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Joe Hill – Locke & Key Vol. 2: Head Games

November 5, 2012

121. Locke & Key Vol. 2: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez (2009)
Locke and Key, Volume 2

Read my review of volume:
1. Welcome to Lovecraft

Length: 160 pages
Genre: Fantasy/Horror, Graphic Novel

Started/Finished: 24 October 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was stunned by how good volume 1 was, so I had to get my hands on volume 2.

The inside of *my*
head is probably filled with
bad ’90s pop songs.

Summary: The Locke kids are never going to recover from the violent death of their father, but they’re slowly starting to adjust to their new life in their father’s childhood home in Lovecraft. But then Bode discovers a key that lets you literally unlock your head, so that you can poke around in your memories, yank out your fears, or instantly learn anything. It’s amazing, but when Dodge, the dark force behind their father’s death (and the creature currently posing as Tyler’s best friend), finds out about it, the power of the key turns out to be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Review: This series is amazing, just amazing. It’s dark fantasy-horror, and creepy as all get out without relying overmuch on either gory grossness or horror cliché. The whole thing is just wonderfully original, and I love the idea of the various magical keys, and the storytelling possibilities they hold. But even better than the storyline are the characters, and this book is in large part character driven. Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode are all wonderful, but in this volume we get a fair bit of the backstory of some of the more peripheral adult characters (Ellie and Duncan), who turn out to be just as interesting and sympathetic as the kids. (Although Duncan look a lot like Flycatcher from Fables, which always makes me do a bit of a double-take.) This volume has a lot to do with the characters’ internal lives, of thoughts, and the powers of memory, and what you would do if you were able to rummage around in your own (or someone else’s) head. It’s thought-provoking stuff, and I continue to be both impressed by what this series has accomplished thus far, and excited to get my hands on more.

The artwork is just as good – if not better – than it was in the first volume; I like Rodriguez’s drawing style, and the use of greys vs. muted tones vs. bright color is subtly but masterfully done, and really adds a layer of depth to not only the artwork but also to the story as a whole. Also, if nothing else, this volume is worth it just for the full-page spread view of the inside of Bode’s mind. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Don’t start with Vol. 2, but the series as a whole should definitely appeal to fans of Sandman or the darker aspects of Fables.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: RA for All
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “When you said “Let’s go study down by the creek,” I didn’t think you really meant “Let’s go study.””

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2012 8:26 am

    Sound great! Are these YA graphic novels or aimed at adult readers?

    • November 5, 2012 8:33 am

      Laurie – Oh, no, they’re for adult readers, most definitely. They’re pretty violent in parts.

  2. November 5, 2012 9:00 am


  3. November 7, 2012 11:51 am

    I really want to try this series. One of these days…

    • November 19, 2012 8:32 am

      Kailana – I believe that the end of the story arc is just being published nowish, so you’ve got good timing.

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