Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows #1
At some point last December while I was trolling around the eBays looking for bargains I came across a copy of the first Locke & Key hardcover for under $10. I had heard a little buzz surrounding the book, but I honestly didn't pay much attention to it. I don't consider myself a Stephen King fan so why should I give a crap that his kid was writing a comic book? Whatever though, a bargain's a bargain and no one else bid on the book so a couple of week's later it showed up in my mailbox and I'll be damned if that wasn't some damn fine comic booking. Just new and refreshing in almost every way. Interesting ideas paired with strong characters and stunning art. Eight months later the hardcover for the second volume Head Games came in my Box-O-Comics and it just built upon the goodness with more intrigue and even better art. So did I beg Chubbles to pick this when it showed up as an option for the Review Group? Damns right I did.
The first thing you'll notice about Crown of Shadows when you pick it up off the shelf is the cover treatment. Damn cool trick there by IDW, it really looks like Sam's ghost is floating off the page.
I wasn't expecting it, but it was nice to get that basic recap page on the inside cover of the book. Simple, effective and straight to the point. That being said, this is a direct continuation of Head Games and begins just minutes after the last issue ended. While this issue does read more like a thirteenth issue than a first, between the recap and the interactions between the characters there should be enough there to get readers up to speed.
As an existing reader, there were a ton of really cool things going on in this issue. Getting back to Sam feels long overdue after how his character was left at the end of Welcome to Lovecraft and it was nice to see a bit of character progression for him. I can't wait to see where his character goes from here. The thing with Dodge was kind of a wow moment even if it's not yet clear to the reader what it means. For now I'll just add it to the ever growing list of mysteries surrounding the Key House. Great cliffhanger at the end, it would appear that the Echo Key is going to be the focus of this volume of this series.
Gagriel Rodriguez is awesome, pure and simple. I love the detail he puts into each panel, it's one of my favorite things about the series. He's also fantastic when it comes to the expressiveness of each character. He really should be a bigger name within the industry than he is. Some of the ghost fighting in this issue could have been a bit difficult to follow if not for the work of Jay Fotos. That could not have been an easy issue to color. Beyond that though, Fotos always does a really superb job of setting the tone of the book. When you think of horror comics you think of things being dark and overly shaded, but in Locke & Key the pages absolutely pop. Rodriguez and Fotos are one of my favorite artist combinations working together right now.
Last edited by ****** on Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.