After seeing his parents hung for treason, Ben Locke and his sister make their way to the cave where the militia is hiding. Hoping to see their brother again to inform him of what has happened, they’re given even more bad news. It seems like something in the cave has been released and caused the deaths of several members of the militia. The truth of the event is known to only a few of the men, but that is even hard to believe until Ben sees the truth for himself.
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have been on a roll with Locke & Key, and it’s no wonder why Hill recently won the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Writer for this series. During what is a very character driven tale we’re given the groundwork for a damn good origin issue. We are given a lot of dialog to get through, but every bit of it is a necessary push in the right direction for the story’s progression. It’s not only a look into how the various keys came about, but a deeper look at the Locke family as well.
If you’ve never seen Gabriel Rodriguez’s work, then you, my friend, have missed out on some of the best work in comics. He’s made this series a visual masterpiece and hasn’t faltered in the past four volumes. One of my favorite sequences in this issue was Ben’s vision of the keys and how it ran parallel to the evil door and goat interaction. The goat’s expression was priceless, and you can tell what it’s thinking from panel to panel. Part of what makes Gabe’s art work so well with this series is Jay Fotos’s coloring and how well he makes it pop. From the backgrounds to the characters, there’s so much detail that your eye will find a reason to keep going back over the panels.
Though it is the fifth volume, Clockworks is a pretty safe jumping on point for new readers who want to dip their feet in before they take the big plunge into this series. Clockworks also marks the beginning of the end for the series, as it will end in the sixth and final volume, but for now there’s still time to enjoy the great work Hill and Rodriguez have been bringing us.