Major Spoilers Ahead. Ain't telling you thrice.
In The Run Through, we’ll be looking at completed comic book series, one volume, one week at a time, from the critically acclaimed to the virtually unknown. The goal is to provide our readers with something new to bite into. This isn’t a review, it’s barely a recommendation. It’s an informal glance at comics that made it to their final issue, and we want to read the stories arc by arc, as they were ultimately intended to be consumed. While there may be minor spoilers, any major developments will be vaguely referred to, so don't worry. No stars, no bashing, just what we did and didn’t like. And yes, we want to hear from you too.
It's hard to verbalize the end of a series. We've all been there before, after turning a book's last page.It doesn't have to be the most wonderful piece of writing to illicit a few minutes of speculation, but the good stories, the really...complete ones leave us a little dumbfounded. Did Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega, or the series in general, do this? I'll start off with a resounding yes.
The final volume had a lot to cover. There were a few characters we haven't seen, some ends that needed to be dealt with, and one particular ghost still floating around. Joe Hill has been nothing but flawless when handling Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, and while his characters in the past (Rendell Locke, Kim Topher, Duncan Locke, etc.) may have been less than exemplary, his handling of Scot, Jackie, Jordan, and Jamal was terrific. Scot was empowering. When cured from the demon possessing him, he understood it meant death, yet pushed forward with only one thought in his head: save who he can. The moment he began to wither away, and had to release Jackie from the possession, was a lovely scene. Jordan's sacrifice was bitter, since, as Tyler says to her disillusioned father, “I don't think anyone knew your daughter.” There plenty of moments like these, but if there was one scene that broke my heart, it was the rescue of Dodge.
His defeat was a necessity, of course. No surprise there. But for Tyler to take pity on the soul caged by the torturous demon that had overtaken Dodge's—maybe Lucas Caravaggio is more appropriate—body was a wonderful resolution to his character, and much needed, though I hadn't given it a thought, look into Lucas' real self. The sheer guilt he feels culminates in his last few minutes of life, but he offers a comforting look at death, when asked by Tyler if he saw Ellie on the other side:
If something made me uneasy, it was the death of bode. I don't know if his death was essential to the story, even if it did lead to some poignant scenes for some characters, but it felt hyperbolic. As if it may have been there for shock value. I'm still not sure, but I can say with certainty that his subsequent revival wasn't cheap or a cop out, and I thoroughly enjoyed the road that was taken, ultimately.
Gabriel Rodriguez has fast become one of my favorite artists. I've said many times how much I adore his work, and it's easy to see how good he is technically, but there's an empathetic quality to his faces. He captures all the pain, confusion, panic, and struggles the characters are constantly suffering. As particular as Joe Hill is with his words, Gabriel Rodriguez is with his lines. I may sound like I'm simply gushing over these creators, and you're damn right I am, but this story is hitting notes I'd never heard before. Gabriel details forgiveness in the Tyler's visage, as if it were a song. Jay Fotos colors in the contradiction that Tyler feels, never overpowering, always hitting the mark when it comes to subtle colors for subtle moments. Then we get Robbie Robbins, who know where words need to lay on the page. He directs the readers eye with precision, and does so without invading anyone's space, even when handling large amounts of dialogue.
I could double the size of this piece with how the story began, but it's the ending that really mattered to me. The pacing did drag at times, and other moments seemed superfluous, but that's okay. The perfect book hasn't been found yet, which makes sense, since most of these stories need to have such human flaws to be relevant. Inconsistent characters, or off putting characterization, but despite this, Locke & Key turned out to be a wonderful example of why horror is such an effective genre. If you read this without having finished Alpha & Omega, you're kind of weird, sorry, but you also need to go back and finish the series. Once you do, let's talk about it some more.
Fermin is sometimes a substitutes teacher, speaks quite a bit of Spanish, and isn't shy about his emotional reaction to reality shows, but is slightly ashamed. Make fun of Billy with him on Twitter, or just follow him @koky_sorta.