|..and hold that pose.|
If you choose to do that, you’re missing out on a whole hell of a lot. In fact, there’s been a great number of critically acclaimed comics that feature characters without superpowers. Some noteworthy books include Road to Perdition, Ed Brubaker’s Criminal and Fatale series, Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead and A History of Violence just to name a few.
|Ed Brubaker's Criminal series|
While a few of the above noted talents did venture into the realm of superheroes, many of them pursued a different avenue. When it came to Joe Hill, he tossed out the tried and true formula of spandex-clad do-gooders battling evil do-ers and presented a story about loss and how to move on. Latching onto themes such as friendship, substance abuse and what it means to show fear, Hill created a story that is highly relatable despite the fact he has demons, ghosts and giant shadow monsters parading around in the background.
|All of the feels.|
The writing in this series is stronger than Superman on steroids. Hill has flexed his creative muscles and brought characters to life that will stick with you long after you've blown through any of the first five volumes. There are moments where I’m not afraid to admit I may have lost my manly composure and shed a few tears. What? This is powerful stuff, OK? You try getting through volume five without getting a little choked up.
The artwork deserves its fair share of praise as well. Artist and collaborator Gabriel Rodriguez’s visuals are strong in all the right areas. The expressions on the faces of certain characters can be both terrifying as well as heartbreaking. Due to the success of Locke & Key, he’s struck up quite the partnership with Hill that has begun to venture outside of this series. Most recently, Rodriguez has added some illustrations to Hill’s most recent novel, NOS4A2 in between chapters.
|Patrick Swayze, this is not.|
As of this writing, the series is winding up with only three issues to go. The final seven issues have been divided into two sections. The first five issues are presented under the banner of “OMEGA” while the final two issues (32 pages each) are published as Locke & Key: ALPHA. While I’ll be sad to see the series end, I’ll be happy to know that Hill and Rodriguez were smart enough to end things on a high note. Knowing how successful this partnership has been (Winning two Eisner Awards, two British Fantasy Awards and receiving several nominations), I’d venture to guess they’ll be working again in the future. One can only hope.
|The Dynamic Duo|