Review - Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 (@AspenComics)

Assassins have been around for a pretty good chunk of history. They've crept through the shadows, observed their targets from hidden locations and strike when the target least expects it. Aspen Comics took that concept and added an exciting twist in the Executive Assistant series and the main character in that series Iris. Iris gets her origins explained a bit in Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1. "First Assignment" is written by David Wohl, illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro, colored by Wes Hartman and lettered by Zen. "Pain Drops" is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by Randy Green, inked by Mark Roslan, colored by Hartman and lettered by Zen.

With the new Aspen Universe forged and taking shape, Executive Assistant: Iris' past secret case files are brought to the forefront, uncovering two new and thrilling adventures that may just reveal that the seeds of Iris' role in this new era began to grow long ago!

What's interesting about both stories in Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 is that they take something of an origin approach to the character while also weaving in other aspects of the Aspen Universe. Wohl spends most of "First Assignment" characterizing Iris as a timid new Executive Assistant, learning what it means to be in that role and the submission it requires. Hernandez takes a slightly different tact in "Pain Drops," in that Iris is much more well-known and formidable in her role as an Executive Assistant. Both stories look at different levels of maturity in the same character and they're equally as powerful in giving the reader insights into what makes Iris work. The reveal at the end of "Pain Drops" though is what will lead to grander storylines down the road as Hernandez gives Iris an opponent she may not be as capable to deal with.

There's a slight transition in artwork between the two stories. Cafaro illustrates Iris as a somewhat timid character in "First Assignment," using effective body language to demonstrate her reticence in becoming an Executive Assistant. In "Pain Drops" Green gives Iris a much more vivacious sensibility that comes with being the best at what she does. The art in the latter feels a bit more incomplete in some regards, in that Green illustrates Thalia with a look that feels cartoonish and not as evolved as the look of Iris in the same story. Hartman's colors in both stories is solid though and imbues the book the right level of drama.

Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 is a good one-shot that delves into the backstory of one of the most interesting characters (and concepts) in comics. Iris started out with little awareness of what was to come, but still made the best of things and became a truly formidable assassin. Both stories by Wohl and Hernandez are good bookends for the life of an Executive Assistant. The artwork by Cafaro and Green is pretty continuous and showcases two sides of the same coin. Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 has broader intentions when it comes to the Aspen Universe and is setting up one of the more intriguing characters to play a bigger role.

Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 is available now.