Review – Locke & Key: Dog Days #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Joe Hill
Artwork: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colours: Jay Fotos
Release Date: 6th November 2019

With much fanfare, I’m delighted to be previewing the latest entry in the myriad of stories surrounding the Keyhouse. I can say hand on heart that I will never not be excited to see Hill, Rodriguez and Fotos together on the shelves. This standalone book comprises two brand new Locke & Key stories and a preview of Joe Hill’s new series Dying is Easy. We’re also promised a teaser relating to the new TV series, but sadly my review copy did not include this.

Dog Days is a charming, almost Calvin & Hobbes style story about a small group of kids kicking back, enjoying the summer and pondering the future. But as with all things Locke & Key, there is a magical twist to the tale (tail?).

I really enjoyed this one. I have two young boys and this is the sort of summer I want them to be having. It’s the sort of summer I remember having as a kid, albeit slightly less magical and with zero memories of drinking out of a toilet bowl.

Nailed it! is a short but extremely satisfying home renovation story. I’m not sure why I was so taken with this story – it is, as I said, very short – but I think it’s the promise of new beginnings that this episode gives us that really fills you with excitement. Let’s face it, a whole new series starting would be a wonderful thing!

Gabriel Rodriguez is, for me, almost peerless in the comic world and I don’t think I will ever get bored of looking at the work he produces. If you take the first story in this book, it would have been so simple to create just the art within the panels, but the comic strip layout that has been adopted has allowed Rodriguez to give us a whole extra experience outside the story.

The detail in Rodriguez’s work always astounds me, there’s something to be said about an artist that will put more detail into what is essentially a backdrop to the main story, than is in the panels telling the tale. Fotos as always makes Rodriguez’ inks sing off the page and it’s a real joy to see him on duty again.

Onto Dying Is Easy… well, I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting that! Syd Homes, disgraced former detective and hideously unsuccessful stand-up-comic, sits in a bar listening to the drunken gripes and moans of his peers. When conversation turns to one of their competitors and his less than honourable practices, Homes is tempted to turn from tragic failure to full blown felon. If this is the teaser for the series then I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us.

Martin Simmonds’ artwork is a stark contrast in style to the art Rodriguez has delivered in the rest of the book but that is not to say the artwork isn’t great. I’m reminded of Dave McKean and Ben Templesmith. Dark, gritty and full of drama and tension. I think this is going to be a great pairing for what promises to be an intriguing thriller.

There’s a lot in this book for fans of Locke & Key to be excited about. There’s great writing and artwork, there’s the promise of new beginnings, and there’s a great intro to a new and completely different story from Hill. I’ve been a fan of the series for far too long to pass up the opportunity of laying my hands on more Locke & Key and I’d heartily recommend that you don’t pass it up either.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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