Locke and Key Vol. 2: Head Games
Title: Head Games
Writer: Joe Hill
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colorist: Jay Fotos
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Cover Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Editors: Chris Ryall, Justin Eisinger
Publisher: IDW Publishing
The Locke family has it rough. Rendell, husband and father, was murdered earlier this summer. The kids had to deal with the return of his killer, even after they crossed the country to move into his childhood home, the Keyhouse, in the town of Lovecraft. Although he seems to be gone now, the house is full of keys and doors with mysterious properties that are the target of a malevolent entity that tried to befriend the youngest Locke, Bode – oh yes, and “she” has now transformed into a young man and joined the Locke’s high school, becoming best buds with Bode’s big brother, Tyler. In the second volume of Joe Hill’s magnificent Locke and Key series, Bode discovers a new key that can actually open up a person’s brain, allowing him to add things (like an entire textbook, thus eliminating the need to study for a test), or extract them (things like memory, or a person’s capacity for fear, which may not be as great as it sounds).
This book has so much going for it that it’s hard to know where to begin. Hill has crafted a wonderfully complex mythology around the keys and Keyhouse itself, to begin with. The different uses for the keys and the different powers and dangers each one tends to unlock are wildly imaginative, as are the ways he finds to use each one. But even further than that, Hill gives us deep characters, struggling to keep their heads afloat after a tragedy that could legitimately tear them apart. Yes, there’s supernatural danger and horror and this book, but the inciting incident – the thing that broke the Lockes in the first place – is all too real and plausible in the real world.
Gabriel Rodriguez draws excellent characters – expressive and evocative, with family resemblance running through all the Lockes (particularly Tyler and his father). The architecture of Keyhouse and the stylized images of the keys, likewise, are wonderful.
I’m sorry I missed out on this book from the beginning, and now I’m kind of sorry that I got in on it when I did, because once I catch up I’ll probably wait in agony during the long gulf between each new trade paperback.