Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Release Date: 02/2008-07/2008
Murder mysteries are great for comics as they feel like movie stills playing out before you. Locke & Key is a reverse murder mystery as we know who the killer is in the very beginning, and the family knows and is trying to run away from him. A dysfunctional family living in Southern California are victims of their father being viciously murdered by two mentally ill teens. What the oldest son, Tyler, goes through as well as his younger brother and sister, is heart-wrenching.
We follow the murderer who ends up in high-security juvie and he ends up escaping via supernatural means. The youngest brother in the family, Bode, discovers he can rip his soul from his body through a magical door and turn into a ghost. His family won’t believe him, in fact, every family doesn’t believe each other about anything, and this leads to some tragic deaths and a lot of events that could have been prevented. Seeing this family tear itself apart is frustrating in a satisfying way; it keeps you on the edge.
The story has a satisfying ending with a perfect cliffhanger that opens up entirely new chapter and can potentially expand the story (which it did with later series), but my favorite part about this comic was the gore and graphic violence as well as the pure insanity of the murderer and his ruthless killings. The comic is a serious page turner and is perfectly paced with an excellent crescendo.
Overall, Locke & Key is a wonderful horror comic about the supernatural, a being which we don’t ever get to know more about until later in the series, and real-life mortality. A family that clearly loves each other but can’t trust each other worth a dime just makes this comic horrible and wonderful all at the same time.