Locke & Key has been nothing but spectacular since it's inception. Hill and Rodriguez, despite crafting a series about keys that literally do the impossible, have created these very relatable characters that are both memorable and seemingly real. You hurt when they hurt, cheer when they overcome and anticipate what happens next when the story ends. These are all feelings that an author wants to pull from their audience and Hill does it so well that it's hard to believe that he's still so young in his career.
As the story continues in Crown of Shadows, we're met with the discovery of more keys and the further deteroration of Nina. Nina's decent is heartbreaking to say the least. I've experienced the effect she's having on her kids through the actions of my own mother when I was a child. It never got to a point of physical violence but the alcohol abuse and hurtful words certainly had an effect on me.
A lot happens here but with Rodriguez's skillful hand, the panels are constructed tightly and the suspense is built adquately. Aside from Sean Phillips, Rodriguez might be my favorite artist at the moment.
On a side note, there's a great foreward written by Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man). To receive praises from a guy who wrote one of the most critically acclaimed series of the last decade is not a bad review at all.