Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Locke & Key, Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom Review (Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez)

Hmm, not a whole lot happens in the fourth Locke & Key book: Zack/Dodge is still monotonously hunting for the Omega Key. He targets an old girlfriend of Rendell’s (the Locke kids’ dead dad) who recognises him, and he continues to torment Rufus, the son of the woman he’s living with. Then it’s a waiting game until something resembling a plot emerges in the final act. It’s not really plot-driven - it’s not really character-driven either! Locke & Key’s “story” just kinda… floats there. 

Maybe this is a detail I’ve forgotten from previous books, but I don’t get why Zack - if he can change his sex on a whim - doesn’t adopt a different face from the one he’s worn for decades? You know, the one that attracts unwanted attention and damningly appears in old photos? Or why he even has a lip-ring, an easily identifiable marker? Surely everything would be easier for him if these two things were gone altogether? 

Amid the waiting around, there’s some clumsy social commentary on the double standard in society for whites and blacks, and some corny melodrama with Tyler’s girlfriend Jordan - the kinda crap that doesn’t happen outside of bad fiction. Joe Hill’s also just not very good at pulling off real emotions. One scene has Tyler suddenly sobbing about his dead dad that comes out of nowhere and is unexpectedly funny! 

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is fine. There’s a cute Bill Watterson tribute in the first chapter where Bode becomes a sparrow, and I liked the Jester Key design. Generally his art is good. 

But, wow, what a lot of filler! A whole heckuva lot of watching the characters putz about doing nothing for page after page! I guess the fans of this series must really like the Locke kids for them to think this book is all that and a bag of chips? Not me. I was bored for much of it and only mildly interested once Hill decides to start doing things in the final 20 pages or so. 

I have the whole series so I’ll finish the remaining two books but this fourth volume is slow and uneventful for the most part - a tedious read that feels like Hill and Rodriguez milking their cash cow for as long as possible.

Locke & Key, Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom

1 comment:

  1. Gabriel Rodriguez's art for IDW's Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland is possibly the best comic book art I've seen in the last twenty years.