wDec 22, 2007


So, I often write reviews for anime and manga, but haven't done so yet for graphic novels (I usually refer to American comics in bound-form as "graphic novels," even though manga are probably graphic novels, too. Is there some kind of etiquette to this? Someone let me know.) or regular novels. We'll see how it goes!

Anyway, "Fray" is a graphic novel written by Joss Whedon. While it is related to the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fictional universe (referred to by fans as the "Buffyverse"), it is self-contained, meaning that there is no need to have watched any of Buffy in order to understand it (although, you'll probably adjust a tad bit quicker to the mythology of the "Slayer.")

Melaka Fray is a young woman who makes her living by stealing in the 23rd century. In this bleak future, demons and vampires live openly among humans, and are referred to as "Lurks." There has not been a Slayer called for nearly 200 years (As described in Buffy, "In every generation, there is born a slayer: One girl who will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the darkness, etc." The Slayer gets special bad-ass fighting abilities, as well as an ability to heal their own wounds quickly.). Melaka Fray seems to be the most unlikely champion of humanity - she is jaded, lives alone, and seems not to care for anyone but herself. What will happen when a demon comes along, encouraging her to follow the path of the Slayer?

I loved this graphic novel. The art is well-done. While sometimes, comics will flub a shot of the protagonist's face, or pay lazy attention to background scenery, Fray is spot-on in every panel. Additionally, the story is tightly-plotted, as is typical of a story told by Joss Whedon. Initially, I had been skeptical of a heroine who would be filling the shoes of Buffy Summers, even if she was in the future. Still, Melaka Fray is worthy of the role. She kicks ass and takes names. Also, in what is relatively rare in American comics, this action heroine is not a 42DDD cup.

I highly recommend this graphic novel!

As an added bonus, I thought it was totally sweet that in the back of the book, the artist had a collection of first sketches, and said that he wanted to base Melaka's appearance on Natalie Portman's role of Matilda, from the movie "Leon the Professional." That was a good movie! Awesome.

Spoilers lie behind the cut, and possibly in the comments left by others.

The Internet tells me that Joss Whedon has promised to return to the world of Fray, and for this I am excited.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 8:23 PM

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