Review: Locke and Key, Vol 1 by Joe Hill

Title: Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Author: Joe Hill

Illustrators: Gabriel Rodriguez


Publisher: IDW Publishing


I read the first volume of Locke & Key when it first came out a few years back. I recalled enjoying it quite a bit, but for one reason or another, I didn’t continue the series (or frankly any comics for quite some time). I have recently been getting into comics again and wanted to give this series a shot again. I forgot how darn good it really is.

Locke & Key is about three siblings, Ty, Kinsey, and Bode Locke, whose school-counselor father is murdered by two of his students. After his death, his children move to Lovecraft, MA to live with relatives in Key House, a strange home with a supernatural history.

What seemed to be a violent act of juvenile delinquency is more than it first appeared. Sam Lesser, one of the students who murdered Mr. Locke, is able to communicate with a demon-woman through water. She helps him to escape from juvenile detention and leads him back to Key House to free her from captivity. Ty, Kinsey, and Bode will have to relive their horror. Fortunately, the house is not all evil and Bode stumbles upon a key that gives him a unique supernatural ability. But is it enough to save his family from impending disaster?

I gotta say, it is refreshing to see such a wonderful story arc being applied to the graphic form. The idea of a supernatural house is not novel, but there is a mystery to its purpose and complexity that intrigued me. In the first book, we learn of a key to a ghost door (where a person’s spirit is temporarily able to leave his body) and the Anywhere Key (used to free the demon-woman from captivity). We are led to believe there are many more keys as well.

Gabriel Rodriguez’s illustrations are also superb. They are drawn in comic-fashion, not treading on realism, but providing an artistic style that complements the text beautifully. One of the biggest things I look for in artwork is for the artist to be able to convey emotion. All too often, there is a focus on style, but in the end, the imagery must help communicate the story. Rodriguez executes complex emotions with simplicity.

What I like most about the initial story arc is that it leaves so many possibilities. There are many more keys to be found and I am certain their troubles are far from over. They are living in a place of desirable power and there are many people/supernatural beings who would do anything to get their hands on it.

I highly recommend the first book in this series and I look forward to reading the other installments. It blends fantasy, mystery, and horror in a way that makes it very difficult to put down.

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