Book Reviews

Locke & Key Readathon #2: Crown of Shadows + Keys to the Kingdom

Hello everyone! As you might remember from my first post in this series, I said I’ll review issues 3-6 separately, buuut then I decided against it. I didn’t want to do five posts on these comics, so I decided to do two by two and turn it into a three post series. Hopefully you’re still here after my math 101. So, In this post I will be reviewing volumes 3 and 4 of Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows and Keys to the Kingdom. I’ll try not to reveal any major spoilers, and hopefully this will make you want to read these graphic novels, because as the issues go, Locke & Key just keeps getting better. I’ll also add some short commentary of what I expect to see in the Netflix series.


Crown of Shadows. As I already said in my first post, these are re-reads for me, but as I flipped the pages I could barely remember what happened in this volume. Not because it was a bad one, quite the contrary. It’s just that his volume is much more action packed than the first two, and there isn’t much text in it. Which means a lot happens through images, which are masterful. This is where the main antagonist, Dodge, starts wreaking havoc over the Locke kids, after he finds a shadow key. With this key you can summon and manipulate shadows of all people and objects around you and turn them into every monster imaginable.


This is visually amazing, I loved looking at each shadow monster in the images, and there were lots of Easter eggs. Another thing this volume offers is a better insight into Nina Locke. Her suffering after the attack and her husband’s death was mainly off the pages and drowned in wine. Her alcohol abuse culminates here and after she snaps on the kids she discovers a key to the bathroom’s medicine cabinet, which repairs anything you put in it. Anything inanimate of course.


I sincerely hope the Netflix series will use advantage of the gifts modern CGI has to offer, and that we’ll see the shadow attack done beautifully. I finally caved in and watched the full trailer and the glimpse of the shadow figures looks cool.


Keys to the Kingdom. Volume 5 starts out as a mix of a delightful Calvin & Hobbes tribute contrasted by very gory scenes of an attack where Dodge uses the animal key Bode recently found. Kinsey finds an old friend of her father whom she tries to question, but Dodge is always a step ahead. He temporarily loses access to the house, so using the anywhere key he sneaks in and finds other keys to wreak havoc on Locke kids.


They stand their ground, and the omega key is now safely hidden, but Kinsey pulls her friends into danger again by revealing to them the seductive powers of the head key. Duncan’s partner, Brian, wakes up from a coma after several months, and by describing his attacker he puts a seed of doubt into Ty, so Dodge’s secret identity slowly starts to fall apart.


For me, this volume will be the most interesting one to see on screen, because many new keys come into play. I don’t think they’ll adapt this volume linearly though, as some of they keys mentioned here can be seen in the trailer for season 1. I do wonder, if they throw all of this into one season, how long will the series last? Two seasons without steering off the source material, more if they invent things, but we all know how that ends up.

I’m off to read the last two volumes, and I’ll post a review of those on the 7th, hopefully before the show airs. There are several companion comics which I’ve never read, and I’ll try and get my hands on those too. Can’t wait for the show, and hopefully I’ve piqued your interest about these amazing comics! Have a great day!



Joe Hill is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and Heart-Shaped Box. His second novel, Horns, was made into a feature film starring Daniel Radcliffe; his third, NOS4A2, is adapted as a TV series from AMC. His book of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, won the Bram Stoker Award and British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. He earned the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long-running comic book series, Locke & Key, featuring the eye-popping art of Gabriel Rodriguez.



Gabriel Rodríguez Pérez is a Chilean comic book artist and architect, known for his work on the horror series Locke & Key which earned Rodríguez his first Eisner Awards nomination. He also did the artwork for Subterranean Press’s edition of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. Rodríguez was commissioned by DC to draw Adventures of Superman (2013) and IDW’s Little Nemo, Return to Slumberland, which earned him another Eisner Awards nomination.


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