‘The Nice House on the Lake #1:’ Comic Book Review

James Tynion IV is known right now both for his Batman books from DC and also for his horror/sci-fi/fantasy comics from BOOM! Studios. He’s a stellar creator making character-driven stories that sink into your heart and soul.

The Nice House on the Lake combines the two worlds in DC’s Black Label, which may be the first of their Black Label to echo the genre-bending stories of Vertigo (which shuttered a little more than a year ago). Its absence has been felt. Hopefully, this is a return to form for DC. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone better to kickstart it than Tynion.

The Nice House on the Lake is a horror title. From the very first page, you know it’s a tale of the apocalypse, but how do we get there… that’s the question that needs to be answered.

Our heroine, Ryan Cane, begins our tale by describing how she met a peculiar gentleman some years before. A gentleman who asked her, “How do you think the world will end?” And we’re off to the races. There’s a gathering, a mystery, a horrific sequence of events, and a kind of answer that leads to even more questions, leaving a group of people together on a very nice house on a lake.

There is a sequence in this book that begins low-key disturbing and gradually, in the course of a page, becomes absolutely terrifying… and it’s mostly text based.

I’m continually blown away by artist team-ups recently, and Álvaro Martínez Bueno doing the art and Jordie Bellaire on colors is no exception. There’s a really wonderful sequence around a swimming pool in which we only see blips of conversations, words that reflect the characters we’re just getting to know. It’s an amazingly clever scene which depicts how parties like this feel, with conversations drifting in and out, but also in how to introduce characters without filling the page with tons of dialogue. The lettering: superb. The flow of the images: brilliant. As far as story construction, this is masterful.

The final few pages look so distinctly different, otherworldly, and horrific… holy crap.

If this spells the beginning of a new Vertigo-style series of offerings from DC, give me more.

Creative Team: James Tynion IV (writer), Álvaro Martínez Bueno (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Andworld Design (letters), Chris Conroy (editor), Marquis Draper (assistant editor). The design team was not credited, but they did a stellar freaking job.
Publisher: DC, Black Label
Click here to purchase.

Go to top