Sunday, February 25, 2018

REVIEW: Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (graphic novel, vol. 1) written by Joe Hill, art by Gabriel Rodriguez

Three months after finishing my vacation, I'm finally posting my very last post-vacation review. After this, I'll finally write and publish my "best and worst of 2017" post, only two months late.

As usual, this post-vacation review is filled with spoilers. If you'd like a spoiler-tagged version, check out my reviews on LibraryThing, Goodreads, or Booklikes. The gist of my review, though, will be that I liked this overall, even though the art style wasn't really my thing.

In this volume, the Locke family moves to Keyhouse in Lovecraft, MA after Sam Lesser and a "friend" kill Rendell Locke (the Locke family father/husband). Nina, Rendell's wife, drinks away her pain, while Tyler, Rendell's oldest son, works himself to the bone and quietly drowns in memories of the attack and his feelings of guilt about asking Sam to kill his father (he was angry and venting about his father and had no clue that Sam would actually take him seriously). Kinsey, Rendell's daughter, tries to blend in at school, and little Bode explores Keyhouse and discovers a key that can turn him into a ghost. He also finds a woman who calls herself his Echo and who turns out to be a lot of trouble. She works together with Sam to attack the family again and get herself set free. The volume ends with Echo free, Sam dead but in ghostly form, and Echo transformed into a man who goes by the name Zack and lives with Kinsey's coach (Zack killed the coach's mom for her, back in the day).

I wasn't a fan of Rodriguez's art style, although it worked reasonably well for this story. Part of it was probably that I'm a long-time manga fan and the visuals overall tend to be very different, although part of it was also that characters' facial expressions were a bit strange.

The part of the volume that I liked the best was seeing how everybody in the family was attempting to cope. Nina mistaking Bode's actual description of a thing that happened to him as a sign that he was coping badly was a nice moment.

Bode was a creepy little boy. Well, I suppose kids in general can be pretty creepy, but he seemed to be creepier than usual. This volume set him up as potentially both his family's undoing and their savior, if he can find and use the right keys. The thing about this series that really sucked me in was the potential behind Keyhouse. I would like fewer horrific murders and more cool keys, please.

The flashbacks and vague references to the things that went on when Rendell was a kid interested me and made me want to find out more about Keyhouse's past. I'll probably continue on with this series and add it to my vacation reading list, even though I'm a little worried about the series' potential for lots more gory on-page deaths (and/or rape? I think this volume might have had a couple rape threats but no actual rape - I can't remember).

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