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Joss Whedon's Fray #8

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2003
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: Karl Moline(p), Andy Owens(i), Dave Stewart & Michelle Madsen
Publisher Dark Horse

"I'm standing on the mouth of hell, and it's going to swallow me whole...And it can choke on me."--Buffy "Bring on the Night"

When last we saw Melaka Fray the Vampire Slayer, she was about to be engulfed by a rather ugly looking demonic dragon. The creature's appearance represents the least of the world's problems. The beast is actually "the womb to the gateway" that will disgorge flesh-eating demon after flesh-eating demon. In Buffy mythology, this is the thing that gives birth to Ubervamps.

Fortunately, Mel whips from her utility belt her can of "Demon Dragon Repellant." With a spritz, the earth is saved.

Now, you know very well demons do not die so easily. Joss Whedon creates a messy Slayer type solution to extricate his hero from last issue's cliffhanger. His means gibes with the major themes of all his Slayage. Saving the world isn't easy, but it is possible. Once again, Mr. Whedon carries his message through a canny girl gifted with super powers to fight the terrors still haunting us all.

The Slayer--and this theme can be seen in Fray--inspires the spark in all of us to fight back and win. I would love to see a trade paperback of this series in every school library. Every little girl can read this book and feel empowered by the actions of Melaka Fray. Every little boy can read this book and see what girls can do if given the chance. Fray is as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since Buffy the Vampire the Slayer was the greatest television show of all time. No greater compliment can be given.

Mr. Whedon's work should also inspire another group of people. Writers. When writing, I hope he suffers like the rest of us. From this vantage, his story looks to be written in a state of complete certainty. Every word and scene has meaning. The pacing, while unexpected, bears not a single discordant note in its rhythm. When literature such as Fray hits the comic book racks, drivel--pick a book--should burst into a cloud of dust.

There was a way for Joss Whedon's Fray to fail, but Karl Moline came out of nowhere and made Fray a kinetic wonderland that comics hasn't seen since Norm Breyfogle and Jim Aparo were active participants in the business. When Mel hits something, you can feel the impact, and when she cartwheels through the air, you can feel the whoosh of her legs flailing past your head.

Mr. Moline not only provides Fray with frenetic panels. He conveys Mr. Whedon's sense of drama. When the plot twists, the serpentine impels with the force of Melaka's fists. Together this creative team drives you back to reading the previous issues. This is not because the issue in your hands confuses. Indeed had a reasonably intelligent reader missed out on the previous issues, she can still feel comfortable reading this one. Instead, you return to previous issues to see the clues you missed leading up to the surprises.

If you are a budding writer or artist, buy Fray to see how it's done. If you are a girl or boy, buy Fray to be inspired. If you are a Buffy fan, buy Fray because Melaka deserves to be known as the Slayer. If you like to read entertaining, intelligent work, buy Fray. If you like to watch entertaining intelligent movies, buy Fray since it's like a film strip being unspooled. What I'm trying to say is buy Fray.



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