Did someone use a Pulp Key? - colten97
Decades before the adventures of Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, three Canadian criminals break into Keyhouse and hold the then Locke family hostage for a night. Any reader of this grim, fantastical series knows that these Canucks will get more than they bargained for at the turn of a key. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are in top form as they deliver a one-shot full of pulpy goodness and, you betcha, a new key.
From the first page, Hill and Rodriguez aim to shock the reader with the foul language, uncensored violence, and crude behavior that made for the best pulp comics. Shocking as this content may be, it never offends. Hill winks at the audience with copious phonetic dialogue and unsavory characteristics, earning our trust as he emerges us into the seediness of the era. Letterer Robbie Robbins even gets in on the pulpy action by using a dated style where the balloons contour to the words and the tails snake around to find their speaker’s mouth.
Rodriguez dates his style as well by adding in some extra heavy shadows, but the action and framing are all his own. After building the tension to fever pitch, he executes each payoff with the horrific climax you’d expect, but also manages to surprise by using new imagery for old tricks. I’m looking at you, Ghost Key. The backup material of this issue contains the blueprints to Keyhouse used by Rodriguez throughout the series, annotated in conspicuous red ink by Hill. The intricate detail showcases the immense forethought that went into making this comic, and with fun entries like this to satiate us before the closing Omega arc, it shows all that planning was well worth it.