(photo from The BiblioSanctum)
I previously read the first volume of Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft in 2009 and decided to re-read it now, since the final volume was just published. I enjoyed it more this time around, possibly because I'm more familiar with Joe Hill's fiction. (I still think that Hill’s short fiction is stronger than his novels, but then again, I’ve had more exposure to his short stories.)
You can read plot summaries elsewhere, but this first volume does an excellent job of introducing us to a family who has just experienced an awful tragedy, trying to put their lives back together, unaware of the evil forces surrounding them. It’s more complex than that, with hints that Hill could be creating not only a more complex story, but an entire world filled with elements of horror, magic, puzzles, and much more. There’s no doubt Hill knows how to tell a terrific story and build credible worlds.
Something about the art, however, still bothers me. Maybe I’m not yet used to the style of Gabriel Rodriguez. His backgrounds and settings are wonderfully rendered. The New England mansion Keyhouse is a thing of beauty and wonder. Yet there’s something about Rodriguez’s rendering of the characters that just doesn’t seem quite right somehow. It's a mixture of characters being portrayed as sinister (which works), yet at the same time, too cartoonish (which doesn't). Maybe this comes from having so many characters in the story who are children, teens or young(er) adults. Maybe I’ll grow used to it. But I do know that the remaining volumes of Locke & Key are definitely on my to-read radar.