Created & Written by: Joss Whedon
Penciler: Karl Moline
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorists: Dave Stewart & Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Michelle Madsen
CHAPTER 2 - The Calling
Page 01: Fray has just entered her apartment, when over her shoulder she sees a giant, horned devil.
Page 02: Melaka tries to flee backwards, but the brute grabs her by her ankle. He swings her into a wall of the apartment. She rolls across a desk and hits the floor.
Page 03: Springing to her feet, she draws her zap gun. The devil calls her a fool, letting her know that he is a member of the D'Avvrus and ergo immune to bullets.
She fires. As we already know, she doesn't use bullets. In fact, she doesn't know what bullets are.
Urkonn falls to the floor with a yell.
Commentary: This was pretty funny.
Page 04: Fray is expecting this invader to be out for an hour or so, but he springs back up just as fast as she had. He tackles her, breaking through the apartment wall and sending them both falling toward the ground. She's able to maneuver him to take the blow with the ground, using his body as a cushion.
Page 05: They crash through another roof.
Fray climbs out of the hole, complaining that he wasn't a soft landing. But Urkonn isn't out for the count either. She gives him a flying kick to the face, which he isn't happy about. He complains to her that he wasn't trying to harm her.
Page 06: She fairly points out that he attacked her, but he tells her he was just trying to stop her from fleeing before he could explain what he wanted. She next points out that he sent her through a wall.
He replies that he got angry - the zap gun hurt. He informs her that he has been sent to prepare her for her destiny against the vampires - but she doesn't know what that is, either.
Page 07: We cut to where the vampires are and discover one holding a woman. She has bite marks and blood splashed on her throat. The vampire will be named Icarus. One of the other vampires brings Icarus a package.
Page 08: The package is the same necklace that Fray stole and sold to Gunther. Icarus takes it to another someone whom we don't see. In the meanwhile, the vampire who brought the package to him is complaining to his compatriots that Icarus used to be the bad-ass but ever since the mysterious 'he' showed up, he's turned into a lapdog.
Icarus has returned during the minion's rant, however and isn't pleased. Nor does he accept the apology offered by his henchman. He demands that in penance the thug bite off his own pinky finger in offering.
Page 09: When the minion hesitates, Icarus tells him to either bite off his pinky, or take him on in a fight to the death. The minion chooses to lose the finger.
Commentary: We don't see it, but we do hear the crunch as Icarus watches impassively. The only thing I don't like about vampires in this comic is the coloring used. For some reason, their skin tone is violet. VIOLET?! WTH.
Elsewhere, Fray has been told that the vampires are what she's been referring to as 'lurkers'. She's not buying Urkonn's tales of her destiny or that she is this mysterious Slayer he's looking for. She thinks he's trying to spin a joke on her for somebody.
Page 10: Urkonn presses her about her dreams, telling her she knows in them that he speaks the truth to her, but she angrily informs him that she doesn't have any special dreams.
Page 11: Urkonn tells her that every Slayer is tied to past Slayers psychically and they all have the dreams in which they live other lives. She points out that sort of proves that she isn't the 'guy' he's looking for. He tries to get her to explain her powers if she isn't the Chosen One, but she tells him she's just good at stuff - end of story.
He changes tack, asking how she would explain him if he's making up tales. Again, she has an answer - she already works for a fish (Gunther) so she's used to seeing strange mutations - nothing demonic required. She tells him that he's not going to convince her of anything just by playing the "ugly card".
He mutters that he thinks he's getting angry again and wonders what sort of Slayer he's gotten stuck with.
Commentary: This actually a pretty clever idea. With the world being so different and with demons being unknown in this future, Fray makes an interesting Slayer... one who doesn't know she is one, doesn't have any reason that she is different for a reason than everyone else and doesn't bat an eye at things that in our century, a newly called Slayer would be very hard pressed to explain. I'm also intrigued by her claim that she has never had Slayer dreams - Is it because she's the first to be called in two centuries, meaning the chain was broken at some point? Is she lying? Is there something else going on - like maybe she isn't actually a Slayer? Is perhaps Erin the Slayer, instead?
