Among all the comic book series that have successfully completed their run while garnering incredible praise among fans and critics around the world is writer Joe Hill and illustrator Gabriel Rodríguez’s Locke & Key. This highly-creative and thrilling family drama with a hint of terrifying horror is one the greatest comic book runs that not only has depth but stellar artwork to beautifully tell a story that you will never forget.
The series also got the Netflix TV series treatment with its first season out since February 7th, 2020. I still haven’t given the first season a try but I hear that it is pretty decent even if there’s no way they could capture the horror elements from the comic books without shifting to a R-rated programming. For those who have seen it, rest assured that there’s a second season that was confirmed on March 30th, 2020! 😉
This feature published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows) will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t a physical book that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🤣
Locke & Key (Vol. 1): Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill.
What is it about? This series follows the Locke family in their new home at Keyhouse and discover that it hides far more secrets than it lets on. All they need to do is find the right keys for the right locks before an evil spirit escapes and executes his most cruelest plans.
This was an excellent volume to introduce us to Joe Hill’s story-telling skills. Did you know that he was writer Stephen King’s son? One thing’s for sure. He made a name for himself in the world of literature. This first volumes begins with a gruesome tragedy that unveils a whole new universe for the Locke family. Mixed with a healthy dose of supernatural, the story drives us quickly onto a trail filled with mysteries begging to be discovered. It also does a fantastic job in developing unique characters in such a short time while making us care for each of their struggles. In fact, writer Joe Hill’s masterful dialogue highlights wonderful word plays, especially those related to locks and keys, while brilliantly playing with Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork. It’s honestly in the details that this series shines and grabs your attention.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the artwork, it is far from being awful. It’s beautiful and crisp, but it just gives this odd cartoon’ish touch that slightly misses its mark with me here. However, this first volume does such an exceptional job at setting the table for countless other possibilities. It would be a mistake to pass on this series upon just reading this volume. And with the amount of blood that was spilled in this volume, I can only imagine where things can go next.
Locke & Key (Vol. 2): Head Games by Joe Hill.
What is it about? The story continues as the Locke kids try and deal with the emotional aftermath of the tragedy that strikes their father. They end up befriending Zack Wells to cope with their feelings but little do they know about this individual’s dark secrets.
This was another fantastic installment in this franchise that further explores the concept behind the keys while delving deep into the minds of the characters scarred by recent events.
The main antagonist continues to plot his return to the real world and it is a treat to see how writer Joe Hill coats him in a fear-inducing aurora.
I really love how much psychological depth this story has and how it explores fear and pain through these characters. The artwork beautifully captures the tone and there’s no lying that you’ll have fallen head over heel for this style if the first volume didn’t do so already. Some of the fantastical elements are actually eerily horrifying!
Locke & Key (Vol. 3): Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill.
What is it about? The evil spirit continues his hunt for the key to a mysterious and hidden black door while the Locke kids engage their ruthless enemy who will not shy away from using the shadows to assault them, stopping them in their tracks, and obtaining the key for himself.
Writer Joe Hill continues strong with this volume as he explores the concept of fear through Kinsey’s character. Her unique position (lack of fear) allows for some thoroughly exhaustive exploration of the emotion and its consequence on our behaviours and experiences.
Joe Hill also continues to build on his key lore and he introduces new ones with unique powers, some so huge that they invite a lot of destruction, if you know what I mean.
Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork is also iconic at this point, beautifully capturing the tone of this world and the emotions of the characters. How he draws the “horror” elements are also fantastic. There’s just so much fun to get out of this series!
Locke & Key (Vol. 4): Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill.
What is it about? The hunt for more keys continues as the secrets of this house is slowly revealed to the Locke family.
The first half of this volume is convoluted and messy. It tackles too many ideas too quickly while introducing new ones that were a bit too awkward to start with, especially the whole exploration of racism…
The second half is where the story picks up its usual pacing and finally gets things rolling as revelations hit certain characters differently and a plot twist presents itself to set up the last two volumes.
Locke & Key (Vol. 5): Clockworks by Joe Hill.
What is it about? The battleground has now changed with significant repercussions on how the Locke family will have to take down the evil spirit. However, the latest key they discover sends them back somewhere where the truth can be found once and for all: the past.
As we approach the grand finale to this comic book series, writer Joe Hill introduces a brand-new temporal key that allow him to present one of the most fascinating and cleverly told origin stories.
While the kids are left in the background, overseeing the evolution of events that implicated their father and his friends, we are set upon another terrifying tale where misery and darkness pervades the life of these new yet old characters.
Locke & Key (Vol. 6): Alpha & Omega by Joe Hill.
What is it about? The end. The moment where all keys are found and the showdown begins. Who will triumph? Good or evil?
A stunning finale wrapping up a fantastic story where the past inflicts its pain upon the present as the Locke family, their friends, and their family go through hell to take on the one source of evil that has reigned their lives ever since the tragedy that struck Rendell Locke (the father) and themselves in Lovecraft.