Page 45 Review by Stephen
My second post today on James Tynion V, Alvaro Maetinez Bueno & Jordie Bellaire's phenomenally intense and ever so clever THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE, all these photos - which you can click on to enlarge - are from the SECOND volume, on our shelves NOW!
It's perfectly illustrated by this first, flashback page, photographed so you CAN read all the dialogue, which is slightly more haunting once you realise who Walter is and what he has done. But even without that layer, I recognise the sentiments.
I stared at the composition of this page for a good half an hour last night. The weight of the rain on top of Walter's own considerable presence had me grinning. I could hear the drips amidst the downpour. I also loved the visual shorthand, bottom-left, adding a speed to the movement and brief sense of urgency. Bellaire's colouring's as wondrous as Breitweisser's in KILL OR BE KILLED. A comparison I don't make lightly.
Anyway, Walter has gathered his nearest and dearest friends together in the titular house on that titular lake - except that they've not been as near to him as they'd hoped. No, they missed who Walter was by a very wide margin. But so have you: he's no sociopath, he just wants to save them. But from what?
Deft piece of writing in one of my other spreads, to your right, beginning:
Watch those three key words echo back again in the dialogue that follows. That's exceptional observation of conciliatory group dynamics, especilly given who says what.
As I wrote of volume one, Tynion's exploration of individual friendships, group dynamics and differing, often conflicting perspectives far, far more astute and eloquently expressed here than anything else I've seen him put his mind to, while Alvaro Martinez Bueno and Jordie Bellaire take my breath away with their immersive, majestic landscapes and terrific character acting / direction.
The publisher's introductory blurb was as follows:
"Everyone who was invited to the house knows Walter well, they know him a little, anyway. Some met him in childhood; some met him months ago. And Walter's always been a little off.
But after the hardest year of their lives, nobody was going to turn down Walter s invitation to an astonishingly beautiful house in the woods, overlooking an enormous sylvan lake. It s beautiful, it s opulent, it s private so a week of putting up with Walter's weird little schemes and nicknames in exchange for the vacation of a lifetime? Why not? All of them were at that moment in their lives when they could feel themselves pulling away from their other friends; wouldn't a chance to reconnect be nice? In The Nice House on the Lake, the overriding anxieties of the 21st century get a terrifying new face and it might just be the face of the person you once trusted most."
I'd be very, very tempted to make the first two volumes Page 45 CBOTM as a single oh so satisfying story, but I probably won't because Awkward. But that's how good they are.
File under behavioural observation; certainly not horror.