The Kill Lock by author and illustrator Livio Ramondelli
The Kill Lock is a surprisingly emotional entry to the science fiction graphic novel genre. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it but it ended up delivering on every front.
It’s a fairly simple premise set in a distant future where there seem to be more sentient robots than organic life left in the universe. The Kill Lock follows four of these robots who have been sentenced to death. They do this by attaching their programming to each other and banishing them to an isolated world.
The kill lock program will activate when any one of them dies. Once one dies, they all die. The book never really discusses why this roundabout means of execution is used in this time but it doesn’t really matter. It simply serves to get these four very different personalitites in the same place.
The four in questions are The Artisan, The Wraith, The Laborer, and The Kid. The Artisan is the worst. He’s an engineer who designs other “lesser” robots. He takes a lot of pride in having designed the upgraded version of The Laborer and mocks him for being outdated. He’s cruel and manipulative.
The Laborer is a blue collar working class robot with a drinking problem. The Wraith is a big scary kill bot with a heart of gold and a thirst for knowledge. The Kid is an unfinished and flawed model that has been sentenced to death for being broken.
The book follows this oddball group as they attempt to find a way to release themselves from the kill lock. They have to keep each other alive solely for self preservation. For no other reason, because they certainly do not like each other.
The plot and characters are extremely well written. You will see a lot of humanity’s best and worst in these robot characters. The art is also stunning.
I like that the robots aren’t humanoid. They look like robots, like machines. Also, the color work is just breathtaking. The author/illustrator really captured the galactic feel. It’s helps that robots can go into any atmosphere, the possibilities for unusual terrain are endless and thoroughly explored.
There is a bit of a twist ending that actually works and is surprising without being meaningless. Best of all, there is an actual ending! I always get excited when a graphic novel is complete and not a set up for a series that will never get finished.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Kill Lock from beginning to end and highly recommend it to any science fiction fans. You’ll love how much empathy you’ll feel for these robots. How much anger one can make you feel. And just how engaging this book really is.
5/5 robots 🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖
If you like The Kill Lock check out this indie sci fi novel Kludged Singularity
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