Joss Whedon is the God of all things geek. After making his name in Hollywood creating the campy movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and working on the scripts for Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection, he turned his eyes to TV and brought his vampire slayer movie to the small screen.
At the time, television was not as respected as it is now, but Joss Whedon might be a large part of the reason that it became so special. Buffy the Vampire Slayer proved that smart, intelligent and exciting television was possible and it remains, along with its spin-off Angel, some of the best genre television ever made.
However, Joss Whedon has very bad luck on TV and his shows usually get cancelled, moved around and dismantled. Thanks to the comic book world, Whedon has brought a number of his works to the printed pages with Buffy, Angel and Firefly all getting new lives in the funny books.
Before any of that happened, Joss Whedon took his talent to comics and made an early spin-off to Buffy the Vampire Slayer about a dystopian future and a new slayer – a girl named Fray.
Fray takes place hundreds of years in the future, where the rich live high above the earth and the poor and disenfranchised live on the surface (and below) and remain sick, poor and mutated. There are vampires here, but no one knows what they are and just consider them a nuisance and the lowest of the low.
Fray herself is a thief who works for a local mobster who happens to be some sort of mutated fish creature. She steals anything he needs and he pays her a nice sum to do so. She is a lot more like Faith than Buffy, and honestly, she would probably hate Buffy (they meet later in the Buffy series, but I have never read those issues).
Anyway, the demons have been gone – banished from Earth – for many years but they are planning a huge return and want to not only return to our dimension, but take over. As usual, the only person who can save the world is a slayer, and a demon named Urkonn arrives to inform Fray that she is the slayer.
Of course, he has to not only convince her that she is a slayer, but explain what vampires are, since no one has ever heard of them in this future, and then somehow train her with limited time. Meanwhile, Fray has to contend with her older sister Erin, a police officer who blames Fray for the death of their brother Harth, Fray’s twin who died at the hands of the vampire Icarus while on a heist.
The book has Joss Whedon’s great dialogue and its fair share of shocking moments. Honestly, one of the best characters is the mutated little girl Loo, someone who looks up to Fray as a friend and protector. She is completely lovable and easily one of the best characters Whedon has created.
Without giving too much away, Fray has a ton of twists and turns, including the revelation of who the big bad is that is helping open the demon portal. There is also the fact that there are betrayals and a group of unlikely heroes who surround Fray to help fight the monsters when they arrive. The book even ends with a slight cliffhanger as audiences see that there is great evil at work – both with the demons and the beings wanting to stop the demons – and only Fray and her friends are on the true side of good.
The art by Karl Moline and his crew is amazing as well. The way the panels are set up, the colors and the compositions are just amazing. The pace of the story is well done and it never seems to drag while always leaving you wanting more. I don’t know if you need knowledge of the Buffy television series to enjoy it, but if you are a fan of slayers, this comic book has everything you could want. Fray is one of the best slayers in the Whedonverse and this book is extremely enjoyable.
Next Week’s Preview
Next week, we are sticking with stand-alone books and will look at Scott Snyder’s horror book, Severed. If you are a fan of his work on American Vampire, you don’t want to miss out on this book.