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Fray Paperback – December 9, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers familiar with the film Blade Runner will recognize similar elements in Melaka Fray's futuristic world: lots of darkness, grit and flying cars. Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Whedon admits he isn't trying to reinvent a vision of the future; he reserves his enormous talent for creating heroines possessing superhuman talent and enough spunk and charisma to bewitch the most skeptical audience. Tough but reluctant vampire-fighter Fray lives in the bad part of town and makes a living doing heists for Gunther, a blue and scaly criminal operator who directs operations while submerged in a living-roomâ€"sized tank. So when an enormous, goat-hoofed demon shows up at Fray's apartment, she's not terribly fazed, but she certainly isn't ready for his message: she, Melaka Fray, is destined to kill vampires. Where Fray comes from, vampires are known as "lurks," and a horrific incident in which they killed her brother has left her leery of the whole lot of them. Furthermore, Fray's had none of the dreams or visions that are the slayer's usual preparation for a lifetime of fighting and sacrifice. All things considered, she's not interested. However, when one of Fray's close friends is also wiped out, she's drawn into the battle despite her better judgment. From then on, it's futuristic war, as the story takes some delicious, unexpected twists involving siblings and betrayals. Whedon's trademark nail-biting plot reversals, tossed-off jokes and surprisingly complex relationships characterize the book, and Moline and Owens' art brings a wholly absorbing gut-level edge to Fray's world. It's a stunning, irresistible package.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-The heart and power of this story comes from its central character, Melaka Fray. She is a thief and reluctant Slayer, severed from her heritage by her twin brother and estranged from her sister for letting him die. She gets a scythe and some help from a demon and is told to save humanity. The art is colorful and effective, ably conveying a sense of Melaka's world. Characters' expressions are well done, enhancing the effect of Whedon's snappy dialogue. However, when there's no action and characters are just talking, the background sometimes disappears, leaving them in a colored void. Melaka is as appealing a heroine as the author's Buffy. She's tough, but she cares deeply about the people around her. The supporting characters also stand out. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will love Fray, and it will also find an audience with anyone who appreciates girl power.
Susan Salpini, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books (December 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569717516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569717516
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If the pivotal moment in the original story of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was when the blonde walked down the alley and kicked the butt of the monster that attacked her, thereby reversing generations of horror movie stereotypes, then the key moment in the story of "Fray" is when her Watcher shows up to train her in the fight against the vampires and our heroine pauses a beat (i.e., a frame with no dialogue) before asking "What is a vampire?" This is because Joss Whedon's story is set in the 23rd century, some two hundred years after "a Slayer, possibly with some mystical allies, faced an apocalyptic army of demons. And when it was done...they were all gone. All demons, all magics, banished from this earthly dimension." What happened to that particular Slayer? The chronicles do not say, apparently, but we learn that she was the last to be called. That is, until Melaka Fray.
Fray is a grabber, who works for Gunther, a guy who has been mutated into a fish (this is a future where apparently a hole in the ozone and other ecological problems create mutations on a Stan Lee-like level), grabbing artifacts and sundry items of value, all the way trying to avoid her sister, Erin, a copy. In an interesting parallel to "BtVS," Melaka develops a relationship with and is trained by her second Watcher, the demon Urkonn of the D'avvrus, who looks like a demon with the lower half of his face ripped off, and who is frequently enraged by the young woman he is trying to teach to be a Slayer. This is because Fray has no frame of reference regarding why anybody should want to fight the lurks. If Urkonn cannot get Fray to accept her calling, then (altogether now) it could be the end of this futuristic world as we are learning to know it.
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Format: Paperback
Fray is a new chapter in the history of the Slayer. Buffy is long gone and so is the vampire menace. But as the years have gone by, the demons are slowly managing to get back into our world.
Fray is thief, plain and simple. But she does have a good heart and tries to take care of others. But years ago her antics resulted in the death of her twin brother. Little does she know she is about to be tapped for something greater.
First a man tells her she is the chosen one (then he sets himself on fire). Next, a huge demon tells her the same thing. But Fray has not been experiencing the signs the demon tells her about; there are no dreams. The demon must convince her of her heritage and train her before another power can open a gateway that will let all of demonkind ravage the Earth once more.
This is a very-well crafted tale and shows the Joss Whedon's genius. One can only hope that there will be more tales of Fray in some form or another. If you like Buffy, you will love Fray.
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Format: Paperback
Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon wrote this eight issue mini-series for Dark Horse Comics. Taking place in the 23rd century in a Blade Runner-esque world; young "grabber" (pretty much a thief) Melaka Fray finds her world turned upside down when a mysterious demon named Urkonn tells her that she is the Slayer. Faced with a newfound destiny, a tragic past, and plot twists and turns galore; Joss Whedon's Fray is pure brilliance from beginning to end. Whedon's interpretation of future dialogue is amusing to say the least, and his quirky humor which has always been apparent throughout his various television shows is here as well. The art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens is amazing stuff indeed; bringing a surreal look to the dark and gritty future world while showing Mel mature more and more as each chapter passes. The only problem with Fray is in it's pacing. From the time that Mel accepts her destiny to the end of the book, the war against the vampires happens too quickly. If you can get past that though, you'll find some pure comic genius here, Joss Whedon style. Hopefully, Joss will do a much requested follow up to Fray after his current run on Marvel's Astonishing X-Men (also highly recommended).
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I was really impressed by this superb graphic novel written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon. While I was expecting a fun and interesting addition to the Slayerverse mythology, I wasn't expecting such a surprisingly nifty take on the mythology that Whedon had established in Buffy and Angel.
The story takes place at some indeterminate place in the future a couple of hundreds years in the future. No Slayer had been called in ages because magic had moved out of earth's dimension. But the vampires have returned, and for the first time in generations a new slayer has been called. The trouble is, apart from being a thief, she doesn't have many of the marks of a slayer--no dreams, no instincts, only the raw physical fighting ability. She is a slayer, but a flawed one.
FRAY is filled with great graphic designs, a fine central storyline, a remarkably complex set of character relations, and some quite stunning plot reversals. I love the conceit of a not-quite-complete-slayer. The fighting skills are clearly the most important part of being a slayer, but Fray has no sense of her heritage, of her destiny, of her vocation. If Buffy at least struggled against her fate, Fray hasn't a hint of what her fate is. When tells the demon who would train her that she really hasn't had the dreams or visions of previous slayers, she is telling the truth. This makes her even more isolated than other slayers, more a loner.
I think anyone who enjoys either graphic novels or any of the work of Joss Whedon is going to love this. Hopefully there will be a follow up. The story ends with things definitely open to future development. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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