In my review of the first issue of “Greek Street,” I concluded by writing “While ‘Greek Street’ #1 never goes beyond setting up the concept and introducing characters, it does show potential as it seems to play to the strengths of both Milligan and Gianfelice.” The same can be said for the second issue of Vertigo’s latest ongoing, since it still feels as if the book is setting up plots and characters instead of delving into them.
With the extra-sized first issue, you would hope that Milligan got all of the introductions out of the way, but this issue continues to put characters into play and outline their relationships. This slower pace is because there are a large number of characters and plots. Milligan is laying out a broad, intricate playing field, and that’s slowing down the book’s momentum. He does use quick pacing to keep things moving, though, shifting from plot to plot at a breakneck pace.
As the cast is not yet laid out completely, it’s hard to tell at times what exactly is going on — or, more importantly, what it means in relation to the other plots. For those who missed the $1 first issue (and shame on you if you did!), the first page has a member of the Chorus recap what happened and, then, Milligan and Gianfelice just jump on in with the dead woman’s body found last issue and the consequences of Eddie’s self-mutilation, which was the most surprising part of the first issue.
However, the rest of the issue is mostly a jumble of scenes that don’t quite connect as of yet. It’s great to see that Milligan and Gianfelice trust readers to keep up — and keep all of the characters straight — but this is also the second issue of the series and, with an extra-sized first issue, the comic should be out of ‘trust us, it will all make sense soon’ territory and providing a bit more substance as a whole. The individual scenes often work well, but without context, they’re only so effective.
The updating of/alluding to Greek stories and myths are still subtle and go off in different directions than the premise suggests. Eddie still isn’t quite in line with Oedipus and the gangs don’t evoke anything yet except using familiar names. That Milligan doesn’t rely too heavily on the underlying material is a big plus.
Davide Gianfelice manages to improve upon his art from the first issue, which I thought was great. He leans heavier to the cartoony side of things in this issue, foregoing a lot of the grounded realism that periodically showed up in the first issue, choosing to instead play up certain elements of each character to give them all distinctive looks. This isn’t quite the real world as we know it and the art reflects that well. The book is mired a bit in the usual Vertigo coloring, heavy on browns and reds, which I’m not sure helps the art, but it also doesn’t hurt it too much either.
“Greek Street” needs to start progressing beyond the set-up and deliver more in the way of plot and character development. It continues to show potential, but how long readers will give the book the time to reach that potential is debatable – and not the best way to launch a new series.