Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill et al.
A whole new bunch of keys are introduced in this volume of the Locke family story. First, Bode the youngest son finds a key that transforms him into his animal self. Hoping for something frightening and fearsome, he turns into something feathered--a small bird. He has some adventures. Dodge goes through the same "animal transformation door" and turns out as a pack of wolves. He attacks the older siblings and Bode brings a flock of fine feathered friends to the rescue, though not without lots of bloody casualties. Second, the month of February is chronicled with various attacks and social set-backs for the Locke family. Eldest brother Ty keeps a record of the attacks, trying to find a pattern and maybe the source of the attacks. He gets closer to discovering Dodge's secret.
The final half of the story picks up with a plot by Dodge to get closer to the family. His "aunt" and "nephew" become unwilling pawns in his quest to get the Omega Key and open the Black Door below Key House.
The first half of the book is okay though very episodic. It reads like they just dreamed up some new ideas for keys and threw them into stories without much concern for the larger storyline. I was getting worried that we readers would be taken down a lot of less interesting side-stories. The second half gets back to the solid drama and horror of the on-going story.
As usual, the art is fantastic. The first story combines the regular style with Bill Waterson's style (he's the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) which provides some humor but not a lot of substance.
Parental warning: Plenty of bad language and attitudes abound. Some of the violence is quite graphic and is graphically depicted, including puncture wounds and torn flesh--and not just of the birds, either. Recommended for late teens and up.