Title text: Of all the nations, the armies of the ununoctium-benders are probably the least intimidating. The xenon-benders come close, but their flickery signs are at least effective for propaganda.
In the popular children's TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, the four nations that inhabit the world can each control one of the four classical elements: water, earth, fire and air. One person, the avatar, can control all four elements and is markedly more powerful than any other character. Dmitri Mendeleev is the creator of the modern periodic table, which categorizes the 118+ elements by their atomic number.
The comic is comparing the control over more magical power with more practical, "science-y" power. Fire, boulders, and storms may be more impressive visually, but science has proven time and again the "boring" can have very practical, very deadly applications.
The title text talks about power levels of the elements if each element had a controlling nation as per the TV show. Ununoctium (1-1-8-ium) was the placeholder name for Oganesson, the 118th element. It did not officially gain its permanent name until late 2016, 5 years after this comic was released. Oganesson is the heaviest element that has been created, as well as the one with the shortest life before it decays into other elements. Xenon is a noble gas with few practical applications, but it is sometimes used in "neon" signs.
- [Aang the Avatar and Dmitri Mendeleev stand in opposition to each other. Aang wields all 4 classical elements: Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.]
- Aang: I'm the avatar, master of all 4 elements!
- Mendeleev: Really? I'm Mendeleev, master of all 118+.
- Mendeleev: That was polonium-bending. You probably didn't feel anything, but the symptoms of radiation poisoning will set in shortly.
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