Written By:
Joss Whedon
Pencils: Karl Moline
Inks: Andy Owens

Famous for penning the popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Joss Whedon has made the decision to try his hand at the world of comics. In the first issue of Fray, an eight-part mini-series, he introduces Melaka Fray, the main character, who's been sent on an "errand" to swipe some expensive jewelry when she runs across competitors who have apparently been sent for the same item. This is just the beginning of her bad day. From that point, she's harrassed by sun-radiated freaks, confronted by her police officer sister, and witness to a human bonfire.

The world Fray lives in shows large influence from Blade Runner and the Fifth Element, consisting of an immense city with a dark underbelly. The skies are filled with as much traffic as the streets and no one who lives on the streets has a dime to their name. Most, if not all, characters seem to have a seedy side to them, leaving you to wonder who can be trusted. Fray, herself, is more Elektra Assassin, Catwoman or Callisto than the Buffy rehash that most people might think she would be. For that alone, I'm pleased.

Artistically, Fray shows bits of influence from Mignola, Adam Hughes and Kevin Macuire, but maybe with a little less refinement. Quality-wise, though, it's on-par with anything that DC and Image may be putting out.

Whedon seems to have made a good effort not to fall into Buffy-like tendencies with this fine start. Joss forgoes the excessive internal monologe found in most comics (X-Men, etc..) and lets the story tell it's own pace, handing out bits of past and history as it moves along. You won't be too bogged down with the character's past history to enjoy what's going on in the present (of future as it may be). Fray shows real promise and if Joss manages to sell the whole series well, Dark Horse should be able to talk him into some more issues.

- - Vane

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