Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Cover of "Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecra...
Cover of Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

Once again inspired by the reviews of the fabulous gang on the Major Spoilers Podcast, I picked up Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft, published by IDW.  This is a wonderfully crafted story by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) and Gabriel Rodriguez, with art by Gabriel Rodriguez.  The hard-cover collection features the first 6 issues of the comic with a bookmark attached to keep up with where you are on the story.  The particular edition I picked up features an introduction by Robert Crais, called “Welcome to Hill’s House.”

Not getting into spoilers or ruining the reading pleasure of anyone else, I found the story to be fun and entertaining, if not a bit disturbing because of how well it is written and how excellent the art is.  I’m interested in where it’s going and I’m invested (already) in the characters and what happens to them – especially toward the end of this volume when they are all put in peril.  While the family captures my feelings, I can’t help but be even more mystified and intrigued by the “villain” of the story, the lady/man/creature in the well and how it is linked to all of the strange powers of the house.

The history of Keyhouse is a mystery and the significance of the key(s) has peaked my interested.  You see, the key, or keys in question, of which only 2 is discovered in this first volume (SPOILER!) seems to have different effects when put into a lock inside Keyhouse.  Each key seems to have the ability to open a door to a different reality/world/dimension.  For example, Bode Locke discovers a door that, when you pass through it, your spirit separates from your body, leaving  your body, essentially dead, while you are free to roam around in spirit form.  What do the other keys do?!  I want to know more about the mystical creature in the well, a sort of Pennywise the clown (a Stephen King character)  based on the way he appears to a certain person in an asylum and speaks to them.  The way he lures the youngest into the well house and gains their trust.  I want to know more!

The only part I find a bit of a stretch (even in a fantasy/horror? book)  is how Bode Locke, the youngest at 6 years-old, interacts with the family at times.  He is allowed to wander off, no one seems to ever check up on him, and he speaks with more intelligence than I believe most average 6 year-olds possess.  Other than that, the other characters are believable, if not a little exaggerated.  The scenes and dialogue is understandably short, considering this is a graphic novel and not one with lots of space to convey drawn out detail, but, thanks to the art, I believe you can pretty much sum up what you need from the images alone, filling in the blank spots or words left unspoken.

Great book, don’t judge it based on my poor review alone, but do check it out.  I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copies of the next two volumes so I can continue reading.  In the meantime, the series has also been optioned for a television series and picked up by Fox, currently with Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci attached.  The follow up volumes for the graphic novel include Volume 2: Head Games and Volume 3: Crown of Shadows.  As of 2010, a fourth volume is underway, entitled Keys to the Kingdom.

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