remained the same in regard to the Avatar State.
13 KORRA: METALBENDER
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, metal was one of the strongest elements in the world because earthbenders couldn't get around it. However, Toph Beifong eventually discovered that metal was just a form of earth, so she learned to bend it. Thus, metalbending became an extension of earthbending.
Because of how advanced a technique it was, Aang could never learn it, especially considering his struggle learning earthbending in the first place. Korra, on the other hand, proved to be a natural. Under the tutelage of Toph's daughter, she learned to metalbend and became the first metalbending Avatar to ever walk the Earth.
12 AANG: HAD THE GREATEST TEACHERS IN THE WORLD
Korra had people to help her hone her skills, but she didn't get a true master to teach her until Tenzin helped her learn airbending. Aang, on the other hand, had plenty of masters to teach him his various arts. The monks taught him how to airbend, and he became one of the best in the world. Master Pakku and Katara both taught Aang to waterbend.
Jeong Jeong and Prince Zuko taught him firebending, and they both mastered a level that most Fire Nation soldiers couldn't dream of. Then there was Toph, who taught Aang earthbending. She was arguably the strongest earthbender in the Avatar Universe. Aang's teachers were the cream of the crop.
11 KORRA: POWERHOUSE
There's no denying that Korra has a lot of strength behind her. While she does have quite the temper, she has the skills and power to back it up. When she uses her bending, she usually leaves a path of destruction behind her.
Even without help from the Avatar State or her connection to spirits, Korra managed to become one of the strongest benders in the world and was even capable of tackling Amon and his bloodbending. Korra's raw strength made her a force to fear in the eyes of the world, and it's unfortunately what led to some villains choosing to oppose her.
10 AANG: 12-YEAR-OLD AVATAR
Most Avatars aren't told they're the Avatar until they're 16 years old. After that point, they begin training across the world to master all four elements. Aang was told when he was just 12 years old and was forced to learn the elements in a rushed frame of time. Against all odds, Aang succeeded in learning how to bend each element and master the Avatar State.
He was 12 years old when he defeated Fire Lord Ozai and became a fully realized Avatar. This made him the youngest Avatar to become fully trained in all of their skills. Keep in mind that Aang also did this without a spiritual guide, which Korra had and it still didn't seem to help her much.
9 KORRA: SPIRIT TITAN
After a battle with Unalaq and Vaatu, Raava was removed from Korra's body and her identity as the Avatar seemingly destroyed. However, Korra meditated in the Tree of Time and somehow unlocked an ability that made her powerful enough to take on the massive enemy that was making its way to Republic City.
Taking the form of a spirit titan, Korra suddenly became one of the most powerful entities in the world. In all of Aang's adventures, he was never able to perform a feat like that, but that was most likely because there was no Tree of Time in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
8 AANG: INCREDIBLE SPEED
As Aang was already an airbending master by the start of Avatar: The Last Airbender, he had access to all sorts of clever tricks that aided him in his quest to defeat the Fire Nation. One such skill was his speed and agility. Aang could utilize his airbending to run at breakneck speeds and elude even the fastest of Fire Nation soldiers.
Likewise, his agility made him extremely difficult to catch. He could dodge all sorts of attacks and make his enemies take themselves down without throwing a single blow. Aang could also apply this to his gliding and air scooter, which made him a powerful bender when taking on the Fire Nation drill.
7 KORRA: CALM SPIRITS WITH WATERBENDING
In Book Two of The Legend of Korra, the spirits are going on a rampage in the real world. It's then that Korra's uncle Unalaq shows that he learned how to appease these spirits with waterbending. Just by using some fancy trick, he could cause those spirits' temper to go down so they would return to their world in peace.
Despite Unalaq's sinister intentions for the world, Korra learned how to do this from him and use it for good. Aang didn't learn how to appease the spirits with waterbending. As a matter of fact, he had more of a hands-on approach and would get up close with the spirits.
6 AANG: LEVEL-HEADED
Remaining calm in the most dire of situations is the mark of a good warrior, and Aang mastered this aspect in spades. While he tended to be more scared and erratic during the first book, he quickly learned to keep his cool as the series went on.
This allowed him to make smarter decisions in the heat of the moment, like crushing the drill by disrupting its "stance" or evading Admiral Zhao's onslaught of fire blasts. Korra was much different. She got frustrated easily, which led to her fighting with less strategy and care. Her greatest opponents would capitalize on this and cause her to lose the fight.
5 KORRA: DOESN'T HOLD BACK
Aang had a struggle with taking lives. He never wanted to seriously injure anyone, so he learned how to take bending away. Korra isn't quite the same. She isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty and would easily end some of her foes if it meant saving the rest of the world. Couple that with her fiery temper, and it's easy to see why Korra tends to not hold back in fights.
There were times when Aang would pull his punches to keep his moral compass intact whereas Korra would keep fighting until she was certain that she won. This makes her a bit more dangerous in battle, as she usually pulls out all the stops.
4 AANG: OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
Aang's greatest combat strategy in Book One of Avatar: The Last Airbender was to evade and strike. He would often solve his problems by being quick or clever, using a more defensive strategy to get ahead. However, after getting some earthbending lessons from Toph, Aang knew that wasn't always the best way.
This culminated in his fight with Fire Lord Ozai, where he had to combine a balanced mix of offensive and defensive moves to beat him. Korra was much more offensive and aggressive. She never seemed to properly learn how to fight defensively, which made her a glass cannon and easily exploitable by her enemies.
3 KORRA: CONNECTION WITH RAAVA
While Korra might not have the same spiritual connection that Aang had, she does have one thing that he doesn't: a direct connection with Raava the Avatar Spirit. By communicating and being with Raava, Korra can tap into powers and abilities that other Avatars wouldn't have touched.
Communicating with Raava also gives her a fundamental understanding of how to communicate with other spirits too, which led to her keeping the bridge between those two worlds open. Aang had a lot of wisdom from his past lives at any point in time, but he never tapped into the spirit that created the Avatar.
2 AANG: INNER STRENGTH
The strength of an Avatar is often directly related to who is bending all four elements. Avatar Aang had an appreciation for life but an unyielding drive to do just about anything for the sake of the world. Even though all odds were against him, he still fought for the entire world at age 12. Aang had a lot of inner strength and drive that allowed him to do crazy things and eventually save the day.
Korra has inner strength, but her level of intent doesn't seem on the same level as Aang's. She seems to act brashly and selfishly several times, whereas Aang, when it came to fighting, always did it for the good of those around him. He was ready to lose his life for the world.
1 KORRA: LONGER TRAINING
In terms of how they mastered the elements, Korra would have an edge against Aang. She had years to learn fire, water, and earth, whereas Aang only had several months. This would make Korra a much more knowledgable fighter when it came to using those arts in battle. By the time The Legend of Korra began, she was presumably a master of those three elements.
Even when Avatar: The Last Airbender ended, Aang still hadn't mastered fire or earth, yet he fought the Fire Lord anyway. This could be used as a testament to Aang's abilities, but speaking practically, we have to give the edge to Korra.