The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Sheltered #1

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor

Are you prepared for the end of the world? No? Well take some notes from the survivalists of Safe Haven.

Writer: Ed Brisson
Illustrator: Johnnie Christmas
Colorist: Shari Chankhamma

“Sheltered” follows a group of preparationists, also known as preppers, preparing early for what appears to be the end of the world so they will survive when it comes. They live in Safe Haven, a community of trailer homes with a catch. Under each one lays a bunker filled with at least a year and a half of food and supplies. Call it crazy or call it smart. Either way, it’s going to get ugly.

What kind of end of the world scenario and when it is approaching is uncertain, but earthquakes of high magnitude and frequency are sure signs that it’s coming soon. Too soon in fact, which prompts Safe Haven teenager Lucas and his friends to rebel against their parents so they have a higher chance of survival. Nevertheless, not everyone is in agreement. According to creators Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas, Lucas will be opposed by another group of Safe Haven teenagers led by Victoria, who try to escape Lucas’ reign of terror.

This first issue is a bit slow, but it has potential to be a really interesting and complex story. At face value, Lucas’ rebellion seems cruel, but his motive makes sense. The less grownups there are in Safe Haven, the more supplies, and the higher chance of survival. While this issue paints Lucas as someone who has clearly lost his mind and crossed the line of morality, Brisson is bound to be stewing up a more complicated and conflicted character. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

As for Victoria? Not much is said about her yet, but she is clearly going to play somewhat of a heroine. While this series is set up to be “A Pre-Apocalyptic Tale”, I’m curious to see if the end of the world really IS coming and what will eventually happen to both Lucas and Victoria when it does. Will they come to some mutual understanding and join forces? Kill each other off? It’s like Lord of the Flies, except amplified with survivalist teenagers possessing real weapons and expertise. Readers, it’s going to get good!

The cover for “Sheltered” by Christmas is wonderfully awesome. It features Lucas standing in a lake or puddle of sorts against an almost complete red background, symbolizing to me that he’s ankle deep in blood. His expression is that of deep thought. Is he remorseful or is he experiencing a calm passivity? Who knows? Regardless, it’s a cover worthy to be framed and hung on a wall.

The art overall is okay. Some faces are blurry, having too many shadows and not enough details. It makes it difficult to tell characters apart and what is happening during crucial scenes. However, this is only when there are multiple characters in a panel and we’re looking at the characters from a distance. With close ups, Christmas does a good job with details and facial expressions. The issue is consistency. For example, the opening pages of Victoria are amazing, but she loses her flare a few pages down. Lucas sometimes looks young, but other times he looks old. Still, I’m positive Christmas will only get better.

So is it worth it to continue on to Sheltered #2 after this first issue? I think so. How about you?