It’s so much more fun, when you just open your mind…


The first issue of Locke & Key: Head Games was a prologue meant to ease readers back into the groove of the weird happening in Lovecraft, Mass. Issue #1 featured Lucas Caravaggio (under the guise of Zack Wells) reveal his master plan – he plans to kill all those who did him wrong all those years ago.  And while Joe Hill kept the Locke kids out of the picture last go around, they take center stage once again.

lockeandkey2cover.jpgWhen a family is uprooted and moved to a new location, it’s going to take some time to get adjusted to the new surroundings.  Toss in the sudden and gruesome death of a beloved school teacher, and someone is going to reach the breaking point.  Kinsey is the worse for wear, as it seems every time she turns around someone is dying.  The last time she went through a major crisis, she changed her appearance and outlook on life.  Her attempt to erase what she was before might have worked for some people, but there are indications troubles might get worse for the teenager as a sudden interest from a male student could lead to a stalker sized event before the series is over.

Tyler on the other hand is still drifting through life.  The first series gave the impression that he was a bright young man with a future ahead of him, however in this issue he comes off as a slacker or dumb jock kind of kid.  It’s clear past events are still troubling him, causing him to fall further and further behind in his studies.  While Kinsey gains a stalker, Tyler meets a girl that catches his fancy, but he’s blocked by his ever present companion.

Zack Wells is still keeping a close watch on his new friend and son of his former adversary, which causes the skin to crawl every time the two are together.  For the reader, knowing what Zack is up to makes the goofing around moments that much more creepy.  Since readers have seen Zack kill one person, and keep another on a very short leash in constant fear, one gets the impression that he could snap at any moment and turn on the Locke children.

Bode, the youngest of the Locke brood, has spent the day running around the mansion looking for the keyhole his new Brain Key fits into.  The art by Gabriel Rodriguez is beautiful in this issue, as the first page of Bode going from door to door conveniently hides the back of his neck, and it isn’t until a page later, when Bode is about to give up do we see a mysterious keyhole appear at the base of his skull.  Imagine his brother and sister’s (and the reader’s) surprise when it’s revealed what the key does.   It’s a shocking moment, but not in the “Oh Noze! What the Hell!?” kind of way, but rather in a “Oh Noze! How messed up is that!?” kind of way.

Rodriguez continues to fill each panel with rich detail, and those who pay close attention to the goings on in the house will discover at least one new key and hints as to the keys yet to be found.  I don’t have the last page of the last series handy, but the summary page on the inside cover of this issue, does feature the spiraling key image.  Even though it is cropped for layout purposes, readers will see the four keys on the left have already been discovered, while the next key in the sequence makes an appearance in this issue.  By my count there are 23 keys total in the image, and considering there are 24 issues in the maxi-series, I’m hopeful readers will discover what each and everyone of them do.

The magic key concept is by far my favorite part of this series, and keeps me coming back each month.  The killing and mayhem makes for a nice thriller, but it isn’t something we haven’t already been exposed to in the pages of Joe Hill’s famous father’s books.  Unlike that famous scribe, I like Hill’s storytelling, and if this series builds to as good a climax and reveal as the last series, you can bet Locke & Key is going to continue to be at the top of my stack.

There is excellent pacing and dialogue in this issue, and Rodriquez is quickly becoming a favorite artist of mine.  There’s still time for new readers to pick up the Welcome to Lovecraft trade, and grab the first two issues of this series without falling too far behind.  Locke & Key: Head Games #2 is a fantastic issue and earns 5 out of 5 Stars.


The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

Previous post

NYCC'09: Boom Studios Panel

Next post

NYCC'09: Marvel Day One


  1. Chris Ryall
    February 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm — Reply

    Great review, and I’m very happy you like what we’re all doing so far. One note of correction that you couldn’t have known: the story has grown to 36 issues now (plus a 6-pager that’ll run in the IDW 10th anniversary hardcover book this May)…

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section