THE MYSTERIES OF KEYHOUSE
Written by Joe Hill and drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke and Key is a wonderful mix of magic, murder, and mystery. This first volume collects the six-issue mini-series "Welcome to Lovecraft" where the Locke family moves into Keyhouse after their father is murdered by one of his students. There's more to the house than anyone expects, and that's only starting with magical keys and a person living in a well on the grounds. A new beginning soon turns into a game of survival as the remaining Locke family members fight off attackers both from the world of the living and the realm of the dead.
The writing in Locke and Key is top-notch. It sold me after the first few pages and I read the entire hardcover volume in a single sitting. Hill writes his comics as very character based pieces and it really shows through each individual issue and chapter. Every character is believable, from the guilt-stricken older brother Ty to the adventure seeking Bode and his romps as a ghost.
The art in the book is the only thing I have a slight problem with. In terms of overall tone, location, and genre, the book does wonders. I'm just not a fan of the character deigns, mainly the eyes. That's a nitpicking thing, but it's the only thing I've been able to find that I don't enjoy. Aside from that detail I do enjoy the art as a whole and I think Rodriguez has a knack for panel flow and movement.
The types of readers I'd suggest this book to are people who are big fans of supernatural mysteries. Locke and Key is a bit of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe mixed with a Clive Barker story. It's the kind of book where you're constantly worried about the well-being of the characters not only because of the situations they're in, but also because they feel so real.
This volume from IDW gets a very respectable 4/5 for taking lots of very interesting turns in the narrative and nailing the atmosphere of a supernatural thriller and mystery. I just wish I could get over the way the characters are designed, but luckily it doesn't affect the story for me at all and I still really enjoy the book as a whole.