PopCultHQ received a preview copy of Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 from Aspen Comics. Hitting newsstands this New Comic Book Day (NCBD), Wednesday, December 21st, the creative team for this issue which features two stories, include one with writing from David Wohl and interior art by Giuseppe Cafaro, and the second from writer Vince Hernandez (Aspen’s VP/EIC) and pencils by Randy Green, with both stories colored by Wes Hartman and lettered by Zen.
Here’s our spoiler-free look at this week’s new release from Aspen Comics…
Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1
Writers: Vince Hernandez, David Wohl
Artists: Randy Green, Giuseppe Cafaro, Wes Hartman
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: 12/21/2016
Aspen’s critically acclaimed and best-selling series from creator David Wohl (Witchblade, Legend of the Shadow Clan) returns for this pulse pounding action-packed one-shot! 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!
Obedient. Efficient. Deadly.
Yet, these traits are not inherent
in an Executive Assistant upon graduation.
They are cultivated by experience, action—and blood.
These tales represent the early challenges
Executive Assistant Iris faced early in her career.
~ Part One – “First Assignment” ~
I decided to break this review up into two parts since the creative teams are different with each story. The opening tale, entitled “First Assignment,” is exactly that. An origin story, if you will, and an in-depth look into the life of an Executive Assistant. There’s grooming, nurturing, obedience. Years of arduous training all in an effort to create a lethal assassin and protector.
Writer David Wohl has given a tremendous backstory on Iris, one of the lovely, but deadly, Executive Assistants. From her subservience to her fierce loyalty, Wohl has nicely evoked these characteristics through his dialog. An awesome origin tale written to perfection.
Artist Giuseppe Cafaro is quite skilled with his attention to detail. His intricacy in the buildings and cityscapes is a marvel to behold and on a few occasions caught myself pausing from reading to take in all the sweet illustrations. The sharp and grittiness to Cafaro’s pencils and inks make for a great visual for Wohl’s story.
Part Two – “Pain Drops”
Vince Hernandez takes over writing duties in this second story. Where part one showed Iris’ upbringing and training, this part recalls Iris’ introduction to, and subsequent encounter with, the lethal and mysterious Thalia. Writer Hernandez comes out swinging with a powerful feature filled with action, intrigue, and two badass women in an intense battle.
Illustrators Randy Green and Mark Roslan pair up for this second story and do so in a way that give it the feel on a smart animation film. Green’s interpretation of Iris shows how agile, savvy, and determined the Assistant can be. Both Green and Roslan shine in what they bring to this one-shot.
Coloring and Lettering
I wanted to go over the colors and lettering in Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 separate. Each of these duties were carried out by one individual through both stories. Having the coloring and lettering consistent through both stories a smart move as it helped meld the two and form a cohesive narrative.
For coloring this issue, artist Wes Hartman comes in does a bang-up job. To really appreciate the amount of work he put into this issue, you literally have to re-read the book only with the intent to examine and admire the coloring. You’ll find a creator adept in his choices; whether it’s from bolder looks, softer and more subdued tints, or his enormous palette of shades and hues he employs, Hartman is an asset in bringing this story to life.
Lettering. Not something I always mention or give the proper credit. I’ve always thought of a letterer like an editor. When you’re doing your job write, no one really notices. If you mess up or miss something, everyone jumps on you. The reason I wanted to single out the lettering found in Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 is that from the very first page I recognized how important Zen’s contribution is to the story. From bubbles to boxes, dialog to sfx, Zen has opened my eyes to the significance that a good, or rather great, letterer can add to any title.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
One of the top selling points of Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 is that it’s the perfect jump-on point to the “Executive Assistant” titles on Aspen’s roster. You get a little backstory, a feel for the flow of the series, and an idea of the standards they have of the creators they choose. This mega-team of writers and artists came together beautifully to put out a terrific one-shot worthy of any collection. The creative team did a superb job in giving us each individual’s best effort. The paneling and layout was remarkably fluid and effective. Frankly, from the moment the front cover is opened until you turn the final page, Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1 dishes a plate full of goodies.
Though Aspen Comics may not release a slew of titles, what they do release is guaranteed to be an enjoyable story, visually breathtaking, and definitely worth every penny for what’s delivered cover-to-cover. Enemies Among Us is a top-notch one-shot and makes for a great of the entry to the Aspen Universe.
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
You can pre-order
Executive Assistant Iris: Enemies Among Us #1
now on ComiXology
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers
Wednesday, December 21st!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Vince Hernandez