CBR Review: Fray

Fray: How Comics Went to the Future of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the far-future of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the TV hero’s legacy lived on in Fray, who even traveled back to the past for a team-up with Buffy.

While the majority of Buffy the Vampire Slayer focused on the present day and occasionally ventured into the past, there was only on consistent element from the future of the Slayerverse – the cyberpunk world of Fray, the Slayer of the 23rd century.

Now, we’re taking a look back at who Fray was and how her history illuminated the future of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics continuity.

Fray’s timeline was originally introduced in an eight-issue miniseries of the same name by Joss Whedon, Karl Moline, and Andy Owens. The series focused on Mel Fray and her twin borther, Harth. Centuries in the future, society is full of grimy technological-heavy cityscapes such as Haddyn. At some point in the 21st century, Buffy and her allies successfully defeated an army of demons, albeit at a great cost: the Slayer Army list their connection to the Slayer lineage and their power, and Buffy was forced to hold the line against an army of demons in a hellish dimension to save the world. Willow sealed the gate, and her guilt and grief pushed her into hiding – reembracing her Dark Willow side, living far into the future.

Since then, only a few elements of the old world remain: the Watcher’s Council, formerly a major ally in the defense of Earth, has all but fallen apart. Vampires — now known as Lurks — roam the cities, killing and turning the citizens. Among them are Harth, who willingly turned himself into a vampire to survive an attack by one. What complicated this was that his sister Mel was actually the newest incarnations of the Slayer, a mystical spiritual connection across the ages that empowers certain young women with enhanced abilities. But no Slayer had been born with a twin, leading to the unexpected complication that Harth received the prophetic visions that previous Slayers had. Mel instead received all the physical traits that come with a Slayer, such as enhanced strength, speed, and endurance.

After realizing her powers, Mel found an unlikely mentor in the “neutral” demon, Urkonn. He argued that Fray would be crucial in the battles to come. It was during this time that Mel took up the Slayer Scythe — an ancient tool once used by Buffy in the 21st century — as a weapon, and learned the truth of what happened to her brother. Mel was ultimately able to prevent Harth from unleashing a new gateway to the demonic planes, working with their older sister (and skeptical police officers Erin) to force her brother to abandon his plans and flee. But she also realized that Urkonn had been manipulating her, even murdering one of her friends to spur her into combat. In response, Mel attacked and killed Urkonn before becoming the chief protector of her world.

While searching for Harth’s whereabouts, Fray came across the ancient Watcher’s Journals, which finally filled her in on the history of the Slayers. She sought out details about Harth’s new ally, a powerful sorceress known as just the Mad Woman — in reality an ancient but still powerful Willow. An additional surprise came in the form of Buffy, who’d been ripped out of her own time-period and shunted into the future. Fray and Buffy’s shared Slayer status led the pair to eventually trust one another, even when Willow lied to Fray and convinced her that Buffy returned to her own time-period would destroy the future Fray lived in. Buffy was forced to kill this corrupted version of her friend and return to the past, leaving Fray to continue her mission but with a deeper connection to her history.

Eventually, the future came back to haunt Buffy and her allies during “The Reckoning,” when Harth found a way to return to the 21st century. While fighting against him and his army in the present day, it’s revealed that the loss of the Slayers was caused by focusing the totality of the Slayer power into Buffy before she was lost in hell. Harth is actually able to steal the power for himself in a bid to change the present and rule the future. But the overwhelming nature of the power was too much for Harth, giving Buffy and Mel the chance to stake him — ending the threat of Harth and changing the future by restoring the Slayer line to the world as a whole. Mel and Erin were sent back to their time period, only to discover a far different — and incredibly positive — future, created in-part by the presence of Slayers.

Original article at CBR

This article has been reproduced for archive purposes.

Author: Cider

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