Here is a link to my newest review on basement jockeys. I hope you enjoy reading it.
UPDATE: “Basement Jockeys” is no longer in existence. For a reproduction of the original review, continue reading below.
I picked up “Greek Street: Blood Calls for Blood,” written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Davide Gianfelice, at random. I’d never heard of either of these guys before, and I sure as hell hadn’t heard of “Greek Street.” But, it was published by Vertigo, Grant Morrison commended it, and the premise was intriguing enough. The idea is, as explained on the first page, that the old stories—in particular, the Greek myths—aren’t finished with the mortal world yet. These stories continue to play themselves out, even in modern day London—where “Greek Street” is set. As an omniscient Greek chorus stripper tells us: “Medea and Agamemnon are still playing at the temple of Dionysus. It’s standing room only.”
But how well does it work? To be honest, much better than I expected. Milligan doesn’t recreate the myths with such strictness that they’d have no bearing in a modern day world. For instance, Eddie—an eighteen-year-old delinquent who plays the part of Oedipus—already knows who his biological mother is when he sleeps with her in issue 1. She just doesn’t know who he is, and gets him drunk, and well . . . the story of Oedipus; but one which works in a modern day setting like Soho, London. There are a few other adjustments: rather than being a spoil of war for Agamemnon, the delusional teenage Sandy (better known as the prophetess Cassandra) is instead his daughter. King Agamemnon himself is just Lord Menon. The Furies (half-human phantoms which plague those who break the sacredness of family) are portrayed as a tight-knit mafia known as “The Fureys” who’ll pursue their enemies to the death. Instead of being an artisan constructing wax-wings and labyrinths, Dedalus is an inspector trying to get to the bottom of all the incest and murder and mystery. And, despite this being a compilation of stories we’ve known for thousands of years, there is still some mystery to be had.
For one thing, there’s a dead woman who’s running around London butchering people. We know that her resurrection has something to do with three other women who are way more classic Greek than the rest of our modernized cast. Not to mention that we get to see these tragic heroes interact with each other in a way they never could in the myths, so that we’re left to wonder if maybe there’s finally peace to be had for these characters. Cassandra was cursed because no one believed her predictions—hence why Troy eventually fell. But, by the end of the first trade, Sandy’s got someone willing to stand behind her and her visions, and risk everything on them.
Something else I found interesting is that Milligan borrowed more stories than the Greek ones, much newer and modern but that we’re familiar with regardless. We all know the story of a troubled youth, who’s really a good person, but gets lost in the dregs of society and is forced to turn to crime—that’s our Eddie. We know the story of the adulterer who loves his family but can’t help himself; we know the mafia gangs who still have some morals regardless of the horrible things they do; we know about the hard-working, honest detective trying to find the truth in a city full of lies; we know the story of a young girl who no one understands. Milligan takes these stories—which all have sympathy and even sometimes a happy ending for their characters—and combines them with the most harsh and unforgiving tales of all time.
I’m not too sure what such a union will produce, but I’m eager to pick up the next trade of “Greek Street” to see.