Tag Archives: the nice house on the lake

Review: The Nice House on The Lake #12


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

Around the Tubes

The Nice House on the Lake #11

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below. While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Kotaku – Manga Creator Demands Elon Musk Pay Him One Billion Dollars For Posting Cringe Meme – Nice!

Book Riot – 10 Grimdark Comics for Gloomy Nights – What would you include?

ICv2 – HarperCollins Union Goes on Strike – Good!


CBR – Marauders #8
CBR – The New Golden Age #1
CBR – The Nice House on the Lake #11
CBR – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #134
CBR – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game – Alliance #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Killchella #1

Wednesdays (and Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1 (Marvel) – The event has been one of the best Marvel has done in a while and we want to see what the new status quo is and what this issue lays out for the various folks involved.

Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs #1 (AHOY Comics) – Mark Russell is back with more satire and when he’s skewering society, it’s well worth checking it. Russell consistently will make you think as well as laugh.

Dark Ride #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue delivered an intriguing start to the new horror series and we want to see where it all goes from there.

Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1 (DC Comics) – The original creators behind the event are back with new stories celebrating 30 years.

Do a Powerbomb #6 (Image Comics) – Wrestling. Drama. Horror. Yeah, this has everything checked off for us. Did we mention the awesome art? This is a series that stands out this year.

Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel) – Ryan North and Iban Coello set Marvel’s first family in a new direction, a perfect time to dive in for what should be a good creative combo.

Gospel #1 (Image Comics) – Inspired by Miyazaki and set in the chaos of King Henry VIII’s reign, that alone has us intrigued about this one.

Killchella #1 (Scout Comics) – A music festival turns deadly when a reclusive pop star returns after five years and attempts a massive human sacrifice ritual.

Lord of the Jungle #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Dan Jurgens writing Tarzan? Yeah, we’re in for that.

New Golden Age (DC Comics) – Geoff Johns’ next chapter of his vision kicks off here bringing back classic DC characters that haven’t had the spotlight for some time.

The Nice House on the Lake #11 (DC Comics) – The horror sci-fi series has been amazing with with one more issue to go, we’re glued to every issue to find out what the hell is going on.

Sabretooth and the Exiles #1 (Marvel) – Sabretooth has had it rough with Krakoa so what plans there are for him in the “X Universe” should be interesting.

Skullkickers Super Special #1 (Image Comics) – Celebrating 12 years of Skullkickers, we’re always down for this series. It was WAY ahead of its time with off the rails fantasy adventure.

Soldier Stories (Image Comics/Top Cow Productions) – Four tales of conflict written by veterans.

Specs #1 (BOOM! Studios) – We get a They Live vibe from this when some teens get a pair of X-ray specs and things turn dark and more than they bargained for.

WildC.A.T.s #1 (DC Comics) – The team is back with a new take that has them more built into the DC Universe. It feels like the start of something big to come and hopefully indicates we’ll get to see more of the Wildstorm Universe return.

Around the Tubes

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #100

It’s a new week and there’s lots going on! What are you excited for when it comes to New York Comic Con this week? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

ICv2 – People on the Move: EIC Mike Marts Leaves AfterShock – Good luck on what’s to come.

Kotaku – It Sure Sounds Like Mark Hamill Is Playing The Joker In MultiVersus – Who’s playing?

CBLDF – Missouri: Part 1 — Banning Comics in St. Louis – Good individuals are speaking out.

Comicbook – Why Nintendo Once Censored the Name of a Famous Marvel Location – Interesting.


CBR – Briar #1
CBR – Flawed #1
CBR – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #100
CBR – The Nice House on the Lake #10
CBR – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Disciple

Wednesdays (and Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Briar #1 (BOOM! Studios) – What if Sleeping Beauty never got her happily ever after… and instead had to save herself? A concept we’ve seen before but we’re still very excited for this one.

DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock vs. the Army of the Dead #1 (DC Comics) – Bruce Campbell writing has us interested in this one.

DC vs. Vampires #9 (DC Comics) – The series has been fantastic keeping readers on their toes as you never know who will die and who will actually be a vampire.

The Disciple (CEX Publishing) – Estranged former students must band together, to recover the secrets their teacher shared – and uncover the ones he kept hidden.

Eight Billion Genies #5 (Image Comics) – The series has been amazing with a world changing concept but a narrow focus that keeps the crazy concept grounded. We want so much more of this world.

Fist of the North Star Vol. 6 (VIZ Media) – We love this new printing of this series, a classic manga that’s a must read.

Flawed #1 (Image Comics) – By day she’s a psychiatrist, by night she solves problems with a more direct approach. But, an immortal serial killer has her in their sights.

Hollow (BOOM! Studios) – A new take on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. A Free Comic Book Day teaser comic was solid and has us excited to read the whole thing.

Investigators Vol. 6 Heist and Seek (First Second) – The kids graphic novel series is always fun with its spy adventures for younger readers. Adults will enjoy it too.

Muhammad Najem: War Reporter (Little Brown Book for Young Readers) – A young Syrian chronicles the loss, hopes, and dreams of other Syrian kids.

The Nice House on the Lake #10 (DC Comics) – It’s been a while since the last issue but we’re excited as the series starts to wind down. We have no idea what’s coming in this sci-fi/horror series.

Old Dog #1 (Image Comics) – A CIA operative is given a second chance after a mission goes wrong.

Parker Girls #2 (Abstract Studios) – The first issue was a hell of a lot of fun and we’re expecting more of the same in this riff on Charlie’s Angels featuring Terry Moore’s beloved characters.

Roadie #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A horror saga about nostalgia, heavy metal music, hell, and redemption from Tim Seeley and Fran Galán? Yeah, we’re in.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Armageddon Game #1 (IDW Publishing) – After some lead up comics, the next major TMNT event kicks off!

Thunderbolts #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of fun and we want to find out a bit about the new character debuting in this issue.

Tim Drake: Robin #1 (DC Comics) – Tim Drake gets the spotlight!

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Closet #1

Wednesdays (and Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

After Lambana: Myth and Magic in Manila (Tuttle Publishing) – It’s a graphic novel focused on Filipino myth, magic, and supernatural suspense!

Bikini Atoll (Clover Press) – A danger in the water story just in time for summer!

The Closet #1 (Image Comics) – Writer James Tynion IV has been killing it lately so just his name on this tale of existential horror has us intrigued.

Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis (DC Comics) – The opening chapter of DC’s next big events was so-so, but we’re still intrigued by this one-shot comic that fives us a world where the Justice League is gone.

Neverender #1 (Behemoth Comics) – At the edge of civilization the dominant sport is a civilized sword duel to the death.

Newthink #1 (AWA Studios) – This anthology examines the rapid proliferation of technology, the cultural and political polarization of the country, and the technocrats that have driven us to such extremes of thought that we need to present the present as something…futuristic.

The Nice House on the Lake #9 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – We’ve been loving this series that has us guessing as to what exactly is going on and where it’s going.

Phalanx (Image Comics) – Image is celebrating 30 years and this one-shot that seems to be having fun with the Image of old feels like it’d be nostalgic fun.

Shadow War: Omega (DC Comics) – The finale to the mini-event that will lead directly into DC’s next big summer event.

Triskele #1 (Scout Comics) – When young Alec Ellis is granted a magical gift on Samhain night, the scales of power on the island of Albion are inadvertently shifted.

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