Locke and Key: Head Games Review

Locke and Key: Head Games
Written by:
Joe Hill
Art by:
Gabriel Rodriguez

The second collection of “Locke and Key” remains focused on the trials and tribulations of the Locke family. This volume centers on them finding other keys that either help or hinder them towards discovering the mysteries that have ensnarled their family in its evil webs. Also the evil force revealed in the last volume continues its quest for the keys and will stop at nothing in order to get them, especially when it appears anyone is getting close to the truth.

When I started into this volume of the “Locke and Key” series I was rather excited because I had just read the first volume the night before after having checked it out from the local library, as mentioned last review. I went in with high expectations and wanted to know what other evil things would happen to this poor family. I was a bit disappointed or taken aback with this volume though. I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the first volume, for various reasons.

The first reason, the first volume didn’t feel outright evil or that death was occurring every few minutes, but within this volume it definitely feels that death is a primary focus and that the antics of one of the evil forces in the Locke’s life really becomes truly evil within this volume. While I understand that this is to show the true heart of this particular part of the story and just to what lengths the force will go in its own plans it was rather jarring for me to see. I was not expecting it based on the first volume. It felt like Hill turned up the degrees on a furnace and blasted hot air into my face, which no one could expect fully. This made me question for a second why I was reading this dark series and yes at times this is a dark series (I have only read the first three volumes when I say this, so you know it has to have some messed up stuff in it). Then I realized that I kinda like the fact that there is this darkness in it because humanity can be rather dark, but this is a fake dark. This is a dark that is storyline driven and contained within the pages of a book. I can shut it down whenever I want, which was nice and drove me forward as I read this.

There are some cringe-worthy moments in this volume to me. I do not want to give away plot points exactly, but within this one volume you have an African-American, a woman, and one half of a gay partnership have something happen to them. As I got to the last one, the one half of the gay partnership, I was rather feeling like Hill had a diversity issue that they needed to work out for some reason and it came out in these comic book pages. I wanted to tell him to tone down some of the violence and choose some straight white males to mess with for goodness sake or at least have the drama happen to the main characters, so it felt more like a part of the actual plot itself. I personally despise when an author introduces side characters to have them use as foil to drive the plot forward, which this happens more often in television and comic books than in most books. It just leaves a sour taste in my mouth and so far the incident involving the African-American and gay individual has definitely done that. The woman incident has been at least part of the next volume and could continue into the next several, depending on how Hill handles it. Technically the gay one could as well, but it really was not utilized much in the third volume, since I have read that one at this point. It will be interesting to see if it is used somewhere else in the story. I keep hoping it is since it involved someone that I felt was going to be important to the overall series, but has seemed to have little place so far.

The artwork stays on the same level as the first volume. Rodriguez draws you into the Lovecraft, Massachusetts world with every stroke of his ink. He makes you feel that the Locke family, specifically the younger generation are real people that you are watching their lives unfold. He pays very careful attention to the elements that are needed for the mystical and supernatural elements of the story and giving them more emphasis sometimes than the actual characters themselves. I was taken aback at first by this, but now that I have gotten to this second volume I have to state that it does add to the overall story. It helps to create a better focus on them being otherworldly or at least that something is going on with them outside of the normal realm of existence.

Overall, this volume does add to the series, but it is less enjoyable overall than the previous volume. I can see that it drives the story forward, but it almost seems to drive it forward in a more vindictive way than the previous volume was setting the series up to be. I am hoping that the series levels out enough to be enjoyable in the long run.


There are 5 more reviews coming up in the “Locke and Key” event here on CassieWinters.com!


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