This Looks Cool: The Kill Lock Returns With The Artisan Wraith

 Welcome to a new feature we're trying out here at Panel Patter, "This Looks Cool!" It's a chance for us to highlight an upcoming series we think Panel Patter readers might be interested in checking out and putting on their advanced pull lists. 

I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that the quirky quintet that was the kill lock in 2020 is back with a sequel. The barbaric and dark humored adventurous story by Transformer mainstay, Livio Ramondelli, banded together a cast of unlikely and unsung anti-heroes that immediately stole my heart. I fell for all four of those despicable and beautifully flawed delinquents. Steady those quivering knees, folks. The Kill Lock has circled back.

Livio Ramondelli, the renowned illustrator beloved by fans for a decade of atmospheric Transformers storytelling, returns to his labor of love, The Kill Lock, with its first-ever sequel series entitled The Kill Lock: The Artisan Wraith. The debut comic book in this vicious and darkly funny sci-fi miniseries will arrive in March, written and illustrated by Ramondelli and published by IDW.

The original Kill Lock series, a captivating cult hit released in 2019 and 2020, introduced four sentient robots -- a soldier, an addict, a murderer, and a child -- who were bound together by a “Kill Lock” as punishment for irredeemable crimes. If one of them dies, they all will… a fate that forces them to protect each other while searching for a cure for their seemingly inevitable, linked deaths.

While the Transformers weren’t the flagship of my youth (the reigning champion for that title is reserved for those turtles in a half shell), but those robots in disguise sure did hold their own; and I every time I see Optimus Prime lead the charge against a tyrannical fleet of proverbial lifted trucks my fist follows suit into the air and immediately above my headspace. (Simultaneously and coincidentally while also ironically improving my own very real and very fragile headspace). 

So, Ramondelli has made a home at IDW as one of the Transformers creators for the ongoing acclaimed series as well as turning the classic robots in space sub-genre sideways with his own story in The Kill Lock. The first series was a riot and a flat-out-funny-as-hell-good-time and I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. High-octane action, brilliant backgrounds, and razor sharp wit from a group of swinging and swearing robots is exactly what kind of fun we need right now. 

Here is some more of what IDW had to say about it’s follow up, The Artisan Wraith, in their press release:

The new Artisan Wraith storyline picks up where the first volume left off, the four criminals having managed to escape destruction… albeit not without complications. One of their number -- the smartest and most malicious -- now inhabits an unbreakable body and has a planet at his command. The authorities can not let this stand, deploying two of the deadliest assassins in the universe to eliminate this threat.

“The central premise of The Artisan Wraith is: If you had both the might and the mind to remake the faults that you see in society, would you improve it or create something worse?” says Ramondelli. “The scope of this series is larger than the first, and will explore not only the future of the prior characters, but also introduce new ones as well as explore the dark origins of their universe.”

As much fun as the first go at this world was for readers it sounds like ambition for the follow up is gauged for a broader and bigger presentation. Space has already been cleared next to my reading lamp for these issues when they finally hit shops. 

“Making the first series was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m ecstatic that the reception to it has allowed the story of these characters and their world to continue,” says Ramondelli.

I ditto this sentiment. Enthusiastically ditto! To say that I am smiling while writing this would be a modest understatement. 

Giving Ramondelli the space to tell more cosmic stories about these curiously cute and hilariously disgruntled robots is one of the best choices IDW has made in recent years. I’m glad to see that there is still space left to tell these types of stories outside of the corporate bubble. Rally around me, folks. Let us make these stories a supply chain disruption.

Kill Lock: The Artisan Wraith #1 (of 7)
Writer and Illustrated by Livio Ramondelli 
Published by IDW 

In comic shops and digital devices on March 9th, 2022.