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Steve
22-06-08, 09:42 PM
Joss Whedon's Fray: Review



Before Buffy Season 8; before Runaways and even Astonishing X-Men there was Fray: Mr. Whedon's first voyage into the world of comics. But at the same time, into a world, that in some ways, was familiar to many of us.

Set squarely in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spin-off: Angel; Whedon tells a story set some 200 years into the future where, thanks to drug addicts; genetic experimentation and irradiated mutants, people don't even notice the demons that walk among them.

Being the first slayer called in over a century and only her demon "watcher" to guide her, Fray must, as all slayers do, save the world from demons, vampires and things that go bump in the night; but in her case, does she have the to save the world from itself also?

Whedon, and artist Karl Moline, present a somewhat stereotypical view of the future: where the rich have gotten richer and the poor live in run down cities -- which is where we find Fray: thief extraordinaire. Fray is unaware of her being a slayer and just thinks she's "good at stuff" until the demon Urkonn shows up and fills the void where there should have been a watcher. But why would a demon train a slayer? Whedon has us asking to keep us reading.

Fray is a good story and worth picking up if you have the spare money (especially if you read Buffy Season 8, as she will soon be appearing there) and what makes it great is that it is so accessible. No previous viewing of Buffy or Angel is required as it's all explained right in the book! Moline's art is superb and perfcetly fits the dark, but sometimes funny, atmosphere of the story. You also get a real sense of movement.

Unfortunately, the story does seem a bit rushed, and is unable to flesh out the characters as Joss does in Buffy although he does more than most other writers could do in the space of eight issues.

The only real let down is the total lack of appearances by any established characters from the Buffyverse. In fact, the nearest we get is a silhouette that could be Buffy; a reference to "A girl in school in a sunlit city" and a one panel flash back to the first slayer. Now, considering Buffy and Angel have a high proportion of immortal characters, there's no reason why one or two of them wouldn't happen to show up 200 years later in New York. Even a small cameo of a bleach-blonde vampire would do.

Overall, however, Fray is a good read and by the end of it, despite its flaws, you'll be begging for a sequel.

Extras: The Fray TPB comes with an article by Jeph Loeb detailing how Fray was conceived as well as a forward by Joss himself (who comes across as a pleasant and funny guy). In the back we are treated to a "Sketchbook" where Moline leads us through his thought process on constructing Fray and various other characters (some of which underwent quite dramatic changes before the book finally saw print). It is within the "Sketchbook" we are treated to the one and only appearance of a certain blonde from Sunnydale as Moline does a comparisson of the two slayers.

There is a page dedicated to the creators and finally, the usual advertisements for related products.

Score: 8/10