Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows Review

Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows
Written by:
Joe Hill
Art by:
Gabriel Rodriguez

The third collection of “Locke and Key” continues the troubles of the Locke family and their adventures in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. This volume focuses more heavily on Nina, the mother of the Locke family, than previous volumes. The evil forces determined to find the keys and do so at any cost continue to create havoc on the lives of the Locke children. In this volume focusing on the realm of shadows to try to get its plans properly executed.

As I started into this third volume of the series it was literally last night. I read the book in one sitting because I found it to be so much more interesting and enjoyable than what they did with the previous volume, which I reviewed yesterday. I found myself more enthralled into the Locke’s adventures and felt that this volume encompassed a pace that made it less vindictively evil and more rooted in the human aspect of the feelings of the family at this moment.

While there is still a lot of evil, manipulation, and just downright terrible antics that happen to the Locke family, it felt like this volume focused more on the feelings that the family was dealing with. This was especially true as we delved deeper into the world of Nina, the mother. We saw her world a little more clearer and it made me cry for the first time in a comic book. It also entails the first moment that I screamed at a comic book. I screamed “Don’t do it”, which my partner instantly knew that something big was going on since I don’t talk when I read. He told me I had to be enjoying it if I had to stop to collect myself, which is what I had to do when Nina does something in this volume. I was like, “Girl, just no. You shouldn’t be doing that” and then that is when I said “Don’t do it” aloud. Oh the joys of actually engaging with the material that you are reading, so I guess I should thank Joe Hill for giving me that moment.

The evil force in this volume feels a little more even and less evil for the sake of evil. It feels like they have a focus and a reason, even if we are not as privy to it as we would like. This volume also has two moments that I normally would not enjoy in other series, but in this one I was like “someone used these correctly finally!” These are utilizing characters that seem less than primary for the vast majority of an issue and utilizing several big splash pages during a fight. Normally I hate these things, but where they are utilized here I loved them. The utilization of the less than primary characters showcased where a primary character was at that moment in the story and also gave the issue a very “The Goonies” type of feel to it, which I found myself really digging as it drew us forward in the story as well. I also found myself enjoying the big splash pages that were utilized during a fight sequence because they were used correctly and gave the story the GIANT feel that was needed in that particular moment. Hill really knows how to use cliches or overused aspects of comics and make them work in his favor, which makes me appreciate him as a writer and makes me also appreciate the abilities of Rodriguez as the artist that makes these moments come to life on the page. These two work well together and create something truly beautiful within these pages.

The artwork stays on the same level that the previous volumes have done. There is not any major changes. I do, however, have to note that I commend Rodriguez for making the fight scene between Tyler and the shadows feel very fluid. The movements of the shadows feels much more organic and free-flowing then I have seen similar types of creatures drawn in other books, so I know that this only occurred because of the artwork of Rodriguez and his ability to draw the reader in. Some of the less than stellar aspects of certain characters are less intrusive as you get along in the book because, as I mentioned in the previous reviews, he spends more time in creating the details of the mystic and supernatural elements than the characters themselves. It may be hard for some in the first couple volumes, but here it definitely start to just become old hat to the reader and something that they are use to artistic wise.

There are elements of this particular volume that harken back to the first volume, but there are elements that are also added that makes you interested in what is still occurring. This back and forth of aspects from all points of the series really help to keep the mystery aspect of the series alive and well. It engages the reader and makes them want to know what key the Locke family will find next and what adventures it will take them on.


There are 4 more reviews coming up in the “Locke and Key” event here on CassieWinters.com!


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