September 15th 2010

Greek Street: Blood calls for Blood

Writer: Peter Milligan | Artist: Davide Gianfelice

Review written by Gavin O’Reilly

Take a walk down Greek Street, where nothing is as it seems in the loud and lewd surroundings of modern day Soho, London. Cut tragically short, “Greek Street-Blood Calls For Blood” collects the shocking first five issues of the gripping re-imagining of the Greek tragedies in modern day London.

Having recently interviewed Peter Milligan, we here at LF were saddened to hear of the cancellation of this very promising series. That isn’t to say you should still give it a go- sometimes the best series or tales are short or limted ones- Watchmen never dragged on its life past its intended tale, and Fawlty Towers is still vaunted as the best comedy ever, giving the viewer only a 12 episode run.  Far from tragic- we should celebrate the inventiveness in taking something like the tragedies of the Greeks and re-inventing them in a very specifically individual and comfortingly English way.

The characters in Greek Street are rough, no-nonsense folk and are fully in the realm of the epically messed-up. However, they are livened up nicely by a jolly chorus of strippers. These good, game girls give us narration and story catch-ups from issue to issue, while being involved in the story itself.  This first collection documents the beginning of Eddy who after issue number one has committed an act to his mother that anyone who has any familiarity with Greek tragedy at all will already know, his action has a certain uncomfortable disposition in our world today, to say the least.

We follow Eddy as he becomes entangled with Soho players and gang men, leading him to an unexpected love interest, who on the surface at least, appears even more buck-shit crazy than himself. We also have sub-plots following the Inspector Dedalus who has just started to try piecing the very odd and surely supernatural happenings around Greek Street- where the series is calling on its influences and heritage directly, by having it involved in the book.

Though undoubtedly connected to the supernatural, the setting and writing being based in grimey, gritty London town give a haunting sense of realism which can make the book more uncomfortably enthralling than the other-worldly elements.  The writing is fast paced making this a page turner with regular olde world shocks and cliffhangers that breathe new air in Milligan’s take. The art is suitably jaunty, twisted enough without being too acutely distorted.  I particularly like the way Gianfelice depicts the human form- long, often bedraggled with sad and mournful faces. His capturing of emotion playing across the faces of the characters is perfectly fitted to the often very personal nature of the tragedies.

A shame that this series has been cancelled with issue 16, along with so much other good that  Vertigo and other publishes have been producing recently. We at LF salute its daring and originality, deftly staring the sometimes somewhat alien concepts of greek tragedy in the face, and refusing to compromise with all the bile and spirit the best weathered Soho dweller could muster.

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