REVIEW: Locke & Key: Clockworks #4

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This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, many questions are answered, as shivers (or is it evil tapeworms) run up and down your spine.

LOCKE & KEY: CLOCKWORKS #4
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colorist: Jay Fotos
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Locke & Key: Using the Time Shift Key, Tyler and Kinsey travel back to check out their parents as youngsters. They get to see their parents and friends put on a great play, and during the after party, Randell Locke suggests they use the Omega Key to open the Black Door… the door the is keeping the evil demons at bay.

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!

Randell makes a very convincing argument as to why they should drain the caverns under the Locke house and open the black door – essentially to use the metal from the things on the other side to create a bit of magic so everyone will always look at the group as wonderful and great. Essentially he’s suggesting that they can be popular forever, and for a group of teens facing the end of their adventures with the keys, that permanent ego boost gets everyone on board.

While the final moments leading up to the point where it all goes wrong (and it does), Joe Hill does take the time to drop in answers to questions readers have been wondering about for a long time. Questions like, “How come only kids are the ones finding the keys?”, “Why doesn’t Uncle Duncan remember anything about the magic of the house?”, “What is the Riffel effect?”, and “What made Dodge trip out and become pure evil?” Though the answer is revealed in a way that seems oh so typical, the fact that readers were presented with the clues over the last couple of issues (or more), makes it work.

While there have been a great many surprising and violent episodes throughout this series, it’s the feeling of impending doom that falls on the reader as one gets closer to the final page that is the most frightening of all. Kudos to Hill for finally spooking me as opposed to surprising and/or shocking me. This is storytelling at its best.

FROM GOOD TO EVIL

How do you draw a couple of teenagers in love? How does one convey that evil has entered someone’s body without resorting to overly dramatic poses or extreme camera angles? How does one draw envy, jealousy, and desire in a single frame? The answer to all of these is to hire Gabriel Rodriguez to do the art for your book.

Without having to use dialogue to express it, readers know what every character is thinking, we know what is motivating them, and it’s all through the masterful style of Rodriguez. There isn’t a single panel in this issue that is wasted space, or lacking in creativity and style, and that is what draws the reader into the page and makes them part of the story.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT! BUY IT NOW!

No, seriously, buy it now…

This is issue works on so many different levels. The Locke kids and the reader have been on a journey of discovery all these issues, and just when we think the big questions will never get answers, Joe Hill delivers a story that spells it out for us. Gabriel Rodriguez continues to mesmerize, and the creatures on the other side of the black door are creepier than I remember. Masterful storytelling and great art earns Locke & Key: Clockworks #4 5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★★