Thursday, October 07, 2004

Slaying Thursday

Okay, as promised, I'm here to talk Joss Whedon and his Dark Horse mini, Fray. The issues reatailed for $2.99, or you can shell out the dough for the trade. Either way, it's a great read. In the past I have openly criticized Whedon, possibly unjustly, but I do not feel his writing is as great as most people believe. This series tries its damnedest to prove me wrong.

Going into it, it had a few strikes against it, my dislike of most of Whedon's material I had seen, and of course being involved in the Buffy universe...sort of. I didn't follow the show on any kind of regular basis, so I have no idea how much it relates to Buffy. I'd assumed a good bit, and judging from the letters it dropped plent o' hints as to things that might happen to Buffy and/or her crew.

Still, in spite of all that,I found myself instantly drawn into this world. Whedon lays down the foundation very quickly and sets up his main character as well or better than any introductory issue I've seen in quite some time. Of course, I'm late to the game with this series, so it was probably even more effective upon its original release.

Mel is a full time thief for one of the local "gangsters" who has quite a troubled past. Unfortunately for her, her present is about to get extremely bizaare. Turns out she's this era's chosen slayer, and now she has to asuume the mantle and take on an army of vampires. But, first she has to be trained.

Turns out the "trainers" (I forget what they're really called) have pretty much gone looney tunes, so it's up to a demon to show her the way of the warrior...or in this case, slayer.

Each issue has it's share of action, something it turns out Whedon, and artist Karl Moline are very, very good at. It's rare to find a fast paced series that is actually understandable, not to mention one that has art as clean as this. Also, it's not often I mention the inking of a book, but Andy Owens does a bloody good job with this series.

Now, I feel for those who waited monthly (did it make its monthly schedule?) to see the next installment of Mel, especially since I read it in one sitting.

Not to say it didn't have its flaws. Whedon's overall plot was a bit of a let down. I saw the "villian" coming a mile away, not to mention the secret as to why Mel hasn't inherited the memories of past slayers. Still, even if it was an obvious plot twist, it was a good one.

In a day and age where everyone tries to add a "twist" to their stories, it's hard to be original. Often times people mistake not "figuring it out" with originality, too, and Whedon is commended for truly making and original twist. Again, even if it's obvious.

So, yeah, maybe I'm wrong about Whedon, but I still can't stomach Buffy, and his work on Alien: Resurrection is atrocious (even if he was "following orders"). Maybe once he finally quits the X-Men gig we'll see some more original creations from the man. I'd definitely check them out.


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