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Locke & Key #3

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008
By: Marx Pyle

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos (c)
IDW Publishing
What can I say? At this point I'm hooked and I want to see how things turn out for this damaged family in the supernatural Keyhouse, a mansion located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts.

Reflections are the theme for this issue: One reflection in a mirror helps a psychopathic killer gain bloody freedom; the other reflection is Kinsey's own. She sees only a stranger there, but learns that the only way to move forward from tragedy is to become a reflection that she once again recognizes.

This is one of the best horror comic books I've ever read, but is a very deceptive book. If you merely flip through it, it can come off as a boring drama. However, if you sit down and read it you see a well-crafted story of all too human characters stuck in a dark and supernatural circumstance. One moment we have touching dramatic moments that emotionally link us to these kids who have lost their father in a tragic murder and then things go horrifically bloody.

The first issue had some pacing difficulties, plus transition problems between the past and present. But issue two went smoother and this issue I can tell that Hill is getting the comic book writing down. I loved the smooth transitions with the mirror and the "bang". I can easily see how this could be turned into a movie and I wouldn't be surprised if screenwriting is in Hill's future. Dimension Films has already acquired screen rights to Locke & Key. Perhaps Hill will write the screenplay?

Each of the first three books have slowly moved the plot forward while letting us get into the heads of each kid one at a time. Now I know these characters, I care about them. Which means I worry about what will happen to them. That takes talent, especially in a medium that all to often worries about cool crossovers or blowing things up rather than developing characters with real depth to them.

I love the mix of humor with such dark horrific moments. A good example this issue was the scene where Bode tried to prove to his older sister Kinsey that he could turn into a ghost. It was hilarious and then suddenly it takes a dark twist as bad news arrives that serial killer Sam Lesser is loose.

Unless you somehow hadn't heard, Joe Hill is actually Joseph Hillstrom King, the son of Stephen King. This book is his comic book debut, but he has already won a number of awards for his short story and novel writing.

Hill is a masterful storyteller. He has a different style than his father, but I can see that he inherited much of his father's talent, especially putting relatively normal people in bizarre and creepy situations.

I have mixed feelings about the artwork. It is good, but sometimes it is a little too much of an animated style for my taste. Rodriguez does a good job capturing brilliant cinematic moments, but the designs of the characters don't always work for me. But overall the style works well and has grown on me over these three issues.

Final Word: Reflect on what you really want from a good comic book before you pass this one up. Do you want a disturbingly genius mix of terror, humor and drama? Then this book is a must read.



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