The third book in Frank Miller’s Sin City series features another of the stories (alongside The Hard Goodbye and That Yellow Bastard) that are recreated in the feature film version, adapted by Robert Rodriguez and Miller himself. This volume sees Dwight McCarthy leading the Old City prostitutes in a dangerous game of power mongering, trying to salvage the red light district’s independence from the male-centred influence of the police and the mob.
The story is a bloodbath, melding a dark noir plot with graphic violence, and placing it in the unique setting of Sin City. It’s also more straight-forward than the roller-coaster ride that is A Dame to Kill For – perhaps an indication of how the film-makers came to the decision to include three stories in the movie but miss the second volume out. Its weakest link is its dialogue, which is stilted and repetitive during the book’s slow moments, but leaves space for some wonderful and typical Miller moments as it heads towards the finale.
Graphically, Miller’s two-tone work is cinematically unrivalled, using the contrast between light and shade to create a gritty, harsh reality with no room for compromise. The black and white imagery can temper some of the bloodshed, but what it lacks in splattered red, Miller more than makes up for in the varied nature of weapons and deaths. And, of course, when you’re dealing with a book full of prostitutes, expect a bit of flesh on show.
Although not the best book in the series, this tale from Sin City is more of the same for fans of Miller and his unique series of graphic novels.