Tag Archives: Alvaro Martinez Bueno

James Tynion IV and Fernando Blanco’s W0rldtr33 cover revealed

Image Comics has revealed the eerily-toned cover artwork that will set the vibe for the highly anticipated series W0rldtr33 from bestselling writer James Tynion IV and his Razorblades collaborator artist Fernando Blanco. First teased in the pages of the Image! 30th anniversary anthology, this riveting new thriller is set to launch in April.

In 1999, Gabriel, Amanda, Liam, Yoshi, and Darren discovered what they dubbed the Undernet—a secret architecture beneath the internet. They charted their exploration of the Undernet on a private message board called W0rldtr33. Then they lost control. And unleashed unimaginable horrors.

W0rldtr33 #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 12:

  • Cover A by Blanco – Diamond Code FEB230015
  • Cover B by Aja – Diamond Code FEB230016
  • Cover C (1:10 copy incentive) by Jenny Frison – Diamond Code FEB230017
  • Cover D (1:25 copy incentive) by Bill Sienkiewicz – Diamond Code FEB230018
  • Cover E (1:50 copy incentive) by Zu Orzu – Diamond Code FEB230019
  • Cover F (1:100 copy incentive) by Alvaro Martinez Bueno – Diamond Code FEB230020
W0rldtr33

Review: The Nice House on The Lake #12

Nice

Since the very first issue of The Nice House on The Lake, I questioned whether this would be the type of story we’d get all the answers for come closing time. It had all the makings of a mystery box narrative of the kind that resists clean revelations wrapped up in neat and pristine packages. The character-focused approach to the story, with one character being the focus of a single issue throughout, even made me think that pulling the veil back on everything wasn’t entirely the point. It was about how the end-of-the-world situation the cast was living through impacted their growth and capacity for emotional adaptability (something that made the best parts of Lost succeed so resoundingly).

Now that we’re at the last stop, issue #12, I will say I feel a bit confused. It’s not that the characters didn’t reach a point of no return that changes their entire group dynamic at the core (which, to a point, it did). It’s that it felt like a fairly lax affair that ultimately ended up telling readers that the story’s a while away yet from reaching its true end. In a way, it felt a bit too restrained for it to cause any real sense of culmination, if only to signal a break in anticipation of a potentially more terrifying second part.

If you’ve been keeping up with the story (warning: some spoilers ahead) then you’ll remember certain rules within the Nice House had changed and made everyone mortal again. It takes someone’s death to change the game entirely, though, and so an urgent expectation of consequence took over the story once that happened.

Issue #12 presents the group with a decision that can disrupt Walter’s mission for good this time, one in which the idyllic and potentially utopic living conditions of the Nice House will shift into a much harsher reality that will require thinking about survival rather than just being given everything they might need to survive, as had been the case just a few issues back.

It’s safe to say by now that the story is about the burdens that friendship can instill on a group of people that don’t know how to entirely cut away from those they’d be better off not having in their lives. To an extent, it’s about the toxicity of a certain kind of friendship and how one person’s co-dependent inclinations can invade an entire network of people.

There’s a lot of this in issue #12, with the group having to decide whether to take a drastic step or not to sever ties with Walter. Most of it works, but the way it’s addressed here takes the reader back to past exchanges with Walter and his friends that we already knew about. These sequences are presented in cell phone text threads or emails and they feel more like filler than key details finally made available to the reader.

They cut away from the action too much and lessen the impact of the group’s struggles with deciding what to do with Walter, the only constant since issue #1. James Tynion IV would’ve done well to reign in those pages back to keep the focus on the group’s principal dilemma. Álvaro Martínez Bueno’s art is, as ever, perfectly calibrated to capture the emotional chaos of the moment and his facial expression work is given even more attention to help establish the momentousness of the group’s decision. It’s easy to get lost in every panel thanks to the nuances in Martínez Bueno’s character work and it truly elevates the very delicate exchanges between the group and Walter so late in the series.

