The news of “Greek Street” ending with issue 16 was met as being part of the larger story of various Vertigo books being cancelled lately. A few have lamented that this series will be ending so soon, but, for most, it makes sense. I’ve bought every issue and I’m not too surprised that this book isn’t lighting up the sales charts, because its quality varies on an issue-to-issue basis. Things seemed to be in an upswing with the end of the second story arc as characters and ideas began to cohere. Even the first issue of the three-part “Ajax” showed that “Greek Street” just needed some time to get into a good groove. The end of “Ajax,” though, is a disappointment, lacking a strong payoff to the story.
Alex, the British soldier who came back from Afghanistan somewhat unhinged, tries to take out his problems on the person he thinks responsible: a Minister in the British government that supposedly prevented Alex being awarded a medal for his service. He kidnaps the Minister at gunpoint, partly wanting revenge and partly not knowing what he wants. It’s the logical place for the character to end up, but it’s also the obvious place. Nothing about this issue surprises or comes off as original. Now, that’s somewhat the point of “Greek Street,” but the end of the issue doesn’t feel like a clever allusion to Greek stories as other parts of the series have, it comes off as clichéd and pointless.
The issue isn’t all bad with a rather interesting opening scene as Alex remembers riding in a tank through burning poppy fields in Afghanistan, breathing in the burning plants and getting high. Or, the revelation that the Minister was originally angry at Alex’s mockery of him in Afghanistan, but was put in place by Alex’s commanding officer and that the missing medal was as a result of a clerical error. The small touches in the issue are sound, but the broad strokes are just too cliché.
Werther Dell’Edera has been a great addition to the title for these three issues. His dark, evocative style with bold, thick brushstrokes suits the tone of this story, especially when Alex and the Minister are in the abandoned building alone. More than previous issues, Dell’Edera’s art has some roughness around the edges with characters less formed or their movements shown through sketchier line work. His style actually looks equally strong when seemingly rushed or less finished. The dark, overuse of browns that’s typical of Vertigo comics coheres well with his dark line work, too.
While I will be disappointed when “Greek Street” ends in two issues, this issue doesn’t present much of an argument for the series continuing. This issue is a downturn for an otherwise solid story arc and definitely fits in with some of the early issues of the series.