Review: Locke & Key: Alpha #2
In February 2008, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez started a series called Locke & Key. Little did any of us know of the ride that was coming over the next five years. Locke & Key: Alpha #2 ends the series on an incredibly high note, giving every character a swan song. Bring the tissues.
Slight spoilers for the Locke & Key series.
Hill picks up the story months after the tragic events of Alpha #1, showing the Locke family grieving. Yes, tears will be had, and goodbyes are said. The funerals act as a showcase for how far the characters have come since Locke & Key #1 hit stands. Tyler is more mature and taking hold of his life. Kinsey is emotionally stable, and is focusing on others. Mrs. Locke is no longer drinking, and showing more affection towards her children. Like any good ending, these scenes tug at the heart strings and make you look back at the stories before. Most of the emotional beats are expected, but Zack’s heartfelt regret over his actions against the Locke family surprises the most. In the current realm of comics, definite endings are rare, as many writers want to leave doors open in case they decide to revisit the world again. Hill goes for the other avenue and shuts the door in a way that no key could open it again. A few points seem to wrap up too nicely, such as Bode’s death and Ms. Voss development, but they add up to a offset the somber first part of the series. As much as these characters have been through, Hill instills the feeling that they have become better people since they started being put through the ringer.
Hill makes quite a few references to the When talking about the greatest comics of all time a few series are routinely brought up. Y: The Last Man, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, Watchmen, and The Sandman are the usual bunch that are thrown around. Locke & Key should be a part of that stellar group. This is one of the few series that I have read through multiple times, usually adding another run through when a new volume is coming out. It was a sad day when the pilot for this series was shelved, but it’s good to see that the legacy will live on in movie form (rumored at the time of this writing).
What is there to say about Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork that hasn’t been said a thousand times in the past five years? Characters are full of life in a way that isn’t frequent enough in modern comics. Every gut wrenching scene is only enhanced by the emotions pouring out of character’s faces as they grieve. Bode’s bird is one of the cutest things that has come out of this series. Before that plot development has been even discussed, Rodriguez puts the slightest bit of Bode’s facial features into the bird, giving you the hope that you were begging for.
If you have never read this series, use the holiday money that your family gives you and pick up the trades or hard covers. You’ll thank me in the New Year.
Locke & Key: Alpha #2 gets 5/5.