Condemned Bots Search For Redemption In The Kill Lock #2

by Brendan M. Allen

Bonded by their Kill Lock, four robots search for a cure—a way to live, and die, independently. Their only clue is a bot known as The Axial, supposed to be a creator of the Lock and keeper of its secrets. Of course, the first thing they have to do is find her… without getting themselves killed!

In The Kill Lock #2, the doomed droids are headed to a seedy planet to locate The Axial, who might hold the answer to shutting down The Kill Lock that binds them. The locals are none too keen to help and every one of the bots’ individual fatal flaws are working against them to keep the group from finding their potential salvation.

Livio Ramondelli is playing around quite a bit with religious and social themes. When it all breaks down, each of these doomed characters is doing exactly what it was created to do. Their perceived flaws were programmed in by sentient creators and they are being punished harshly for acting in accordance with their design. Punished, with unspeakable horror and certain death, for predestination. I’ve heard that somewhere before.
The art of The Kill Lock is dingy and well worn. This planet is grimy and dangerous, filled with rundown ships, decrepit buildings, and scary locals. For a book about machines, Ramondelli is pulling quite a bit of anthropomorphic emotion out of these things. Posture, ambulation, subtle little cues that give away clues to shockingly human mental state and intent.

The Kill Lock is interesting and engaging, but it seems like this chapter played out almost identically to the previous. There was that bit of backstory on The Laborer and we found out The Child’s “crime,” but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot of fresh action. New planet, sure, but… bots argue, the kid’s naiveté gets the whole group in a spot, they fight their way out. I really like this series thus far, but I do hope to see something new and mind blowing in the next chapter.

The Kill Lock #2, IDW Publishing, 22 January 2020. Story and art by Livio Ramondelli, letters by Tom B. Long, edited by David Mariotte.

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