You should be reading Sheltered.
Ed Brisson’s COMEBACK was an adventurous take on how crooks might use and abuse time travel, much in the same vein as the film Looper. In Brisson’s world, time travel is used (illegally) by an organization to retrieve people who have died from the past, before they died. In which case, they would never have died, in which case no one would hire someone to retrieve them… anyway, COMEBACK, despite the paradoxical nightmares it introduces, was a fun yarn with death-defying characters and gravity-defying haircuts.
Brisson’s latest, SHELTERED, is another high-concept character study about a group of teenagers living on their survivalist nutjob parents’ compound. The main character is the villain and/or hero, Lucas, who is charismatic and enigmatic. Handsome young Lucas stages a coup in the first issue, but his explanation is thin, and with each issue the altruism in his motives appears more threadbare. Meanwhile the other kids on the compound either seem to love Lucas or hate him, and it’ll be interesting to see how Lucas plays the support in the community against the opposition.
Artist and co-creator Johnnie Christmas draws an evocative wintry landscape where darkness and shadow have a presence, and faces can reveal a little or a lot about what’s going on in a character’s mind. Spooky forests and the ever-present spectre of doom associated with the bomb shelters and survival mentality lend the book a creepy and yet somehow not horrific atmosphere. Colorist Shari Chankhamma’s solid tones and muted palette only add to the effect. My one criticism is that I’m not sure Christmas understands how human tears work. Maybe he doesn’t care.
SHELTERED is one part Red Dawn, another part Lord of the Flies and still another part something I can’t quite put my finger on. If Lucas is right about the coming apocalypse, does that make his actions acceptable? One thing is for sure: Lucas is a master manipulator, as is Ed Brisson. Issue 4 is out this week, and I feel compelled to pick it up.
P.S. I highly recommend checking out the Murder Book shorts penned by Brisson and drawn by other collaborators, including Johnnie Christmas and PROPHET’s Simon Roy.