The fifth issue of “Greek Street” concludes the first story arc of this retelling/reinterpretation of classic Greek myths and drama in contemporary London and it’s a solid issue, but the end of the story acts more as a beginning to a larger story. Anyone hoping to find a conclusive story in the first arc of “Greek Street” will need to look elsewhere since, by issue five, Milligan and Gianfelice are still just setting things up for the future. At the same time, it’s difficult to judge where this book is going, something that should be clear after five issues.
“Greek Street” continues to interweave half a dozen or so plots, this issue succeeding in finally making the connections between all of the characters much clearer as Eddie has an affair with Lord Menon’s wife and, though her, meets their oracle daughter, Sandy. Add to that updates on Menon, the Fureys, detective constable Dedalus, and a few more characters, and it’s a full issue. However, like previous issues, it nearly collapses under the weight of all of its plots.
Instead of beginning with a couple of characters and building the world up over time, Milligan has simply thrown everyone at us at once and, as a result, things move slowly and remain unclear even after five issues. There’s a general sense of a larger picture, but we’ve only seen a very, very small part of it. Even the supposedly main character, Eddie, is still somewhat mysterious and it’s not apparent what he wants.
At the same time, individual scenes in this issue are executed with great skill. The interactions of Eddie and Lady Menon or Eddie and Sandy are great as people from different social worlds come together. Or, Dedalus’ conversation with his boyfriend about recent murders sheds more light on who this detective is. The problem is that the scenes never add up to a strong, compelling whole that fit together to tell a complete story. Milligan doesn’t balance the demands of serial storytelling with telling a large, epic story well yet. But, things have improved over the last few issues.
That’s not the only thing that’s improved, as Davide Gianfelice continues to impress, gaining in confidence and skill with each issue. The first page recap as told by one of the chorus strippers could be a stale feature by this point, but it continues to work visually as Gianfelice improves and delivers new poses, perspectives, and body language/facial expressions. The rest of the issue shows him getting to know these characters more and more, able to depict them in varying emotional states. The art does suffer under the typical bland Vertigo coloring that attempts realism, but just looks murky.
While a good issue, it’s disappointing that, after five issues and one story arc, what “Greek Street” is all about and where it is going isn’t entirely clear. The ambition of the book is laudable, but without interesting, complete stories along the way, that ambition may not get realized.