Last week brought the beginning of the end of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s “Locke & Key” with Locke & Key: Omega #1. In standard L&K fashion, it was an incredible issue that blended stellar character work, beautiful art and pulse pounding horror into one exquisite package. While we’re sad to see it on its way out, we have faith that it will end as strongly as the book always has been, and to highlight its greatness, it’s getting the spotlight in Countdown this week.
Check out below as I break down the five most biggest moments of Locke & Key for me, with two honorable mentions simply because I love them so much. And please, by all means share your faves in the comments!
Note: spoilers aplenty are below for those who have not caught up!
Honorable Mention #1: The entirety of the Calvin & Hobbes influenced issue (Locke & Key: Clockworks #1)
Why it ranks: Strangely, this was the first issue of the series I read, just because of the Bill Watterson influence. While I hardly knew what was going on, the power of Hill and Rodriguez’s storytelling hooked me and made me go out and get the collections for the previous minis. That said, this affecting issue was notable because of the way Rodriguez emulated Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes art, and it’s something that stands out even amidst his years of superb work throughout the series. Pitch perfect, and the textbook way to pull off an homage.
Honorable Mention #2: Chamberlin and Ian Locke visit the moon (Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys One-Shot)
Why it ranks: This might be my favorite issue of the series, and the moment I want to highlight is a truly magical and heartbreaking one. Chamberlin Locke, part of the long legacy of the Locke family, takes his dying son on one last adventure as they take a hot air balloon up to the moon to be with the rest of his relatives who have passed away. The moment where they open the moon up to find those relatives is as poignant and powerful of a moment as I’ve ever seen in a comic, and it truly captures the storytelling splendor Hill and Rodriguez give all of us a regular basis.
5. Our first look inside a head (Head Games #3)
Why it ranks: Sure, there are bigger moments in the series probably, but for me the fifth biggest has to be our first look inside Bode’s head. The first mini hinted at the power of the keys, but when Head Games hit and our heroes got ahold of the Head Key, we were opened to a whole new world of imagination and brilliant ideas from Hill and Rodriguez. The Head Key has, in many ways, been as important as any key in the entire series. It has factored into every mini-series since then, and it’s been involved with some major turning points in the series. It will undoubtedly play into Omega, thus, it’s high ranking on this list.
Plus, it was just cool as hell, and another feather in Gabriel Rodriguez’s much feathered cap.
4. Bode releases the girl from the well (Welcome to Lovecraft #6)
Why it ranks: You could make a really strong argument for this being the biggest moment of the series, but to me, because it was so early on we didn’t know exactly how important it would be as we went along. When Bode releases the girl at the bottom of the well, he just knows he may save his family from Sam Lesser now. What he didn’t realize is he was unleashing something much worse on his family and everyone else later. It’s a very well handled sequence that perfectly plays off the previous five issues, and powerfully sets up the rest of the series.
3. The revelation of how Dodge was corrupted (Clockworks #4)
Why it ranks: Duncan! You little bastard! If it weren’t for him, the gang would have gotten their hands on some Whispering Iron, Dodge would have maintained his small town Fonz status, and maybe everything else would have worked out. Of course, this series would not have ever existed, so…yeah, there that is. Either way, Duncan’s huge blunder caused by his curious nature sets off everything that follows, destroys the lives of many involved, and permanently casts an even greater shadow on the Locke family.
2. The Omega Key is found (Keys to the Kingdom #6)
Why it ranks: I’ll turn to MC EIC Matt Meylikhov for a quick aside about this one. I asked him what he thought the biggest moments of Locke & Key was, and here was his response:
“The final page of volume 4, where they find the Omega key in their father’s ashes. I remember turning to that page in the hardcover and just feeling a tremendous feeling of terror and dread in the pit of my stomach. Fucking fuck.”
Yeah, that’s about right. That was the moment we knew was coming eventually, we just had no idea what form exactly it would come in. What Hill and Rodriguez was that moment in its most heightened form.
1. Dodge takes Bode’s body for a ride (Keys to the Kingdom #6)
Why it ranks: This was the most haunting moment, bar none, for me. Bode has been our guide in this series, and he’s the most likable character too (pretty much everyone else is suffering from some sort of horrible event that has negatively impacted their lives in obvious ways). Basically, he was the hope and the heart of the series. For Dodge to inhabit Bode’s body…well, that was just a masterstroke. If he had taken over any of the Locke kids’ bodies, it would have been bad, but this was the absolute worst.
How Bode will factor back in, we’ve yet to see, but I have hope that our forgotten favorite ends up getting to be the one who puts the demon’s spirit back in the well. Or in the ground for good.