Cossacks (Cosaques in French) is a French historical adventure comic book series created by Vincent Brugeas, Ronan Toulhoat (who both previously created Block 109 and Chaos Team) and Yoann Guillo in 2022. It is published at Le Lombard.
The story starts in 1634. The protagonist is a young Lithuanian Hussar of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth named Karlis. He comes to resent war after a few battles and the nightmares they give him, and when he's tasked to help disarm Ukrainian Cossacks on the orders of King Władysław IV Vasa (having to kill them if they don't surrender their weapons), he disobeys, deserts and ends up joining the Cossacks, living among them and learning their ways.
The albums are as follow:
- Tome 1: Le hussard ailé (March 25, 2022) Translation
- Tome 2: Dans la gueule du loup (March 31, 2023) Translation
Cossacks provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Zahra, a Tatar woman who joined the Cossack settlement. She's a fearless Master Archer.
- The Berserker: During the battle between the Sipahi and the Polish Hussars, Sigismond fights with the rage of a relentless demon who's Not Afraid to Die.
- The Big Guy: Among the Cossacks, Vika is the tallest and strongest.
- Bow and Sword in Accord: The Sipahi use both bows and swords.
- Brown Note: Sachko uses a whistle that humans can't hear, but horses can, and it's so painful to their ears that they can run out of control and dismount the rider.
- The Cavalier Years: The comic book is set in 17th century Eastern Europe, with the protagonist initially being a Hussar from the cavalry of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. There's also the Ottoman cavalry, the Sipahi.
- The Chase: After deserting, Karlis is chased by his commander (Sigismond) and former comrades who want to kill him for doing this. Once they're exhausted of chasing him and camp for the night, Karlis sneaks in and releases their horses to give himself a chance of significantly outdistance them.
- Les Collaborateurs: Registered Cossacks are seen as pawns of the Polish oppressors by the Cossacks of the settlement, who prefer to be free.
- Cool Old Guy: Sachko is an old laid-back and freedom-loving warrior who's still a good shot with muskets, smokes a pipe, sees great potential in Karlis and takes the latter under his wing to provide exposition to him about the Cossack ways.
- Defector from Decadence: At the beginning of the story, Karlis has enough of both the bloody battles he's forced to take part to and Sigismond (his brutal and ruthless commander) and decides to desert.
- False Flag Operation: While fleeing the Polish Hussars, Karlis, Sachko, Zahra, Mativy and Vika end up in Moldavia (which is under Ottoman control), having to hide from both the Hussars and Ottoman Sipahi cavalry. Karlis has the idea to put his Hussar armor on and attack a Sipahi camp shouting "FOR THE REPUBLIC!" so the two cavalry groups will fight each other. The Hussars end up annihilated, including Sigismond, freeing Karlis and the Cossacks from that threat.
- Going Native: After deserting, Karlis bumps into a group of Ukrainian Cossacks and integrates among them, learning their ways.
- Groin Attack: Vika tried to enforce the "No women allowed" rule inside the Cossack fort on Zahra. It's said he "had trouble urinating for a few days" after that.
- Master Archer: Zahra is an excellent shot with bows.
- Nightmare Sequence: Shortly after joining the Cossack settlement, Karlis has a nightmare of Hussar comrades of his dying on the battlefield, a mysterious other Hussar charging with his sword, Sigismond firing a musket and a group of undead attacking him. Then he wakes up in panic.
- Off with His Head!: Sigismond gets beheaded in battle by the Sipahi at the end.
- Old Soldier: Sachko isn't young (his hair and mustache have turned white), but he's still a good shot with a musket.
- One of the Boys: Through her combat prowess, Zahra has earned respect from the Cossacks, who consider her pretty much the same as a male warrior.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Cossacks, natch. They're proud of being "free men", even though they owe their Polish overlords serfdom work and military service (which often leads the unregistered ones to desert and/or rebel).
- The Quiet One: Zahra doesn't talk much. Most of her lines are Thinking Out Loud.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: When she's Thinking Out Loud, Zahra points out that the Cossacks wouldn't last long as "free men" if they didn't pillage Tatar settlements from time to time (she's a Tatar herself).
- Replacement Sibling: The older brother of Karlis, who was a Hussar as well, died while hunting, and so their father forced Karlis to become a Hussar instead of a priest, which he was initially intended to become.
- Smoking Is Cool: Sachko is an old laid-back warrior who smokes the pipe and introduces Karlis to the Cossack ways.
- Sword and Gun: Sigismond's Hussars use both guns (flintlock pistols) and swords.
- Thinking Out Loud: Zahra provides exposition on the Cossacks this way, with her thoughts counter-balancing the facts Sachko embellishes about them.
- Villainous Valour: Sigismond is Not Afraid to Die against the Sipahi at the end and fights with all the rage and bravery of a berserker. Karlis recognizes both this and the fact that it allowed some of the Hussars to survive the battle.
- War Is Hell: Right at the beginning, Karlis gets nightmares from the slaughters of the battles he fought in.
- Wild Goose Chase: The day Sigismond is supposed to come at the fort to disarm or kill the Cossacks, Karlis leads him and his men on a goose chase away from the fort to give the fort's men time to prepare its defenses.