One thing you can’t say about the Locke children, is that they are a nice and quite and stay out of trouble.  The latest installment of Locke & Key arrived on my doorstep, and it’s time for the middle child to rebel and show us what she’s made of.

lockeCOVER.jpgLocke & Key: Crown of Shadows #2
Joe Hill (w)
Gabriel Rodriguez (a & c)

For many issues, readers have been given hints as to what might be in the Drowning Cave located near the Keyhouse.  Readers have been given a glimpse of the first few steps, but beyond that everything is a mystery.  That is until Kinsey is talked into going to the caves on the prospect of learning more about her father’s childhood.  Scott Kavanaugh just might fancy Kinsey, and convinces her, her girl friend, and his friend in exploring a very dangerous place.

We do learn that the caves were once a military installation set up to keep an eye out for U-Boats during the war, but because of slow leaks, the cave flooded to the point it had to be shut down.  While some areas are easily accessible, the lower regions, where the graffiti is written is in a closed off area that requires the teens to slip under a fence to access.   There are a few telling clues about the Drowning Cave and its relationship to the Keyhouse in the form of a door that has an Omega symbol surrounding it, and a dead body at issue’s end that may be one of the Elder Locke’s friends from back in the day.

There’s a lot of intense drama in this issue, as Kinsey and her friends wind up in a flooded section of the base with no way out.  As the four start to exhaust themselves and hypothermia sets in, each reveals a secret about themselves.  It’s almost a bonding moment except for the fact that Kinsey goes through the entire event fearless – probably because that creepy crawly was removed from her head a few issues back. This is enough to creep out Kinsey’s best friend, but her fearlessness is enough for for her to find a way out, and gets everyone to safety.

While there is no giant spider-monster lurking the bowels of the cave, I can’t help but get the feeling I’ve seen this scary moment in a deep dark cave somewhere before.  Still, I like the drama, the feeling of hopelessness that the teens experience, and with Kinsey’s willingness to accept her fate, I almost thought she was going to die.  That or Dodge was going to come to her rescue and make her fall for the big bad even more.

This is an odd issue, as it almost feels like filler, with no larger tie to the series.  Of course that is probably what Joe Hill is going for as the two or three clues dropped in the issue may go over the reader’s head until much later when we’ll all smack ourselves on the head when that Ah-ha moment arrives.

If you want to see really great art, Gabriel Rodriguez delivers once again, and if you think there’s not much art to be found in four kids drowning in a cave, pick up the issue and see how well Rodriguez’s delivers a highly detailed environment, lit only by a couple of glow sticks.

I’ve been waiting for this series to stumble, but once again IDW Publishing has delivered another installment of a series that just might go down as one of my all time favorite comics – ever.  The “this issue means something” aspect of this installment has me a tad confused, but it doesn’t bring the issue down that much – especially when the shear drama, character development, and fantastic art carries everything through.  Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars in this outing.


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...

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  1. morpheus
    December 21, 2009 at 10:22 am — Reply

    I am loving this series as well. And this issue does feel like filler but in the “we did this for a reason” way. And when I finished reading it I really wanted to pick up the next issue, but I guess I will have to wait a month. I recommend this to anyone and everyone! It is great.

  2. Ev
    December 21, 2009 at 11:10 am — Reply

    I also liked the issue. At the end I wanted more pages to continue to read! :)
    Even if it was not really a revelation, the ending was great, I enjoyed the last pannel, it tease your imagination.

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