Locke & Key 3: Crown of Shadows
Author/Artist: Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
American release date: July 19, 2011
Format/Genre/ Length: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/152 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Not rated/contains mature themes & graphic violence
Overall Personal Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Similar authors to check out: HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison titles
Tyler’s mother is troubled by shadows in the night, so she wakes Tyler, bending his ear with her drunken outpourings, as well as the news that she has to go to Provincetown for a while, as Duncan’s lover was hit by a car. The patient Tyler listens to her ramblings, promises her to take care of things while she’s gone and puts her to bed. Little does he realize that there are indeed problems in the shadows—in the form of Zach/Lucas, and his many keys. But he’s still missing at least one key that he really wants
For once, Tyler is on top of his game, and his paper for his ethics class is done. But when he learns that Jordan’s isn’t, he doesn’t hesitate to let her have his. He figures that he can get by because everyone will let him skate, based on his family life being so fucked up, so that technically he is displaying ethics of a sort in letting her have his paper. She happily accepts his offer and thanks him with a kiss. Score one for Tyler!
Kinsey and Zach seem rather cozy these days. She makes the acquaintance of Scot Kavanaugh, whom she almost threw up on before, who has some observations to make regarding Zach. He tells her about the cave, a local place where kids have died trying to get out of the flooded lower levels, and where he says Rendell Locke’s name is written on a wall there. So naturally, Kinsey wants to see it, and a group sets out to do just that. Because you know teenagers have no sense of mortality—they know they’ll live forever, right?
A furious Tyler chases his little brother underneath his bed, and thus discovers the strangest key yet, which is in the floorboard, and has a human figure on it. What the hell are they supposed to do with that?
Kinsey is losing patience with their mother and her alcoholism, while Tyler is trying to help, but nothing is getting through to her, and she refuses to discuss what happened to her the day Rendell died. Meanwhile, Zach is still intent on getting the black key, but he manages to discover the shadow key, and doesn’t that open up a whole new can of worms? One that might just destroy the Lockes!
While Mom is busy pickling herself, Bode hurts himself, trying to retrieve something he thought he saw. With Mom’s help, she retrieves it; it turns out to be another key. This one is to the cabinet in the bathroom. It turns out to have some very interesting properties. Will Mom press her luck in seeing what it can do?
More battle lines are drawn as the Locke children find themselves getting in deeper and deeper, and their foe just keeps on coming. Mom is worse than useless, caught up in the depths of her own self-pity, unable to come to grips with what has happened. Potential allies are dropping like flies. Ultimately, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode will only have themselves to rely upon, I think.
The lines between dark and light, good and evil, are certainly blurred here, as the action continues to get more and more intense. Another great volume in the series, with a surprising twist towards the end that will have you cheering—I know I did! Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have certainly raised the bar for graphic novels, and continue to do so. Can’t wait for the next one!