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Head Games

(Locke & Key #2)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  28,290 ratings  ·  1,721 reviews
Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father's murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack's dark secret.

Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingl
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published February 2015 by IDW Publishing (first published September 1st 2009)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book starts with someone dying and then goes on to find another key.
The head key.

You stick the key in the back of your neck and viola! your skull pops open. You can even look into your own head.
You see what all's in there. You can put stuff in and take some things that bother you out.

You know that's not going to end well. Unless you are like some of us and there isn't much there to begin with.

This volume does have quiet a bit of back story so be ready for that if you are reading it. Not t
Raeleen Lemay
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
re-read in 2017
After reading the whole series, I love these early volumes more than I did the first time around! I had a hard time liking the art the first time I read the series, but now I feel like it’s perfect for the series and I just love everything about it 🖤


I liked this one even more than the first! I was glad that it focused more on the keys and WHAT THEY MEAN, as well as all the supernatural things that go along with them.

On to volume 3!
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Re-read 2015
Thanks again to the devilish delightful Dᴀɴ 2.☢, without whom this re-read would not have been possible.


You know how sometimes you go back and read something the second time, and it just doesn't hold up?
This held up.
I may have even liked it more now that I realize how much crap is actually floating around out there.
Head Games isn't a turd.
You really can't do better than the Not-A-Turd rating. Read it!

Original review 2012
Wow. This is a series I would recommend even if you're not tra
Sean Gibson
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
It’s disconcerting watching someone open up their head and rummage around amongst their memories. Like, literally open up their head and physically manipulate memories.

That said, I enjoyed this a great deal, moreso than volume 1, and am looking forward to more...
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, comics

Their father was murdered.
They don’t know one of their closest friends is really their enemy...
And he’ll stop at nothing to get the key to the black door.
The other keys have the power to save them.
This is where they’ll make their stand.


“They” are the Locke kids from the title of the series: Tyler, Kinsey and Bode. In the first volume, they must overcome personal tragedy and survive the terror of being hunted by a psychopat. Now they find out that there is more to discover behind the murder of
Wil Wheaton
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just like the great second chapters in epic series (like Empire Strikes Back or The Two Towers) this ends on a very dark, down, disturbing note. Things just keep getting worse for the Locke family, and I'm really glad that I'm so late to the party on Locke & Key, because I can go right into Volume 3 without letting the despair of Volume 2 linger too long.
Will M.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review of the first volume: Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

I immediately went ahead and read the second volume of the Locke and Key series. The first volume was very satisfactory, providing a good introduction to the series. The second volume didn't disappoint either, as the novel developed even further.

The first volume was pure introduction to the world and characters, but it didn't focus much on the keys. I'm very glad that the second one focused on one particular key, and the se
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

It’s time for another visit to Keyhouse : )

Commercial Photography

Head Games is the second volume in the Locke and Key series. While I’m still holding firm to the hope that this will end up being a 5 Star collection, this particular volume only earns 4 . . . Which is still good, so lay off! After a gut-wrenching and action packed debut, Volume II settles down a bit in order to go over some much needed, but not as exciting, backstory. In order to move forwar
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, graphic-novels
Dark, creepy, awesome. These comics are so freaking cool! I love them! The story is cool and so is the artwork. Can't wait to read more.
mark monday
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
oooooo..... more eerie adventures on that strange island in that creepy Key House with that poor, haunted family. wonderful! this volume is as strong as the first. while the first book was focused on slowly bringing the family and the reader into this fascinating world - introducing a handful of magical keys, throwing out a few hints of the incredible backstory, setting up a confrontation between the family and both a dreadful psycho & a creepy spirit villain - the second book zooms in one p ...more

2015 re-read. Magical, wondrous, crazy series continues to feel magical, wondrous and crazy. Like Warren Ellis in his introduction to this volume, I too want to find a key that opens up Joe Hill's head and steal from within all the "clever bits" -- because Mr. Hill is just too clever for his own damn good. Can this series possibly end as Herculean strong as it's begun? Also, a resounding standing ovation for the artwork of Gabriel Rodriguez.

