"Locke & Key: Small World" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Joe Hill
Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
Colored by Jay Fotos
2016, 32 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on December 21st, 2016
It's been three years since Locke & Key graced comic book shelves with a single issue, so this new one-shot, Small World, is a welcome sight. The beauty of the series from writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez is that there are years upon years of backstory they can fill in. The Locke family, Keyhouse, and the mystical keys that provide all sorts of strange powers have been around for some time and we really only saw the present day versions. We didn't even learn about all of the keys. Where did they come from? Who were the previous residents of Keyhouse? What kind of adventures did they get into? We'll get the answers to one of those questions in this book.
Small World picks up with two young girls receiving a very special present. It's a dollhouse, but not your run-of-the-mill Barbie Dreamhouse. This is a replica of Keyhouse itself, complete with actual residents inside. If their father is in the upstairs bedroom, they'd see a small version of him in the dollhouse in the same room. It is, of course, opened with a key.
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The real power of the dollhouse comes in the way someone can interact with those in the actual house. See, if you were to poke your finger through a window of the toy, you could smother someone in real life. It would be like a giant coming down upon you. This presents some humorous moments, but builds to a creepy crescendo when a spider crawls into the dollhouse. That means that a giant spider is walking through the actual house.
When I say “giant spider,” I'm not talking about the kind in Australia that eat birds, although those are pretty terrifying and actually real. This is a spider that's twice the size of a man. It fills an entire hallway, weaving webs and capturing people like flies. It's a normal everyday spider on the outside, but because it entered through the dollhouse, it's blown up to epic proportions.
Rodriguez's artwork is amazing as always. The lines are crisp with brilliantly detailed imagery. The spider is like one you'd see anywhere else, but it's so much more imposing due to its size. Rodriguez frames it in a very intimidating manner, always in such a way to show it looming over the children, ready to feast on their small limbs.
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Jay Fotos' colors lend an air of nostalgia to Small World that really drives home the period setting. Although no specific date is provided as to when the story takes place, you can glean a lot from the characters’ clothing. The colors make the book appear a lighter, almost like a memory. It harkens back to simpler times.
Although it's been three years since any new content has been released, Hill and Rodriguez have not missed a beat. Locke & Key is still as wondrous, frightening, and filled with adventure as always. Small World captures the sense of awe that can only be felt by a child while dealing with a simple fear that tons of people suffer from.