As an extreme fan of Locke & Key, I was thrilled to see a book of collected stories set in the world of Keyhouse. Unfortunately, this book depends on your knowledge of the six book series to understand the power of the keys that play a significant role in the stories. As two of the three stories are prequels, you are meeting family ancestors to the Locke children, and you will see some uncanny resemblances between generations.
Open The Moon– While this story could be a stand alone, this story is better understood if you have read the issue Small World, as this has the family found in that story. We meet Chamberlin Locke and his wife Fiona and their four children. This story centers on their sickly son Ian, who is prone to convulsions, who can’t be cured by the magical mending cabinet in their home. Ian, his father and family friend Harland board a special hot air balloon to take them to the other side of the moon. This beautiful but melancholy story reunites loved ones, and Ian’s parents make a heart rending sacrifice for Ian.
Grindhouse– This crime-noir story is set in the 1930’s and features some French-Canadian criminals that get in over their head at the Keyhouse. Sisters Mary and Jean from the previous story are all grown up when the gangsters burst into their home and threaten them. Bombshell Mary is calm, even when her little boys are in danger and the women are forced upstairs to be assaulted. Luckily these two women know how to utilize the keys of the house to their advantage, and the crime spree ends in a shocking manner. This story is graphic and meant for mature audiences only.
In The Can– We are reunited with the three Locke siblings from the original series in this short. Spanning only a few pages, this story takes place in what I assume would be Volume 4 when they are searching for additional keys in the house and grounds. Bode, the youngest, discovers a magical outhouse in the woods. Each time he opens the door different creatures greet him. In-jokes abound in this story, so be on the look out for clues in the first few panels that will explain what Bode sees. That some of these creatures can be found in other IDW publications comes as no surprise.
The concluding pages in the book are a photo gallery of the Massachusetts region that the fictional town of Lovecraft is based off and the author and illustrator mugging for the camera. Then we are given three drawn portraits of Bode, Kinsey and Tyler with Locke & Key mythology behind them.
This hardback book is a treat for already established Locke & Key fans and should not be missed if you miss the series and are waiting on the Hulu series (edit- Netflix picked up the series to film when Hulu passed on it) to start filming.