After the surprising conclusion to the second story arc of “Greek Street,” the book is taking a little breather for three issues with “Ajax” and artist Werther Dell’Edera stepping in for Davide Gianfelice. Not only does this issue feature a new artist, it steps away from the cast of the first 11 issues entirely, focusing on Alex, a British soldier, jumping between him back at home and his stint in Afghanistan. Haunted by visions of dead soldier in a Spartan helmet, Alex hasn’t been the same since his return.
The bulk of this issue focuses on Alex’s tour of duty in Afghanistan, prefaced by his vision of the dead soldier, his problems adjusting to life back at home, and references to an incident that should have merited a medal or two, but didn’t. In Afghanistan, two events stand out immediately as Alex shows himself as something less than the shining example of a perfect soldier. First, he shoots a man mistakenly thinking he was going for a weapon of some kind. Then, he openly mocks a Minister in the government at a televised event in a manner that most readers should appreciate even if the Minister in question cannot.
While the second event doesn’t have many direct consequences, the first does, and leads to the event that, I’d guess, Alex should have received a medal for. It’s a shocking act of violence and the first time that he sees the vision of the dead soldier in the Spartan helmet. Alex comes off during the violence, and prior to it, as not quite incompetent, just not a guy born to be a soldier. He’s obviously unhappy being in Afghanistan and is very paranoid about something bad happening.
The framing sequences of Alex in England don’t work entirely at showing us what’s wrong with him or how he’s been changed. Him stumbling around drunk doesn’t suggest anything different nor his wife saying he’s changed. Even in Afghanistan, he seemed quick-tempered and not at ease with himself. That’s one area where the writing doesn’t succeed.
The art, on the other hand, works very well. Werther Dell’Edera providing the art for this arc separates it visually from the first two arcs and makes it stand out. Dell’Edera’s crisp, clean style is strong at storytelling and getting across what’s necessary for comprehension. He has a cartoony look to his art, using a minimal amount of lines and blocky shadows, which works particularly well in the Afghanistan scenes with the bright sun and large landscapes.
Patricia Mulvihill’s colors blend together very well with Dell’Edera’s art, using a very pale shade of reddish brown or blue for the Afghanistan scenes, suggesting sundown or nighttime and a general bleak look to the land. The distinction between Afghanistan and England is apparent in the colors without being too obvious or using an overarching color tone.
What stands out most about “Greek Street” #12 is the refreshing nature of the book stepping outside its regular cast to show another person reliving Greek stories. Whether or not Alex will tie into the larger story or if any other of the familiar cast will show up is unknown, but it definitely makes for a nice change of pace.