lunes, 28 de octubre de 2013

Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke and Key #1) - Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez

Summary from Goodreads:

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all.

Welcome to Lovecraft opens with the murder of Rendell Locke, father to three children: Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. This murder is perpetrated by Sam Lesser, a troubled young man treated by Mr. Locke. After this event, the three kids, along with their mother, who survived the attack, relocate from San Francisco to Lovecrat, Massachussetts. Until then, the story is full of tension and blood and violence, but fully grounded on reality. 

This changes when they move into Keyhouse with their uncle Duncan Locke. The youngest of the three Locke kids, Bode, sets to explore the manor on his own. The distinction between reality and fantasy starts to blur when Bode discovers the Ghost Key, that allows the user to transform into a ghost when they cross the door it opens. As it happens, the house is more than just a house, and there seems to be a special connection with the Locke family. Bode also discovers the Lady in the Well, an evil being who claims to be no more than his echo. As the story furthers, we learn that this being is behind the murder of Rendell Locke and is helping Sam escape from the correctional facility where he had been locked after the murder. We know the Lady in the Well, or Dodge, is after something the Lockes have. But what exactly or why is it that he wants?

During the whole Welcome to Lovecraft, Joe Hill builds up tension and terror. I wanted to know more and I also wanted to stop reading. The plot is enough to make you scared and curious. It's really addictive. Nevertheless, I like that this graphic novel goes deeper than the supernatural element and the gore. The murder allows Joe Hill to explore how the survivors cope with guilt and the horrible memories of the event. Kinsey wants to disappear, to go unnoticed, which is reflected on her complete make-over. Their mother, Nina, has started drinking. Tyler is guilt-ridden, to the point of feeling directly responsible of the murder. It shows how skilled Hill is when it comes to character development, and these relatable quiet moments are what make Welcome to Lovecraft a masterpiece, since they balance the violence and terror so well.

The artwork, by Gabriel Rodríguez, is equally stunning. It has a cinematic feeling, with planes of great scope that then zoom in to a focal point, or a superposition of a certain character in different scenarios to show different layers of meaning for the same line of text. The characters are drawn in a deceptively simple style that allows for great complexity and detail. The drawings have as much personality as the characters themselves. He also makes a great use of perspective, far greater than I've ever seen in a graphic novel - it really enhances the different plot points. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez are definitely a match made in heaven.

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