In Greek Street, classical Greek myths are retold, set in a street in Soho, London. I imagine if you know a bit about Greek mythology, you could get a lot out of the story. However, I know next to nothing, although I did pick up on the Oedipus thing in issue one (please don’t read anything into that). The real appeal to me is writer Peter Milligan mythologizing a real area of London that I may have walked through on one of my occasional visits to the city.
Greek Street isn’t an immediate hook like Skreemer or The Enigma was. It feels more of a grower to me, like Shade The Changing Man. The knowledge that by the time I get to read the opening issues the series has already been cancelled hangs over the experience a little. I’m half waiting for the plotting to accelerate and for the threads to be tied up hurriedly. Furthermore, Milligan hasn’t always been consistent in recent years. X-Force/Static is one of the best superhero comics published over the last decade; however his runs on X-Men and Infinity Inc were forgettable. But Greek Street is his return to Vertigo, one of his more natural habitats, and it shows. The dialogue is tight, astute, natural and witty, the characterisation astounding. This is a definite retreat to form followed by an advancement.
Greek Street has a large cast and I spent most of the first issue consciously trying to memorise who they all are. So it’s a credit to artist Davide Goinfelice that by issue two I wasn’t thinking about who was who at all. In his On The Ledge column, Milligan lets slip that he’s been taking reference photos of the area for Goinfelica which makes me think that he might not actually be a UK resident. I think even if I hadn’t have read this I would still have experienced these issues imagining them drawn by John Ridgeway or Sean Philips. But I think this says just as much about my fondness for early comics published by Vertigo than about Goinfelica’s appropriateness for this job. Here, his work is strong and flexible and character driven, if a little too sunny. For me, the real achievement of these first five issues is that both creators manage to make me sympathetic towards Eddie, a character who fucks and kills his mum in the first episode.
Cost; my copies were an eBay win totalling £5.74 including postage. That works out at nearly £1.15 an issue, just within budget.