As Long As That Dame Ain’t Eva Green, I’m Happy.
*THIS HERE BE A REVIEW FOR THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, NOT THE MOVIE, YA DINGDONG*
Back in August (a simpler time), I reviewed the first volume of Sin City books, The Hard Goodbye, (which you can check herre, if you’re a Stuff And That completionist (you better be)) and I was pretty impressed by the whole thing really. So, I received this sucka for Christmas and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it, especially after having watched Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 adaptation in between.
If you’re aware of the Sin City graphic novels, much like the films, they take the form of an anthology series, with each story being linked only in small detail, making them treasure troves for easter eggs (get it? Bit late I know…). This here takes place in the same time frame as The Hard Goodbye, meaning SPOILERS FOR THE HARD GOODBYE AAAHHHHHHH Marv’s still here! Yay! AAAHHHHHHHHYOU’REALRIGHTNOW. We open with Dwight, a photographer, who saves a prostitute from one of her clients whilst taking incriminating photos on behalf of said client’s wife. When he returns home, he gets a call from Ava, the women who broke his heart a long time ago, wanting to meet up. Dwight is obviously suspicious of what he wants. After Ava begs him to her back, Dwight refuses and goes home after Ava is picked up by her husband’s valet, Manute. However, when he goes to sleep that night, he is kept up by what Ava described as “living hell”. What follows is another tale of sordid mystery, resulting in many a bullet being sprayed and many a twist turning.
Once again, Frank Miller shows off his knack for weaving this incredibly detailed mystery stories, some of the best in the genre, both graphic novel and beyond (like, actual books n that). The way he writes the story of A Dame To Kill For introduces all the new characters, while giving us some familiar faces (Marv!). These introductions are gradual at first, akin to a minor character would be, until these characters are more and more prominent to the story. Like Manute, for example, Ava’s valet, who, at the start, is just a valet. By the end, however, I actually cared about Manute and what he was gettin’ up to. As I said earlier, Miller also weaves this badboy in with A Hard Goodbye, leading to many “Oh, I know what that guy’s dealio is” moments. However, with all its fancy metaphors and sophisticated storytelling, many of the monologues seem a little bit… dated? Maybe. For example, the opening line, “It’s another hot night, dry and windless. The kind that makes people do sweaty, secret things.” Yes, it’s got class, style. But I also get a feeling that it’s trying a bit too hard to be sexy and mysterious. There a plenty of lines like this throughout the universe of Sin City and, while it does pertain to the sense of allure in the stories, it can also get a bit silly sometimes.
Carrying over from its predecessor, the artwork remains as stylish as the writing. Taking the genre of film noir and turning it up to 11, Miller uses shadows to make his focuses stand out against the monochromatic backgrounds. As I said, the unique perspective of comic art has led to the series being revered for its aesthetic. And who the hell am I to argue? I gotta say, while most of this has been covered in my other review, everything here has a certain movement to it, like a film, with the lines being extremely striking, while remaining sleek. Moreover, my issue with slightly indecipherable detail in the pages of vol 1 has not carried over here. Miller seems to have refined his style further, which makes a wrold of difference, as I’m immersed in the world even more.
Overall, while I had some small issues with the writing, Sin City Vol 2: A Dame To Kill For is a great read. Though I wouldn’t it say it tops the original, the artwork has improved dramatically for me and there’s just as much mystery, if a little bit lacking on the balls-to-wall action.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations