In the world of “Cosmoknights” by Hannah Templer princesses are commodities to be won by champion-gladiator-knights fighting in the arena. Unfortunately this is also where the one problem I had with this comic book becomes obvious: The lack of lore and backstory. How does this work? Why do they do this?
The story is set in a world where humans have spread over a multitude of planets and, as far as I could work out, each and every one of these planets has a royal family – do they have any kind of political relevance? Nobody knows. But one thing is clear: They have to offer up their daughters – the princesses – as prices for the tournaments. Those tournaments are big battle royal style melées, fourty space-gladiators – the cosmoknights – battling each other and whoever wins gets to marry the princess. Or not. Because apparently, there is a whole economy behind and around those tournaments and the cosmoknights are champions sponsored by … someone? Rich, entitled assholes, who don’t give a crap about anybody and just want to marry a title or get a new princess to continue their royal line, I guess. Well, basically, the whole tournament-stuff is a stand-in for the patriarchy. But still, I like lore and wish there had been more.
Apart from that though? I loved Hannah Templer’s “Cosmoknights”! The characters are adorable and awesome. Young Pan, who, as a teenager, helped the princess from her home planet to escape into the depths of space and the cosmoknight-wife-couple Bee and Cass, who help princesses escape and want to smash the patriarchy. And then there are the mysterious Kate Rose and Pan’s princess, Tara, both of whom will probably (hopefully?) feature more prominently in the next comic book. All the main characters have a unique vibe to them, their different personalities are brought to live by the author’s artwork and dialogue writing. They are also pretty varied, just as the background characters are. There’s the sapphic protagonist, the mixed race lesbian gladiator couple, the trans hacker with a prosthetic leg and finger … And a lot of different people in the background. None of this is ever a plot point, it just is, like Kate being trans – there simply is one frame where you can read the words on her tattoo: Trans Teen – Beauty Queen.
I quickly became invested in this story, mostly because Pan, who is from this little backwater planet where nothing good ever happens – especially after Pan helped the princess escape and their royal family left, more or less leading to a economical collapse – just was very relatable. It’s the details, like her blushing when she talks to someone she finds attractive, how she is kinda lost out there but still pushing through for people she adores and using her skills as a mechanic to help them be awesome and smash the patriarchy. The other characters are just as likeable, although there is not quite as much to know about them – but Cass’ backstory is really intriguing and I’m really hoping for more about Kate in the sequel. The characters are intriguing and likeable and there is just enough that’s still unknown to make me want to get to know them better.
So all in all, “Cosmoknights” by Hannah Templer was awesome. Yes, there is little to none substance to the world-building so far, but it promises to become more complex, more political in the next instalment. And, of course, the artwork is great! Yes, this is always a matter of personal preferences but the artwork is exactly to my taste and I enjoyed it a lot. I am so looking forward to another “Cosmoknights” Volume, although, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any info about one yet … Still, if gays in space, mech suit gladiator-knights and princesses smashing the patriarchy sounds like a good concept to you, then I wholeheartedly recommend this comic book!
For Fans of …
- SciFi graphic novels
- casual queerness
- gay gladiators
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