Saturday, March 5, 2011

Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft 
Joe Hill, author
Gabriel Rodriguez, artist
Hardcover: 152 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing (October 7, 2008)
5/5 stars

Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft is a stunning graphic novel. It follows the children of the Locke family, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, after a summer tragedy causes them to move to the family home Keyhouse in Lovecraft, MA with their uncle.

Each issue (chapter) focuses on one sibling, taking up the story from his or her perspective, as the children (and the reader) must come to terms with an unhinged killer, a malignant spirit and a house full of keys, doors and mysteries. The story builds to a crescendo and the tension is nearly tangible. As the final chapter ends, it is not with the relief of a crisis averted, however, as the reader and the youngest Locke (Bode) realize that there is more to come.

Hill's storytelling is fantastic. He weaves his tale seamlessly in both the past and present. The plot is fluid and, though fantasy, engrossing and believable.   The narrative style of this particular story is well suited to the graphic novel medium, and Hill uses it to his advantage.  It is violent and frightening, but most of all it is solidly well written and so exciting, it is impossible to put down once begun.

Hill's writing ability is not limited only to plot.  He does a fine job of creating his characters, in particular the Locke children. The emotions of these children are true to life, as are the very different ways they deal with their tragedy. Hill has fleshed out three very real characters that a reader can connect with quickly and firmly.

Rodriquez's art is flawless, facial expressions and body movements readable and accurate. His art not only brings the story to life, it adds to the story, helps tell it without words. Rodriguez draws the eye of the reader to cruical parts, sometimes subtly, other times with a violence befitting the subject. There is blood and gore and sometimes frightening images depicted, as the tale is a horror-fantasy story. Rodriquez illustrates the horrible expertly, but in a detached way, so that while still gruesome, the acts of violence are not being treated reverentially as I have seen in some graphic novels.

Overall the pairing of Hill's story with Rodriguez's art is simply fantastic, making for a graphic novel that is simply perfect.

~~Read for the Graphic Novels Challenge.~~

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