Friday, October 17, 2008

Comic Book Week: "Fray" {Buffy in the Future}

Comic books run on ideas from a lot of mediums from computer games such as the Lara Croft series and World of Warcraft, from books like the Dresden Files is and the new trend in acquiring ideas is to use TV shows. The earliest example to really pick up is “Fray” by Dark Horse. This eight issue limited series published 2002 is based on the Buffy verse. Creative team of Joss Whedon, Andy Owens and Karl Moline spin some mojo on what the Slayer might be in the far future.

In a nutshell, “Fray” poses the question “What if Buffy was meant to awaken several hundred years in the future?” The Slayer in this case is Melaka Fray a 19-year old chosen as the new slayer, centuries after Buffy had done her job and all of the magic and demons have disappeared. However she hasn’t had the physical link with her ancestors and to push her education and fight the new rise of the vampires, a trainer is called, but this time not from the Watchers, but from the demons. Urkonn looks like a Diablo in miniature. I doubted that eight issues were enough to cover the whole ordeal, which was season one of the show aka Fray getting into the mechanics of her new destiny, train, face her first fears, overcome them and then stop the world from going on a trip to hell. Mister Whedon did it snappy and although it made sense, I would have wished the final battle not to be as easily fought and with a heavier outcome.

Of course every hard core Buffy fan knows that not so much plot is the strength as the mythology and mainly the action scenes. I think “Fray” offered Whedon a totally new frontier to explore his own universe. First off, the world as a setting is every bit dystopian and futuristic as one can expect with radiation having hit humanity hard. Looks do not fear people anymore since most have many deformities anyways. Vampires are reduced to lurks, thought by society as defected blood junkies, and people with extraordinary strength are a fact due to steroids. On this background Fray’s heightened strength, dexterity, healing factor and speed are nothing to be admired and don’t cause much of a ruckus. There’s no magic and pretty much any known information about the past is unknown for the lower circles, to which Fray belongs.

Another very interesting moment is the fact that the slayer has a twin. Now this may be a great spoiler alert for anyone to enjoy the evil scheming and the plot, so I will be very vague about it. In her essence a slayer is the strength of thousand bodies, at least my definition, and the strength of the experience of all the rest before her. One without the other doesn’t do well on their own, so what Whedon does is cut the link and give a piece to each of the twins. For me it was an interesting and gratifying experience to see this theme integrated, so I will refrain from spoiling it too.

I couldn’t find much on the artists, which is a shame really, but as far as my opinion goes “Fray” exudes a vibrant and electric feel of colors to present this cyberpunk story. This is a Buffy spin-off and as far as the show goes it’s more like a funny fantasy show with horror elements and the comic book carries the spirit. As a conclusion this is interesting to read, not bad and certainly a different side from the slayer universe.


Kristopher said...

I read Fray quite awhile ago when it was first collected in graphic novel format.

Don't know if you've read Joss Whedon's run on X-Men, but it was some of the best mainstream comic writing I've ever read.

daydream said...

Yes, it's a rather old title, but not bad either. It was okay and no I haven't had the chance to read those. I just started a new line of X-Men comics, X-treme X-Men in an alternative Earth, but I plan to read everything one day.

Thanks for stopping by!

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