Locke and Key comes from the mind of Joseph Hillstorm King (Joe Hill is a pen name) and has so far gotten the exact entrance and reputation it deserves and promised. Jospeh King is in fact a coveted horror writer, and probably best of them out there, being Stephen King’s son. As imagined, with Joe Hill’s entry into the world of fiction and with a father like Stephen King, the man still has a long way go if he wants to be on level with King’s position and talents with storytelling. Locke and Key is undoubtedly a strong suggestion that the apple definitely did not fall far from the tree this time.
The story is spread out over “three acts” with each act having six issues, proudly presenting a vibrant cacophony of colours splashed over the panels. Its coupled with standard comic book art and a newly thought up story which does exactly what King used to do, use elements from a setting known to readers to push past clichés pointed out by critiques.
The story unravels around the Locke family and the readers are immediately fed a sorrowful insight into this new family as soon as the first few pages are flipped. The Locke family consists of father Rendell, mother Nina, and kids, Tyler (eldest son), Kinsey (daughter) and Bode (the youngest son) and the little ragtag group seems happy to be amongst themselves with the emotions and problems any average family would go through. Through a sick act of violence, when the father is murdered in cold blood, the mother moves them out to live in their ancestral home called Keyhouse in a place called Lovecraft.
The little boy soon discovers the house to be an enchanted one with lots of doors with special keys each giving the one entering certain powers, like living and walking around as a ghost out of your own body. And on top of that there is a supernatural being by the name of Dodge who wants to open the one door in Keyhouse which will open the door for all the demons in Hell.
Each character is special and unique, and like father like son, this proves to be the vital reason that makes readers hang on. “Lot 13” by Steve Niles was a similar attempt at modern horror in the comic book industry but after two issues in, I lost interest. With “Locke and Key” however, I’ve been hooked onto the first three volumes straight and had a steady ride. It’s an exceptional read and anyone who liked Stephen King should definitely go for this one.