Locke & Key: Head Games

Locke & Key: Head GamesBackground

Previously on Locke & Key, the Locke family went through a horrible tragedy when their father was brutally murdered by a former student. The three kids and their mom moved back into their old family house where an evil spirit tricks the youngest son, Bode, into freeing her. Meanwhile, Bode also discovers a key that allows him to pass through a door and become a ghost.

By the end, the evil spirit turns into a male named Zack thanks to another key and becomes best friends with the oldest boy Tyler, none of the kids realizing the evil that now sits alongside them.


The first book of Locke & Key, Welcome to Lovecraft, was a nice introduction to the characters and allowed us to really get to know the three kids, which are the characters that play the biggest role in the series. This second book, Head Games, just takes the story and twists into a brilliant head trip.

I mean that literally. This is the book where they discover the Head Key.

The book opens by introducing us to a professor named Joe Ridgeway who was around when the Locke kid’s dad was in school. He recognizes Zack as the same person who used to hang around with their dad at school many years before, but he hadn’t aged a bit. Joe was not long for the world,  as Zack killed him and we learn that no one is really safe – especially the Locke kids – since Zack knows all about the keys and what they are used for.

Speaking of keys, Bode found another key (he finds most of them) and this time it is the Head Key. This one actually fits in the key hole in the back of anyone’s head and the person who opens it (along with the person whose head was opened in a freaky way) can then look into the head and see all their memories. They can also pull memories out, erasing them from the person’s mind.

One of the biggest mistakes the Locke kids can do happens here when Kinsey removes her fears and ability to cry. From this point on, the character of Kinsey immediately becomes less interesting, and one of the weakest characters in the entire series. However, despite that downfall to the books, it is important because it also keeps her from seeing the danger coming later in the series until it is too late.

We also get to see the start of the disintegration of their mom Nina to depression and alcoholism.

We also get to see a lot more about the kid’s uncle in this book and learn that Duncan is actually gay. Much like his relatives, tragedy strikes him as well when Zack goes after his memories and a pair of homophobic women seek revenge against his boyfriend.

Finally, we meet the character of Rufus, the autistic son of Ellie and someone who proves to be more dangerous to Zack then anyone could have imagined.

This book really kicked things off by showing the immediate danger that the Locke kids were in. It showed how dangerous Zack is and also brought some more characters into the story – both as canon fodder and as allies down the line. It was with Head Games that Locke & Key went from a promising comic book series and morphed into something brilliant.

The keys that are introduced in Locke & Key: Head Games include the

  • Head Key – This key allows a person to open someone’s head and look at their memories, while removing and altering ones already there. Items, such as books, can also be put into the head and immediately memorized.

Next Week’s Preview

Next week, we continue on with the Locke & Key series with Crown of Shadows. The ghost of Sam Lesser shows up, more of the mystery of what happened to Rendell Locke when he was a kid in the Key House, and the police continue to investigate the murder of Joe Ridgeway. Oh yeah, the Locke kids decide to declare war on the evil spirit, while never realizing that it is actually Zack.

As always, if you have any ideas for books you want to see reviewed in the Renegade Rack or you are an independent comic book creator with a book you would like considered, feel free to get in touch with me either in the comments or drop me an email.

Until next week, keep reading.

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