LOCKE & KEY, VOL. 3 by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez — a Review

Volume after volume, the Locke and Key series continues to impress. So far, each volume has been an incredible combination of writing and artwork that results in an absolutely top notch piece of entertainment.

I just finished Locke and Key, Volume 3: Crown of Shadows written by Joe Hill (Twitter) and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (Twitter). This volume did not have the graphic violence of previous volumes. Instead, Crown of Shadows opts for creepiness, sadness, and outright terror, mixing them in a very careful manner to produce a great emotional payoff for the reader.

Building off the events of Volume 2 (reviewed here by me), readers get to see how the Locke family continues to deal with the bad memories haunting their family and the ghosts that haunt Key House itself. Nina pushes further and further into her depressed, alcoholic spiral. Kinsey gets into serious trouble without her fear to check her actions. Tyler looks forward to the day he can leave his past behind him (even though I suspect he knows he could never really leave his family). And Bode, although young, is starting to show the stresses of living with such a damaged family.

Joe Hill continues to write a great story. His dialogue is pithy, natural, and emotionally deep. Not only is Locke and Key a fantastic story to read, but Joe Hill also offers an incredible example of storytelling. He makes me want to tear through these volumes, as fast as I can turn the page. But Gabriel Rodriguez slows me down. The artwork is sharp, evocative, and really quite beautiful. I hold off on turning the page because I want to take in every little detail of the art Rodriguez has created. And if, like me, you are a fan of Rodriguez, this is a great volume. There are several dialogue-free pages here that let the knockout artwork shine (puns intended). And when you combine the efforts of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, the result is stellar. This series should sit at the top of the industry, and it’s deserving of all the accolades and awards.

There are also some really big reveals in this volume (another pun intended–you’ll see). Some are obvious, while others are more subtle. Be sure to pay attention to all the extra goodies contained in the hardback version. There are some fantastic hints there. But all together, Locke and Key is primed for some really fantastic conflict between the Locke family and Dodge. I can’t wait to read the next volume.

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