11 December 2011

Greek Street, by Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice

I was not at my best and brightest today, to put it delicately, and somehow, all I could seem to do was lie in bed and read this series. All of it. The whole things took maybe 3 hours? And despite the fact that I didn't think it was that well done, and didn't even especially enjoy it, it was somehow the exact right thing to be doing today. In other words, do I recommend it, not especially, there are much, much better graphic novels out there, but at the same time, this one makes for a strangely satisfying way to spend an afternoon if you are otherwise incapacitated.

The artwork, by Davide Gianfelice, is probably the best thing about the series. It's pretty nice looking. Unsurprisingly, there are lots of scantily clad and extremely voluptuous women, and they are really hot. The carnage is gory and super cool looking. Basically, it all just looks really awesome.

The plot, however, is a bit of a mess. Even leaving the whole greek angle aside, it's just a really convoluted story, and one that gets increasingly ridiculous. Maybe it was due to my reduced number of brain cells, but at moments, I honestly wasn't sure what was going on (thinking back on it, there are aspects of the story that still don't make sense). There are lots of various subplots, and they're stitched together pretty clumsily at times. The characters don't make much sense, nor is it clear who - if anyone - we're meant to be rooting for, which one could say is a sign of a nuanced moral compass, but to me seemed more like inconsistent character portrayal. And it annoyed me.

Then, of course, there's the greek angle. The series is supposed to be a modern retelling of greek myths/tragedies - I heard about it from one of my students, who brought it up when we were discussing Oedipus Rex. Some aspects of this are quite clever. But overall, it doesn't really work, partly because the author is trying to unite like 20 different stories, and makes a muck of everything in the process. And it's generally not clear what the relationship between these characters and the original Greek texts is. Some of the references don't really make sense - by the end, it seems like people are randomly being given names of Greek characters, despite not really being in any way references to them. It's really irritating. What is more, at various moments characters actually READ Greek tragedies, which makes it all a bit post-modern, I guess, but also gums it up even more.

The more I think about it (or try to), the plot is just badly done. It's kind of a disaster really. I might try re-reading it at some point, because it actually seems like a potentially informative example of a really badly done plot. It's a pity, because it seems like such a cool idea, and the artwork is really neat.

I totally wanna read more graphic novels now though. Maybe I'll finally read Sandman...

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