Writer and artist Livio Ramonelli’s “The Kill Lock” #5 brings a climax of devastating proportions. An intense mix of brutality, suspense, and tenderness, this fifth chapter is the most high-stakes issue of this riveting sci-fi comic series.
“Run down. Beat up. On their last legs. The Linked know that this is their final chance to find a cure for The Kill Lock. Face-to-face with the last hope for salvation, will it be relief or pain? If one dies… they all do.”
Writing & Plot
On the verge of supposedly finding the “cure” for the Kill Lock, the four robot leads – the Artisan, the Wraith, the Laborer, and the Kid – find themselves fighting for their lives. Ramondelli has terrific sensibilities when staging fight sequences – a skill probably honed with his work on IDW’s Transformers comics – and this issue may have the best yet. The visceral action is met with the usual stellar dialogue that varies greatly among the characters both primary and extra. Most of the dialogue in this chapter is a conversation between just two of the bots, and while it’s naturalistic and well-written, it could be considered a bit long-winded. Again, however, Ramondelli’s ear for dialogue is just as good as his artistic skill, so this may come off as nothing more than a nitpick. This is a taut and emotionally tense issue that proves once again that Ramondelli is just as good a writer as he is an artist.
Speaking of art, “The Kill Lock” #5 is yet another stunning chapter to behold. The painted-style visuals of both the machines and the desolate tundra planet they find themselves on are marvelous as ever. The unique looks of the robots themselves – from the lanky cyclops in the Artisan to the walking medieval tank of the Wraith – add to their characteristics and personalities just as much as their dialogue does. The used future aesthetic of the distant planets the cast visits make for striking atmospheric tone, granting these protagonists’ lonesome journey a sense of scale and magnitude. Being an artist as well as a writer, Ramondelli understands how to work the magic of the comics medium. There are many wordless panels that let the art do the storytelling, whether they be fight sequences or contemplative moments of silence. The lettering from Tom Long may be his best yet on this issue, as the arrival of some new faces sees an even greater use of his unique individual fonts for each droid. Once again, “The Kill Lock” #5 is just a riveting to look at as it is to read.
“The Kill Lock” #5 is this series’ climactic chapter before the finale, and it’s likely the most gripping chapter thus far. Intense fight sequences interlace with suspenseful dialogues between protagonist and antagonist, leading up to an ending that will make the wait for next month’s issue near unbearable. Be sure to pick up this issue when it hits stands at your local comic shop on 6/9!