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Written by Christopher Sebela

Art by Ibrahim Moustafa

Published by Monkey Brain Comics

 

How far can you run from yourself? Zan Jansen was an Olympic snowboarder with a bright future ahead of her, until she fell and saw her chance at a gold medal slip away. After that, everything fell apart. She fled to Kathmandu, where she is drowning herself in substance abuse and guiding tourists up K2. But her real business is a bit darker than that. With the spike in adventure tourism, more and more people are climbing Mount Everest, and not all of them come back down.

When someone dies on the mountain, they are left where they fall. It is one of the hazards of the climb. So far Zan hasn’t climbed Everest. She is saving it. For her, climbing the summit is literally climbing out of the spiral she has put herself it. She says that she’ll climb Everest and keep going. But her boss has, and every time he goes up, he comes down with something someone left behind. A hand and what personal effects they carried. Once he identifies the corpse, he contacts the survivors, and offers to ship them back something to bury. For a fee, of course. It isn’t exactly illegal, but it is dirty work.

Of course, some things are meant to stay buried, and when her boss recovers the corpse of a black-ops government agent gone missing, things start to go very bad for her employer.

Moustafa’s art is fitting for this kind of noir piece. His figures are a bit stiff, but he takes some interesting risks, particularly with layout, that give the piece a nice atmosphere.

Sebela’s central characters are gritty and well defined. They feel like characters with history, and a lot of significant dialog feels unsaid. There’s a richness in what they don’t say, and that’s a tough trick to pull off in a twenty page comic.

I think that if there is a flaw in this comic, it is that the bad guys chasing Zan are a bit too cartoonishly evil. The secret military commander lacks a mustache to twirl when he shoots one of his minions in the face the second he asks a question, but he even goes so far to say that the person who has died ‘went rogue to protect the world from people like us.’

At a buck on Comixology, “High Crimes” is another Monkey Brain comic that really shows the potential of its creative team. It’s at least interesting, even if it might not reach the heights it is reaching for.

“High Crimes” is available from Comixology.

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