In the newest installment of Sheltered, we pick up right where we left off in issue three. Chris found Lucas in the woods burning any type of communication that the youth at Safe Haven had. Cell phones, ham radios, laptops. Joey finds Chris hiding with his dog. Chris also has a plastic bag with the ham radio he found in the barrel, but he’s too afraid to tell anyone. Chris seems to be trusting Lucas a little less, but overall he’s still incredibly intimidated. The other boy says he’ll talk to Lucas why he burned their devices; certainly he’ll have a good reason for it. Victoria and Hailey are still in their bunker, and Vic is still fuming from last issue at Lucas’ stupidity. Vic wants to leave Safe Haven now and venture over to the next town which is 40 miles away. It isn’t said exactly what she wants to do when she gets there since Hailey cuts her off, dumbfounded at the fact she wanted to try to do that alone. Hailey wants Vic to wait until her ankle is healed, and then they’ll escape together.
It then cuts to Lucas, who’s sitting on front steps looking at a few of the kids. He doesn’t look too good, there’s a nice scar across his right cheek where Vic pistol-whipped him last issue. As far as I could tell it looked like he was looking at one of the younger girls. He gets up when one of the boys puts his arm around her, but is stopped by a furious Mitch (Hailey’s brother). He slams Lucas against a wall and pleads to him to tell the other kids not to kill Hailey if she and Vic get out of their bunker. Lucas’ reasoning for basically keeping them prisoner is that he thinks of Hailey and Vic escape, they’ll go straight to the police. Mitch tries to assure Lucas that Hailey is innocent-after all; it was Vic that attacked Lucas. At the end of the conversation, Lucas promises to talk to the kids who are keeping watch over Vic and Hailey.
Joey then has an outburst on Lucas, demanding he explain himself on the account that Chris knows what’s going on. Chris thought that the volcano Lucas is obsessed with (and the whole reason they killed their parents and are planning to live underground in the first place) isn’t actually going to erupt, so Lucas destroyed anything that the kids of Safe Haven could use to contact anyone. Lucas says that Chris is right; the volcano is taking longer than he planned to erupt, and Lucas noticed some of the kids seemed on edge. He didn’t want anyone jumping the gun and calling the police on him. It then goes over to Mitch, who beats the crap out of Curt and takes his gun and position on watch for Vic and Hailey. It just shows him sitting there with an M-16, I’m not sure what he plans to do.
This issue was filled to the brim with the perfect combination of plot progression, short tempers, and gritty action. I didn’t quite touch on everything that happens in this issue, but let’s just say you’ll be back on board if you happened to be a little bored with not much happening last issue. It was a breeze to read through this issue, but as soon as I finished I went right back to the beginning. That’s a testament to the fact that this is a great book, and I can’t wait for issue #5, especially with the description we get in the back.
The art was phenomenal again (I mean, how can you not love that cover?). Johnnie Christmas is able to capture each essential moment and is able to convey other ideas at the same time (such as Lucas being distracted by that girl and boy while partaking in the heated argument with Joey) with ease. The expressions are especially memorable art-wise. It’s fascinating following the different characters and seeing how they react to different situations in their newly-found situation with Lucas as the leader. I’m looking forward to seeing how far Lucas is willing to go to keep these kids under his rule and what happens along the way.
Writer: Ed Brisson Artist: Johnnie Christmas Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/16/13