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Comic Book / Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone

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Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone is a miniseries CrossOver between The Sandman (1989) and Locke & Key. The series is written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez and co-published by IDW Publishing and DC Comics.

John “Jack” Locke is ten years dead, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting the occasional letter home… from Hell. Now, Mary Locke will do anything to save her brother’s soul. Her quest to rescue him from the Pit will require her to outsmart Roderick Burgess (the most evil man in England), puzzle her way through the House of Mystery, and risk the walking nightmare known as The Corinthian in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!

The miniseries contains examples of:

  • Cain and Abel: Cain and Abel act out their Biblical roles as the first murderer and the first victim, as usual. Cain kills Abel at least twice in the first issue, but Abel always regenerates.
  • Call-Forward: Allusions to future events in Sandman abound. This is possibly due to the longstanding timeless nature of dreams.
    • The sigil Mary draws in the air while summoning Etrigan has both an Omega, like the key and door the Locke family looks after, and the symbol for the Alpha key Tyler will eventually create.
    • Alex Burgess wishes he could be constantly waking up from a dream only to find him in another. This is the punishment Morpheus deals to him when he's freed, although it's not dreams but nightmares he constantly wakes up from.
    • To his own confusion, Fiddler's Green remarks that Mary reminds him of someone he has not met yet, while the image of Rose Walker appears on his glasses.
    • Jack gives Fiddler's Green the nickname "Gil", which is apparently how the dream found his human name of Gilbert.
    • While she first appears in 1930's clothes, Death changes into the Goth look she's most famously known for while she accompanies Chamberlin Locke to the afterlife.
  • The Cameo: Death shows up at the very end, to see Chamberlin Locke off as Mary gives him a farewell in a dream.
  • Canon Welding: An uploaded article about the Burgess House shown at the end of the story has a link to another story about the axe from Basketful of Heads, another story by Joe Hill.
  • Exact Words: Burgess promises Mary an audience with Dream, but he doesn't promise that anything will come out of it.
  • Futureshadowing: In the last issue, there's a hint at a Stable Time Loop before we see it occur.
  • Guile Hero: Mary claims to not have a head for a battle of riddles but she's sharp enough to work out a plan to rescue her brother using the key artifacts and Gil ahead of time, bluffing her way through Hell all the while.
  • Mundane Utility: Mary gives Burgess the Matchstick Key, which can set anything on fire. Ethel immediately uses it to light her cigarette.
  • Not Quite Dead: Lucien appears in the first issue, apparently murdered by the Corinthian. Turns out he merely had his eyes plucked, which is healed by Mary with Dream's sand.
  • Place Beyond Time: The afterlife is depicted as this, much like the Dreaming, where every moment is now and events relative to the timeline of the earthborn protagonist are loosely non-linear. Most drastically with the ending, which involves the Key to Hell being forged in the present and being given to Lucifer at his fall.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Mary's quest is to rescue her brother Jack's soul from the Hell and bring it to Heaven.
  • The Shadow Knows: Towards the end of the first issue, the housekeeper's shadow looks rather sinister. That's because it's The Corinthian casting the shadow.
  • Smug Snake: Burgess demands a Key from Mary in exchange for an audience with Dream, believing that nothing will come out of it. He even brags that he's this close to breaking Dream. As we know from The Sandman (1989), Dream doesn't break. Moreover, Dream does help Mary, by non-verbally telling her to put on his helm.
  • Stable Time Loop: The Key to Hell is an ontological paradox; forged by Mary in the present based on its appearance on the cover of a book on Hell, only to be given to Lucifer at his fall after briefly crossing its own timeline.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Mary makes a joke about this when she's alone with Alex:
    Alex: Are you a witch?
    Mary: Close. It rhymes.