Locke and Key Vol 3: Crown of Shadows– Joe Hill
I used to be a huge fan of comics. I still am, I guess but financially there was no way I can sustain the hobby. I have found that I am making the exception for Locke and Key though
Sam Lesser may be dead and gone, but Dodge still has uses for him, and in the first chill days of October, will make contact with him again. The dead know things the living may not, and Sam's restless spirit has had time to discover the thing Dodge wants to know most of all... where to find the key to the black door.
The third volume in the series continues to impress. It is clear the Hill is far more comfortable and confident this time round. He concentrates one character arc per comic and as a result the characterisation (which was already excellent) benefits from the slow build.
Special mention has to be made for Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork which is exemplary and captures the mood of the writing perfectly.
Mrs Locke continues to spiral out of control as her depression begins to take over her life. Her drinking worsens and Hill is successful in transforming her from a reasonably sympathetic character to one that you start to loathe.
This feeling is also shared by her children who begin to step up and take control of their own lives more upon their realisation that their mother is not going to support them. The way the children respond to this is fascinating.
Kinsey openly begins to despise her mother whilst Tyler the eldest sibling is a bit more pragmatic towards the situation. Hill performs a nice job of having this shift in dynamic at home impact on the kids school lives. The result is a realistic portrayal of the human psyche and makes you really care for the children. There are several tender moments included in this volume as well.
The plot itself continues to move along at a frantic pace, with more and more of the mystery behind the keys being revealed. Just when you think Hill can’t come up with anything else new and exciting, he does exactly that.
Overall, this is comic writing at its best. I can’t wait to read vol 4.
My rating 8.8