Writer/artist Livio Ramondelli's (Transformers Galaxies: Constructicons Rising, Optimus Prime) new creator-owner, robo-centric series for IDW Publishing, The Kill Lock #1, is steeped in robot lore, with its compelling narrative and arresting artwork featuring a foursome of oddly interconnected androids — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at the newly released debut issue.
Written and drawn by the veteran Transformers artist, Ramondelli's riveting saga finds four robots embarking on a perilous trek to stay alive. Each one has been found guilty of irredeemable crimes and subsequently banished from their home world, linked together by the Kill Lock—a lethal programming link that means if one of them encounters an early death, they all will.
The unfolding tale follows a soldier, an addict, a murderer, and a child who find themselves forced to protect each other's destiny while desperately hunting for a cure to survive after being marooned on a backwater planet.
"I began this series with a premise of what would it be like to have your life depend on protecting and being protected by your least favorite people you’ve ever met?," Ramondelli tells SYFY WIRE. "What kind of situation could get a psychopath to protect an innocent kid? Or for a moral soldier to find himself in the company of those he would formerly have been responsible for protecting society from?
"The Kill Lock is a story of four robots from very different classes of society (a guilt-stricken Soldier, an addict Laborer, a psychotic Engineer and an innocent Kid) being sentenced to a lethal punishment where if one of them dies, they all do."
Ramondelli offered up his character breakdowns of the motley crew of metallic miscreants:
THE ARTISAN: If you were used to only the finest comforts of high society, and then you got exiled to a backwater ice planet because the higher-ups didn't appreciate you murdering your coworkers -- you'd probably be pretty pissed too. And that's where we find The Artisan at the start of The Kill Lock.
THE WRAITH: This is the big ass-kicker of the group, right at home on hellish war missions in the deepest corners of space. After centuries of noble service to a vast crusading army, he was sentenced for a lapse in obedience on the battlefield.
THE LABORER: This guy loves a drink. A worker of the least respected class of robot, sentenced for a crippling personal addiction and the horrific accident it caused.
THE KID: A true innocent, an unfinished model, sentenced for being defective in the eyes of a society demanding perfection.
As an added bonus in the gallery below, Ramondelli has also shared his process art for a sneak peek at The Kill Lock #4 and his techniques for creating the series' artwork. This particular page reveals a character begging for mercy from an off-screen threat, and things don’t go too well for him.
Starting with traditional pencil-on-paper line art, Ramondelli scans in the page and works digitally in Photoshop, where he places flat color under the line art. Next, shadows and highlights are added, giving shapes more depth and dimension, followed by texture and atmospheric effects, in this case smoke and fire. Finally, he makes a last lighting pass to give panels their overall color, hue, and mood.
Now enter the wild worldbuilding of IDW's The Kill Lock #1 and let us know if this enticing new sci-fi series might earn a spot on your 2020 pull list.