The premise of Locke & Key is that an ancient demon is attempting to access a particular key that will open a door to its dimension. However, an old building known to the generations of the family who own it as the Keyhouse contains numerous mystical keys, each of which opens a different door causing a different effect. The relevant information still not revealed by the end of Master Edition II is disclosed early here, as the opening chapter introduces Benjamin Locke, founder of the family line and a man who knows exactly what’s going on despite being over two hundred years in the past. That begins a torrent of revelations heading to an almost impossibly thrilling conclusion that Joe Hill has meticulously plotted for maximum shock. The jaw will remain locked in the dropped position.

That incredibly smart plotting is reflected in the art. The well considered character and detail Gabriel Rodriguez supplies is now par for the course, although should be appreciated, and on several occasions during these dozen final chapters he’s called on to reprise earlier scenes, but recontextualising them. A stunning spread of a Shakespeare play seen in Master Edition I is reprised, but this time leading to something brilliant and tragic, and several later scenes reflect those seen earlier, but feature different people.

Reading these chapters reveals just how little that’s been shown previously lacks a greater purpose. The series began with the Locke family moving to Lovecraft after Randall Locke was murdered, and we’re now shown how that wasn’t as random as previously presumed, and once Kinsey and Tyler Locke know the truth the terrifying finale is set-up.

Those final chapters are exhilarating and audacious, maximising the possibilities of what’s already been revealed, and the pages won’t turn quickly enough for you. Of course you could buy the original paperbacks Clockworks and Alpha & Omega, but with dramatic horror this good, why not head straight for the hardback Master Editions?

Alternatively there’s a slipcased set of the paperbacks, or the Keyhouse Compendium released to coincide with the TV series, compiling all six volumes of the original series. This story is complete in itself, but because much is dependent on the past, Hill and Rodriguez returned there for a prequel, The Golden Age.