Thursday, May 12, 2011

Locke & Key 2: Head Games review

Locke & Key 2: Head Games   
Author/Artist: Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
American release date: October 19, 2010
Format/Genre/ Length: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/156 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Not rated/contains mature themes & graphic violence
Overall Personal Rating: A
Similar authors to check out: HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison titles

Joe Ridgeway thinks he’s seeing a ghost, as he watches Tyler Locke walking down the hall with the new student, one who looks eerily like…  But that can’t be, ‘cause he died some twenty years ago. Back when Tyler’s dad was a student. In fact he was Rendell Locke’s goodest and bestest buddy, Lucas Caravaggio. So who is this Zack—and why is he staying with Ellie Whedon?


Lucas/Zach tells Ellie they have problems—he’s pretty sure their old drama sponsor recognizes him. It’s a simple enough matter to use the key to get into the old man’s house and tie up some loose ends.

Meanwhile, Bode is trying to find a use for the strange key he’s dredged up from the pond. Surely it fits something in Keyhouse, right?  His sister Kinsey is deeply affected by the death of Joe Ridgeway, even though she barely knew him. Tyler and Zach try to cheer her up with pistachio ice cream. As for Tyler, he’s way behind on his homework, but his teachers are cutting him some slack because of everything he’s been through. Still, he doesn’t like being behind. He meets a cute girl with a motorcycle, but he doesn’t get anywhere with her.

Tyler and Kinsey are more than a little alarmed when Bode shows them what he has learned about the strange key—it fits into the back of the neck and opens up the skull! And even as they look inside Bode’s head, another Bode is standing there, looking inside with them too. How weird is that?

Bode shows them how he can learn anything by simply putting it into his head. For example, he shoves a cook book inside and now he knows the recipe for fettuccine alfredo! Very useful, as his mother is attempting to make it. With her incessant tippling, her memory isn’t what it used to be. Looking inside Bode’s skull, they spot the creature from the well-house and pull it out to look at it. But they discover that memory and reality do not always jibe, so the creature is safe—for now. Hmmm, Tyler thinks there might be a use for this thing, after all. He is behind on his reading. And when he sees a chance to impress motorcycle girl—and Zack—he foolishly goes for it.

Duncan has returned to his neglected lover, Brian. They live in a town a couple of hours away from Lovecraft. The two of them are having trouble with a couple of homophobic  local women who hate them being in their town. But they have worse problems than that, considering that Zack thinks Duncan recognized him, and he can’t have that, now can he?

What is the true story behind the death of Ellie Whedon’s mother? And what is the hold that Lucas/Zack continues to have on her? And what kind of peril is Bode Locke going to find himself in?


The second volume in the Locke & Key series is every bit as good as its predecessor. Now we have some idea who the Lockes are up against, even if we don’t know why, or how they can combat him, since he’s been dead for twenty years. The Locke family is a family in crisis and have been since the death of Rendell, if not before. They’ll have to pull together to make it through this one, and right now, they aren’t in very good shape to do that.

Until recently, Free Comic Book day to be precise, I was totally unaware of who Joe Hill is, and perhaps that was a good thing, as I came to appreciate him on his own merits before learning of his pedigree. We were at the Fantasy Shop, getting our free comics and some other stuff, when the clerk asked did I know who Joe’s father was. Turns out he’s the son of Stephen King! Which explains the dedication in the first volume to Tabitha King. Very impressive. But as I said, I learned to appreciate him for himself, so that’s cool. Being Stephen King’s son can’t suck, right?

The plot to Locke & Key is very thorough and well written, the graphics are excellent, and painstakingly detailed. This series is a definite keeper, and a great addition to your collection. I look forward to reading further volumes.

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