Locke & Key proved itself a unique, must-read series years ago. Written by Joe Hill and primarily drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez, the series had a very clear beginning, middle, and end. It also concluded on a good note, which is not always an easy feat to accomplish.
If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, it follows the story of the Lockes, three siblings (high school aged and younger) and their mother. They move to the Locke family mansion after their father is murdered. This is the house their father grew up in, and it is full of mystery, horror, and paranormal keys that impart special abilities, as they soon discover.
Small World takes place long before the regular series. It features an earlier Locke family with what they call the Small World Key. It can put you into a doll house, take you out of a doll house, or any combination thereof. This story features a spider that accidentally gets enlarged and set loose upon the family in their mansion.
The art is exquisite, as always, and the story is fine. Unfortunately, this slim hardcover delivers an incredibly short tale. The rest of the book is comprised of interviews, alternative covers, guest artists, notes, and the original script.
I won’t lie – considering that this book retails at $14.99, I felt very cheated. I do admit that I bought it without researching the page length, which happens to be 24. I did not even think about what the “Deluxe Edition” may mean. Truthfully, I was unaware a single issue format had previously been released. But, given the price and the fact that it’s a hardcover, I expected a book more consistent with those qualities. I saw a new Locke & Key book and I bought it out of sheer loyalty.
The brief story shocked me in relation to its high price, and this ultimately soured me on the book. As a result, I cannot recommend purchasing Locke & Key: Small World. I’d pick it up at your local library instead.