“The Nice House On The Lake” – Book Ten
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Reviewed by Steve J. Ray
Symbols, machine guns, fractured memories, and rule-breaking; all these and more feature in the pages of the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, and ultimately brilliant, The Nice House On The Lake #10.
Where do I even begin? I know I’ve probably said this before, but this issue could be the best one yet. We have eleven people, locked in a perfect house, away from the rest of the world. Over the first six issues we, and they, learned that they were the last surviving humans on Earth and the one friend they all had in common, Walter, was actually not human at all.
This creature, for want of a better word, had been given a human form and emotions, in order to preserve ten perfect examples of humanity; an artist, a writer, an actor, a historian, a musician, a mathematician, a doctor, a scientist, a politician, and a person of faith.
Read the last two paragraphs back to yourself, and you’ll automatically see a problem. If you’ve been following the series, then, for you, this problem will also have a name. Walter, it seems, became all too human, and saved one more person than he was allowed to by his superiors, who or whatever they may be.
Walter has complete physical and psychological control of his charges, including the ability to manipulate their memories and make them invulnerable to harm. Eventually, they found all that out, and, while the inability to cause themselves any physical harm was generally met with glee and taken as a boon and a wonder, the fact that they were the only people left alive on Earth had the complete opposite effect. Walter had to wipe those particular memories out.
Over the course of the series, we’ve also learned that one of Walter’s charges helped him design the idyllic home and habitat they all share. In this issue, we learn that another inhabitant of the house helped him design the control systems. Now… imagine what could happen if the wrong people had access to these controls. That’s as close to dropping a spoiler as I’ll ever get, but that thought alone should have you clamoring for this issue.
This is as close to a perfect comic as you’ll find, but the scheduling and the incredibly long waits between issues have been frustrating and bordering on painful. The series resumed in March, with issue #7, after a three-month break. Issue #8 came out six weeks later, and #9 five weeks after that, in early June. We’ve now been waiting for close to three months for issue #10. This 12-issue maxi-series actually began close to sixteen months ago!
Of course, I will forgive this team anything, as this title clearly takes a lot of time to put together. It’s rich, complex, and always well worth waiting for. The negative part is, particularly when we’ve only had four issues over close to seven months, you kind of forget where things were left, and some important story beats. Of course, as soon as I found out this issue was imminent, I re-read issues #1-#9, but not all fans may have had that luxury. Also, many who have, like me, have probably done this a few times now, as the long waits have been many.
The Nice House On The Lake #10 is a fantastic comic. The premise, characters, writing, art, colors, lettering, and overall design are beyond reproach. I love this book and have managed to get a great number of people reading it, all of whom love it as much as I do. I’m hoping the wait for the final(?) two issues won’t be as long as the ones we’ve previously had… or do I?
While I really want to see what happens, knowing that this magnificent story will end after just two issues also makes me quite sad.
This series is magnificent. One of the best sci-fi horror stories ever, in any medium.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment