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Review: The Nice House on the Lake #6

Nice House

Big reveals in puzzle box-like stories often rob narratives of their mystique, ending the guessing game that hooked audiences in to begin with. It’s a bit like what The Joker says about dogs chasing cars in Christopher Nolan (2008). The chase is all. Once you catch up to the car, what’re you supposed to do with it?

I admit that I’ve been dreading the moment James Tynion IV and Álvaro Martínez Bueno’s The Nice House on the Lake started pulling the veil back on its secrets. The series’ strong character development and bizarre end-of-world scenario is just too rich. At points, it made me wish that things would never even get explained, that we could live in a constant state of ambiguity where speculation and conspiracy reign. Those who followed Lost during its first three seasons as it aired have a good idea of the kind of thrill this type of storytelling produces.

Fortunately for us, Nice House #6 takes a very careful approach to reveals, offering big chunks of the puzzle without letting too much light fall on its final shape. A new member is introduced to the group and with him comes information about the very purpose of the Nice House. There’s talk of who or what Walter (the person responsible for bringing everyone to the house) truly is, what the group’s composition is supposed to represent, and why the end of the world was forced upon humanity.

Nice House

What makes this unraveling of secrets so successful is Tynion’s ability to add new questions with each new tidbit of information. Reveals don’t offer absolute answers or definitive endpoints to key plot elements. Instead, they open new paths the overarching narrative can merge to, some of which can fundamentally alter character relationships and even deepen the mystery at the heart of the story. Those expecting a buffet of answers in this issue will only be half satisfied as new questions come with each turn of the screw, but it’s all in the service of allowing for a more urgent and interesting read.

Martínez Bueno’s art pulls in closer to the characters in this issue, highlighting the shock felt by each one after each new development. It’s wonderfully expressive, giving readers an intimate look at the fear and confusion coursing through the group. Worldviews get shattered in this issue and Martínez Bueno’s body language work is on full display, and to great effect.

The Nice House on the Lake just keeps getting better and better. It’s hard to imagine what comes after this issue, the series’ halfway point. So much has already been explored and set up that it’s easy to get swept up with the situation at the Nice House. Now it’s a matter of sticking the landing, whatever that may be. Thankfully, every issue thus far has been further confirmation we’re in the good hands of a creative team that has no intention of dropping the ball this late in the game.

Story: James TynionIV Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Color: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10
Overall: A definite buy that should be accompanied by a full reread of the series.

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE review copy for review


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