Locke and Key, vol. 6

Locke and Key 6Summary: The shadows have never been darker and the end has never been closer. Turn the key and open the last door; it’s time to say goodbye. The final arc of New York Times bestselling Locke & Key comes to a thunderous and compelling conclusion. An event not to be missed!

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Locke and Key, vol. 6, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez 8.0

The final volume of ‘Locke and Key’, titled “Alpha and Omega”, continues where volume 5 had left off: Dodge/Bode has the Omega Key, and he naturally means to use it. Thus begins a countdown until doomsday, as Dodge begins to execute his plan and bides his time – with the whole Locke family unaware of what’s transpiring under their noses.

I had been told by the comic geek library clerk I chat with that it was a good, but otherwise unspectacular book, so I had adjusted my expectations well before getting around to it (the wait list was rather long; it’s a very popular series). But it turns out that I needn’t have worried: for their finale, Hill and Rodriguez crafted a solid last tome.

The story wasn’t entirely unfamiliar, what with everything revolving around grad night and with touches that reminded me of Hill’s father’s oeuvre, but the pacing was terrific and the character development was top notch as well. I also love how Hill has a commendable value system and incorporates little touches in his work to reflect that.

Rodriguez’ art is extraordinary: Everything is rich in detail and the layout of every page is different. He can even do architecture. He doesn’t seem to have any weakness, aside for a slight amount of theatricality in the way he moves or poses his characters. But that’s a minor criticism, as Rodriquez shows no lacks of skill or creativity.

*MAJOR spoiler alert*

Having said this, “Alpha and Omega” did leave me incredulous in a few instances:

  • After Nina was attacked by Dodge and forced to down a couple of bottles of wine, Kinsey was quick to assume that her mom did this of her own will, even though the torn clothes and general disarray would suggest something else. Not so sure… that felt convenient to me, designed to make Kinsey behave a certain way.
  • Even though Nina had downed a heck of a lot of wine in a short amount of time and was completely incoherent, she sobered up really quickly, and became relatively functional. Although some of the events were indeed sobering, I wasn’t entirely convinced that this was possible.
  • I’ll need to re-read the rest of the series, but I didn’t think that people in Well House were actually living and breathing; I thought that they were just echoes of people. So when Tyler goes back to free Dodge, I wasn’t sure that he could actually interact with him physically.
  • Similarly, I wasn’t 100% sure about the way that Bode came back. What was that door that they used, exactly? Was it used in conjunction with the animal key? Is that it? Again, I think I need to go back through the rest of the series to put this together. Convenient that it didn’t burn with the rest of the house, though…
  • But it leads to the largest issue of the whole series, and it’s why none of the authorities investigate the large number of mysterious appearances and disappearances at Key House. For instance, there are all the kids who died in the ’80s, but who were considered drowned – even though an investigation would have shown otherwise.
  • And how are the Lockes going to explain Bode’s reappearance, given that he’s been cremated in a very public ceremony? Are they going to hide him away, or is this just an unresolved plot point? In any case, logic dictates that Bode cannot be reintegrated in society now.
  • When Tyler goes back to speak to his dad by calling his echo up from the Well House, why didn’t he bring the rest of the family with him? And why would his dad say that only demons want to cling to life after they’ve had their time, just after Bode came back?

That’s either a huge gap in the writing, or it’s the set-up for some future stories with the Locke family. I guess only time will tell….

  • Finally, I felt that the ending was perhaps too “feel-good”, considering that dozens of teenagers died in Dodge’s onslaught. Too many things ended up better than before that showdown (i.e. Bode’s return, Erin’s memory is returned, …etc.). And that doesn’t feel appropriate contextually.

But, despite these reservations,  I quite enjoyed this volume of Locke and Key. And, based on the quality of the previous books, I’d say this one does the rest of the series justice. It’s not the greatest book of the series, but it wraps everything up neatly and in a relatively satisfying fashion.

*MAJOR spoiler alert*

On the whole, ‘Locke and Key’ is a series well worth checking out. Sure it has its lapse along the way, but even at its weakest it’s a strong  effort. I don’t know if Hill and Rodrigues will ever match the quality of the work they did together, the sheer amount of creativity injected, here, but I’ll be paying attention to them henceforth.

If only due to ‘Locke and Key’, Hill and Rodrigues deserve the attention and plaudits they get.

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