With such suspenseful pacing, “Sheltered” #7 keeps readers riveted until the very last page. As each installment gets better and better, the “Sheltered” series must be on every reader’s must-buy list. Once you’re finished reading this issue, you’ll understand why this comic was recently optioned for the big screen.
WRITTEN BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Johnnie Christmas
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: Feb. 26, 2014
With horrible timing, Clifford discovered what was really going on behind the gates of the Safe Haven compound. Lucas and his sadistic teen followers murdered their parents, hoping to save themselves from the upcoming apocalypse that would never happen. If Clifford escapes and reaches civilization, the police will raid upon the compound and arrest everyone. Lucas has to prevent this from happening and orders the others to kill Clifford. But luck may finally be on Clifford’s side as Victoria comes along to threaten Lucas’ control of his cult.
Writer Ed Brisson keeps the pacing running at full speed while transitioning between multiple subplots. After disappearing from the previous installment, Victoria returns from her hiatus tougher than ever. Brisson uses Victoria as the voice of reason as she argues against one of Lucas’ followers, Mitch. Because Mitch murdered his parents and Victoria’s father in cold blood, there is no forgiveness, no chance at redemption for him. Victoria strikes at Mitch’s heart, forcing him to realize that it was all for nothing. The end of the world that Lucas prophesized is never going to happen.
I really like how Brisson is also depicting Lucas’ downfall as he slowly loses control over his cult. His once-obedient disciples aren’t following his orders anymore. Lucas may have been convincing and resourceful as a leader but his followers have a taste for blood now. You really feel for poor Clifford because he has to deal with an army full of psycho teenagers with itchy trigger fingers.
In the opening pages, artist Johnnie Christmas unleashes the rage and terror lurking inside Victoria, Mitch and his sister. Christmas is able to depict each vibrant personality through their facial expressions. Mitch is always angry at himself because he failed his parents. Mitch’s sister is just a scared little kid who wants to the nightmare to go away. Obsessed with finding Lucas, Victoria seeks revenge for her father’s murder.
In a shocking scene, Clifford takes down one of Lucas’ followers as he shoots the teen in the chest. You can argue that Christmas’ illustration is exploitative, maybe gratuitous, but it never steers towards offensive. There is a subtle message underneath Christmas’ depiction of violence. How do you live with what you’ve done? Christmas captures that emotional turmoil Clifford is facing in his close-up.
“Sheltered” #7 ends on a series of gripping cliffhangers, each one better than the last. I can’t wait to see what happens when the next issue gets here.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis