Aspen Comics’ first ongoing comic book series, “Executive Assistant: Assassins” is high octane action that should be at the top of any thrill seeker’s reading list. The series follows the various graduates of the Executive Assistant program, women who are as deadly as they are beautiful. The assassins recently faced one of their toughest challenges in the Executive Extinction storyline that changed the relationships between the assassins who share a common bond.
The outcome of Executive Extinction was a reminder to the Executive Assistant Lotus that pain and suffering are recurring themes within her life. In “Executive Assistant: Assassins” #11 writer Vince Hernandez, penciller Giuseppe Cafaro, and inker Mark Roslan explore the tragic past of Lotus also known as Rani.
Rani has returned to see what remains of her ancestral home in Alwar, India. Her home awakens the memories of her past and her father who himself was a master assassin. The cycle of her pain began when she was a little girl with her mother’s abandonment. Her father gave her all the love she needed and explained to her why he killed. “What I do is free people from their pain,” he told her.
Through her father’s intense training Rani learned his craft, but she was not seen as the assassin he was. She relied too heavily on technology something verboten within their circles. When tragedy strikes Rani changes to show how different she is from her lineage.
In this single issue, Hernandez shows who Lotus is. Her family’s history is soaked in blood and the changes to her as she grows within that environment set her apart from her family. Hernandez is able to craft the tale in a way that makes Lotus sympathetic while still being feared. The back story allows for Lotus to be seen as more hero than any assassin should be considered.
The pencil work of Cafaro is full of rich detail. The artist shows the young Rani as she matures from the young schoolgirl teased for her differences to becoming the young woman who faces tragedy head on. The strength of the character is visible in the work Cafaro is able to convey through the art the strength of Lotus in the inquisitive youth.
When Lotus assumes her roll as an assassin the work of Cafaro is stunning. The page where she gathers her accessories and turns to face the reader is stunning and the art is allowed to tell the story. It is one of those shots that lets you know the character has changed.
Roslan embellishes the work of Cafaro through a digital inking process. The artwork maintains much of Cafaro’s original line work with Roslan bringing out the stunning Aspen house style on the pages highlighting the beauty of the artwork.
“Executive Assistant: Assassins” #11 stands on its own from the “Executive Assistant: Assassins” series while at the same time adding greater context to the character of Lotus within the overall narrative of these characters. The issue does not carry the same explosive punch of the rest of the series but it builds the character making you care about the events within the series. Hernandez, Cafaro and Roslan show that Lotus is not just another pretty face.