As each installment becomes even more unsettling than the last, “Sheltered” #5 kicks up the excitement another notch. The “Sheltered” series has become a creepy and moody thriller about angst-ridden teens trapped in their self-made prison.
WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: Nov. 20, 2013
Safe Haven once belonged to the “Preppers,” survivalists who have trained themselves for the impending doomsday scenario. What the parents didn’t know is that their children were secretly planning to murder them. Led by their psychotic leader, Lucas, the teenagers gunned down their parents in cold blood. Though she wants revenge for the murder of the father, Victoria has to hide with the injured and innocent Hailey. After killing one of his cult members, Lucas has framed Victoria and Hailey for a heinous act they didn’t commit. With these murderous savages on the loose, how will Victoria and Hailey last on the run?
Writer Ed Brisson delivers a suspenseful turn of events as Lucas orders his cult to bring him the heads of Victoria and Hailey. Brisson mixes the jealous rage lurking inside Lucas, along with his cunning leadership skills. Lucas does care about the survival of his teammates, but he wants everything done his way. But, not everyone in the camp intends on following Lucas’ orders and worshipping his feet. Every time Lucas tells a long fabricated lie, the camps seems to be divided as to whether to believe him or not.
More of a side character in the beginning, Mitch, Hailey’s brother, has developed nicely into the forefront. Mitch questions Lucas’ decisions and sees the plot holes in his stories. Never for a second, Mitch will not believe Hailey is capable of committing murder. Just because Mitch killed his parents, that does not mean Hailey would also do something like that. Even though his innocence is lost, Mitch will do anything to save his sister.
Johnnie Christmas brings out the eeriness and coldness of the winter setting. In the opening pages, Christmas demonstrates how there is no hope for these unbalanced teens when the sun rises. What should be a ordinary campfire scene slowly turns into a gruesome cover-up. Lucas has gathered the entire camp to watch as he burns the murdered dead body. He is actually getting rid of the evidence, right in front of them.
Pay close attention to how Christmas illustrates Lucas’s scarred cheek. Even when half his face is covered in shadows, Christmas highlights the stitches on Lucas’s face. Using the stitches as a metaphor, Christmas wants you to visually see how Lucas is barely able to keep it together. Mid-way through the narrative, there’s something really disturbing how Christmas captures the teens running around with locked and loaded shotguns.
“Sheltered” #5 is a terrifying and gripping look at teen rebellion gone horribly gone. With the conclusion of the first story arc, the “Sheltered” series closes the suspenseful ride with a frightening plot twist.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis