Author: Joe Hill
Illustrators: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Joe Hill’s Locke & Key comic series. The premise of the story is that three siblings, Ty, Kinsey, and Bode, have suffered the loss of their father to a killer. They move to an old family mansion in Lovecraft where a series of magical keys await to be discovered. A supernatural being also wants the power of these keys and will use and even kill the kids to harness their power.
In the first story arc, Hill pays tribute to Bill Watterson with a storyline and artistic renderings that are reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes. Bode is a type of Calvin, who finds himself in a macabre snowman scene and then later finds a key that turns him into a sparrow.
Zack Wells also gets his hand on the key and turns himself into a wolf, planning to devour Ty and Kinsey. Bode and his feathery friends are his siblings’ only chance at surviving Zack’s lethal attack.
The story continues with the kids trying to learn more of their father’s past. An elderly black woman (who has an intense fear of white people) has knowledge of their father, but she is crazy. Still, Kinsey is intrigued and uses a key that can change the color of her skin so that she can approach the woman without setting her off. This story arc touches on the subject of racism as Kinsey steps into another person’s shoes, so to speak.
The Locke kids are getting closer and closer to discovering Zack’s true identity and Sam Lesser’s ghost appears before Bode’s friend (and Coach Whedon’s son), Rufus. He explains that Zack is really an enemy and that he must help the Locke family to get rid of him. As usual, Zack is on top of things and tries to put a stop to it.
Tyler finally discovers that there is something suspicious about Zack and goes to the Whedon household to find evidence. Zack, who apparently is a star fencer, escapes from the smitten grasps of Kinsey to confront Tyler before the truth about him is revealed. An all out battle ensues and only one of them can be victorious.
Joe Hill really hit a homerun with this collection and I really like the way the individual episodes contribute to the prevailing story arc. There is a nice blend of real-world problems intermixed with the supernatural nature of the keys and the Locke kids’ battle with Dodge/Zack.
The tribute to Bill Watterson was particularly enjoyable, as Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite comic series growing up. The last story arc, “Detectives,” was a huge payoff and a climax to so much of what had been building up over the past several issues.
This series seems to be getting better and better and I plan to read and review volume 5 soon.