by Christopher Sebela, Ibrahim Moustafa and Lesley Atlansky
One of the highlights of High Crimes has been the impeccable writing craft that Christopher Sebela brings to the title. Not only is the plot, the tension and the characterization of his cast members very strong, but the interwoven monologues of Sullivan Mars and Zan continue to function as both great aspects of the ongoing tale as well as very curious moments of personal reflection. As the eighth issue of High Crimes opens, Sebela walks readers through another one of the sequences and it is a strong lead in to another great issue.
As the issue opens, readers are subject to a reflection that may seem distant from the average individual’s experience, but Sebela manages to craft it in such a way that the message applies. There is little a person can’t grow accustomed to, block out, and make normal if they have to. It’s an unsettling insight. Along with the thoughts of Zan are some of Ibrahim Moustafa’s best art of the series. Overlaying numerous panels that depict different versions of the same actions, the end product is a mosaic of the routine to further the point of Zan’s narration. Moustafa’s use of space and the creative way he chooses to depict an event that has been carried out countless times lend to a fantastic first page of High Crimes #8.
Zan is headstrong, driven and running out of both time and options. After issue seven, readers knew exactly what choices were left to Zan. After dragging so many people around her down this ugly path, she had to reach the summit of Evert. This journey represented so many victories that included spiritual, figurative and literal. She had to prove it to herself, she had to save Haskell, and she needed a fresh start. Early on in this issue, Sebela writes a scene in which Dorje offers a pretty compelling takedown of Zan’s position. This is a testament to Sebela’s writing, yet again. He has been able to maintain a convincing perspective for the past few issues as to why it is that Zan must climb this mountain and what it will do for her. The path Zan takes and her monologue that details her thinking is not even forced on the reader. Instead, it comes across as logical and obvious. And yet, in just one short interaction, Sebela has Dorje tear down Zan’s plan effortlessly. The experience of being so sure that Zan was making the best choice to questioning her logic completely is almost maddening and it is a great showcase of how Sebela has handled the story thus far.
With the end of the series looming in just a few issues, and the tragic tone that seems to be filling each page and movement towards the summit of Everest, High Crimes leaves its readers simultaneously eager and hesitant to turn the page. As Zan pushes forward, she finds herself in the position to potentially turn the tides and win the day. But as Sebela has layered on thick in recent issues, there may be no return trip for the once-Olympic athlete. Ibrahim Moustafa with assistance from Lesley Atlansky continues to do a lot with the story. Whether it’s an impressive construction and overlaying of similar panels to convey an additional message, or the choices in perspective across all types of scenes, the art has been meeting the writing at every page turn. Not only has Ibrahim done a fantastic job with some of the imagery in the series, but issues after issue, he dresses the book with some of the most impressive covers in publication. Having seen some more figurative or implicit imagery in the last few issues, the cover to High Crimes #8 is harrowing and quite blunt. A symbolic visual still on display, the tragic and nearly poetic image of Zan’s medals falling towards the reader from the cliffs of Everest pack a real punch.
There is no question the care that the creators have been putting into High Crimes since the start. But with each issue, there seems to be even more on every page. When it is all said and done, High Crimes is likely to be one of the more memorable series in recent years.