Locke and Key Review

21 07 2008
Locke and Key

Locke and Key

Locke and Key is a debut comic that just makes you angry. Angry that someone is so good so quickly. It’s just not fair. Of course it was always on the cards that writer Joe Hill would be good, seeing as he’s Stephen King’s son and all, but did he have to be soooooo good so fast? It makes one jealous. Locke and Key is a comic that a 10 year veteran would be proud of doing.

Hill displays none of the heavy handedness that usually afflicts novelists trying their hand at comics. Contrast the sparseness of some of Hill’s pages with those of say, Tad Williams. Williams work is dense, packed full of words as if he can’t quite reconcile himself to this new medium. Hill by contrast shows an audacious skill in trusting that artist Gabriel Rodriguez can deliver the scenes perfectly. And deliver he does. His panel layouts and illustrations are at times brilliant, appearing both effortless and layered.

Locke and Key is a supreme gothic horror, all growling menace and suggestion of dread deeds. Not that it remains just a suggestion – at times the horror is brutal and as terrible as real life encounters. Strangely Locke and Key evokes music as I read it, I can hear Nick Cave’s Murder Ballad’s in my head, at other times it is the Violent Femmes Country Death Song and at others the Raconteurs Carolina Drama. Perhaps it is because the comic is so lyrical.

Like the very best stories I have no idea how this is going to end, only that is likely to be tragic. The only problem is there is only one more issue to go. Please please please let there be more.

9.5/10

(see I told you I wasn’t always going to give the things I reviewed the same score!)

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