Joe Hill the Best Thing to Happen to Sandman Since Neil Gaiman

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Locke & Key / The Sandman: Hell & Gone 1

Ever since the classic Vertigo series, The Sandman, had run its course, there have been a handful of attempts to recapture that lightning and put it once again into a bottle -- an intentional allusion, as The Sandman begins with Morpheus having been captured in a glass prison much like a bottle for several decades. The attempts have had varying degrees of success, with most being hollow copies of the style and some just not getting the gestalt at all.

Enter Joe Hill. Already quite a name for horror in the comics industry, for graphic novels like Basketful of Heads and the Hill House titles written for DC Comics, Hill brings to readers a new and exciting chapter in his Locke & Key series, and is joined in that endeavor by that book's co-creator, Gabriel Rodriguez.

Locke & Key / The Sandman: Hell & Gone send Mary Locke to Wych Cross, England -- the home of Roderick Burgess, the "most wicked man in England." She goes to him because she has received a letter from her brother; her dead brother; mailed from Hell.

Hooked yet?

Mary has heard the rumors that Burgess has something celestial imprisoned in his basement, something that may be her own key to her brother's salvation. And she's right. But Burgess wants something in return for this service -- one of the many mystical keys that the Locke family possesses. The trade is made, and Mary is granted her audience with the taciturn pale captive. And while Morpheus (for it is indeed him) says nothing, he still communicates a clue to Mary when Roderick isn't looking -- a clue that leads Mary to make a deal with Roderick's son, Alex, allowing her to put on the Dream King's helm of power...

...and be transported to The Dreaming. In fairly short order, Mary has horrifying encounters with Cain and Abel, as well as other missed and familiar faces before making her way to the current master of the castle.

Hill's writing perfectly nails the entire vibe of The Sandman. With the passing of every page, I felt the same energizing excitement that thrilled me in 1988. Likewise, Gabriel Rodriguez's art is lush, detailed, and in every way a perfect fit, allowing both worlds to meld seamlessly together. Locke & Key / The Sandman: Hell & Gone is less of a crossover, and more of an acknowledgement that both stories always existed side-by-side, and you're only now being made privy to it. This one gets our strongest recommendation.

5.0 / 5.0