After the startling cliffhanger from its first issue , “Sheltered” #3 continues to be a suspenseful thrill-ride. Showing no signs of slowing down, the “Sheltered” creative team examines every corner of its world, always keeping the narrative interesting. What we’ve learned so far is that in order to survive the apocalypse, you can’t trust anyone over 18.
WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: September 4th, 2013
Afraid of the outside world, a group of parents took their children to Safe Haven, a gated and isolated community. Safe Haven belongs to the like-minded “Preppers,” survivalists who have trained themselves for the inevitable doomsday. What the parents didn’t know is that their children lost their minds. Led by Lucas, the teenagers eventually turned against their parents and murdered them. Though she is in their age range, Victoria only sees Lucas as the psychopath who murdered her father. How will Victoria take down Lucas when he has already turned the “Preppers” into savages?
Writer Ed Brisson explores the rebelliousness of youth at its extreme. Because there are no parents, the children are the rulers of their own domain. There is no one to tell them what they can or cannot do. Now seeming more as a cult leader, Lucas previously had all his followers take part in the bloody massacre. After snapping under pressure, Lucas wants his followers to take the extra step. If Victoria cannot fall in line just like the others, she has to be taken out of the picture, just like her father.
Brisson presents Victoria as someone who has always been a free-thinker. Not everyone likes what she has to say, which is what Victoria’s father warned her about in the first issue. What was seen as a flaw in her personality is what’s actually keeping her alive. Victoria immediately realizes something is seriously wrong with Lucas. After hearing Lucas’ reasoning behind the murder of her father, Victoria understands Lucas’ grand scheme is actually a lie.
Artist Johnnie Christmas is able to physically show to readers how mentally unbalanced Lucas is. Notice the way Christmas illustrates Lucas’s face after Victoria hits him. Pay close attention to the pattern on Lucas’s forehead as the lines of blood zigzag around. Readers are able to tell Lucas is cracked in the head because of how he visually appears. Lucas’ mental breakdown is captured on his face and there is nothing to hide it.
In the first installment, the narrative took place during a single day. As the story progressed, it is always nighttime in Safe Haven, as if the sun refuses to rise. While playing around with shadows and the snow, Christmas captures an eerie atmosphere of isolation and claustrophobia. There is no city to for Victoria to run to, because the snowy woods seem endless.
“Sheltered” #3 gets the heart of its readers racing. As the “Sheltered” series steers into “Lord of the Flies” territory, we’re soon going to see how far these teenagers have fallen into the dark side of human nature.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis