HIGH CRIMES #9
Written by Christopher Sebela
Art by Ibrahim Moustafa
Published by Monkeybrain Comics
Release date: January 28, 2015
Secrets of the past overlap with voices of the damned to build the crescendo of action as High Crimes continues to power up to the summit of Mt. Everest.
The noir set atop on of the world’s most dangerous mountains continues to flip back and forth. The main action surrounds Zan as she enters into the most deadly zone. While there, she reads the journal she found on a dead man in an earlier issue, Sullivan Mars. He is an agent of the very group hunting her across the mountain peak. Sebela’s writing provides clear moments of action along with thoughtful and deep thinking one-liners about pain, struggle, death and desire.
It’s the kind of story where you can jump in at any issue and get a rough idea of what is happening. There is a woman on the run, a journal she consults to determine just who might be chasing her and what they want. However, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out the previous issues, at just $0.99 a piece.
Zan is an ideal lead female, in how imperfect she truly has been in past issues. In early issues, Zan was often seen drugged out or drunk, yet physically and mentally capable of doing amazing things when on Everest. It comes from a Olympic potential past, which she tossed down the drain after a media fallout. Now, she is sent up on the mountain to get away from the agents chasing her, cut off from town, she is scavenging for supplies. She owns her combined death wish and resourcefulness.
Artist Imbrahim Moustafa continues to sell each death defying moment through simple but clever paneling. On page you have Mars telling his story and showing the juxtaposition between being on the mountain and being the service of the group simply known as “The Agency,” in the same pose. Another tactic used in almost every issue is having in the space of a single panel simultaneously zoom in and move the action forward by using overlapping images. It creates a feeling of a tight story, where no space is wasted. The level which Moustafa and Sebela must work together to create this feeling is extremely in sync. The line between writer with his script and the artist with their page is completely blurred providing a whole package and a story that could live on the movie screen.
This idea of the setting being its own character is fully realized on the mountain top. From the snow, lack of oxygen, and harsh conditions, Mt. Everest is an unforgiving overlord who — it appears — has foredoomed our lead character to a tragic conclusion. Thankfully, there are still a few issues left before the final showdown and Zan’s ultimate fate are made clear.
There is also a superb essay in the back that continues to highlight the history and danger of Everest. Do not let the need to catch up on back issues stop you from catching up. The price point is right and the story engrossing and emotionally haunting about accomplishing the smallest of changing dreams.
The Verdict: 8.5/10