And so we come to the second to last issue of Locke and Key, entitled Alpha. As supposedly I’m qualified to tell you whether or not this is good, follow me down the long and winding corridors of Key House, and down into the darkness of the Drowning Cave , to discover what will happen to those Locke’s still in this mortal coil.

Oh, and the rest of the world, too.

Locke and Key: Alpha (IDW)

“Anti-climactic” is a harsh phrase. Yet, one can not help but feel somewhat disappointed after years of buildup when an author suffers from deus ex machina, and all the abruptness that comes with this predilection. Endings are never easy. The longer the series, the more it seems people will cry foul when you end your serialized fictional work. However (and yes, I’m aware there is still one issue left to go, but it seems very much like this is the issue where most of the danger is shoved out of the way), when you perform such an eloquent building of apprehension and dread such as Hill has with Locke and Key, and then end things in the blink of an eye, it leaves a sour taste in the reader’s mouth.

Evocative descriptions are used, but I can’t help but wonder why things didn’t get crazier, on the monster front? A door directly to Leng and all we get are pretty people and one cool looking shadow creature with lots of eyes that is woefully underused. Also, for the love of all that is holy, why did Rufus have to pull a Patrick Danville in the last Dark Tower book! (Please don’t Google his name if you plan to read The Dark Tower series.) Just waltzed right in, and whoop, demon-be-gone, nobody suspects the special needs kid! Except we all do, because it has now become beyond a cliche to have special needs kids with supernatural powers.

Gabriel Rodriguez is the same wonderful conveyor of sorrow and horror in his pictures. His use of proportion and angles always leaves you feeling off-balance. Likewise, he has wonderful people-with-tears-streaming-down-their-faces pictures.

In a very real way, the visuals in this issue are much more powerful than the text. Of course, it’s an equally visual medium, I mean durrr. However, while the description of Dodge’s ultimate plans now that he’s opened the Black Door and released some of his demon kin is creepy, it is the images of this devastation in our world which really gets the ol’ blood pumping. Though I’ve always been a sucker for prophetic scenes. But then, comics are a two-way street of writer and artist (unless it’s an artist who writes the comic), so some credit on the direction of the visuals obviously goes to the Hill-man.

Lest ye think I entirely hated this issue, let me assure ye, verily, I did not. I really enjoyed the black eye monster, and or Black Door itself? and most of the stuff that happens in The Drowning Cave is pretty bad-ass. It just feels like it could have been more bad-ass. But I did enjoy the ride. Please don’t throw rocks at me in the street.

This issue is packed from a-----e to teeth with special covers and behind the scenes features. I can’t help but feel like for 8 bucks though, that isn’t enough to really warrant the price tag.


  • Rodriguez’s art is at its best.
  • Cool s--t happens in the Drowning Cave.
  • Anti-climactic resolution.
  • Not enough supernatural elements considering it’s been years of hinting at them.

Is It Good?

It’s okay. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s good, without qualifiers like “pretty” or “sorta” before the word. An ending so very rushed after such a long time of supernatural cockteasery leaves you with a sense of annoyance. Can’t win ’em all.