Review – The Nice House On The Lake #1
Published by: DC Black Label
Available: 1st June 2021
The story sees a group of mostly 30-somethings invited to a sylvan lake house by a friend named Walter. Some have known him since childhood, some from college, some from a party a few months ago. He’s a little odd, but after a year that everyone has had – while not mentioning the pandemic, the comic feels very current with its temperature checks and social media connectivity — people are ready for an escape. Once there, however, the group learns the world has fallen into terrifying chaos and that they may never be able to leave. Oh, and Walter is so not who they thought he was.
Each person is given a code name and symbol (which sounds very ominous) and we have a good mix of Artist (Ryan the protagonist), Writer, Reporter, Acupuncturist, Consultant, Doctor, Comedian, Accountant, Scientist, Pianist and a missing Painter.
How do you think the world will end? This simple question sends artist Ryan on a nightmare journey in DC’s growing Black Label series.
Tynion does not hold back we start at the end of Ryan’s story and flashback to set up the story. This issue is all about setting up each of the players and developing the dynamic. Walter and his impressive Nice House overshadow all the characters and the slow build-up of tension. Each character and persona fit like an Agatha Christie novel and I think we should set up a betting pool for the order and manner of deaths. There is also a deeper tonality to the book with groups of people who have drifted apart and back together are confronted with each other in a tight space.
Speaking last month he said
There is a moment in all of our lives, I think when we start to move away from interconnected friend groups and evolving into more individual states. You still have friends and you still see your friends, but they are not such a huge part of your life as they are in your 20s. There is a loss when you enter your 30s there that you know you will never get back even though you long for it. That dichotomy of wanting to back and recreating the perfect moment in your life but needing to grow up and make your own way, that tension is the heart of the book.James Tynion – The Hollywood Reporter
Ryan acts as our portal to this group of loose friends and college buddies and her phone acts as a catalyst to the shocking final pages of the issue. I will not spoil it I’ll leave it for others but James finished this issue with a very loud bang. The integration of social media in the comic adds a real-world element with the plot gently pulled forward each time it is shown in the issue.
Alvaro Martinez Bueno’s art helps capture the tone of the story perfectly. The 2/3 page splashes look odd and draw your eye in over the normal single or double-page spread. There’s a great panel on page 2 where Walter asks Ryan to talk through her apocalypse and as the panel stretches the world changes with them left chatting around a table in a decayed and dead world. It’s about 10cm long but sets up the ominous story after only a few panels and words.
Jordie Bellaire colouring ties the script and design together with beautiful pastels and sickening flat colours as the world decays. Red. oranges and yellows set the world on fire and with hints of viscera and horror hope he stocked up on red colouring. A key part of this issue has been the explosion of limited-run variant covers that have the comic sharks smelling blood in the water and driving up demand. I have no issue with this tactic as most will lose in the long game of comic pricing bingo. Have a look at them here in our story last month. If you are lucky there may still be some left.
I think Tynion will lose some readers who expected blood and guts on page one, panel one. This is an operatic comic slowly bringing pieces together, if you want a bubble-gum pop style horror this is not for you. Thankfully most who buy DC Black are the latter characters. How do I think the world will end? Hopefully after the final issue of The Nice House On The Lake. A slow tension issue that earns a 100% score.
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