{Book Review} Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1

Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1

Joe Hill (Author) • Gabriel Rodriguez (Artist) • Jay Fotos (Colorist) • Shawn Lee (Letters)

It’s impossible to minimize the influence Neil Gaiman has had on the horror/dark fiction world through his seminal work, Sandman. It’s a rich, cultured tapestry of a story that has captivated all who’ve read it for many years. Likewise, the Locke & Key series by Hill and Rodriguez have created their own lasting legacy in the horror/dark friction realm. Both show that creating a world for their characters to interact within gives license to an incredible amount of stories to be told.

When I first heard they were going to combine these two worlds together, I was admittedly equal parts excited and sceptical. How could the fantastic dream world of Gaiman’s titular character compete with the real world chaos of the keys? It didn’t seem possible, but I knew I needed to find out.

In this first issue, we see Mary Locke take a key to the UK to visit Roderick Burgess to discuss something she’s heard he keeps locked in his basement. Her motivation having something to do with her father’s torment over the loss of her brother, which in and of itself is a whole story, but in true Hill fashion, we only get to see a small bit of at this moment. Her confrontation with Roderick doesn’t go well but she does end up meeting a very familiar “Lord”, though it costs her the match key. When that doesn’t go well either, she strikes a deal with his son, Alex, and finds herself in a realm she’d never experienced even in all her time with the keys.

The story takes on the wonderful imagery of both universes so seamlessly, by the time I put the book down I couldn’t believe they weren’t conceived of at the same time to begin with. Familiar characters, situations, world mechanics, and dialogue weaved together in such a way that fans of either universe will enjoy this collaboration. This series is shaping up just in the first issue to be an icon in its own, well deserved, right.

Locke & Key created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Sandman based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg

Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1

If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming!

The epic crossover between two of the most beloved fantasy universes in comics begins here. John “Jack” Locke is ten years dead, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting the occasional letter home… from Hell. Now, Mary Locke will do anything to save her brother’s soul. Her quest to rescue him from The Pit will require her to outsmart Roderick Burgess (the most evil man in England), puzzle her way through the House of Mystery, and risk the walking nightmare known as The Corinthian in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!

You can buy Hell & Gone #1 from IDW Publishing

A. S. MacKenzie

A. S. MacKenzie is an Atlanta based author who loves all things books, movies, games, and comics. He lives with his wife, spoiled dogs, and an unhealthy obsession with building things. He can be found building worlds in books, building plastic models, or building with wood. Check out his website at asmackenzie.com for ways to join his newsletter and read free stories. Also, he’s been known to frequent Twitter (@a_s_mackenzie) to say something vaguely interesting and Instagram (a.s.mackenzie) for food, travel, and random pics.

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