A truly scary and spine-chilling installment, “Locke & Key: Alpha” #1 keeps the reader’s heart racing while taking their breath away. The deeply flawed Locke family stands together in an epic-sized battle against evil. With one issue away from the finale, the “Locke & Key” series gets ready to deliver an ending fans are anxiously awaiting.
WRITTEN BY: Joe Hill
ART BY: Gabriel Rodriguez
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
RELEASE: September 11th, 2013
In the dark caverns underneath KeyHouse, Dodge smiles as his demonic army of living shadows continues to grow. There are only a few who haven’t fallen to Dodge’s merciless madness. Out of weapons and with the clock running out, the beaten Locke members stand together as a family against Dodge. Will Rufus Whedon, a mentally challenged young man, get to the caves in time to help his dearest friends? With no one to stop him, has Dodge finally won the war that started 250 years ago?
What I really loved about Joe Hill’s writing is how he keeps up the intensity and fast pace throughout the narrative. Hill wants each of his protagonists to have an epic moment during their confrontation with Dodge. Readers will find themselves rooting for Nina Locke, the matriarch of the family, as she fights against the monster shadows to save her family. With no weapons in hand, Tyler does something incredibly clever during the climatic pages. Even Kinsey gets to a chance to say something so emotionally true and poetic to her boyfriend while being surrounded by Dodge’s army.
The death count is surprisingly surreal and hard-hitting. These are characters who both fans and Hill have become invested in over the years. The loss of life is taken seriously by the Locke siblings, who have been through their own tragedy. After everything is said and done, how will the survivors hope to move forward after such a devastation? I look forward to the series conclusion to see whether or not Hill explores this question.
Even when the tone is at its bleakest, artist Gabriel Rodriguez finds ways to heighten the quirkiest moments of the suspenseful narrative. As Duncan is being clawed and bitten at by these little shadow gremlins, he desperately drags himself to safety. You might miss it the first time, so pay close attention to the background. In a laugh-out-loud moment, the gremlin shadows are shaking their fists and giving Duncan the finger. Rodriguez visually adds the comic relief and somehow manages to keep tension flowing through the situation.
The confrontation between the Locke family and Dodge also includes the destruction of the KeyHouse mansion. For many issues, Rodriguez has illustrated every hallway, every room of the entire building. And now, in this penultimate installment, Rodriguez has to take down the structure he built brick by brick. In wide shots, Rodriguez wants to the readers to see the collapse in its glory.
Readers will have no idea what hit them when they reach the last page of “Locke & Key: Alpha” #1. Even though I don’t want to, it’s time to say good-bye to the “Locke & Key” series. I’m very anxious to see what’s in store for the final chapter.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis