A final chapter loaded with emotional character revelations, wicked-smart twists, and an ending sure to satisfy series readers.

Review: The Machines Play Their Hands in THE KILL LOCK #6

The final chapter of Livio Ramondelli’s surprise hit “The Kill Lock” has arrived, and it’s as brilliant an ending a mini-series could hope for. Ramondelli’s handling of character development and pacing out the histories of his cast results in an immensely satisfying and sharp ending, fitting for the trajectory of this comic. Along with his consistently incredible signature art style and sense of visual direction, Ramondelli’s final issue of “Kill Lock” will stand out as one of the most memorable finales in comics this year.

“The Kill Lock works. An individual, or a pair, you may be able to hide and survive. Four cannot. When the Artisan, the Kid, the Wraith, and the Laborer reach the end of their journey, doom seems certain, unless…”

Writing & Plot

Livio Ramondelli has maintained much of the mystery in “The Kill Lock” by withholding the backstories of its two most mysterious characters: The Wraith and The Artisan. This issue’s focus on their lives before the Lock while also resolving the prior issue‘s tragic and tumultuous events ends the series with a plot revelation that takes advantage of one character’s (no spoilers) inherent selfishness. However, watching these four machines develop to care about one another, all the while maintaining the core aspects of their individuality, makes for a fantastic and emotionally compelling journey. Much of this comic relies on flashbacks, which are so well-constructed and fascinating that they never detract from the present story. Ramondelli’s ending to this story is both bittersweet and fittingly shocking, with the incredible amount of humanity injected into these robots crescendoing into a beautifully memorable character-driven story that is riveting from beginning to end.

Art Direction

I’ve been singing the praises of Livio Ramondelli’s artwork on “The Kill Lock” ever since the first issue arrived, and now here I am to do the exact same thing. The writer and artist of this mini-series get travels into some new territory on this finale, with the addition of some ethereal and dreamlike sequences during the story’s final moments. Outside of his general beautiful renderings, his direction and focus on character is what makes “Kill Lock” truly special. Ramondelli is able to somehow make the expressionless steel-plate faces of robots some of the most believably expressive comic characters I’ve ever seen. Much of this has to do with how he frames his cast based on context. The Wraith staring upwards into a white void as he awaits his banishment is full of tragedy, although the character wears only a blank metal visage. The artisan plotting his scheme for diabolical greatness is so obvious just from how Ramondelli frames the robot in the panel; obvious to the point that he might as well be rubbing his hands together and cackling. The lettering of Tom Long on “The Kill Lock” has been outstanding from the beginning of the series to the end, with different and unique fonts for each character that perfectly encapsulate their personalities and make it easy to imagine how they sound. Ramondelli’s sensibilities with visual storytelling, as well as his overall artistic talent, are the aspects that make “The Kill Lock” stand out as a fantastic series.

“The Kill Lock” #6 is an emotionally satisfying finale with a fittingly character-driven twist. The steady development of these four exiled machines has been a riveting journey to watch unravel under Livio Ramondelli’s skill as both a writer and a visual storyteller. The sense of pace, characterization, and worldbuilding are matched by his incredible painted artwork and panel direction. With excellent lettering by Tom Long, this entire mini-series has been a joy to experience, and this final issue makes it one of the most easily recommendable reads of the past year. Be sure to grab this final issue when it hits the shelves of your local comic shop on 7/29!


Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
A final chapter loaded with emotional character revelations, wicked-smart twists, and an ending sure to satisfy series readers. Review: The Machines Play Their Hands in THE KILL LOCK #6