Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Johnnie Christmas
Colored by Shari Chankhamma
Lettered by Ed Brisson
Cover by Johnnie Christmas
Release Date: September 4, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99
“The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away.” — William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Sheltered #3 from Image Comics is out and its as frightening as ever. Writer Ed Brisson and illustrator Johnnie Christmas have released their latest chilling installment of the pre-apocalyptic thriller — delving deeper into madness.
Victoria and Hailey have been hiding in an underground bunker for two weeks since the massacre that took their parents’ lives. When Victoria quietly sneaks around Safe Haven in search of any form of communication device in order to contact the outside world, she’s subsequently found by Lucas, the leader of the murderous adolescents. Lucas tries to calm her down by explaining his reasoning behind the killings. He tells her that soon, a caldera — a massive volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park — will erupt, leaving the majority of North America in a volcanic winter that could last up to three years. In order to survive in the bunkers created by their parents, the kids needed to cut their group down to half its size.
Before Lucas can manipulate Victoria any further, she makes a break for it; but how will she and Hailey survive the ruthlessness of these deranged teens? Will anything or anyone be able to stop them before it is too late?
With the release of Sheltered #3, I am now convinced that this series is becoming a modern-day Lord of the Flies. As Lucas continues his directive of the other teenagers through a hierarchical chain of power, the contrasting emotional responses to the sickening events of the previous two issues take shape: some teens play video games or talk about eating as though nothing has happened; others question their actions and become visibly remorseful over them; while a small number try to change their current trajectory. Clearly, this is the sign of the talented storytelling of Brisson — taking old ideas and creating something new, highly thought-provoking, and sometimes difficult to read in terms of subject material.
The setting of the snowy, wooded mountains presents a bitter feeling throughout the comic. Christmas has a real knack for using the setting to accentuate the creepiness of the featured teens. Using dark colors and cold, pale features, the kids have a sinister look to them — especially when it comes to their eyes. More specifically, when I look at Lucas’ eyes, all I see is emptiness and it’s truly scary.
Sheltered #3 is a strong addition to the series; but like the earlier issues, its a bit hard to stomach. I’m curious to see where the creative team brings the heroes and villains of the story — with the humanity of many of the characters lost, will the world go with them?