GLX takes a look at High Crimes #1.
Writer - Christopher Sebela
Artist - Ibrahim Moustafa
When one normally thinks of a crime story, images of urban environments and shady characters that could be mistaken for an average person in a crowd come to mind. High Crimes #1 by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa is different, with the primary focus placed on grave digging in Mt. Everest. While this comic does not reach great heights in quality, there is still enough to dig about High Crimes #1.
One thing that helps the comic right out of the gate is the way that Sebela introduces the main characters to the reader. They debut in different parts of the comic, yet their respective introductions start off with long, horizontal panels. They follow a simple pattern: All-white, with a hint of what takes place and a shot of the character performing action. Details such as the pace of the action and how much face time the featured character has in their introduction varies, but the rhythm that is created by those panels ties those characters together even though their scenes play out differently.
Another thing going for the comic is the setting and nature of what takes place in its main location. Not many modern stories deal with Mt. Everest, and crime stories involving the well-known are quite rare. This works in the favor of Sebela and Moustafa, as they are able to tackle material that most artists would pass by. Its uniqueness is supported by the previously mentioned characters' personalities, which are interesting enough to warrant further interest.
Moustafa backs up Sebela's script with some nice art. His colors are reminiscent of Dave Stewart's work in the way that he approaches browns and other dark colors. There is also a hint of Sean Murphy's style in the way that Moustafa handles the characters faces. His work may not be on par with Stewart or Murphy's output, but Moustafa holds his own and provides appropriate visuals for the comic.
There are two problems that I have with High Crimes #1. The first problem with the comic is the use of full pages to display the sea level of the scene's locale. Sebela uses these pages not only to relay the height that the scene takes place in, but also to convey to the reader that the height is important to the story. Storytelling methods like this can give an extra kick to a story, if done properly. In this issue, it seems like such a storytelling tactic could have been used for one pane, instead of an entire page. Perhaps my opinion on it will change as the series progresses. For now, it just falls flat.
The second problem with the comic is the villains. In the two pages they inhabit, there is nothing about them that demands attention. They come across as bland antagonists that will cross paths with the comic's main characters. The way that they got involved within the main story makes sense, but they really need an interesting spin on who they are as characters. Hopefully, Sebela can expand and enhance them.
High Crimes #1 is an entertaining comic that provides a unique story with content that should get readers interested in the next issue. The letter in the back of the comic indicates that Sebela and Moustafa are emotionally invested in the series. At 99 cents, High Crimes #1 is at least worth a look.
70 out of 100