How do YOU think the world will end? That’s one of the first questions The Nice House on the Lake proposes. As someone who loves the whole “end of the world” trope, I’d be lying if I said that this question hadn’t crossed my mind before. There are so many viable options: someone being a little bit too trigger happy with the red button; running out of resources because of overpopulation; running out of clean air and water; even an asteroid hitting us again like what happened to the dinosaurs.
One way I never even remotely considered was the world coming to an end because of people’s inability to stay inside and not cough on each other. Yet here we are, dealing with a pandemic that I would never even have imagined. I miss a lot of things about my pre-COVID life, but the thing that I probably miss the most is seeing my friends.
I’ve had pretty much the same group of friends for as long as I can remember, and we are all way more like family to each other than most actual families are. Pre-COVID it was uncommon if a weekend passed and we weren’t glued together. Now it’s been almost two years, and I can count the number of times we’ve visited together on one hand. The Nice House on the Lake is all about a group of friends exactly like mine who also haven’t been able to see each other in the flesh for the same reasons as me.
The Nice House on the Lake is set up in a way that feels like it comes straight out of my own life and experiences, and because of that, I can’t help but feel that The Nice House on the Lake is the next big thing that you don’t want to miss out on.
Created for the DC Comics Black Label line (Harleen; Joker: Killer Smile; Basketful of Heads) by writer James Tynion IV (WYND; Something is Killing the Children; The Woods) and artist Álvaro Martínez Bueno (Justice League Dark; Batman – Detective Comics; Wonder Woman & the Justice League Dark), The Nice House on the Lake is a pre/post-apocalyptic/murder mystery comic about the end of the world.
Set in a world that doesn’t mention COVID by name but has characters wearing masks, checking temperatures and social distancing, The Nice House on the Lake is the story of Walter. Our story starts when ten people all get an email from their friend Walter. None of them have really seen Walter (or anyone else) all that much recently, so when he invites them to all come together and join him for a week away at an upmarket and remote Lake House, they accept.
This is where things start getting crazy. As they all arrive at the house, none of them can find the host, Walter, nor can they figure out why Walter decided to invite them on this trip to begin with. Some of them have known him since childhood, and some of them only met him recently, but all of them agree that he’s always been a little “strange”. When Walter finally arrives, one of the guests logs onto Twitter and discovers that the whole world outside of the lakehouse and everyone in it has gone up in flames.
They soon realize they aren’t at the lake house to catch up with an old friend. No, they were all handpicked by Walter to be the last ones left alive – which only leaves more questions than it answers.
The Nice House on the Lake is a wild ride with many characters you need to follow. To make this slightly more manageable, they handle the cast as if you were playing a game of Clue. Each character gets a symbol and a nickname allocated to them. Instead of trying to remember who’s who in a sea of twelve different names, everyone gets referred to as part of their designation, so for example, we have “The Doctor” or “The Artist”, etc. This helps keep track of everyone, and it also adds to the whole mystery that the story puts forward.
The art is incredibly well done, with each character being easy to differentiate between by personality and appearance. One of the things that caught my eye about The Nice House on the Lake is how each page follows its own set colour scheme. This helps to pull everything together and draw you into the moment on the page. All in all, The Nice House on the Lake is a very ambitious story with a huge cast to keep track of. Yet, it’s handled beautifully and in a way that never leaves you, the reader, confused… at least not about who everyone is.
Every so often, a comic will come around that flips an entire genre on its head and creates something that feels “new”, which is no easy feat in a world that’s so saturated with comics, but The Nice House on the Lake seems to do it with ease. I can’t even put into words how wonderful The Nice House on the Lake is. If I wasn’t already a horror fan, this would be the series that would make me one. If you’re looking for something that reads like a “whodunnit” mixed with “Until Dawn”, then this is the comic for you.
Want to grab The Nice House on the Lake for yourself? Head over to Critters and Comics. The series is currently available in the following formats: Digital; Single Issues (12 Issues) or as a single Trade Paperback