Well, well, it seems like the great spirits of Halloween look upon me with grace, for today I have the pleasure to present you with a comic most topical for the season. Not just any horror comic, a Locke and Key comic.
Locke and Key is a horror comic written by Joe Hill and drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez that I feel everyone should read. I did a review of it on my blog. Reviewed it poorly truth be told and tried to talk about it when the pilot episode of the proposed FOX TV series was shown at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Speaking of which, the trailer made available on YouTube does a darn good job of being a trailer for the first volume in the series, you can go ahead and watch it to get a feel for the comic series since today I’m talking about a one-shot.
Yes, today’s comic has no relation to the current series that should be coming to its conclusion sometime next year. Locke and Key: Grindhouse is a tale of three bank robbers who decide to hole up in Keyhouse, ancestral home of the Locke family. Little do they know that the Lockes know how to use the house’s magical keys and soon it is the robbers who become captive. That’s all I’ll say. Not because I want to keep up the suspense, as any Locke and Key fan knew the robbers’ fate as soon as they stepped inside Keyhouse. No, I’ll keep my mouth shut because this is The Best Introduction to the series any fan looking to convert their friends can ask for. Sure, fans should pick this book off the shelf, but what I want is for the uninitiated to give this one-shot a read.
16 pages. I believe 16 really great pages are all that is necessary to know if this is something you want to continue reading. If it looks like you might enjoy the series once you’re done with the one-shot, let me assure you that you will love that series. Joe Hill makes his universe and characters come alive.
On the technical side, Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is interesting here. Going for a retro EC Comics inspired horror style while still keeping his own. The shadows and edges are much more pronounced her than in his work on the series. It’s a less sophisticated look that colorist Jay Fotos goes along with also. It won’t fool anybody, but since the story itself takes place in the past it works.
My one complaint is a big one. One of the three robbers has the condition I call ‘‘Unedited French’’. The symptoms of this affliction appear when a character is supposed to speak French, but no one actually looked up the grammar. It’s somehow worse here, because some of the French parts are well translated while others are horribly not.
Let me just finish by saying that this book includes a detailed plan of Keyhouse. Something I know the fans will appreciate and it doesn’t contain any spoilers for those behind in their reading. Oh, and those things I said about how this one shot is not connected to the main series and how the series was going to end next year? Well, some notes on the plan may indicate to the contrary. It didn’t lie; it’s just that there is so much more to Keyhouse we haven’t seen before.