Bad day. Started bad. Stayed that way.
is an 8-issue Comic Book
series written by Joss Whedon
. It's a Spin-Off
of the work that made Whedon famous, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Hundreds of years in the future, teenage cat burglar Melaka "Mel" Fray discovers that she is the Slayer
, the one girl in all the world chosen to fight the vampires, demons, etc. Unfortunately, things have changed since Buffy took up the stake; the Watchers Council have gone insane waiting for the next Slayer to be called, and her only ally is the demon Urkonn, who has reasons of his own for helping her. But there's no time for doubts—the monsters are
back, and someone is planning on ending the world
Not to be confused with the band The Fray
Provides examples of:
- All of the Other Reindeer: Averted. In a world where mutations and birth defects are common, and people deliberately modify their bodies through cybernetics, bio-engineering and drugs, a girl with Slayer skills doesn't really stand out. Even a rather large demon like Urkonn hardly seems out of place.
- And the Adventure Continues: The ending feels exactly like a setup for more stories that don't actually exist and were never planned to.
- And This Is for...:
(after crashing a car onto Icarus
) That's for my brother, dickhead
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Though they aren't identical, Mel angsts over accidentally getting her brother Harth munched by Icarus while out on a grab. It gets worse when he's revealed as the Big Bad.
- Arc Welding: The Season Finale of Buffy Season 8 has Buffy destroying a Cosmic Keystone that is the source of all magic. Demons and vampires retain their strength, stamina and recovery abilities, and all the Slayers Willow called remain Slayers, but no one can use magic and no new Slayers are called...until Fray.
- Bald of Evil: Icarus, complete with Beard of Evil.
- Bare Your Midriff: Every outfit Mel wears.
- Big Applesauce: Of course, this being the 23rd century, Manhattan is now simply "Haddyn."
- Big Bad: Harth
- Bad Future: Quoth Whedon, "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and there are flying cars." It isn't exactly V for Vendetta, but jeez...
- Bar Brawl: Mel starts one by picking a fight with someone who mocked Loo.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Inverted. Mel knows that for Icarus attacking her and killing Harth should have been Tuesday. So when they cross paths and Icarus does recognize her (and knows that she's the Slayer), she realizes that something strange is going on...
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Mel pretty much drags her feet over the whole Slayer thing until she gets the crap beaten out of her by her now-undead twin brother, and Urkonn murders Loo, the closest thing she has to a little sister, to motivate her.
- Catapult Nightmare: Mel, remembering her run-in with Icarus.
- Creepy Child: Again, Harth.
- The Dragon: Icarus. Previously the Big Bad of Haddyn but Demoted to Dragon by Harth.
- Eldritch Abomination: Boluz and Vrill, who act as The Man Behind the Man for Urkonn , and Neauth.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Mel. Of course.
- Flashback: To Harth getting killed and turned by Icarus, and the aftermath.
- Future Slang: To the point where Buffy starts thinking she should have treated the English language better in the Season 8 tie-in... The slight downside is that no one remembers words like "vampire."
- Mexican Standoff: Averted. ZZZAP! "I don't have a standoff..."
- Most Common Superpower: Averted. Joss explicitly states in the TPB that "I wanted a real girl, with real posture, a slight figure (that's my classy way of saying 'little boobs')."
- Motivational Lie: Urkonn kills Loo and makes Mel think that the vampires did it so she'd focus on her training, then go out and kick some ass. It worked, but when Mel realizes the truth, she's pissed.
- Multicolored Hair: Mel
- Parental Abandonment: We don't see or hear about the Fray siblings' parents. At all.
- Parental Substitute: Amma and Jove, Loo's parents.
- Reality Ensues: Mel has been killing vampires left and right, so Harth sends Icarus to finish her off. Big face-off between the Slayer and the monster who killed and turned her brother? Not so much. Erin drops a car on him.
- Saying Too Much: When Mel is rallying the people of Haddyn to fight against the incoming horde of vampires, Urkonn mentions that anyone who can't fight should stay inside for safety, since vampires have to be invited in. Mel then realizes that vampires didn't kill Loo—Urkonn did.
- Self Plagiarism: Urkonn's Motivational Lie about a character's death because the heroes "needed the push" and the serpentine leviathan with monsters in its belly floating over Manhattan would both be re-purposed in The Avengers.
- This comic also gave Whedon a chance to experiment once again with something of an Aborted Arc from Buffy: in the first season of Buffy, the Master created an Undead Child known as the Anointed One, who was supposed to be a major player. Except the character never got to do much of anything and had to be unceremoniously killed off early in the second season because the child actor playing him was obviously growing too old too quickly to continue being believable. Harth gives Whedon a chance to revisit that concept without the issues of a child actor, being censored for tv, or aging issues.
- Shout-Out: After Mel kills Ne-auth and Harth flees, one of the ads is the moving soda ad from Blade Runner.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Mel and Urkonn hit it off well.
- Take-That Kiss: Harth gives Mel one after she kills Ne-Auth and defeats him.
- Tattooed Crook: Icarus
- Training from Hell: Urkonn's idea of dexterity training is throwing stuff at Mel and having her avoid them. It doesn't go well.
Mel: You hib me wib a girder!
Urkonn: How many claws am I holding up?
Mel: You hib my face wib a whole girder!
Urkonn: You were meant to duck.
Mel: Can we skib degsteriby?
- Treacherous Advisor: Urkonn is helping Fray stop Harth from starting the Apocalypse because his demon masters aren't ready for it yet, and supposed to kill her when she was done.
- Twin Tropes: Mel and Harth, fraternal twins. While she got all the physical powers, Harth got the collective memories of previous Slayers and prophetic dreams.
- Undead Child: Turns out that when Harth got bitten, he managed to bite Icarus and get turned into a vampire.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Mel's reaction to Urkonn is not what he'd expected. As she points out, there are enough strange-looking mutants ("I work for a fish.") that he doesn't really stand out that much. Five-year-old Loo, upon being introduced to Urkonn, just asks if he has any candy.
- Waif-Fu: It's a Joss Whedon work, what else were you expecting?