I read Joss Whedon’s Fray this week and really liked it a lot. Sometimes Joss Whedon breaks my heart and then sometimes he doesn’t. This was one of those times.
His tale of a futuristic Slayer was entertaining and funny. I found myself fumbling to get each next comic out of it’s bag…cliffhangers are best when they last less than thirty seconds.
It wasn’t perfect…mostly because I think it’s the same story that Joss is really good at telling: young girl is misunderstood or cut off from her family, Chosen to fight against the forces of evil – totally reluctant at first – but of course she eventually acquiesces to the reality of her identity and saves the day just in time. There were points at which I was reminded of Buffy but for the most part I wasn’t or didn’t care.
Three Things That Really Worked For Me:
**A believable introduction to a slightly familiar (but not quite) universe: The first issue does a great job of linking the storyline to Slayer lore without spelling out in huge letters THIS IS BUFFYVERSE CANON. Code words like “called” and “Watchers” were enough to center my brain and then, of course, the beasties. The futuristic lingo isn’t heavy handed. Words like “grab”, “Pump” and “lurk” were introduced with just enough context that I could easily figure out what they meant without the characters reading like a glossary of hip! new! lingo!
**Melaka Fray: Winningest slayer past present or future? I say yes. Fierce hair? Check. Ass-kicking wardrobe? Check. Smart mouth? Check. Family drama? Check. So pretty much all the things we’ve come to expect from a slayer. I like Fray because as Slayers go, she’s a little more Faith than Buffy – more ass-kicking and less sniveling. Obv, her life sucks but she rarely makes me want to punch her in the stomach. She’s not crying constantly and throwing herself infinite pity parties because HER life is so much HARDER than everyone else’s. She genuinely cares about the people in her community and manages to act selflessly despite the fact that she could blow it all off and continue in her life of crime.
**Hey there canon story about the first slayer. OH ALSO, hai scythe from Buffy season seven…it was nice to see you here in this comic, widening the scope of Buffyverse canon. I appreciated the way this was woven into canon without being woefully self-reflexive. I didn’t feel like I was being winked at. It wasn’t heavy-handed.
Also, did I mention that her hair is fierce?