Locke & Key is arguably the best comic running. What sets it apart is not just Gabriel Rodriguez’s great artwork or how affective the horror is (and it is quite disturbing at times), but the fact that its characters are some of the most lifelike in the medium.

Honing his chops in the world of prose fiction, writer Joe Hill brings a genuine warmth and insight into the family dynamics of the Lockes, and a real sense of place to the New England town of Lovecraft, with its rich occult history dating back to the Revolutionary War—of which much is finally revealed.

The series follows the Locke children, who, after their father’s murder, move to their ancestral home, a mysterious mansion known as Key House. There they discover a number of magical keys, each with its own strange ability (i.e. the Head Key allows the user to open someone’s skull and pluck out his memories). This fifth (and penultimate) volume deals mainly in flashback with the children’s father, Rendell, and how he and his friends inadvertently set free the ancient evil that now descends on his children.

While each of the story arcs has been notable for its carefully executed structure, this latest volume has the feeling of a great epic coming to a close. All the various threads Hill has been expertly weaving are rapidly drawing together.

I can’t wait to see how it ends, but I’ll be bummed when it does.

Grade: A

Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks is available now.