GN 2. Fray by Joss Whedon. Illustrated by Karl Moline and Andy Owens. Published November 2003.
“There was once a thing on this earth called magic. There were demons, monsters beyond imagination, most of them pure evil. They ruled this dimension as they did so many others. Eventually, as mortal animals evolved, under the protection of certain mages and loranites… they left! The demons, most of them, found more hospitable places, and left the earth to the mortals. For the most part. Some remained, hidden away. Some bred within the human community, their power weakened throughout generations. Some assimilated and some… infected.
It is not known when they first appeared, but the vampires were a plague. The elders of several villages met, calling for action. They invoked the strongest and most dangerous magicks they could summon, to create a power. A power that could fight the vampires. A power that lived… in the body of a girl. The Slayer.
She fought, and died, and was succeeded by another. And another, throughout time. Always one. Always a woman. A warrior. They were trained. Sought out and guided by watchers, descendants of the shamans who created the first slayer.
What we know is this – there was a battle. A slayer, possibly with some mystical allies, faced an apocalyptic army of demons. And when it was done… They were gone. All demons, all magicks, banished from this earthly dimension.” – Excerpt
This is the world of Fray. A world where magic has been replaced by science, demons by irradiated mutant ‘radies’. Melaka Fray is a thief. But according to a goat-faced man named Urkonn, that isn’t quite the case. Because Melaka is a Slayer and the growing population of the radies known as ‘Lurks’ are actually vampires. Now Melaka must juggle the responsibilities of her newly found destiny with those of her old thieving, orphan-loving ways. But this may be simpler – and horrifyingly more challenging – that Melaka may believe. Because the Lurks are working on a plan to devour all mankind, and Melaka’s been unwittingly helping them do it.
In Fray, Whedon shares with us his vision for the future world of Buffy. One of tough chicks, evil monsters, and flying cars. Oh, and did I mention trees (i.e. wood i.e. stakes) have gone extinct? Melaka, the newest iteration of the Slayer, excites the reader with her outlandish personality while drawing empathy for her tragic vulnerabilities. Admittedly, for any Buffy fan, the story of Fray isn’t a new one – chosen girl fights to save world from imminent threat of being overrun by demons. But Melaka isn’t the nicey nice girl Buffy was and this world ain’t no Sunnydale. Hold on to your pants people – this is one amazing read.
Rating: 4 out of 5