Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 1st, 2021
Reviewed by: Rollo Tomasi
The new DC series The Nice House on the Lake looks and feels like either an Image series or something from DC’s Vertigo days. It cleverly sets up two types of horror stories in one. Both like a cabin in the woods kinda horror mixed with the end of the world Armageddon.
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A large group of people introduced all only have one thing in common. They all have the same mysterious friend named Walter that has invited them to his gorgeous cabin for a vacation. Only soon after arriving, they start to get news feeds describing something that at that moment is suddenly killing almost everyone on the planet. Then Walter reveals he’s not who the group thinks he is. Walter is somehow connected to the sudden end of the world and brought his friends together at his cabin to “protect” them.
The first thing I noticed while reading this is that this is the first comic I’ve read that addresses a post COVID world. I don’t mean in relation to the impending apocalypse implied in the story. Rather with small details in the art and story. Such as people walking around wearing masks or having their temperature casually taken before entering a building. Details like this help the reader connect as these seemingly mundane daily routines are what we all have gotten used to the past year.
Tynion does a nice job setting up the main female lead. We open with what appears to her in some post-apocalyptic world. Only then to flashback to show how she met Walter and how they developed a relationship before her invite to the cabin. While we are introduced to the others in the cabin we don’t get much information on them quite yet. Except for the use of a social media type narration box next to each character that gives the reader a quick snapshot of their background. It does feel there may be too many characters introduced in one issue. But I have a feeling several of them won’t last long anyway.
The use of social media feeds to show how the characters discover the impending apocalypse is clever. It gives a glimpse into the world falling apart from various places. That being said it’s almost too clever. Sometimes using a text piece can almost date the story later on. Like a comic from the mid-2000s making a Myspace reference.
The art is impressive. Looks slightly airbrushed. Has an indie feel to it that made me keep thinking it was an Image series rather than a DC. It has nice two-page spreads with lots of detail. However, the characters could be defined more for my taste. That said, it is only the first issue.
The Nice House on The Lake opens with an interesting setup. Almost like an episode of the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. Plus, it feels timely unlike many comics today with the subtle COVID references. Hopefully, the following issues can build on what was started with this first issue.