Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez: Locke & Key V01: Welcome to Lovecraft

I’m a firm believer in doing things when it’s the right time to do them, and now just happens to be the right time for this series. I’ve been sitting on it for a few months; I always have to psych myself up for reading full color comics–it’s taxing for me, but I suppose I had better get used to it again.

Locke & Key is gruesome, dark, and intriguing. It’s a supernatural mystery that unfolds with the Locke family in the Key House. The house has lots of doors and keys to go with them. The doors open to various places and bring about all kinds of results when someone passes through–things like allowing a spirit to leave its body essentially dead on the ground as it flies about playing ghost.

The Locke family suffered a horrible loss at the beginning of the story and we read as they pull up stakes and whisk themselves off to a family home in hopes of starting over. Perhaps with the exception of the youngest son, Bode, the adjustment isn’t going well for anyone. Maybe well isn’t the right word–no pun intended. The mother’s hitting the bottle hard, the oldest son is carrying the cross of guilt, and the daughter just wants it to be over so she can live something like a normal life. Bode, on the other hand, has allowed his curiosity–for better or worse–to get him through the days.

It’s his curiosity that ultimately leads him to find the first key, one that opens the ghost door and, unfortunately, the second key, one that opens any door. When he tries to tell his family about the things he has discovered, we hit upon the one thing that I really disliked about this otherwise good story. He’s a child, so it’s easy to guess that his reports were dismissed on account of him being a kid with an active imagination who just survived a devastating trauma.

This device is old and needs to be retired. If the characters are supposed to be living in this day and age, they should have been exposed to enough media to arouse the want to at least actively entertain the idea that there might be something to what this kid, old lady, or psychiatric patient is going on about. Long gone are the days when the masses wholeheartedly believed children should be seen and not heard. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen or it can’t happen, it’s just that a lot of the stories that use this these days are written in something of a vacuum. The writer makes the world colorful by introducing various pop culture references, but they don’t allow their characters to act like their lives, perspectives, and actions are or should be influenced by them. And what I mean by actively entertain is that if they’re going to “play along” with the marginalized character, they should do so without holding onto the regardless what I see or hear or which dots I connect, I will still dismiss it attitude. It’s been done to death and now it’s time to burn it to ashes and get on with our lives. And to that end, I’ve come to terms with it as part of the story and since I assume that it can’t go on for much longer, I’m fine with calling it a hiccup and not letting it color my opinion of the remainder.

That aside, the only other thing I’m not too keen on is the art style, It’s not my cup of tea–I’d probably feel better about it if it was black and white–but the story is good enough that I can get beyond the art style. The characters are interesting, the plot is a page-turner, and I have so many questions. There were things that happened in the beginning that remained without an explanation to the end of this volume, so I’m really looking forward to getting deeper into to the story and solving the mystery along with the Lockes.

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