1/09/2010. Contributed by Ewan Angus
pub: Titan Books/Vertigo. 139 page softcover. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-549-4.
check out websites: www.titanbooks.comand www.dccomics.com
We in the modern era are due a lot to the Greek tragedies. They are the basis of fiction, the womb of storytelling. Without them, we would have no 'Lord Of The Rings', no Lovecraft, no Spider-Man. They, along with the Bible, are all stories.
In 'Greek Street', his latest creator-owned series, Peter Milligan has updated their stories to the modern day. Oedipus is now Eddie, an orphan who sleeps with and murders his mother, Daedalus is a homosexual police officer, Agamemnon is a sexual fiend and a Tory lord. Set in and around London's Greek Street, it follows the ancient protagonists through their sordid and tragic lives. So it's all very contemporary and cool.
As the storylines go, its standard fare. It's all bleak and miserable with added modern angst. Its tragedy for the topshop era.
There's allusions to sinister forces, there's cynical strippers who parade themselves and their bodies as the stories chorus and there is lots of blood and guts.
Of course, our modern interpretation of ancient Greece is that it was all buggery and bloodshed and nowhere is that more apparent than here.
Dipping in and out of the classics, the first five issues follows Eddie's murder of his mother and his time on the run. He then runs a foul of the Fureys, a vicious gangster family who are in the process of attempting to blackmail Lord Memnon, whilst Daedalus investigates a string of malicious, cannibalistic murders that may be something to do with a re-animated corpse he found in the Thames.
So, whilst the juggling of the series plotlines is amicable, the plots themselves aren't really anything special. It's got a weak zombie murder story, a weak clairvoyant character there to sweep up loose plotlines and not a single character is likeable. So, whilst in sometimes this helps the novel, for the comic not so much.
Whilst on paper it seems like the idea of a contemporising of the Greek myths in modern London should work and, I'm not going to lie, the idea of 'Greek Street' as a basis is clever, it just doesn't really take off. It's a great idea to set the stories here, it's just unfortunate that these stories aren't all that engaging.
The art is another negative for me. Gianfelice's art is thick-lined with morose, imbued colours that seem to sink slowly between panels. It brings down the already miserable narrative. His art seems unable to bring any real emotion to the faces of the characters. There is never a happy moment in this.
So if a modern day mythos is your kind of thing then 'Greek Street' might be a good find for you. As an idea it's clever, it's just the payoff is weak. After recently reading 'Shade, The Changing Man', I've seen the work Milligan is capable of and this doesn't reach those giddy, surreal heights.
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