The second collection in Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ continuing horror fantasy series, Locke & Key: Head Games (IDW), follows the three Locke children after the events in volume one. In this six-issue mini-series, the well-dwelling creature that has some sort of connection to the Locke family has joined the two older Locke kids on campus. Capable of assuming both a male and female form, their shape-shifting adversary apparently is unable to modify its body enough to be unrecognizable to anyone who might have seen the creature 20 years earlier.
Which means, of course, that at least one new character introduced into this volume will be an older geezer capable of recognizing the creature now calling itself Zach and — this being a horror series — will have to snuff it because They Know Too Much. This occurs in the first chapter and is decently handled: Hill clearly knows a thing or two about setting up a sympathetic victim. But the bulk of the witness tampering occurs courtesy of another magical key discovered by youngest Locke kid Bode: one that unlocks your brain and allows you to add or subtract memories to it.
The visual depiction of this process is pure comic book — and the high point of the Foreigner-indebted Head Games (yes, a character does sing some of the song’s lyrics). Stick the key into a hole that suddenly appears in the back of your neck, and the top of your head comes off, revealing an inside crammed with tiny representational figures. When one character has two of her deepest fears removed, they look like and sound like chittering demonic imps. After Zach gets a hold of the key, s/he uses it on two more humans. But the creature mysteriously is thwarted with the seemingly autistic son of one of his/her victims.