Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows 3 (January 2010)


So the sister’s name is Kinsey. The mom’s name, I don’t know. I also don’t know the cop’s name. I don’t really remember him or why he’s important. Hill just introduced two new characters to the supporting cast–Kinsey’s male friends from the near death experience–yet he brings back the cop.

Locke & Key has become one of those comics in need of a cast list at the start of the issue. Maybe even some major event recap notes too. It’s hard to believe anyone can read this series as published–with time off between not just issues but miniseries–and follow it.

Besides being aggravating, the issue’s okay. It’s a bridge issue, getting the mom out of the house, establishing the revised supporting cast, giving Dodge something evil to do.

There’s a good hard cliffhanger. Rodriguez does great on all the talking heads scenes. So, confusing but still good.


Last Light; writer, Joe Hill; artist, Gabriel Rodriguez; colorist, Jay Fotos; letterer, Robbie Robbins; editor, Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Fatale 6 (June 2012)

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Brubaker introduces a lot of little mysteries this issue. Some happen in the present, most happen in the past; the big one is how the past and present are connected.

The present day mystery isn’t particularly intriguing, not when compared to the ones in the flashback. It’s set in seventies Hollywood, with a b-actor the apparent protagonist. Brubaker does spend a little time from Jo’s point of view, but she’s such a sympathetic character here it’s hard to recognize her.

The protagonist stumbles into a few of the big mysteries and serendipitously ends up at Jo’s house in the hills. Brubaker makes it feel completely reasonable, never contrived.

Phillips excels at the time period. The art’s more interesting with just the mundane–the fantastic or horror elements are nothing compared to Phillips’s seventies street scenes.

It’s a good comic and gets one interested, even if there’s nothing particularly sensational.


The Devil’s Business, Prologue and Chapter One; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist and letterer, Sean Phillips; colorist, Dave Stewart; publisher, Image Comics.

Bloodhound 5 (January 2005)


Jolley writes Firestorm better in this comic than he does in his own title. Maybe because the Bloodhound stuff just runs off. It’s actually a rather successful crossover issue between two books without any reason to crossover.

It doesn’t hurt Kirk and Riggs easily toggle between realistic action violence and superhero stuff. Or how Jolley lets Clev guide the issue–Jolley basically incapacitates Firestorm, which really helps with the plot developments. It reads a lot less silly than it could.

But even good art and good dialogue can’t make the villain any better. He’s one dimensional and boring. The issue needs strong characterizations. For instance, Jolley writes a strange mentor relationship between Clev and Firestorm. Clev is empathetic.

So while Bloodhound is able to develop through this crossover, the whole point of the crossover is undercooked.

The villain can just be a bad guy, but he still needs a personality.


Firestorm; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.

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