Review: ‘Sheltered’ #4

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As each page hooks the reader right in, “Sheltered” #4 delivers a heart pounding issue. In a suspenseful turn of events, the “Sheltered” series becomes an excellent moody thriller about teens lost in their own hellhole. To survive in the apocalypse, you cannot trust anyone over 18.

WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: October 16th, 2013

Seeking refuge from the outside world, a group of parents transported their children to Safe Haven, a gated and isolated community. Safe Haven belongs to the “Preppers,” survivalists who have trained themselves for the inevitable doomsday. What the parents didn’t know is that their children were going to kill them. Led by the psychotic Lucas, the teenagers eventually murdered their parents in cold blood. Wanting revenge against the murder of the father, Victoria wants to take down Lucas and his cult. But with Hailey injured, how can Victoria protect her against a room full of murderous savages?

Writer Ed Brisson explores the psychotic mind of Lucas in this installment. Lucas seems himself as a charismatic leader who wants full obedience. When he is pushed to a corner, Lucas knows exactly what to say to calm down the heated argument. But, he has issues when it comes to happiness. Surrounded by couples, Lucas feels isolated and alone even though there are those who worship his very feet. But when someone attempts to defy him, Lucas is ready to take out the knife in his pocket.

Throughout the narrative, Brisson compares teenage angst to an erupting volcano. Victoria is waiting to explode after realizing Lucas’s reasons are nothing more than pathetic lies. But she is able to keep a calm head because Hailey is with her. Victoria is trying to figure out how she can help Hailey walk out of Safe Haven. Hailey’s safety is more important to Victoria than killing Lucas.

Artist Johnnie Christmas brings out the eeriness when he illustrates kids with guns. Christmas is able to demonstrate how these unbalanced teens really don’t know how to handle a firearm. These kids think they know about guns from watching movies and TV. The nerdy kid holding the assault rifle looks like he is going to shoot his foot off by accident.

Pay close attention to the pattern to Lucas’s bruised cheek. In a close-up, Christmas lines up the stitches underneath Lucas’ eye. Because Lucas is cracked in the head, the stitches appear like they can barely hold together. During the climatic pages, Christmas captures Lucas’ mental breakdown on his facial expressions in shadows.

With a startling cliff-hanger, “Sheltered” #4 gets readers anxious for the next issue. As the “Sheltered” series steers into “Lord of the Flies” territory, we’ve just witnessed how Lucas has fallen into the dark side of human nature.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis