Locke & Key: Small World #1
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colorist: Jay Fotos
Cover: Gabriel Rodriguez
It’s been quite some time and we finally get to return to Keyhouse but during the early 1900’s for an all new adventure in Small World! With so much rich world building that has taken place and references to past Locke family members it only feels natural to go back and visit another era in this series.
What’s great here is that you don’t need to have read the previous stories (but you totally should) to get into this one here. This story introduces us to the Small World Key which is used to unlock a dollhouse that is an exact replica of Keyhouse. Complete with small doll-like figurines of the Locke family members that currently live there. Doesn’t sound like much but whatever happens in the dollhouse will manifest in the real house and this is where the story begins to take a dangerous turn that has the family scrambling for their lives to not end up with their own blood soaked into Keyhouse’s wooden floors.
Joe Hill writes this story for those that have read the previous series from start to finish and are hungry for more Locke & Key adventures. For those that are invested in the Locke family and the extensive amount of world building the creative team has done over the years to make this one of the best comic series to ever hit the shelves. He also writes this issue for those that may not have ever read a Locke & Key comic but have heard the rumblings and decided to take a look. The story is very accessible and many of the questions a new reader might have regarding this self contained story are answered by the time you reach the last page. Hill services both types of audiences very well by giving the indoctrinated something new with a hint of the familiar while opening up an all new world for the first time readers to enjoy.
Anyone familiar with the work of Gabriel Rodriguez and Jay Fotos already know to expect a highly detailed and fantastic looking issue. If you’re new to their work then prepared to be impressed and make sure you go over the pages several times to take it all in. There’s always something placed in the art that enhances the narrative like Harland Locke reading a copy of W. E. B. Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk which helps define the time period right along with the patriarchle views of Chamberlin Locke. Rodriguez finds those nuances in human expression which make his characters almost life-like in some panels. Again I have to reference Harland Locke as he’s calling for Jeanie where he shows the strain in the wrist along with the rise of the Adam’s apple to also show that his voiced is raised aside from just having the character’s open hand to his m mouth. Jay’s colors are something to behold and help deliver a solid combo with the art here. From the iridescent glow on the giant booger (read the story) to the bloodied, burned, and stabbed giant spider he makes every page worth several looks.
Now, unless I’m forgetting something it seemed odd that the adults not only still had knowledge of the keys but Harland was still able to use one. From what I remember was that after reaching a certain age the memories of the keys began to fade away. Hopefully this is explained or there’s the possibility that I interpreted that part of the story incorrectly but until I find out it’s going to nag at me.
Locke & Key one-shots are great little side quests enhancing an overall story that you thought couldn’t get any better. So regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the series it’s worth picking up so go and do that.