Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller

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Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A more than welcome reissue for this classic noir comic, certainly making an adult title and definitely bringing the noir tropes to the pages of sequential art.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 216 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Dark Horse
ISBN: 9781616552398

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Ava. Damn. With that repeated refrain we're forcibly given Dwight's viewpoint and made to agree with it. Ava is quite a woman. She was Dwight's, but now she's not, and he's forced to ignore his photojournalism career in favour of his night-time job of photographing evidence for adultery cases, and to struggle to stay away from the fags and off the booze. But now it's all going to be much harder, for Ava has come back. She's stifled in a loveless, violent marriage, trapped in a gated villa with her husband and his man mountain of a bodyguard, and only Dwight has the flutter in her heart and the iron in his fist and gut to make things right for her. Damn Ava? You bet he's going to…

We had it good when the first Sin City movie came out, for the creators could make a compound story out of material both old and new. There were seven whole comic books – and sometimes quite thick and meaty ones – to delve into for the original, but they pretty much left the first sequel in the series alone, meaning the imminent movie is more or less going to cover the contents of this book, rereleased for the occasion. It's annoying that neither Miller nor the publishers have provided anything new here – indeed, there are whole characters and plot arcs for the film that are brand new, but we're left gasping for any such fresh sequential art. But – and it's a big but – what we still have from twenty years ago is still of a fine standard – and good, meaty and fresh as foretold above is only the heart of it.

Certainly if you haven't seen any Sin City comics before now, then you will be surprised to see the design of them. Black and white comics normally are black on white – this really does come across as the other way round. It's noir and then some, actively engaging us in the old-fashioned tropes of hard-boiled men and gutsy, even harder-boiled dames, but not apologising one jot for its derivation. The nearest it gets to looking routine and staid is when the longer voice-overs from Dwight take up a margin to the side of a page and there is just room for one or two panels of artwork, but the visuals are forever interesting, focussing on a busty female, a vintage car or an unusual angle giving character to a battle-worn male.

Of those males, Marv is back from the original drama, but this is Dwight versus Ava – Dwight versus his demons, the bodyguard and a lot more, and Ava versus the cops, fate, and Dwight. No side is taken, nobody comes out of Sin City well – apart perhaps from the vixens that reign over its crime-based ecology at night – and nobody can predict the survival of anyone (except, of course, for Marv).

So yes, there was a missed opportunity here to provide something new, as opposed to a straight reprint. But every year we've not had a further Sin City story has been lacking. I thoroughly enjoyed them on seeing them for the first time way back when, as a near-novice to the format of comix, and I can't see how they've come to lack anything at this remove. This was and is a great story told really well, and it's only one of many in the series.

I must thank the publisher for my review copy.

Modesty Blaise is how they did this kind of thing way back when. For another, modern, graphic comic with film connections, you should enjoy The Secret Service - Kingsman by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.

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Buy Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller at


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