An indie mystery box of a book that will leave you wanting more.
This review of The Nice House on the Lake #1 contains some minor spoilers.
A few years back, DC launched the new imprint Black Label, then decided they didn’t really know what to do with it. Originally we were led to believe that it would be superior quality books, by top-tier creative teams, that would explore the darker side of the DCU.
Cue Batman Damned #1, where the comic industry was rocked to its core by the revelation that Bruce Wayne is anatomically correct. Who knew? Since then, Black Label has been stuck on anything that DC didn’t know what to do with. Sure the writers get to show superhero sex scenes or use sweary words, but it all comes off as just juvenile and redundant.
However, this month we are gifted with The Nice House On The Lake by James Tynion and Alvaro Martinez Bueno, and in my mind this is where Black Label really belongs.
More like an indie book than a DC comic, this title is something very different from DC, and it seems to be a trend that they would be better off pursuing than trying to make Superman all grown up.
The first issue of this series kicks off by introducing us to the premise of the story. Walter has been meeting people and keeping tabs on them, and eventually invites the group to a beautiful and luxurious house for a vacation.
As we read the comic, we are introduced to the guests, who have all been given code names and sigils, such as The Accountant and The Scientist.
We are given insight into the situation through emails and text messages, with exposition delivered through what looks like Twitter.
As the group congregates, they are greeted by their host Walter, but there’s something wrong, and in the third act, we see through a news feed that something terrible has happened in the world outside the house. An event so horrific that the guests cannot leave the house as the rest of the world is now dead.
Walter is revealed to be something more than human, and the cast is left to try and process what has just happened.
This is a great premise for the book, along the lines of Lost, and you the cynic in me knows that both DC and Tynion are desperate for a call from Netflix. Everything here screams TV series, so who knows, maybe you should be grabbing the first issue of this book just in case.
Art-wise, Bueno is the perfect artist for this story. His photo-realistic style is accented and diffused by the watercolour washes over the top of it. His two-page spreads do look as if they have been taken from real locations, but because of the nature of this book, that can be forgiven.
Overall, this is a strange project for DC. Had it been Boom or Image then I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but DC seems to know that there is a lot of mileage in non-superhero comic book series, probably after seeing success stories like Something Is Killing The Children.
This first issue certainly has enough going on to make me want to come back for the second issue, something that doesn’t happen very often in the current comic landscape.
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