Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: Locke and Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Locke and Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

The Locke family (dad, mom, two sons and one daughter) is enjoying a more or less carefree holiday at their summer house in Mendocino Valley, California. The dad is a guidance counselor at a San Francisco school and one of his students has shown up with a friend. The friend has an axe and the student, Sam Lesser, has a pistol. They brutally kill the father; the friend is killed by the older son; Sam winds up in jail. At the funeral, an uncle invites the orphans and widow to move back east, to the family home Keyhouse in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Or more precisely on the island Lovecraft. As you might guess, the house has a lot of supernatural history and horror in store for Locke's family, especially when Sam escapes from prison and comes to find them.

The book is a grim but well done horror comic. The mysteries slowly build up to the ending and you find yourself caring about the characters deeply. The older son struggles with his anger and his suicidal feelings; the daughter just wants to fit in (i.e. not be a freak) with her new peers in Lovecraft; the youngest son discovers a door where, if he goes through, he turns into a ghost, able to travel at the speed of thought to wherever (or whoever) he thinks about. Including the bottom of the well, where that mysterious voice is coming from. The mom turns to wine as a coping mechanism. They all grow more interesting as the story goes on. The larger Lovecraftian mythology of the place is unraveled bit by bit. The art is fantastic. I'm looking forward to volume two!

Parental warning: the book is pretty gory in addition to having tough family issues following on the death of the father. I'd recommend this for mature teens and up. 

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