Tynion does provide more generous breadcrumbs as to what Walter is and what the Nice House’s geography truly looks like in the context of the planet’s very painful and fiery death. Readers should be able to make some reliable assumptions as to what’s operating behind the scenes, especially on who Walter’s masters could be. And yet, a sliver more of information could’ve gone a long way to heighten the terror behind the personal events that transpire in the comic’s last pages.

Despite all that, I really do hope we get more Nice House in the coming year. If this last issue is meant to the closing of a part of a larger story, then it’s easier to forgive the lax nature of it and its overreliance on text-only pages. As it stands, it doesn’t really feel like an end. There’s not even enough for an open-ended type of conclusion. In fact, it feels more like a recap with a big decision in the middle of it. If this really is how it comes to a close, though, then it’s unfortunate its final moments unravel in a manner befitting of a middle chapter in a book rather than a concluding one.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 6.0 Art: 10
Recommendation: Read, then cross your fingers this amazing series continues.

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: The Nice House on the Lake #11

The Nice House on the Lake #11

The Nice House on the Lake is one issue away from wrapping everything up and I’m not entirely sure everyone will be left with the answers they’re expecting. Walter’s origins are still vague and his grand design remains somewhat of a mystery. While it’s not looking like answers will be served on a silver platter in the final issue, it does look like a some sort of finality will settle over matters. This is in no way indication of the comic having lost a step or having failed to live up to expectations. On the contrary, it has managed the anticipation well and it’s all thanks to the ability of creators James Tynion and Álvaro Martínez Bueno to push the narrative in different directions every issue.

Issue #11 is crucial to the landing of the big finale. In a sense, it’s the last chance the story has to line up its landing trajectory, to calibrate its descent into darkness as smoothly as possible. This certainly comes through here as Walter’s chosen see the rules of their existence in the Nice House absolutely shattered. It feels like a point of no return has been reached and that the remaining time we have in the world Tynion and Martínez Bueno have built is fated to be spent in death, betrayal, and collapse.

The Nice House on the Lake #11

Without incurring in spoilers, it seems fair to say that not every single question posed in the book will be met with an answer. The true nature of Walter’s being remains vague, even with the amount of information revealed as to his hopes with the group of friends he roped together in the house. Some characters are dealing with returning memories while others are struggling with the decision to either safeguard Walter’s secrets or expose them.

It’s all leading to the group being put in a position to choose a side, to either perpetuate the lies Walter has used to manipulate them into accepting their place in the house or to break free from his influence and deny his living arrangements. It speaks to the book’s interests in pulling apart the dynamics of friendship and how people lock themselves in terrible situations because of them.

The house at the center of the story is metaphorically built on human connections that should’ve been reevaluated way before things got to the point where they’re at in the series. It questions our ability to sever ties that can compromise our mechanisms for self-preservation as to the amount of support we should offer people that hide behind friendship to further their dependence on others. It’s about how friendship can become a transaction built on often unrealistic expectations.

The Nice House on the Lake #11

Walter’s generosity (i.e. complying with every material desire the group might have), for instance, puts pressure on the group to return the favor in kind. Being available and present at a moments notice becomes a “reasonable” given this, which can also be forced upon friends as coerced expressions of gratitude. Just how much of that is fair and how much of it is manipulation is where the comic finds its source of tension and horror, especially when you consider the friend in question seems to be an otherworldly being that hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone.

Tynion and Martínez Bueno remain as they have throughout the entire series, laser-focused on character work. Martínez Bueno’s character are all in a state of emotional distortion and his approach to illustrating that on a basis of body language and facial expressions makes every bit of existential anguish and pain come through. Tynion’s dialogue continues to dig deeper into the depths of each character’s motivations and identities. It has all led to the creation of a delicately unpredictable situation that’s sure to make the final issue one that won’t be easy to shake off.

It’s all down to a single final issue. The end is finally upon us. We might even get to know why every chapter starts with one character talking a bit about themselves surrounded by fire and ruin (the remnants of the Nice House perhaps). Now’s a good time to reread the series in full to prepare for what’s coming. Until then, enjoy the time you have left in the Nice House. It’s possible it won’t be there a few pages into issue #12.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Color: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Read and then reevaluate your friends.

