Comic Book Review – Locke & Key Volumes 1 to 6 (2009 to 2014)

Locke and Key

Accomplished novelist Joe Hill teams up with the artist Gabriel Rodriguez to fashion a spellbinding account of the devastated Locke family and their struggles to rebuild after Rendall, beloved father and husband, is brutally murdered by deranged high school student, Sam Lesser. The surviving Lockes relocate to an unlikely family manor on the island of Lovecraft, MA. Yet, as with every gothic mansion, this New England homestead holds dark and otherworldly secrets, secrets that go back generations. Okay, so there’s some standard horror clichés in this plot, and you might be asking, what’s the catch? Is it a safe bet that what starts off as a character study in grieving will swerve into the realm of spine-chilling terror? Yes, but that doesn’t quite cover it, old boy. As the youngest Locke child discovers, Keyhouse possesses some fantastic doors that transform all who dare to pass through them—namely, a doorway that temporarily kills you and allows your spirit to roam freely. Oh, and there’s also this well that houses a twisted spectral entity from the past, an evil phantom that desperately wants out and will use any means available to gain freedom, including releasing the very teenage murderer responsible for the grieving family’s disposition and unleashing him upon their uprooted lives once more.

Despite some familiar horror elements, the Locke & Key series manages to venture off the beaten path in some respects. This six volume series is a page-turning macabre story with clever transition scenes with memorable characters made all the more vivid through Rodriguez’s simple albeit compelling artwork. Joe Hill blends horror with fantasy and mystery to launch a riveting tale of a shattered family that cannot seem to outrun terror.

 

5 out of 5 stars

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Comic Book Review – X-Force Volume 1: Angels and Demons (2009)

x-force vol 1

Darkly drawn: blacks, grays, steel blues and vibrant reds, gory, depictive of graphic violence – this is what X-Force is all about. They’re a hit squad, folks out for blood, and serious about it. This one comes with advisories against the kiddies. It is essentially a gore-fest.

The graphic nature aside, this is very well drawn / colored by Crain. The gorgeous yellows of Magus, the blur of red the first time Wolverine punches Cyclops, the panel expression shots of Rahne – excellent work, and it translates pretty nicely as well.

The dialogue for nearly each issue opens with a stream of consciousness – you get to see inside a particular character’s thought process, and consequently, where they are bumping up against walls in their discourse and interactions with other members of the team. From this point we get the bubbled language and somewhat choppy discourse between the characters. In my experience with this, I can say I felt the pace of the story was quick, maybe too quick.

It’s secondary villain (Risman) is built off of ‘The New X-Men’ (2004), which is pretty neat, turning the concept a bit, striking it at a different angle – for instance, what if X-Force intervened against Risman’s campaign, in large-part because it got personal, well: this is what you’d get.

There’s even a bit of a sentimental lean (not sexual tension) to the story from two of our protagonists: Warpath and Rahne.

 

3 out of 5 stars

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FanExpo Toronto 2018 – Sunday Conversation with Dan DiDio

FAN EXPO Canada is the largest Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming event in Canada and the 3rd largest Pop Culture event in North America.

Celebrating its 24th year, FAN EXPO Canada has grown from a small comic book convention attracting 1,500 fans into a multi-faceted, 4-day citywide event that attracts over 129,000 people from around the world.

The Sunday Conversation is back! Join DC Publisher Dan DiDio as he gives you an up-close-and-personal look at how some of DC’s topnotch talent broke in, crafting the tales of your favorite DC comics!

Featuring Dan DiDio, Tom King and Joshua Williamson

FanExpo: https://www.fanexpocanada.com/en/about-us/about-us.html

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/A_G_Ferguson

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Website: https://andrew-g-ferguson.com/

 

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