The Nice House on the Lake is already a modern horror masterpiece, and yet we still have two more issues to go before its end. Out today is The Nice House on the Lake #11, the penultimate issue in a series that has maximized character work, the horrors of the unknown, and the inability of humanity to chill out and let things go. It seems that captor Walter has lost control of the little slice of heaven he’s made for his friends, and all hell is breaking loose.
As penultimate issues go, The Nice House on the Lake #11 does a lot of work to get the very large cast in the right headspace and places before we see their final choices. The issue opens like many previous issues, with a lone character speaking to us amongst the rubble of the once-nice lake house. This opening scene further unpacks Walter, who is some alien, or maybe he’s a demon who has empathy for all these slightly broken people. The psychological element is apparent, and it’s interesting to think about Walter in a new light with a new perspective.
Ultimately this issue further captures Walter’s almost innocent nature and how he honestly wants the best for his friends. That is, of course, even when he wipes their memories. Writer James Tynion IV has rather cleverly shown how Walter may be some supreme being, but his idea of how people think and how they should feel is very far off. One can imagine there’s a psychological study to be made on Walter and how he is a personality type.
Once the flash-forward is over, we smash cut to the awful and tragic scene as a character lies dead, shot to pieces. In the last issue, the characters realized they could stab and shoot each other without any worry as the wounds healed quickly. Sadly the machine that controlled such abilities turned off, and there they lay dead. Álvaro Martínez Bueno captures the utter horror of the onlookers. It’s disturbing to see, especially since some are reacting with only subtle concern while others are clearly stuck in their heads over this tragic turn. It’s a fascinating full-page splash, colored to perfection by Jordie Bellaire, that captures the various personalities and the horror of the series in one single image.
As the characters break up, plot their next moves, and in one case, speak to Walter, another key scene stands out as a masterclass in new ways to tell comic stories. Walter visits Norah in a sensory deprivation tank–impossible if he was human, but he can fit in there like a shadow–and they converse on what to do about everything. The dialogue goes back and forth with only a sliver of their faces. Eventually, the dialogue takes over the entire panels, and yet you hang on to every word. It’s a cool way to show how transitioning from a few words to many more can work when done in creative ways.
By the time The Nice House on the Lake #11 is over, you’ll find the tension deliciously unbearable. There’s some kind of justice coming and while each character’s so very different that justice could mean anything, we know for certain the experiment Walter set up for his friends is coming crashing down. Now it’s time to get yourself ready for the awful tragic happenings that come next.
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