I want to apologize for my extreme lateness in posting. I’d like to blame the commencement of a new semester, but I don’t think I’m comfortable lying to you. I mean, I love you guys.
I had a hard time thinking of who I wanted to start writing about, after some thought, I decided I’d choose Melaka Fray from Joss Whedon’s Fray, another epic from the Buffyverse. Joss is one of those writers who, you’re pretty sure you know what he’s going to do, but you’re excited to see how he does it. Fray is like that. If you’ve watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse, The Avengers, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, you know that Joss isn’t afraid to stir the gender-identity pot and kill someone you didn’t realize you loved so much. If you love Joss at all you’ll go out and read Fray.
Quick summary of Fray, Melaka Fray is a thief-for-hire and the new slayer in a world that hasn’t had a slayer for a long time. This is because Buffy banished all the demons into another dimension and, only recently, have vampires come back in this post-post-apocalyptic society, which is why she’s been called upon to become the Slayer.
That particular demon becomes Fray’s Watcher, her guide and trainer as she becomes a Slayer. Turns out, though, when Urkonn (that demon up there) tells her she is the Slayer, that she should know she’s the Slayer because of her dreams (remember? Every Slayer dreams of being another girl in another time fighting monsters), which she hasn’t been having. This is because Melaka is a twin and her brother, Harth, had been having all of those dreams. She, on the other hand, got all of the Slayer powers: strength, agility, super-healing. Oh, and real quick: because Harth had been having those dreams and knew about the history and what vampires were/are, he knew how to become one. So, he did.
That’s the most interesting curve I could have expected from Joss. It’s difficult to think of the Slayer as polarized in this way. Sure, we’ve seen Buffy go through some massive inner-turmoil, as if she was at war with herself constantly. With Melaka, though, that particular war becomes more literal as she is fighting almost as a half-Slayer who must adapt with her lack of knowledge of the history of vampires, demons, and Slayers, and when she is fighting with the other half-Slayer who is, not only male, but her twin brother.
While I really like Melaka and I hope that someday Joss will get back to writing more of her story, Harth is very intriguing. Because he appears to have been the emotional half of the Slayer, somehow, he is warped by it. It’s interesting to hear how he describes the Slayer dreams,
I DREAMED. ALWAYS. BEFORE MY EARLIEST MEMORIES OF THE WORLD, THERE WERE TEH DREAMS. THERE WAS THE GIRL. SHE WAS DIFFERENT EVERY TIME. BUT THE SAME. A PEASANT, A PRIESTESS…HUNDREDS OF GIRLS, FROM TIMES WE’VE FORGOTTEN, WORLDS WE COULDN’T PICTURE. SHE WAS ME. SHE WASN’T ME. I LOVED HER. I KILLED HER.
It’s almost like there wasn’t any control, either in this instance or maybe there never was any when a new Slayer needed to become chosen. That there shouldn’t have been a twin and that twin most certainly could not be male. It makes me wonder, Harth’s dialogue in particular, if whatever it is that bestows the Slayer’s powers– let’s say destiny– was trying to correct an error in letting Harth live as long as he did. That, maybe he wasn’t supposed to be born at all. But, because he was, the dreams he had bent him and drove him to dying and becoming a vampire.
This is all just a conception of an idea…I’m wondering if Fray is another– perhaps better– telling of Thanatos and Eros, the death-drive and the life-drive as described by Freudians. Melaka is (obvi) Eros, while Harth is Thanatos.
The idea is burning.
At any rate, this comic needs a higher readership. Go. Buy. Read. Love.