by Christopher Sebela, Ibrahim Moustafa and Lesley Atlansky
“…assume crash position, fold up, and wait for impact.”
After a bit of a hiatus, High Crimes has returned with a very sobering issue. A large majority of this chapter is carried through inner monologue and journals. There are a few exchanges, but they come later in the issue and only last a short while. Zan has reached the midway point of the climb. She is letting go of her fears and growing ever more determined. Readers are treated to a very reflective issue as the story begins to pick up steam heading towards its grand finale.
The opening sequence of High Crimes #7 is a really cool set of mirror images. As the journal of Sullivan Mars narrates, readers are shown images of Mars, followed by Zan in very similar poses and settings. For those focused most on the text, it may even go a few panels before it becomes noticeable what the creative team is doing. The series has never been shy about the parallels between Mars’ journey and Zan’s, but in this issue the similarities and even the distinct differences become even more transparent. Mars’ mental state transcribed has provided an incredible dynamic to the series and Sebela manages to always find a way to captivate both in its language and honesty as well as its application to the present-day-story.
As Zan tries to sleep through the night, her partner Dorje begins to go through her stuff. Dorje has been suspicious of Zan’s motives for a bit of time now, but in issue 7 he decides to take advantage of her unconscious state and investigate a bit more. Mars explains his life of seclusion, and individual always apart from the world and seeking an end in a very desolate and secluded environment. His words are haunting. Periodically he will make mention of the atmosphere, the air thinning and its effects, but his mental clarity as he sorts through his life remains lucid. Paired with his reflections on his life comes a series of instances of Zan reflecting on her own choices, her fame, and her addiction. At times, High Crimes feels less like a story and more like confessionals. Sebela never loses sight of his intentions, however, and each bit of narration is effective in how it shapes the story. Nonetheless, Sebela’s craft impresses in his delicate choices of similarities and differences between the two main characters.
In an issue with very little climactic action and even very little dialogue, the story relies heavily on its art to maintain momentum. While Sebela is a fantastic writer, Ibrahim Moustafa must continue to move the reader through scenes to avoid the issue feeling like a prose novel. As usual, Moustafa handles the task quite well. His choice to mirror Zan and Mars in the opening creates a grabbing visual aesthetic to grabs readers early. As the story continues, readers are privy to highlights of the lives of these two individuals. Mars talks of glitches and fragments of memories that flicker by and much of the issue functions as such, depicting distinct moments in the lives of each individual. As the issue comes to a close, the tension returns. Zan couldn’t be blunter in her confrontation with the men she has been racing. She has given up on caring for anyone. Zan has a goal in mind and has no affection for anything that would stand in her way. It’s cold and it’s exciting. Sebela and Moustafa, with additional coloring from Lesley Atlansky, send readers off with a promise that what has come before pales in comparison to what lies ahead. This series has been missed, and in its return it proves itself amongst the best out there right now.