Graphic Novel Discoveries – Locke & Key



Locke & Key,  written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

This one is more of a rediscovery for me.  I read the first four volumes more than a year ago and though I quite liked the series, never picked up the final couple of volumes to finish off the series.  Well, I finally got around to it and my final impression is pretty favourable overall.

The story is great.  It’s original and interesting and it makes you turn the page purely to find out what happens next.  Or at least, that’s what happened in my experience with Locke & Key.  It showed the “fun” aspect of teens discovering magic equally as well as it showed the horror of their family members being killed.  In the beginning you have things that seem quite harmless, opening up your siblings heads for example, but by the end there are giants and sentient shadows and people with wings and so, to say that things escalate quite quickly might be a bit of an understatement.

For every negative I can think of for the series, there is a corresponding positive that kind of cancels out my initial gripe.  For instance, the artwork isn’t my favourite, but every now and then you come across a full two page mural-like spread and it’s gorgeous and detailed and intense.  I also found that the story dragged in places, especially in those paces where characters not totally essential to the plot were involved – though these were few.  But then there were times of mounting suspense and crazy action and everything happening at once and it was brilliant.

The series definitely fits into the horror genre and there are a few scenes that stand out in my head even now – I really can’t be doing with creepy people pulling themselves out of wells.  The last volume is well worth the wait and the resolution – though it’s not without deaths.  Hill tries to distance himself from his writer father with his pen name, but his endings always evoke Stephen King to me and that’s not a bad thing.  The series overall gets a very solid four stars from me and I hope that one day they manage to get that long promised TV series green lit.



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