Comics

Deadlier Than the Sword – Executive Assistant Iris Volume 1

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Truthfully, there can never be too many comic books.  But in a market that is currently flooded with so many titles and so many good books, you have to do something to stand out from the pack.  You have to have a concept or an idea that will set you apart in a sea of voices that is growing louder every day.  With Executive Assistant Iris, David Wohl and Eduardo Francisco have done just that.

This book has no superheroes, werewolves, vampires or aliens in it, but what it does have is a young woman who only knows servitude but learns over time that there might be something outside of a lifetime of dedication.  Things like freedom and happiness and the ability to be whatever it is you want to be.  Our heroine, Iris, who is the assistant/bodyguard/assassin and more to her boss, wants something, but what that is she just does not know what it is until it is too late and is taken away from her just when it is within her grasp.

The premise of our story deals with young girls – orphans, the homeless, those bought, sold or stolen – raised to be the perfect servants in every way and in every matter who are then sold off to the rich.  Soon they are serving their masters in whatever manner they are told to, until such time as they are discharged, however that might be.  Iris was one of those young girls and she is not only the protagonist but also the predominant narrator of the book.  As such, it lets you get inside her head and while maybe not totally understanding what she is going through, you can empathize with her.  The story is akin to The Professional in some respects.  Pointedly, Iris is like Léon.  She is good at what she does, be that making tea or killing those that need killing, but it is all that she knows until one day, someone comes into her life and changes her world.  Like Léon, she is a little dumbfounded on what to do, how to act and how to feel, but as the story progresses, she gets a handle on it.  Wohl did a good job setting up her world with some great settings, a good concept and some great characterization.

The artwork by Eduardo Francisco on the other hand was really good at times and not so much during others.  It was almost like there were two artists once in a while but when checking the credits, there was in fact, only one.  It is hard to say if there were certain deadlines he needed to hit, but once in a while he just seemed off his game.  Even at his worst in the book, he is still a fine artist and if he continues onwards in future series, he would definitely be welcome.

While the tale of a servant overthrowing their master is nothing new, the setting and the story David Wohl weaves is interesting, intriguing and riveting at times.  There is a lot of drama and a lot of action, a lot of ruminating and a lot of exclaiming.  There are also a lot of other executive assistants who are introduced and an ending that is left wide open, with a promise for a second volume, for more tales and adventures with Iris and the other women.  Always leave them wanting more and that is exactly what this book did.

4 out of 5

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