A while back I started reviewing Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key. I only got round to reviewing the first two volumes before super important student stuff got in the way… and I thought it would be a lot better to write about the series after finishing it and that leads us to the present day where I have just finished the final volume of Locke & Key.
If you read the reviews I did for the first two books then you know that I loved them, the rest of the series is fantastic and stayed consistently amazing throughout, more importantly here’s why you should give Locke & Key a try.
The focus of the story revolves around the Locke family, notably the children, Bode, Kinsey and Tyler. Initially the focus on the children put me off but as the story progresses, they do too. Throughout we spend time with each one individually and get to their inner thoughts and how each have a different way of coping with the tragedy of losing their father, on top of this they are made relatable and believable, not only by the way Joe Hill writes but also through Rodriguez’s artwork.
As well as the children we also have their mother Nina Locke and Uncle Duncan who are also dealing with things in their own way, Nina turning to the bottle which also has her clash with her children at times. Along the way we’re also introduced to Rufus Whedon, I won’t say much about him as I feel it gives too much away but know that he’s probably my favourite character of the series.
The main antagonist of the series is as well developed as the rest of the characters and takes many forms and names, most notably the form of Lucas ‘Dodge’ Caravaggio and takes the identity of Caravaggio, Zack Wells and The Lady in the Well, its true name is unknown.
Dodge is introduced in the first volume, Welcome to Lovecraft. Throughout the story he is shown to be a constant threat to the Locke children and in each scene with him in we are shown how manipulative and evil the character is in his attempt to find the keys of Keyhouse.
Dodge is every bit as interesting as the rest of the cast and while you won’t find yourself cheering him on, it’s both exciting and terrifying every time he’s in a scene. It isn’t until volume five, Clockworks, which we’re shown the backstory behind Dodge and how he came to be what he is. Overall we’re presented with a truly terrifying villain who’s every action is chilling but every bit adds to how incredible the story is.
Story and Mythology
The story of Locke & Key is built up and delivered through six volumes:
Welcome to Lovecraft
Crown of Shadows
Keys to the Kingdom
Alpha & Omega
The narrative never loses sight of the overall arc of the story, but also building upon the mythology of Lovecraft and Keyhouse through a number of subplots that never outstay their welcome and add so much development. The story is very well paced throughout its run with the first two volumes acting as the first act, volumes three and four being the second act and finally volumes five and six being the third act.
With the keys of Keyhouse we’re shown flashbacks of various members of the Locke family and their experiences with the keys which serve to provide history on how the keys came into creation.
The story is without a doubt horror at its finest. While there are moments of gore throughout, it’s never made the focus and instead relies on what horror should be – the fear of the unknown. That fear again coming in the form of Dodge whose intentions are never made clear until the final volume.
The best part is that the series has now finished so there’s no waiting impatiently for the next issue to come out and it’s all been released in single volume trade paperbacks, audiobook and the beautiful hardback master editions. Locke & Key is worth every second of your time and is a masterpiece in storytelling, the series has become one of my favourite graphic novels and I cannot recommend it enough. Check it out if you’re into horror or if you’re like anyone else and just want a brilliant story with strong, relatable characters.
…That was this week’s first Covert Coot article!!! Check back tomorrow for a brand new Comic History 101!!!