2012 review:
If you've yet to begin on the wondrous and
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once again, my original review has spoilers. I don't recommend you reading past the 2014 numbers.

HEAD GAMES was an excellent second part to this story. I sometimes wish I had more to say when I love a book other than “holy shit, this is amazing…” However, I normally don’t.

I still very much suggest trying this series out if you haven't yet. It just gets better in this second volume. If I remember correctly, the head key is my favorite. It's a fascinating idea.

6/8 - 6/9 2014
Locke & Key Volum
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing

There are so many crazy, wacky elements of this story to go along with the horror side. It's a fantastic mix of the two. The whole idea of the head key and the visuals when looking into one's own head is just bonkers and I love it. Especially seeing each person peek over the top into their own head. We really see how evil and manipulative Zack / Luke / Dodge is in this.

Rodriguez's art continues to impress. I love how he uses heavy inks to outline and weight the important elements of each panel.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Obično me nastavci filmova, romana, grafičkih novela,... razočaraju ali Hil i Rodrigez definitivno znaju svoj posao. Mislim da sam totalno navučen na ovu grafičku novelu. Oduševljava me Rodrigezov smisao za detalje i mračan ton Hilove priče.
Moram priznati da je Darkwood odradio pravu stvar sa ovim izdanjem, a Marčelu svaka čast za prevod!
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vrlo dobar nasatavk, licno mi se svideo jos vise nego prvi strip. Crtez je i dalje odlican prica postaje kompleksnija ali mastovitost je ono glavno sto mi se svidja ovde. Narocito sta otkljucava :) Tako nesto bi mi bilo odlicna pomoc tokom studija.

Jedino sto se zavrsava na ocitom cliffhangeru sto nije bio uslucaj u prvoj knjizi.

U svakom slucaju bravo. Idemo dalje.
James DeSantis
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Locke and Key continues to be a extremely interesting series.

So the kids have gained the ability to open heads. Like they can open someone's head, reach in, and grab a memory or a creature of a memory, and tear it out and it's formed in real life. How nuts is that? Also we have the villain here being evil as fuck and scheming the hell out of this family. Also the uncle is going through some crazy shit once he leaves and it's only going to get worse.

Good: Some of this shit is the funniest comic
destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
Another great volume of Locke & Key! I love Joe Hill's bizarre, creepy writing style, and the illustrations in this graphic novel are just gorgeous. There's so much detail and intricacy, and you really want to look closely at every panel because sometimes, there are tiny little details hidden that are just so neat.

This volume introduces the Head Key, which is literally a key that, when inserted into the back of one's neck, opens their skull and allows them to see all the little goodies (and
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
See Locke & Key, Vol. 6: Alpha & Omega for my review of the entire series.
David Sven
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story from the first graphic novel “Welcome to Lovecraft” continues right where we left of in “Head Games.” Right from the get go I should say that you can remove from your mind any notion that this will have the same gore-fest we got in book 1. And that I think is a good thing because the story, even in book 1 was never about the violence. It was always about the keys. Having said that, I think this book actually maintains the dark and sinister (even more sinister) undertones we began with. ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Dosta kvalitetniji dio od prvog što se tiče priče. Hill je dosta maštovit i očigledno peefekcionista, jer je svaki detalj bitan. Rodrigezovi crtezi to dosta dobro upotpunjuju. Dobijamo backround informacije od pojedinim likovima, dio onog šta se desilo prije toliko godina i novi ključ, koji bi sigurno svako od nas volio imati. :)
Odlično u svakom slučaju. Idemo dalje.

May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second chapter in Joe Hill's brilliant dark magical mystery. The Locke kids have survived the traumas of book one but in this one the threat is far more insidious. They have a viper in their midst disguised as Tyler Locke's new best school friend Zack Wells. Zack is the mysterious creature Bode met trapped in the well house in book one. He's a nasty piece of work too, ruthlessly murdering or manipulating anyone who can unmask him. Hill creates great characters with complex history and psycho ...more
Wow, this series is good. I want to know more of what's happening. It feels like the antagonist Zac is winning and the main characters are totally losing at this point. They don't have a clue. I can't figure out how the story is going to go. That is a rare thing. I love the art and I think the story is new. It's doing some 'Inside Out' stuff. It really is about head games.

