A World Imagined: Touching on Joe Hill's Locke & Key
This is a review for the three volume Master Editions: Locke&Key is a beautifully realized story with strong characters showing the importance of family and friends. It follows the Locke family, Siblings Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, their mother, and their Uncle Duncan, younger brother to their father Rendell, whose murder by the hands of one of Ty's school friends precipitates the move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts. Once there, the kids begin finding keys that can do amazing things, like the Anywhere Key, that can open a door to anywhere the user envisions, or the Ghost Key, that, when used in the right door, can discorporate the soul from the body, making the body appear dead while the spirit can possess others, and engage with other ghosts. All goes well until Bode releases a voice from the well, tricked by an evil spirit called Dodge, the kids soon find themselves gathering keys and trying to keep them away from the Demon who seeks ultimate power in possessing these keys, and will stop at nothing to get them and wipe out the Dodge clan forever. Written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, the story of the Locke family shows the strong relationships and reflects on the ties that bind families together even through adversity. Rodriguez's artwork beautifully captures the nuances of the various scenes, the emotions the characters are feeling, and the various settings of the story, not just the environments, but also reflecting the mood and tone of the different scenes effectively. Joe Hill has realized the main characters fully, from the alcoholic mother to the three unique children. While some of the supporting cast feels a bit thin, and not every subplot feels as though it's been tidily wrapped up at the end, Locke&Key is still a powerful and moving family adventure and an absolutely amazing entry into the horror graphic novel.