Page 12 & 13: In a police hover vehicle over the city, Erin is complaining to her partner that Melaka is a thief and a liar and is going to end up in 'rehabilitation'. Broder, the partner, says she's just rebelling to get to her.
Below them at street level, little Loo is regaling some older boys about her hero, Melaka.
At the mid-level airspace is a little probe zipping through the city with a "deetdeetdeetdeetdeet" noise....
Meanwhile, when Loo reveals that her mom says that Mel is a thief, the boys think it's the coolest thing ever.
Page 14: At Fray's slum apartment, Urkonn is warning her that if she turns her back on her Slayer calling the lurks will overrun the world. She tries again to tell him she isn't this Slayer he keeps going on about and that the lurks can't over run anything - they're just freaks who lurk.
He stops her short by asking if she thinks they're just "a bunch of freaks" then why she fears them....
Commentary: When he asks her this and she gets that stunned look on her face, I immediately started to wonder about that single panel flashback during her fight with Erin. Who was that boy (a brother?) and what happened to him that caused Erin to say that she couldn't take care of anyone and for Mel to react so strongly with that "You bitch" comment. Did it involve the lurks?
Page 15: Their discussion is interrupted by the "deetdeetdeet" thingy, which she identifies as a carrier pigeon. She tells Urkonn it means she is getting another job to 'run' for Gunther. Mel tells Urkonn she's done talking to him and wants him gone when she gets back to her literal "hole in the wall".
He tries to warn her that the lurkers are closer than she knows, but she ignores him.
Page 16: She tells him she hopes he has a backup plan in mind, since she's not interested in this supposed Slayer gig.
He warns that they do - but she won't like it, but she's already gone.
A bit later and she's welding into an access panel to gain entry into a museum....
Page 17: Her target is a strange, little statuette that wouldn't seem to be worth anything, looking at it. Urkonn's warnings about the lurks are still preying on her mind....
Page 18: Just after she gets the statue, an alarm sounds and she realizes that she didn't set it off. She stuffs the statue into her backpack and runs for the exit, not having time to finesse her way back out.
She runs into a big, fat 'lurk', with a guard in its hands whose throat is torn out.
Page 19: She stands frozen again, like in the alley - and we get another single panel flashback: she's lying on the ground, blood on her face and she's yelling at someone named Harth to run.
While Mel is flashbacking, the lurk tackles her, licking her shoulder. She brings up an elbow to the side of his face, which causes him to retaliate by biting deeply into her arm...!
Page 20: Mel acts with revulsion by tearing her arm from its mouth - she realizes that it was sucking at the wound.
Page 21: Using that Slayer strength she keeps telling Urkonn doesn't mean she's actually Chosen, she throws the lurk into a glass case. Mel realizes that it is still moving around, and she doesn't have a clue on how to kill him if being shredded by glass didn't do the trick.
There is also the issue of the police surely closing in on the alarm the lurk set off.
Page 22: In the museum a bit later, the police are noting the lurk lying where Mel left it (presumably unconscious, but alive) and the dead guard with the torn throat.
At her apartment, she finds Urkonn still waiting for her on the roof of her building and looking out over the city: "So... tell me... what's a Slayer," she asks him....
The Good: The artwork.
I like the two mysteries coming together: clearly Harth is the boy in the first flashback and is tied to the lurks, somehow. Just as clearly, the necklace and now this statuette is somehow also tied to them - through Gunther.
The Bad: I thought the violet vamps were supposed to be shadows in the first chapter, but no - they're skin tone is just purple. I don't get that choice.
The Score: Still not enough to really know what is going on, but we're getting little drabbles of information if we're paying attention.
3.25 out of 5.