SHELTERED from Johnnie Christmas, Shari Chankhamma, and Ed Brisson is a superb Image series about prepper kids gone wild. It’s vicious, brutal, emotional, and breathtaking all in equal bursts.
The most recent issue, #6, made me realise I hate Ed Brisson because he writes this issue, the start of the next arc, the continuation of the story, with a completely new situation, location, and cast. We only see Lucas for a handful of pages, the rest of the established narrative is ignored, and yet this issue shines.
Why does changing everything up work? Because these characters are heading towards Lucas and his group and the tension is palpable as the noose slowly tightens.
Brisson does this in two seemingly easy ways:
- He uses time captions to show them slowly all drawing near to what we knew must be conflict. A ticking clock in narrative rarely reveals the pretty lady jumping out of the cake, it’s usually someone’s final minutes.
- Brisson, and the whole team, bring these characters to life and make us care about them very quickly. Most of this is just small talk, a middle aged jock teasing a nerd (with some hilarious lines) and a family wishing their father didn’t have to leave (which is heartwrenching because your own assumed dramatic irony tells you they should really dial it up and stop him). This is all talking heads, literal kitchen sink drama, and it’s endearing to us so in the final moments of this issue you are completely invested. You are holding your breath, you are hoping and praying, you are in Brisson’s sweaty palm.
With these devices, Brisson shows us he can mix up this tale and still keep us completely glued. He’s basically changing the rules for this issue and getting away with it. How dare he.
Oh, and Brisson gets to work with Johnnie Christmas and Shari Chankhamma – a team that bring the characters to the page in a way that connects instantly to your heart. This is one of the best looking books running today.
If you haven’t bought Sheltered yet ask for it at your LCS, I guarantee they have copies, it’s been huge, or if you’re a digital person then hit this Sheltered ComiXology portal for all the issues so far.
NOTE: I write the back matter for this book. It’s a sweet gig graciously given to me by Mr Brisson and his generosity is only fuel to all the more passionately hate the man.