From Aspen Comics, Vince Hernandez, Jordan Gunderson, Teodoro Gonzalez, Josh Reed.
This issue was my first experience with the Executive Assistant concept. For those of you who don’t know, here is the idea. The Executive Assistants are geishas taken to the next level. Trained from a young age to be the perfect companions, and the perfect killers. Each girl abandons her birth name and adopts the identity of a flower. This is her name for the rest of her life, a life in which she is bound to a master and will serve his needs. Of course, danger, adventures and drama ensue.
This issue focuses on the fallen Executive Assistant, Lily. Lily has problems. She has a job as a stripper and having a job is the best part of her life. A life that also involves little money, many addictions, barely a place to live, and horrible men. So many horrible men. The executive assistant training is so deep it comes out in every part of Lily’s life. She will please men, and her body shows that. She’ll please them so much it hurts. In fact, it does nothing but hurt. There is also that pesky trained to kill in there too. Training that comes out in multiple and honestly exciting ways when any man takes things too far. Lily is tragic then dominant then tragic again all within a few pages. She is the modern ronin.
Mazutsu is the evil business man of the issue. He is the usual type for this role, until the end. It really will spoil your reading for me to tell you what happens on the last page. To hint, Mazutsu starts as average and then becomes absolutely reprehensible. One issue in and I anxiously wait for his comeuppance. One issue in and he is already on my “most hated” list. That’s some good character development.
Tarver takes a visit to the executive assistant training school. He meets a precocious young girl named Dandelion. She would be adorable if it weren’t for the fact that she is in an academy full of little hit girls. Rounding out the men Lily may have to worry about is Kaito. He has the potential to be her male counter, for good or bad.
For any fan of strong female characters, get on with Aspen Comics. Fathom, Kiani, Soulfire, Charismagic and now I discover the Executive Assistants. Lily is as beautiful as she is scared. Both have led to her becoming strong. If you like Suicide Girls, wrap your fingers around this issue. All three men are built up to be potentially the greatest threat Lily has ever had to face. And there’s three of them. Three very distinct looks and personalities. Give it up for the art on this one. No problem keeping the characters straight, which is sadly still a problem in many comics.
Also a problem in many comics is giving the hero a legitimate threat. Executive Assistant Assassins uses what I call the “DragonBall Z” style of fights. Lily’s skills and fighting prowess is built up and built up. She is unstoppable. So when something does stop her, even for a moment -that character becomes an instant threat. When it takes the hero 500 episodes to beat a bad guy and then the new threat shows up and beats that same guy in 5 seconds the new guy is given that instant credibility. Same here. Keiko’s gang poses a huge threat to Lily’s life and safety. Unfortunately for Lily, that gang is only the first of many problems ahead of her.
This is going to be a great series for many reasons. A flawed protagonist. Many tiers of threats in front of her. Plus its just the first issue, and we longtime readers of Aspen Comics know they love to grow their worlds. Issues two, three and so on will add more exciting ingredients to the Executive Assistant Assassins delicious meal.