Before reading “Greek Street” #16, the final issue of the series, I decided to reread the entire series to put the issue in a proper context and judge how it acted as a finale to the series. While the ending may be premature, “Greek Street” never rose above a certain level of quality, petering out at ‘decent’ or ‘good’ often, derailed by too large a cast and an ever-changing status quo that never allowed for many of the characters to gain any traction. Given the book’s roots in Greek mythology, relying on types instead of fully fleshed characters is keeping with the themes presented, but it doesn’t make for an engaging read, necessarily. There was always a sense that the story was leading ‘somewhere,’ but that remained the case for the first two story arcs, resulting in this week’s finale being that ‘somewhere’ whether it was intended or not.
Titled “Deus,” the final issue of “Greek Street” builds throughout to a confrontation surrounding the dead/resurrected Mischa/Medea as all of the still living cast members converge on her, some wanting to protect her, some wanting to arrest her, and the rest wanting to kill her. Of all the points that the book could converge on, Mischa/Medea is the most logical one given her connections to the rest of the characters; she’s been a through line of the book. With the supposed protagonist, Eddie, set up as her chief hunter, the two become tied together, an idea that plays itself out at the end.
However, in constructing the issue this way, Milligan sets the issue up for a fitting-yet-unsatisfactory ending due to the ‘gods’ introduced last issue. The ending of “Deus” plays off the name and acts as a final example of where this series went wrong: focusing on the themes and idea of recreating ancient Greek stories instead of the characters and storytelling. As the plots all come to a head, the ‘goddess of love,’ a somewhat amorphous pink alien-type creature, descends on all gathered claiming protection over Mischa/Medea and taking her away — Eddie, too, when he asks to go, saying, “Love. That’s all I ever wanted. Ever. Please.” Deus ex machina. Or, as Dedalus puts it: “A winged bloody chariot.”
In some ways, there’s no other way the series could end. It’s an acknowledgment that no ending, at this early point, would be satisfactory. Any attempt would be a rushed, truncated affair, so why not go out in an obviously incomplete manner that also happens to call back to the end of “Medea” and other Greek plays? But, it’s also the easy way out; the obvious way out. This is particularly true for Eddie, the most complex and human of the characters in the book. He was a swarm of contradictions and conflicting impulses, both incredibly fragile and broken beyond repair. To simply carry him off solves nothing, giving him a conclusion that’s not a resolution. Not even an attempt at one.
Davide Gianfelice’s growth over the course of the 13 issues he drew of the series has been considerable. His line work in this issue is thicker and rougher in its use of ink, while his compositions are looser, less controlled. These changes suit him and the continually changing world of the book as it spirals towards its conclusion. The twisted violence of Eddie is messy and unrestrained, contrasted with the cool confidence of the object of that violence, Chantel, until it’s apparent that Eddie is not playing around. But, it’s tied together by the lost look of hopelessness on Eddie’s face afterwards. The sheer expressiveness of Gianfelice’s art is stunning.
The (anti-)climax of the issue is conveyed with skill by Gianfelice and colorist Patricia Mulvihill. Her use of reds throughout the issue pays off in that scene, playing off the convention of red skies in comics and delivering a different sort of ‘crisis.’ It’s a deviation from the traditional colors of the series and makes the finale more palatable that it would be otherwise.
“Greek Street” may be a lost masterpiece, done in before its time, but the 16 issues released don’t suggest that. Instead, they present an ambitious comic that was too lost in its intellectual games to deliver compelling and engrossing characters and stories. It wandered, looking for something to latch onto, always promising an endgame that would make it all worthwhile, and that final point never came. Instead, there’s another convention, another intellectual game... “A winged bloody chariot.”