Nice House on the Lake volume one graphic novel review

From: writer James Tynion IV, artist Álvaro Martínez Bueno, published by DC Comics Black Label.

A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley for review.

I am now fully down the Tynion rabbit hole. Reading everything he’s written, changing my pull lists, all of it. Recently the first six issues of Nice House on the Lake were collected just in time for issue 7 to come out. While friends of mine have read this comic all along and I’ve heard good things, I knew nothing going into the comic. A group of friends at the titular nice house on the lake and something happens. By the end of the first issue my mind was blown. Every single issue adds another level of mystery and horror and WTF to the story. 

Walter has a group of friends who are all tangentially connected, some more than others. He invites all of them to this house to get together one more time. They’re lives have drifted apart as happens to all of us when we get older, and this might be the last time they could all get together. Walter makes it fun: the house is huge, fully stocked, and fun. There’s so much for entertainment. He even adds a fun little game to it all and gives everyone titles and symbols: the comedian, the writer, and so on. This could be a story about an affair coming out, or a murder mystery, or even a sex comedy. 

Then at the end of issue one, something awful happens. I don’t want to say what because readers should have the same level of surprise that I did. This beautifully drawn comic in such a placid and serene setting immediately switches to grotesque terrifying horror and then right back to the quiet. It’s jarring and doesn’t get easier anytime this happens in the book. So much of the story feels normal and it’s easy to pretend everything is normal, which probably shows which character in the book I would most relate to. 

The mystery grows and more secrets are revealed with one huge one at the end of this volume (the end of issue 6) which changes everything readers thought was true. I’m torn between jumping right into issue 7 or waiting until all of the remaining issues are out and reading it in one sitting. 

It has been years since I started reading a book and then had to find everything from the writer. Tynion is arguably comics biggest star right now and his golden touch is about to extend to Netflix and beyond. If you love horror, mystery, or just great story telling not only pick up Nice House on the Lake but also anything from this writer.

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