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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Locke & Key Vol. 1 Master Edition – Keys to Un-Locke

 
Locke&keyMaster1
Locke&keyMaster1
Locke&keyMaster1

 
Overview
 

Story by: Joe Hill
 
Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


User Rating
1 total rating

 

Raves


Excellent binding for great reading experience; two Locke and Key stories into one hardcover edition; new additional visual features

Rants


Neither introductory by either creators nor table of contents; no pagination for serious in-depth reading; definitely a “mature” literature


To sum it all up..

If there are some modern comic masterpieces to be taken seriously, then one of these is the Locke and Key series by Joe Hill, son of American novelist Stephen King, and beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. It is a tribute to anything H.P. Lovecraft in storytelling and visualization. And, it won critical awards, including the […]

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Posted May 22, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Locke&keyMaster1

If there are some modern comic masterpieces to be taken seriously, then one of these is the Locke and Key series by Joe Hill, son of American novelist Stephen King, and beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. It is a tribute to anything H.P. Lovecraft in storytelling and visualization. And, it won critical awards, including the prestigious Eisner’s. The publisher, IDW Publishing, releases the series in both trade paperback and deluxe/hardcover editions per volume (six overall). This time, the indie comic publisher unleashes the MASTER EDITION, a deluxe-hardcover version containing two Locke and Key volumes or chapters. The first volume contains additional visuals such as a cover variant art, new cover art designs by Rodriguez himself, descriptions and magical abilities of the “keys”, the “Keyhouse Gallery” that presents the architectural designs of the Keyhouse (residence of the Locke family) and the map of Lovecraft, Massachusetts.

Two stories, Welcome to the Lovecraft and Mind Games, constitute this book. Readers are already treated with some of Joe Hill’s brand of dark narrative. Similar to his father’s style of mysterious and suspense plot twists, Hill immediately grabs the readers’ attention on the struggles the Locke family had to confront and the dark mysteries behind the home the members stayed. In addition, they must deal with the emergence and unraveling of artifacts and other objects as the story progresses. Even the characterization of every people involved is slowly manifested as the plots of deception, betrayals, loss and coping take center stage. As said, the Lovecraft elements prominently highlight not only in the geographical setting, but the embedding terror, suspense and the plot twists that Locke and Key would become known with. The creepiness of the interiors of the characters’ brains is sufficient enough of the writer’s love to the master of the macabre and absurdity. And, the non-linear sequential story mode was utilized to make readers feel the helplessness and self-longing the family endured, including some interesting back-stories regarding the main antagonist’s connectivity to the Locke and Key characters.

The art is well-crafted and the coloring is equally spot-on to the setting fitting to the Lovecraft suspense thriller. Definitely inspired by Japanese animation (particularly the facial expressions), Rodriguez’s deft and articulate illustrations help readers clearly distinguish the characters’ mood, motivations and emotional portrayals necessary to blend well with Hill’s dialogues and chilling balloon thoughts. The colors are done in shady to dark contrasts even when colored with primary colors to imbue the terror, suspense and horror the protagonists faced occasionally. Basically, Hill and Rodriguez synched one another.

As usual, this is first and foremost a horror series, and it comes no surprises that graphic illustrations and disturbing themes are abundant all the way. There is no pagination all throughout this so-called “master edition” that could be useful when one is double-checking the minute details that are literally littered in the entire series. Even though the reading experience is almost excellent (the pages do not flip unlike most DC’s omnibuses and deluxe editions), it lacks an introductory and/or foreword by either creators or some annotations that are present in other high-end editions.

Nevertheless, this latest Locke and Key Vol. 1 Master Edition is another great addition of IDW’s proud line of high quality deluxe editions. If fans and comic readers have already the previous hardcover and high-end editions, it is their call to retain these or invest with the newest edition. Regardless, this volume contributes in better reading experience, high quality paper material, and most significantly, the stories themselves.

 


Paul Ramos

 


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