I have been a comic book fan for a very long time, but there is honestly nothing I love more in comics than Locke & Key.
The fact that I’m even in a position to speak of my love for this book, and by some off chance Joe Hill or Gabriel Rodriquez or Jay Fotos will read it, blows my mind. It both excites me and scares me.
See, any week that an issue of Locke & Key comes out is torture for me. Since the first beautiful hardcover has come out for this book (with a sweet ribbon book mark and everything), I’ve been tortured by the fact that once new issues start coming out I have to wait seven to eight months for the next hardcover to come into my possession… and then in a few hours (oh, I take my time), another book in the Locke & Key opus, is finished.
So the first issue of Locke & Key: Omega (in six issues, it’s all over!) is the first single issue of Locke & Key that I’ve read. I even avoided the Eisner winning stand-alone issues.
Omega begins with the same layered plot structure and attention to detail, from Hill and Rodriquez, that has made this series so tight and contained, yet astoundingly epic. Bode Locke, the kid brother, has been fully possessed by the demon seed from the other side of the door to, if it can’t be described as anything else, the Cancerverse of Lovecraft legend. Throughout the issue he does some pretty terrible things, both big and small, in the lead up to what will be an epic Cave Rave (the big Grad party, by the sounds of it all) in future issues. While he does, though, Manchester punk Scot gets decidedly nostalgic and starts interviewing classmates about their regrets.
Doing so brings those that may be foolish enough to start reading this book now (I only say that because you’d be missing out on soooo much good story in Locke & Key books past) up to date with the dimensions of the story, while, as always, adding new dimensions as Joe Hill is wont to do. Tyler Locke, the oldest of the Locke kids living with their widowed mother at their deceased father’s family house, Keyhouse, is haunted by his responsibilities, standing in his father's shadow still. Kinsey Locke, the middle child and only girl, can’t help but come to terms with the responsibilities of her emotions and the strength of them… and of depending on her family and friends.
And speaking of her friends, in a way this issue is the most Scot-centric issue to date, giving him an especially poetic moment, even with poetry as heavy handed and yet “also kinda epic” as a punk kid might allow himself to be.
Much of the story is about responsibility, about loyalty -- taking responsibility for all that you screwed up, and what you’re willing to forgive yourself for.
Never is there a missed opportunity for the fine details. Playing with a scale, and a sense of a design, coupled with line weights and style, there is no one else in the business quite like Rodriquez. It’s only right that the depth of the art matches the depth of Hill’s storytelling so astutely. There’s something about Rodriquez’s art, mixed with the color work of Jay Fotos, that adds an insane amount of depth to each panel. His strength in storytelling is, I think, unrivaled at the moment, with even men and women like Fionna Staples, Greg Coppola, Stuart Immonen, and Ryan Ottely, to name a few, not on his level. And I love those artists, by the way.
Gabriel Rodriquez is just that much of a master of his craft.
One or two of you might even be able to spot the Joe Hill cameo, courtesy of Rodriquez I’m sure, in this issue.
Oh, and for the first time in the life I soooo wish that I were Comic Book Club’s Pete LePage. No offense to the man, but nothing is as awesome as being made into what looks like a supporting character with series potential for either a) an awesome death, or b) a cool story beat or two, since he looks to be part of Kinsey’s Scooby Gang.
Do I have to spell it out for you, with the first letter of every paragraph? IT’S SO DAMN GOOD! Read Locke & Key from the first book, Welcome to Lovecraft, add this amazingly crafted series to your library, and you won’t be sorry.