Hannah Templer’s graphic novel CosmoKnights introduces an exciting space-operatic world with a queer twist.
Set in a future full of human-inhabited planets, the book begins as a mechanically inclined teenage girl, Pan, aspires to one day work on the biggest and fastest ships in the galaxy. Her friend Tara wants to become a pilot, but tradition dictates that Tara is to be married off to whichever royal family wins a gladiatorial contest, a brutal showcase of fighters who compete in mechanized battle suits.
Pan helps Tara escape off-world, then five years later crosses paths with a couple of rogue women fighters who make a habit of battling in the games to win the freedom of “prize” royals. Pan joins them and is pulled into a wider resistance movement—not just against the institution of the games, but against the aristocracy itself. Then Pan receives a mysterious message from Tara, recorded years before, begging for help.
Women’s empowerment is tucked inside a message of freedom and self-determination for all. Queer representation is integrated in a natural way. Impeccable in how it is drawn and colored, the art will leave fans of BattleTech and similar armored fighting scenarios with much to appreciate. Characters and their motivations carry the story through a universe that is well built, and this first collection of a popular webcomic leaves off with a hint of bigger and better things to come. Science fiction fans in search of new frontiers should give CosmoKnights a try.
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