John Romita Jr. is comic-book royalty, affirmed by both his genes (his father is remembered as the seminal ''Spider-Man'' artist) and his talent (stellar runs drawing the X-Men and Spidey). So it's all the more disappointing to read ''The Gray Area'', Romita's pet project about a corrupt NYC cop named Rudy Chance who crosses one criminal too many and finds himself executed. Of course, this being an ongoing series, he then gets empowered by some afterlife police force to fight the evil that he so often left unchecked when alive. While the art is clean and evocative, the story feels like just another warmed-over cop vengeance melodrama. With magic. Oooh... scary.