The fourth issue of Livio Ramondelli’s “The Kill Lock” brings this motley crew of machines together like a dysfunctional family, just before an unpredictable climax. The stellar characterization combines with Ramondelli’s gorgeous art and Tom Long’s letters to create what may be the most easily enjoyable issue thus far.
“If their sources are right, they’re on the World of the Cure—the one and only place to have the Kill Lock removed and for four robotic criminals to save their lives. But will this barren world provide their salvation… or their destruction?”
Writing & Plot
Livio Ramondelli‘s winning formula with “The Kill Lock” has always been his focus on characterization, and using that to bolster the plot and worldbuilding. Issue #4 spends some time on the backstory for “The Wraith,” and it once again feels earned. The story learned about the character is utilized in the rest of the issue. The quartet’s shifting attitudes towards one another (which comes out of necessity) isn’t forced into the plot. Ramondelli was clever to deliver this sort of writing after the ominous foreshadowing in the prior issue. Making “The Kid” the lynchpin for the whole group is a choice backed up by the necessity for survival, but watching them bond over both him and their circumstances is truly a joy to read. This issue’s tumultuous events in the latter half following the lighter scenes increase the stakes exponentially going forward, and it will be nervewracking to see what happens as the story heads into the climax.
Livio Ramondelli’s artistic mastery of desolate environments and unique robots extends into “Kill Lock” #4. His ability to make wholly unique designs for the four central characters (as well as extras) that also display considerable personality through only body language is wildly impressive. As an artist first and foremost, Ramondelli knows how to let the visuals speak for themselves, which is why his characters exhibit so much through the posture or the framing of images. The used future aesthetic of this universe, replete with burned-out deserts and uninhabitable tundras, reinforces the desperate tone of the series. The Lettering from Tom B. Long fluctuates in font and style depending on who’s speaking just as it should, but it’s the Wraith’s font that gets the most special treatment. His lettering is reminiscent of some sort of medieval-esque text, and it genuinely plants that character’s manner and speech in a way that the art and dialogue couldn’t possibly do alone. The visual work here is once again a gorgeous tandem of character focus and world design.
“The Kill Lock” #4 is another meticulously crafted chapter in this surprise Sci-Fi hit. Livio Ramondelli’s handling of character development feels natural and is timed perfectly to max out tension before the major climax. His visual work further allows for focus on the four characters as they face hostile environments. This, along with Tom Long’s thoughtful lettering, makes for a consistently stellar series that never fails to impress and engage. Be sure to keep picking this series up from your local comic shop when this issue hits shelves on 3/25.