Locke & Key: Dog Days Review

by Nick Devonald on November 06, 2019

Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Letterer: Shawn Lee

I don’t think I realised how much I missed Locke & Key till I read this. Written and drawn by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, from the first page you are drawn in as if you’ve never been away. Hill & Rodriguez make such a good collaboration and Locke & Key is their baby. They are actually both listed as Storytellers rather than Writer and Artist.

After opening the front cover we are confronted by the recap page. Possibly my favourite recap page ever. Simply a look at the Keyhouse as it stood following the conclusion of the main Locke & Key storyline. No writing, no explanation, just that. And it was perfect.

The first of two stories, Dog Days, is a Golden Age Locke & Key story. I’ll admit it took me a little longer to figure out what was going on that it probably should have done here. I kicked myself when I did because all the clues were there staring me in the face. I daresay a lot of other readers will twig quicker than I did. I worked it out a few pages before the reveal. It’s cleverly written, there’s a bit of a Sixth Sense story going on here, and it’s worth a quick re-read after you’ve finished.

It starts off innocently enough, but as the story progress there is one character who you initially think is a little different. But as the story progresses the more he says the more and more uncomfortable it gets. After the reveal it flips the whole tone of the story from creepy to an absolute joy. It is apparent that Hill & Rodriguez were having a blast returning to this world and it comes across in the comic.

The second story, Nailed it, is a quick read. Some interesting storytelling choices are made here which work fantastically. First off there is only one line of dialogue, at the conclusion of the story, none throughout the rest of the story, Gabriel Rodriguez’s excellent art manages to tell the story and needs no words cluttering up his outstanding artwork.

Then there’s the fact a lot of the pages are only one panel, with a few pages expanding to four panels. This is really effective; it conveys the enormity of the task before the Locke family. And, of course, it is resolved in typical Locke & Key fashion.

The most important part of this second story is the set-up for future tales. The conclusion shows us that there are more stories to come, and in fact is teased within these pages. I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.

The only criticism I could throw at it is this isn’t designed for newcomers. If you haven’t read Locke & Key before you’re going to want to read that before this. Newcomers won’t follow what’s going on particularly well, so this isn’t a great introduction. My advice to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of Locke & Key is to go out there and read it from the beginning. It’s a fantastic series, teasing more to come and a Netflix series on the way. And this is a great excuse for long-time fans to dive back into the Keyhouse before the Netflix series.

Dog Days is a welcome return to the Keyhouse, a joy to read, with the promise of more to come.

Our Score:


A Look Inside