What joy to find something I can't figure out what is going to happen. I'm surprised and interested in everything. If you rea
Edward Lorn
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in this series is damn funny. I was legit cackling in parts. I appreciated the humor more than anything else, though. I'm still not 100% in love with the artwork (especially not the goofy as balls facial expressions) and this volume has a lot less going on than the first, but I liked it all the same.

Hill's writing, the dialogue specifically, is perfection. His imagination makes me fuckin jealous on several levels, too. This is the creative Joe Hill I have come to love. Well, unt
J.G. Keely
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Well, I was hoping that if I kept on with the series, I'd get used to the art, but unfortunately not. Giant chins and tiny, lipless mouths everywhere. And everyone looks like a pallid corpse thanks to the questionable choice of shading all fleshtones with an unsaturated grey. It's just not pretty.

And I don't think it's some deliberate attempt at disquieting horror art, either, because low-saturation isn't the way to make unsettlingly corpselike characters. There's a whole palette of greens, blu
Sam Quixote
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Locke family kids, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, are slowly recovering from their father’s brutal death and settling in to their Lovecraftian manse which is located in, funnily enough, Lovecraft, Massachusetts. But their new friend, Zack Wells (because he lived in a well, geddit?!) aka Lucas “Luke” Don Caravaggio (Worst. Character Name. Ever.) is killing people because he has a plan for the Locke kids that nobody knows anything about but it’s bound to be creepy. Also: more magic keys!

I have no ide
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
As I figured in my review of Vol 1 of Locke & Key, the series is getting cooler as we go along. I love watching things slooooowly unfold.

I felt parts of this story (or the illustrations matching with the story? Meh.) were a tad disjointed, but the main premise behind this installment is wicked cool. I have always been fascinated with the idea of removing memories (or just random stupid shit that's clogging up the works, like high school Chemistry or sumthin), or just how memories work (can't
I feel almost a little bad giving this volume only 4 stars, because it was another great volume in what's sure to be a fantastic series. I just came into this one expecting the same kind of raw emotional power that the first volume had, and unfortunately it was missing.

That's not to say that this volume wasn't as good, it was just good in a slightly different way. We get to learn more about the characters, and see more of their history, and their innermost thoughts and fears, which I loved. We'
Tim The Enchanter
If the first volume didn't hook you, this one just might. I found it to be superior and much more engaging. A key has been found that can, quite literally, allow you to open you head and add and remove whatever you like. Of course, this leaves the evil masquerading as a friend to manipulate the characters. While it is still aimed at a more mature audience, there is less gore and less adult language than the first episode.

Personally, I find the powers of the various keys to be interesting and the
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

This second installment was awesome! It was creepy, weird and I loved it. You will never guess where the other key goes!

I loved the graphics and the continuing storyline. I look forward to the next book in the wonderful world of Joe Hill!
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
As with the first volume, I'm listening to this on a full-cast Audible production. The audio deserves the beautifully creepy images, so I'm reading both. Very creepy stuff.
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Around the Year i...: Locke & Key Vol. 2: Head Games, by Joe Hill 8 35 Aug 25, 2017 07:12PM  
Reads of a geek a...: Locke and Key Vol. 2 1 4 Feb 10, 2014 06:26PM  
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Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He writes short stories too. Some of them were gathered together in

Other books in the series

Locke & Key (6 books)
  • Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)
  • Crown of Shadows (Locke & Key, #3)
  • Keys to the Kingdom (Locke & Key, #4)
  • Clockworks (Locke & Key, #5)
  • Alpha & Omega (Locke & Key, #6)
“-one teebs? You mean tablespoon?"
"I don't know.”
“That's it? 'Damn, it smells like the fishsticks are burning and don't do that with your head, Bode?' What the fuck?” 3 likes
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