Locke and Key Volume 1: My Thoughts

By Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

The story and the art were okay. It’s an average horror or whatever genre this is type of story. Except.

Violence is used mostly as a shock device. It felt often very cheap and idk, the violence feels just gimmicky and while everyone reading this understands plot armor, using that to show graphic just blood and beatings feels unfair because it feels hollow. I wasn’t really attached to any of the characters except Bode or the uncle(? who is so lovable in just so few panels) so I wouldn’t be shocked at anyone’s death in the first volume. It feels like trying to scare you into thinking they could die but you know they won’t die like this. It was also a very bad plot point of Joe’s father’s book, the Dark Half, where side characters get senselessly killed in an attempt to shock the viewer and establish the deadliness of the killer. Just looked like plain theatrics to me.Also then there’s this.

There’s a rape in the beginning of the story. It’s a very gruesome one. And it’s never addressed properly again. It’s used as an emotional plot point for the kids to go out and grow on their own, but the rape victim sinks into alcoholism and depression and mania and is never fixed. It is not even addressed when talking about the whole incident with which it was associated. Feels cheap and unnecessary. Oh yes, the only mention of it is how the rapist imagined he was being flashed in car washes by the victim. That’s it. It’s a throwaway, a minor incident in the face of bigger actions. Which is VERY VERY problematic. I am also not completely fine with how Joe Hill and his artist, both males treated this actually important plot point as almost non-existent. They could have cut it out of the story or addressed her trauma and trying to overcome it or anything. Instead all the focus is on the kids and yeah. Feels like men writing women as just plot points to further shock the viewer. Just rape as shock value.

Which is surprising because Kinsey feels properly explored. And ofc Bode is amazing. But to reduce the victim to an manic alcoholic anxious all the time about protecting her family feels very reductive and stupid. Just stupid. I will read this further because the story has potential but this treatment has really soured my experience.

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