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Comic Book / Fray

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Bad day. Started bad. Stayed that way.

Fray, or sometimes Fray: Future Slayer, is an 8-issue Comic Book series written by Joss Whedon, with art by Karl Moline. 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. Again.

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.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Urkonn presents her with the Slayer Scythe to help in the Final Battle. This is the same weapon that Buffy would find and use in Season 7.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Deconstructed; the Watchers Council have gone insane from centuries of fruitless waiting for another Slayer to be called. The Watcher who turns up to warn Fray that she has been Chosen deliberately sets himself on fire, and they serve no further purpose in the story.
  • 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...: Erin after crashing a Flying 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. Of course then there was a season 9 and the magic started coming back then so…
  • 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."
  • 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 when her brother was killed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mel's boss Gunther is a mutant fish person who lives in a large water tank whose roof is the glass floor of his meeting room. Mel and Urkonn go to confront Gunther about his treachery, but it's actually Mel luring Urkonn into a trap by smashing Gunther's tank so she can fight Urkonn underwater, as he can't swim, something she realised after he failed to try and save her when she got knocked into the river.
  • Creepy Child: Again, Harth.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: 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.
  • Description Cut: One of the demon's comments about how Fray "can say goodbye to her nice quiet life" over a two page panel of the girl in question getting thrown off of a building during a grab.
  • Distant Sequel: The series takes place in the 23rd Century, more than 200 years after the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: The Big Bad tosses Mel aside...and through a wall into the Absurdly-Spacious Sewer. Oops!
  • The Dragon: Icarus. Previously the Big Bad of Haddyn but Demoted to Dragon by Harth.
  • Eat Me: Fray gets swallowed by a giant demon creature. Rather than hack her way out of the stomach as per usual for this trope, she gets caught in its throat and hacks her way to the brain, then exits via the eye.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Boluz and Vrill (who act as The Man Behind the Man for Urkonn) and Neauth, the Old One conjured up by the Big Bad.
  • Enemy Mine: The main reason Urkonn is sent to train Mel is because his demon masters don't want the vampires rising up and taking power.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zigzagged by Urkonn. While he wants Fray to learn how to fight and ultimately cannot bring himself to kill her, he kills Loo to motivate her. He does feel bad about it, though, and lets Fray kill him rather than kill her.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Mel pins up her hair for the final battle, when she knuckles down and truly becomes the Slayer.
  • Flashback: To Harth getting killed and turned by Icarus, and the aftermath.
  • Fingore: When Icarus overhears one of his minions badmouthing him for choosing to serve Harth, he gives him a choice - fight him or bite off his pinky. The minion chooses the latter.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In-Universe with lurks, who don't know they can do such things as pass for human until The One Who Will Lead teaches them.
  • 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."
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The doctors wonder why a glitch in the x-ray machine showed that Fray's back had been broken.
  • Go for the Eye: Inverted from the usual; after being swallowed whole by a giant demon creature, Fray hacks her way out of his eye.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The authorities pay little attention to the lurk problem because they live in the sewers and prey on the inhabitants of the Warren. Fortunately Mel's sister is able to gather a posse of officers who've come up against lurks and are therefore a bit more concerned about the problem.
  • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Totally averted with the exception of one scene where Mel is showering in water diverted from a pipe (for which she is of course naked), but it's in shadow so it doesn't show anything.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome:
    • Fray faces up with Icarus and even throws aside the Scythe to take him on in hand-to-hand combat. Then her sister squashes Icarus by dropping a flying car on top of him. Fray isn't bothered, admitting that she quite likely would have gotten herself killed.
    • Kettie Rawls turns up for the Final Battle in a flying motorcycle with twin Gatling Good, but a lurk quickly knocks him off the bike and it crashes.
  • No Body Left Behind: Mel is surprised and amazed the first time she dusts a vampire. The intended victim has to point out that she needs to Run or Die as there are a lot more on the way.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: The Batman Cold Open involves Fray being tossed off a building and breaking her fall by grabbing hold of (or falling on top of) various objects or flying cars, turning one fall into a series of lesser falls. She assumes this technique is why she survived even if such a fall would have crippled anyone else.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The lurks don't even know that they're vampires until The One Who Will Lead tells them about their past. Everyone else just assumes that they're mutants of some kind.
  • Offhand Backhand: After the battle has been won, someone charges up behind Urkonn with a weapon, shouting that he's another of the monsters. Urkonn just knocks him out without looking.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: When Fray is told that a Wooden Stake will kill a lurk, she points out that natural wood is rare.
  • Parental Abandonment: We don't see or hear about the Fray siblings' parents. At all.
  • Parental Substitute: Amma and Jove, Loo's parents.
  • Ransacked Room: Mel returns to find her place trashed and Loo lying dead under a smashed table.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: On returning to her apartment Fray is happy that her bad day is finally over. We then see a huge demon is waiting there for her. Though in the next edition he's revealed to be Urkonn Trespassing to Talk.
  • There Was a Door: Fray and Urkonn get into a fight on their first meeting and get knocked clear through the wall of Fray's apartment. Everyone uses the massive hole as a doorway from then on.
  • This Means War!: Mel after she finds Loo's body. Urkonn proceeds to wax lyrical about how War Is Hell.
  • 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 don't want it happening on the vampires' terms. He was 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.
  • Villain Teleportation: One of Icarus' mooks starts badmouthing him after he walks off into the distance. Seconds later Icarus is Right Behind Me demanding the mook either challenge him then and there or bite off his own finger in penance. He bites off the finger.
  • Waif-Fu: It's a Joss Whedon work, what else were you expecting?