Locke & Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez
As winter descends on Lovecraft, the action far from settles or slows down as Dodge's position becomes more of a precarious thing and his cruelty comes more into light and out of the shadows. As befitting the series as a whole, Keys to the Kingdom was a Will Eisner nominee, and Keys to the Kingdom deserves the distinction of being a winner of one of the awards (best writer, so, congrats, Joe Hill, you deserve it for the writing in this series) and a strong fighter for two others.

I have mentioned before that I really really just love the art in this series. I love the care to which each character is given life and personality - but I fear it's simply not doing proper justice to the quality and the care that everything in the art was handled; the scary stuff is disquieting, the sad moments are nearly crushing and the wonderful human moments are filled with so much light and love that you can, for a moment, forget about the hulking shadows that threaten to kill at any given moment. Gabriel Rodriguez, I am and will always be a writer, and do think like one, but your art does not deserve to go without recognition, as it blows away any false idea of comic book art as being mediocre, at best.

Moving on, I want to mention that I like the way in which two months pass through the lives of the Locke children and Co., as battles that take up their weekends are summed up by some amazing artwork by the aforementioned genius Rodriguez in a page. We see Kinsey flying on angel's wings in one instance, while in another we see Bode becoming a Herculian strongman as he protects his family. In such a seamless and fun manner, we grow to understand what now passes as routine for these amazing children. In these weekend battles, we see new keys being used in amazing battles as the Locke children defend themselves and their home from the monster that they have no clue is really their friend, Luke.

It is through these battles that have become routine that the eldest Locke child begins to surmise a pattern that they may only be able to recognize once it is too late.

Also, despite her appearance relatively early in Keys to the Kingdom, Nina is sinking further and further away from her children, as she attempts to heal herself to become a proper parent while, ironically, she is almost turning a blind eye to their nearly dying - or worse - every weekend.

If all works of fiction were this amazingly creative, dark and tender, I'd never again be gunshy of jumping back into my reading sprees.