Review - Aspen Visions Iris Midst of Chaos #1 (@AspenComics)

"In the midst of chaos there is also opportunity."

Iris is an Executive Assistant. She's extremely good at her job and ready to take care of whatever's thrown at her. Whether that includes being thrust into the midst of war as in Aspen Visions Iris Midst of Chaos #1 from Aspen Comics remains to be seen. The issue is written by Blake Northcott, illustrated by Donny Tran, colored by JL Rio and Omi Remalante, Jr. (pages 17-20) and lettered by James Reed.

Journey through time and reality beginning in the pages of Executive Assistant: Iris, as the preeminent heroine Iris emerges in Ancient China in the middle of a deadly war! Just how does this battle from the past—and Iris–merge into the Fathom and Soulfire universes?

Reading the issue without any context of Aspen's grander plans is a little jarring, but Northcott still crafts a very tight issue that effectively captures the spirit of the publisher's crossover. Iris is living anachronistically as a general during the Wei Dynasty in 427 CE and her what makes her the original Executive Assistant also just so happens to make her a phenomenal leader in war. Northcott moves Iris from one battlefield to the next, allowing Iris to showcase all of her talents while eventually realizing that something doesn't seem quite right. It's not until the end of the issue that Northcott pulls the curtain back a little bit to an Abstergo situation, thus providing more context for the larger crossover. And considering much of the dialogue throughout the issue is stream of thought on the part of Iris, Northcott doesn't allow it to bog down the pacing of the issue.

Tran's artwork is very elegant in its presentation. The issue opens with a gorgeous, full-panel shot of Iris in the midst of combat, providing plenty of context to the reader and letting them know that warfare is in the pages ahead. Tran uses wispy lines for fleshing out the figures, allowing for them rest softly on the pages with a weightlessness. The panels are laid out in an equally clear and concise fashion, providing a sense of order to the entire issue that does well in the face of the chaos of war. Rio's (and Remalante's) colors are largely darker, emphasizing blacks and oranges throughout the issue.

Aspen Visions Iris Midst of Chaos #1 is a very solid issue that lays the foundation for something bigger to come. Iris is smart enough to realize that something is amiss, but how she gets out of it will likely require the help of some other Aspen heavy-hitters. Northcott's script is fast-paced and doesn't waste any time in following Iris' predicament while providing just enough context for the larger storyline. Tran's illustrations are concise and beautiful. Aspen Visions Iris Midst of Chaos #1 is a first issue that's a little confusing at first before settling into itself and taking off from there.

Aspen Visions Iris Midst of Chaos #1 is available now.