If you’ve never read Locke & Key from IDW Publishing, then Small World captivates its readers with amazing imagination and intricately detailed artwork. Eisner Award winners Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez unite again to give the Locke family an adventure its fans will not forget.
Writer Hill creates a story built upon curiosity and the ramifications of poking around with unimaginable forces. This story revolves around a seemingly simple birthday gift, and the two children it’s intended for end up seizing much more attention than they bargained for. Artist Rodriguez draws a dollhouse with upmost precision, with line work making even the smallest figures seem life-like. The fine drawings do not stop with the little house. Each panel tells its own story, as characters, especially the younger ones, have their own way of going about things.
One particular panel has the father looking upon his children’s excitement to their new gift, but the details of his spectacles, pipe, and perfectly folded tie are not the only items of note. Above him, an architectural ceiling goes unnoticed by the family, along with a large spider web, and the uneasiness felt from the cover page begins here. The regular cover, as well as several variants shown inside this issue, include a terrifying glimpse into what lies ahead. Rodriguez highlights a giant hand holding onto a little girl, much like holding onto a figurine that’s about to be placed into a dollhouse. This girl holds a gigantic key, compared to her, but her attention is focused down as a massive spider reaches up to grab her.
The details on this page perfectly summarizes the artwork within: fingers are pinched together tightly; lines defining fingerprints and nails; the spider’s long, segmented legs; and the handle of the key drawn as a miniature house. Colorist Jay Fotos generates a wonderful blend of colors, making the readers feel further rooted in the early twentieth century. Brown furniture and doors are decorated with red carpets and seat cushions, while men wear gray and black and women wear soft pink, purple, or blue. Dinner also serves as another perfect example of coloring with candle lights and vivid platefuls filling the table.
This chapter of Locke & Key has a balance of creepy elements – check the cover and imagine what else is inside – and then Hill mixes in funny banter to match wild scenes generated from youthful exuberance. Small World is a story unto itself and further shows Locke & Key’s continued run has earned its popularity.
Locke & Key: Small World will be available on Wednesday, December 21, for print and digital release.