Locke and Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft - Take It In Trade
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I heard of this book, most likely the same way everyone else heard about it, that Stephen Kings son, Joe Hill, is writing a comic book. Now, he is a very good writer in his own right (I have come to find out lately), but all I knew was a famous person’s kid was trying to write a comic. Right. I’ll put it next to the books written by Milo Ventimiglia, or Tyrese Gibson (MAY-HEM!!!!..... anyone?). So, I didn’t buy it in issues, thinking it was just a gimmick for a celebrity. Then the reviews start coming in. The last time I have heard so much love and hype for a book not from one of the big 2, was The Walking Dead. So, I decided to pick up the hardcover of the first two series (Welcome to Lovecraft, and Head Games), just to check it out.
I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best written, and drawn, comic books on the market today, if not the best.
The writing is phenomenal in this book, and the characters are so well rounded, there is no comparison. Spider-man is just about to hit issue 666 (creepy….), and I feel I know the Locke family with these six issues than I do Peter Parker. Joe Hill might have got his start by being Stephen King’s son, to get more traction (Something I don’t blame him for one bit), but he has cemented himself as one of the best comic book writers in the business today. Bendis and Johns are modern legends, and they do have some amazing stories, but I am really hard pressed to think of anything specific that could hold a candle to Locke and Key.
But honestly, this comic would be decent at best, if it wasn’t for the art. Gabriel Rodriguez is amazing with a pencil. Often, artists draw generic men and women characters, and you have to decide by clothing or costumes, who is who. He manages not only to make each character look different, with facial structure, but they also have the look that they are related. Like when you see two siblings, and you can see the resemblance? All three Locke kids look related, and they also have some facial features of each of their parents. Seriously, look at the pages; it will mess with your head. Absolutely gorgeous.
The story starts somewhat typically. A father is murdered by former students of his, leaving his wife and three kids behind. One of the murderers dies in the struggle, while the other, Sam Lesser, is caught and sent to prison. The family can’t stand to live in the house after he has passed, so they move to Lovecraft, Mssachusetts, to live in Keyhouse, the family estate. They have a hard time, but they soon settle in, somewhat, to their new life.
This is where it is different from all other books. Bode, the youngest son, finds a key in the house, and uses it on one of the doors. He opens the door, walks through it, and dies. Sort of. When he steps through the doorway, his “spirit” is taken out of his body, and the body dies, leaving Bode as a ghost, staring down at himself. He freaks out, and runs back into his body, and away from the door.
That is the main concept that sets this series apart; keys. There are so many keys in the Keyhouse (wait…I just got that.) that do different things. The Ghost Key, the Echo Key, the Anywhere Key, and the Gender Key are all ones we are introduced to in this volume, mainly by the machinations of The Echo. When Bode goes into the Wellhouse, he hears something which he thinks is just his own echo, until she talks back. She tells Bode she has been trapped in the well, and needs him to find the Anywhere Key for her to escape. However, she is more than what she seems. I mean, it wouldn’t be that great of a story if it was just straight forward, would it?
The book somehow only gets crazier from there. I’m not going to go through the whole thing, but I know you won’t be disappointed with the way the story pans out. It is suspenseful, it is creepy, it is downright inappropriate and gross (when he gets a ride from the truck driver? Did I mention this is not necessarily for kids?). However, all of that makes this one of the most original and well done comics out there today.
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