Review – The Kill Lock #1 (IDW Publishing)

The Kill Lock #1 (IDW Publishing) cover (detail) by Livio Ramondelli
  • Writing - 8.5/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
User Review
4 (1 vote)

The Kill Lock #1

Writer: Livio Ramondelli
Artist: Livio Ramondelli
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Maturity Rating: Mature
Release Date: December 25, 2019

Four robots, all sentenced for different crimes, but all linked together by the kill lock. If one dies, they all die. But is there a cure?


“Survivor” The Kill Lock #1

The Kill Lock #1 is the start of an all-new six-issue sci-fi mini-series from the mind of Livio Ramondelli. We are introduced to four very different robots that are all linked together by the “kill lock”, a specific form of punishment for their world’s worst criminals. Stranded on a far-off world, sent to survive either alone or together, if one dies they all die. A soldier, a murderer and an addict have all committed crimes that brought this sentence upon them. But what could have a child done to deserve the “kill lock”? As the four try to survive the terrain, locals, and each other, rumors arise of a cure!


The Kill Lock #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Livio Ramondelli
The Kill Lock #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Livio Ramondelli

The Kill Lock #1 was another one of those series I came into knowing absolutely nothing about except the title. So, I had no idea what I was in for or any general story points besides what was on the cover. It is a strong sci-fi concept from Ramondelli. We are obviously dealing with some advanced technology and robots that are sentient and value life and death. The story gets more and more interesting as Ramondelli starts to delve into these four very different characters.

I was not sold completely at first, though. The first half of the story didn’t really jive with me. It was not until we got into the main crux of the story and the characters really started developing that I started digging the story. By the end of the issue, I did appreciate the buildup and slow start to the beginning of the issue. Though it was a little rough to get into, it let us know more about some of the characters we are dealing with.

The Kill Lock #1 has a very interesting story point as well. I won’t spoil the issue, but it has very human connections as each robot is dealing with their sentence and the repercussions of their “crimes”. We don’t know exactly what happened with each of them, but from the preview summary of a murderer, a soldier, an addict, and a child, you can kind of come up with an idea for each of them (except the child) of what landed them with the “kill lock”. It also helps build up an interest in what exactly happened to land them here.


Much like the story, the art in The Kill Lock #1 took me a little adjusting to at the beginning. Ramondelli has a kind of “painterly” style that for some reason took me off guard and I had a little trouble visually at the beginning. After I adjusted to the style I loved the tense, gloomy atmosphere he painted for the story. The dark coloration works extremely well on the snow planet we are landed on. The dark, clouded mountains, the snow-covered plains, and the wind blowing shawls and clothing sets the mood perfectly for the story unfolding.

Ramondelli also has a nice detailed style, as well. His thinner ink lines bring out some wonderful, almost “sketchy” details. He has some great robot designs, as well. Each character has a very unique design that is not only fun to look at but brings about a sense of “self” to the characters and makes them unique among themselves visually.

Ramondelli does some solid panel work in The Kill Lock #1, as well. He does a great job of telling the story visually with his layouts and structure of his panels. He builds up tension and/or ramps up the drama by changing the structure and size in the right places. Also, changing the viewing perspective or using shadows to his storytelling advantage makes for some great pacing.


The Kill Lock #1 was one of those weird books for me. I had no clue what it was about and just started reading it. Also, it did not click for me right off the bat. It took until about halfway through to where I came around on the art and story and really started digging it. By the end of the issue, I was hooked and excited to see where the story was going and more about these characters.

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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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