Review: The Nice House on the Lake #5

The Nice House on the Lake #5
The Nice House on the Lake #5

James Tynion IV and Álvaro Martínez Bueno have reached a kind of season finale endpoint with the fifth issue of The Nice House on the Lake, an entry that closes few doors and leaves new ones wide open. The people stuck at the house have finally taken it upon themselves to try and decipher what’s really going on with the end of the world and their strange flesh-shifting friend.

Nice House #5 uses an interesting framing device to basically offer a quick but comprehensive summary of the events that have transpired up to this point. Whiteboards and markers are summoned and everyone’s gathered to try and make a list of discoveries and observations that could offer clues as to what the mysterious Walter is really up to. There’s time afforded to the previous issue’s big reveals and how it affects the entire social dynamic inside the house as well.

Tynion is more precise with the bits of character development he gives to key players so as to make the group as a whole the star of this part of the story. It felt inevitable. There was a kind of invisible thread pulling everyone together just for this moment and Tynion’s execution is, once again, flawless.

Martínez Bueno is also keeping with the storytelling standards set early on, focusing this time on that uneasy feeling big meetings often carry when the topic of discussion is never good. Everyone exudes anxious energy and infectious unsteadiness, enough to build up the tension that will surely bleed over into the next story arc.

As is customary by now, issue #5 ends with another big reveal, but this one really changes up the game. It’s powerful enough to even change the identity of the comic going forward. The endgame might’ve shifted with this new development and it’ll be fun to see how everyone adjusts to the new information.

The Nice House on the Lake #5
The Nice House on the Lake #5

The Nice House and its surrounding get its own sort of ‘character development’ as well, with mysteries giving way just a bit to make sure there’s more stuff to explore in the coming issues. It reminded me of the narrative shift between season 1 and season 2 of Lost, where the island doesn’t necessarily become massively bigger but instead new corners of it are made available for the survivors. It all amounts to an exciting look at the storytelling possibilities that remain to be explored.

The Nice House on the Lake #5 is a fitting end to the first arc of the series. It sets up just enough to keep readers desperate for more. Looks like the best new horror comic of 2021 fully intends to just get better and better.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno Color: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10
Recommendation: Buy, read, camp out in front of a comic store for the next issue.

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

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