An intense and gripping first issue, “Sheltered” #1 will leave readers shocked with its chilling last page. Survival at any cost takes on a whole new meaning in this apocalyptic tale that explores the war between adults and their offspring.
WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ARTY BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: July 10, 2013
Victoria has just arrived with her father to Safe Haven, a gated community away from the rest of the world. Safe Haven belongs to the “Preppers,” survivalists who are ready for the end of the world. The adults are well-stocked in food, ammo, and guns, while the teens are gearing up for their own apocalypse. As the danger mounts, the adults and teens don’t see eye-to-eye on how they are supposed to protect themselves. Who will Victoria choose to side with when the apocalypse does happen?
Writer Ed Brisson creates a believable and claustrophobic environment where paranoia has been heightened to the max. It’s the rebelliousness of youth versus the cynicism of adulthood; where both sides think they’re right. What I really liked is how Brisson doesn’t say why these Preppers locked themselves in Safe Haven. Are they running away from zombies, terrorism, or the government? We don’t really understand how they got there; we just know they created an illusion where the rest of the world is already gone.
Brisson presents Victoria as an outsider who doesn’t belong with the community. This is Victoria’s coming-of-age tale at the end of the world. She doesn’t really care what the media is telling her. She wants to make decisions on her own, even if it means being cast out. Her father just wants her to play nice with the other children. But, how can he raise her in a neighborhood where everyone has a loaded gun in their home?
Artist Johnnie Christmas creates a small world drenched in snow and an atmosphere clothed in isolation. With the rest of the world gone, there is only snow and mountains in the background. As paranoia sinks in, Christmas focuses on the close-ups of the teenagers. The teens look like they’re in pain, as if they are getting sick from hearing how the world is going to end. Because of her rebellious attitude, Victoria likes to get right into people’s faces.
When nighttime comes, notice how Christmas drapes the gated community in shadows. Because Safe Haven is away from the cities, there is little electricity in the woods. In the illustrations, the light source comes from the stars and moonlight. Christmas follows the narrative structure and paints his panels from morning to nightfall.
“Sheltered” #1 leaves readers with a surprising twist at the last page. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second issue.
Reviewed by Jorge Solis