Advanced Review: ‘Sheltered’ #6

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With its second story arc beginning, “Sheltered” is back and better than ever with more action, suspense, and survival goodness. A perfect installment for newcomers and regulars alike, this issue offers plenty to push the story forward in the “Sheltered” series.

WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: Jan. 8, 2014

In the shocking cliffhanger of the fifth installment, Lucas and his sadistic followers were suddenly discovered by someone from the outside world. For some time, Lucas and the rest of the teens were living a rebellious and violent life without adult rule. In an unexpected turn of events, someone they have never met, above their age range, has arrived at their front gates. What this interloper doesn’t know is that Lucas and his others murdered their own parents in cold blood. What will Lucas do with this invader who has unknowingly stumbled upon a bloody crime scene?

Writer Ed Brisson does something that is quite clever, yet unbelievably risky at the same time. Brisson moves away from the Safe Haven compound and tells the narrative from the point-of-view of a new character. For those who want to know what Victoria and Hailey are doing, you’ll have to wait. Brisson tell a different aspect of his mythology through a fresh perspective. Because the previous installments have all been told with a rather bleak tone, Brisson gets a chance to throw in some humorous banter, which is a welcomed addition.

What I really enjoy about this new character, Clifford, is that Brisson uses him to focus on the themes of survival and fate. The survivalists of Safe Haven have been running away because they’re afraid the whole world will fall apart. With his wife and children, Clifford has been facing hard times because the economy is in a jam. Just because the economy is bad, that doesn’t mean the apocalypse is going to happen. Clifford sticks around, even going to the extreme, to make sure his family has food on the table.

Because the story moves outside of the Safe Haven compound, artist Johnnie Christmas is able to illustrate different settings and characters. Christmas steers away from the eeriness and coldness of the winter setting, focusing more on the mundane, suburban backgrounds. Through Christmas’ artwork, we’re inside family diners, apartment buildings, and houses, which you never see at Safe Haven. In his character design, Clifford has an everyman quality about him with his overweight physique and long hair.

Christmas is also able to heighten Brisson’s witty humor in his illustrations. In one laugh-out-loud scenario, Clifford is having dinner with his family. I thought it was hilarious that Clifford’s daughter is wearing pink pajamas while eating her food. It’s a small detail, but it got me. After all, it’s the nuances that make books like “Sheltered” stand out.

“Sheltered” #6 takes the series in a new and unexpected direction, which will hopefully bring in great results as the story progresses. As always with “Sheltered”, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis