It’s Administrative Professionals’ Day, and in honour of this event, I am celebrating me, who has been a badass executive level administrator for over a decade. After high school, college and university didn’t go so well for me. Money was short and I needed a job but I refused to get into food service, or go back into department store sales. I decided to go the office job route, and I have never looked back.
Formerly known as “secretaries,” people like me support management and executives with their day-to-day and long term tasks. A good administrative professional makes their manager look flawless on centre stage, but a good manager knows never to take that for granted and, while the executives might have all the big ideas, it’s their assistants that make those ideas look amazing. Sometimes it’s like we can anticipate our boss’ needs. We are trusted with the important secrets. We are the first line of defense when angry people call to speak to the boss. You can’t speak to them without going through us.
One day I hope to be as awesome as my idol, Donna Paulsen from Suits and as on point as James Bond’s Miss Moneypenny. Originally played by Lois Maxwell, Naomi Harris’ Moneypenny got to get out of the office for some target practice in Skyfall.
Apparently, if I want to get that good, I need to go to… the Academy. The Academy where they train Executive Assistants to be awesome. See, I’ve been meaning to read Aspen Comics‘ Executive Assistant series for a while now. With my recently acquired position as Executive Assistant of the Human Resources Department, and Administrative Professionals’ Day on the calendar, I thought I’d finally see what the book is all about.
“In the modern, cutthroat corporate world, today’s CEO needs an edge to stay on top. Enter the Executive Assistant. Iris is a secretary, bodyguard and assassin all rolled into one. She’s meticulous, ruthlessly efficient and is completely loyal to her employer. But when she discovers the man she serves is even more vicious and depraved than the criminals she’s supposed to be protecting him from, her life begins to crumble. Now, torn between her loyalty and a heavy conscience, Iris must journey back to the school that created her in an attempt to rediscover her humanity. But is she already too late?”
So let’s get started with Executive Assistant Iris, the first in the series of elite professionals that appear in Aspen Comics’ series, written by David Wohl, with art by Eduardo Francisco. Iris works for Mr. Ching, who ruthlessly runs his organization, Chingcorp, working with some of the most dangerous businessmen in the world. When someone foolishly disagrees with Ching’s business arrangements, it’s Iris’ job to change their mind.
She also gets Mr. Ching his tea. And sleeps with him when he summons her. So basically, it covers the less savoury aspects of some administrative professionals’ workplace requirements. Pity. Initially Executive Assistant Iris seemed to be avoiding this, but thankfully, the sexual nature of their relationship is only briefly and tastefully portrayed. (To be clear! Sleeping with my boss is never part of my own job description. Do I do wetwork on their behalf? Well, if I tell you, I’d have to kill you. I do sometimes get coffee, though.) Moreover, Iris’ continued narration explains just how much her training at the Academy has shaped her life and made her into the obedient and deadly Executive Assistant she is today. As the story progresses, we learn more and more about Iris’ Academy life, where young girls are trained to fight, protect, and kill. Iris is one of the best, which is why Ching chose her, but during her time at the Academy, she saw many other girls disappear or be treated as less than human.
Iris knows that Ching is not a good man, but she is sworn to her duties, and, until she falls for one of her marks, her life goes according to plan. She is all about unquestioning loyalty and obedience, until the inevitable self-searching and rebellion.
I want to say I was surprised by the this turn of events, but, at least for the first few issues, I started to have a little hope. Iris’ inner monologue had potential, revealing a cold professional who is not immune to empathy–she just has no room for it because of her training. The idea itself of Executive Assistants trained to be as efficient with Excel spreadsheets as they are with blades appealed to me on many levels.
The art is clean and colourful, but, as with the predictable plot, the posing and ridiculously short skirts venture off into the land of boobs and butts first. Which is again, unfortunate, because, when Iris isn’t being a deadly assassin, her poses and attire are much more interesting and appealing.
So I really didn’t learn much from reading Executive Assistant Iris that will help me in my current job. But if I’m looking for some future cosplay plans, I think I nailed it.