Click here for Vol 1: The Hard Goodbye!
“Do us both a favor and stay still long enough for me to blow your brains out.” – Ava Lord
“A DAME TO KILL FOR”
Frank Miller’s “Sin City” comics continued in 1993 with “A Dame to Kill For”, a mystery featuring a private investigator, Dwight McCarthy, who becomes ensnared in a plot involving his ex-fiancé, Ava Lord. The story takes place parallel to “The Hard Goodbye” and even includes appearances by Marv!
We’re introduced to Dwight McCarthy as he’s investigating a cheating husband. He’s covertly taking photos of the act, for his employer, when things take a violent turn, and he’s forced to step in and save the girl. Not long after, Dwight gets a desperate call from his old lover, Ava. Dwight is quickly manipulated into thinking that Ava is being held against her will by her husband, Damien Lord, and his bulky valet, Manute.
Dwight attempts to come to her rescue, but through a few twists and turns we discover that she’s the quintessential femme fatale, twisting men’s hearts to do her evil bidding. Dwight’s temper gets the better of him, and he accidentally kills Ava’s husband in a fit of rage, which it turns out, is exactly what she wanted. She then begins to manipulate the detective investigating the murder. Meanwhile, Dwight becomes mortally wounded, and seeks help from an old flame, Gail.
We get the first of many story crossovers thanks to Kadie’s Bar, and the ladies of Old Town. Which brings me to one of my favorite lines in the entire series, as Dwight’s attempting to describe Marv: “He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody’s face. Or in a roman arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him.” By teaming up Dwight with Marv, it allows Frank Miller to really establish just how different these two protagonists are.
We’re also introduced to Miho (deadly little Miho), a silent Japanese assassin with an arsenal of weaponry, including ninja stars and a katana! Her appearances are brief, but she makes an impression. Total badass. Per usual, Miller’s art is superb, and his style of visual story telling continues to captivate.
If there’s one complaint I have about the Sin City books so far it’s that they’re definitely a product of their time. 90’s comics would often lean into shock value for the sake of it, and Frank Miller was a big part of that punk rock, anti-establishment, aesthetic. The sex and violence isn’t really an issue for me, but there’s a few lines here and there that didn’t age super well, granted they’re harkening back to an even earlier time, and are more often than not coming from despicable characters.
Overall, this one was a pretty by the numbers noir story with some excellent art, a fantastic villainess, plenty of pulpy vibes, and another tragic ending…
Comic vs Movie (Vol 2)
The second movie, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” of course get’s it’s name from this story, which takes center stage in the narrative.
Ava Lord is played to perfection by Eva Green, who brings her wicked smile to this malicious goddess. One of the coolest things the movie did was that it highlighted Ava’s green eyes, continuing the tradition of only using limited color within a black and white world.
Josh Brolin (Thanos himself) plays Dwight this time around, and does a solid job. In the first “Sin City” movie, Clive Owen played Dwight in a story that took place after this, which kinda fits considering Dwight got himself a new face in this one, but we’ll talk more about that next time…
Next Time: Vol 3 – “The Big Fat Kill!”
If you’re a fan of neo-noir, check out my latest book “2299”!
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