Tag Archives: Locks and keys Comic books strips etc

Crown of Shadows

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, & al., introduction by Brian K Vaughan book 3 of the Locke & Key series.

Hill Rodriguez Locke and Key The Crown of Shadows

As I read through the Locke & Key volumes in sequence, this is the best one yet. My only complaint is that it was so seamless and efficient that it read too fast! (In particular, the solid eleven pages of full-page panels in chapter five is likely to have reduced the time needed to read the book, but wow!) Still, it’s so well-done that I’m sure I’ll read it again. This series will obviously need an integral re-read once I’ve reached its end.

The characters who see the most fresh development in this arc are Jamal and Scot. There are a variety of imaginative magicks introduced: the Shadow Key doesn’t dominate this part the way that the Head Key did the previous one. Brian Vaughan’s foreword chides readers like me for only getting to these comics once they’ve been collected in “trade” format, but I don’t regret the approach; these IDW books are gorgeous.

Head Games

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Locke & Key: Head Games [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, & al., introduction by Warren Ellis, book 2 of the Locke & Key series.

Hill Rodriguez Locke and Key Head Games

Not as violent, but every bit as creepy as its predecessor, this second collected volume of the Locke & Key comics expands the range of magics in play, concentrating particularly on the powers of the Head Key. It also exposes more of the events among the prior generation in the Massachusetts town of Lovecraft that served to set up the present scenario. Existing characters become more complex, and there are some new characters that I liked a lot, like the drama teacher Mr. Ridgeway.

As before, Rodriguez’s art is gorgeous, with a style that is impressively well adapted to the material.

Warren Ellis was a surprising choice for the introduction, which he keeps short and hilarious. There is substantial end matter, including some reference material on the magic keys, reproductions of the individual issue cover art, and a disenchanting account of the art development process used by Rodriguez.