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: TFAWcomiXology/Kindle

Preview: The Nice House on the Lake #11 (of 12)

The Nice House on the Lake #11 (of 12)

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Alvaro Martinez Bueno
In Shops: Nov 08, 2022
SRP: $3.99

Ever since they were children, Walter and Norah were inseparable. But that time is over. No betrayal cuts deeper than the betrayal of your closest friend…and Norah knows just where to plant the knife! Everything changes in the penultimate issue of this unforgettable horror epic!

The Nice House on the Lake #11 (of 12)

Preview: Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Alvaro Martinez Bueno
In Shops: May 31, 2022
SRP: $3.99

All Arturo wants is for his partner, Sam, to be happy-so why isn’t he? What is scratching at the edge of Sam’s memories that keeps him restless and unsatisfied? As a journalist, nothing can keep Sam from the truth-no matter what that truth could cost the man he loves…

Nice House on the Lake #9

Review: The Nice House on the Lake #9

The Nice House on the Lake #9

It shouldn’t come as a surprise by now that James Tynion and Álvaro Martínez Bueno’s The Nice House on The Lake reveals parts of its jigsaw puzzle-like plot one tiny piece at a time. Issue #9 is no different. We’re still getting glimpses of possible answers, but we’re still very much at the mercy of ambiguous tidbits of information. Some big moments do set certain things in motion, but patience is the ideal virtue when it comes to this horror comic. Something wicked is certainly on the horizon, though, and this issue might just be the calm before the storm we’ve been at the heels of.

The latest chapter of Nice House sticks closer to the character of Arturo, who’s knowledgeable in the ways of acupuncture (something that carries more importance than I initially thought). The people at the house are trying to take on big projects to both explore the space they’re allowed to exist in and perhaps uncover more about the outside world. Unfortunately for them, things take an intense turn when certain realities about their physical conditions and of Walter’s role in the group come to the fore.

While character work is still the driving force behind the story, this issue does put plot progression ahead of strict character development (at least more than in previous issues). Tynion’s script lets his characters converge on a singular mission and keep them focused on it, all of which signals the coming of the end. While we’ve reached supposed ‘points of no return’ before, this time it feels like a crucial line is about to be crossed from which there truly is no turning back.

The Nice House on the Lake #9

Martínez Bueno continues to impress with character expressions and ominous environmental designs. Every new structure the group builds and shows off looks like an architectural marvel and it helps build the world around them in unprecedented ways. Aspiring artists have a lot to learn from Martínez Bueno in terms of visual worldbuilding from this series.

Jordie Bellaire’s colors make the story even more distinctive, with a fairly varied color palette that makes the Nice House and its surroundings feel like a cruel paradise. Keeping in mind that each character is basically a totem of stress and anxiety, the colors become an affront to their emotional states. It’s as if it were wrong to not surrender to the situation and enjoy the beauty Walter has created for everyone at the Nice House.

We’re closing in on the end, which means the comic’s central mystery is running out of places to hide. Very soon, things will have to come out into the light. Fortunately for us readers, the process has been nothing short of spectacular, even though it’s getting harder and harder to wait for the remaining issues to drop.

Story: James Tynion Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Read and then take inventory of your Doomsday stash

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Alvaro Martinez Bueno
In Shops: May 31, 2022
SRP: $3.99

All Arturo wants is for his partner, Sam, to be happy-so why isn’t he? What is scratching at the edge of Sam’s memories that keeps him restless and unsatisfied? As a journalist, nothing can keep Sam from the truth-no matter what that truth could cost the man he loves…

Nice House on the Lake #9

Preview: Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

Nice House on the Lake #9 (of 12)

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Alvaro Martinez Bueno
In Shops: May 31, 2022
SRP: $3.99

All Arturo wants is for his partner, Sam, to be happy-so why isn’t he? What is scratching at the edge of Sam’s memories that keeps him restless and unsatisfied? As a journalist, nothing can keep Sam from the truth-no matter what that truth could cost the man he loves…

Nice House on the Lake #9
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