Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (Book)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Joe Hill
Published by IDW Publishing
When you hear the term “match made in heaven”, more often than not it’s referring to a couple who are just so good together, they seem destined to be with one another. Well, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are just such a match but instead of the dealing with the complications that come along with a love affair, they’re considerable storytelling/artistic (respectively) skills work so well together that its hard to imagine either working quite so well without the other.
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft is so memorable because the art Rodriguez has contributed fits perfectly with the story; the art only work this well because the story is so damn good. What more cold you ask for out of comics?
We meet the Locke family; mother Nina, oldest son Tyler, younger son Bode and daughter Kinsey, as they prepare to move into a large, sprawling estate called Keyhouse. The father, Randall, was shot and killed some weeks before by one of his former students, a very disturbed man named Sam. Randall always told his wife that if anything were to happen to him, he wanted them to come to this mansion located in the fictional town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts, where he and his brother grew up.
Each child is dealing with his or her own issues; Tyler is wracked with guilt because in a moment of frustration he had mentioned, to the very man who killed him, that he wanted his overbearing father dead. Kinsey is trying to blend in with her new school as much as she can; not wanting to be known as the “girl whose father was killed”, and Bode has found a very strange new friend in the well behind the house. An echo, as it calls itself, but not Bode’s…
Keyhouse, the family is told, is very special, and Bode is the first one to find out just how special. The echo tells him that there are certain keys that can be used on certain doors that will make amazing things happen. If he wants to see what it’s like to be an adult, there’s a door that he can use that will show him. If he wants to be a girl, he can walk through one that will switch genders. And then there’s the anywhere key, which will take him anywhere he can imagine, just by thinking of it.
But as we soon learn, Keyhouse is not all just fantastical doorways and magic keys; there’s something very sinister going on just under the surface, something that doesn’t want the Locke family back in this house, and this is what enables Sam to escape from his jail cell and head back to finish the job he started when he killed the family’s patriarch.
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft is yet another example of the incredible diversity of author Joe Hill, whose short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts (review) and full-length novel, Heart-Shaped Box (review), were stand-out entries in their respective forms. That he could move so smoothly into the world of comics, a medium that requires a completely different kind of skill set to tell its stories, is further evidence of an author with immense talent and a limitless imagination.
This is only the first of what will hopefully be a long-running series to take place with the Locke family and Keyhouse. IDW is readying the next arc, Head Games, so now is the best time to get caught up. There’s a much larger story to be told throughout Locke & Key, indeed this first series barely scratches its surface, and I cant’ wait to find out where it goes next.
4 out of 5
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