Book Review

Lightning Reviews: Frank Miller’s Sin City

I loved the Sin City novels. Loved ‘em. But when I sat down and tried to write individual reviews for them, I realized I couldn’t. I just wanted to boil everything down into pithy, snarky vignettes, with “Dwight is hot” and “I heart Marv” making up about 50% of those comments. Then I realized: well, DUH, Lightning Review time, mothafuckas!

The Hard Goodbye: You can read a more detailed review here, but basically, it boils down to: I heart Marv, the artwork blew me away, I heart Marv, the story rocks, and I heart Marv. A

A Dame To Kill For: Detailed review here (and you can totally tell I was already grasping for enough words in that review). Dwight is hot, Marv gets a decent supporting bit, and the story ruled; however, Clive Owen, while a boootiful man, was completely inadequate for his role in the movie. A

The Big Fat Kill: What is it about the idea of kick-ass prostitutes being in complete control of their turf that I find so appealing? Ah, who am I kidding? It’s all about the sex and violence. And Miho. Deadly little Miho. Dwight is hot, too. Anyway: hot hookers, decapitations, bombs, guns, car chases, bastard-ass motherfuckers getting their due and Miho and Dwight fucking the bad guys’ shit up. What’s not to love? A

That Yellow Bastard: I love the story. LOVE IT. Creepy as all hell, and the use of color is very effective. The love story at the core is pretty fucked up, but even as I threw up a little in my mouth, I went “Awww, that’s so sweeet!”. But: Frank Miller can’t draw kids worth a good goddamn. Because little Nancy? Looks as slutty as grown-up stripper Nancy. Which seriously, seriously skeezed me out. He also isn’t all that great at drawing wrinkly old people, because Hartigan ended up looking a lot like Marv. Both of these combined were pretty distracting to me, plus I expected better of Miller. So, docking a couple of points for the sloppy artwork: B+

Family Values: Short and pretty sweet. The story was entertaining, if a bit incoherent, and it starts off with a really awesome funny bit, where we get to see Dwight trying to fend off a horny female cop. (Ah, to have Dwight in the same room with me and some handcuffs… sigh.) Deadly little Miho is back, and she’s on rollerblades, which I find hilarious for some reason. She’s also drawn with a much lighter touch than the other characters, which lends a rather ghost-like quality to her. Unfortunately, she becomes something of a one-note character in this book; she’s invincible and as much of a cipher as she was when she was first introduced. Every book reveals something more about the inhabitants of Sin City, even the mafia and the corrupt police system, so keeping Miho mysterious makes her rather flat in comparison. Nonetheless, a thoroughly enjoyable read. B+

Booze, Broads and Bullets: A collection of short stories set in Sin City, you get all sorts of vignettes, most of them good, a few of them kinda meh. The story involving Marv chasing some thugs into the bad part of Sin City is worth the price of admission alone, but you know how much I love me some Marv. B+

Hell and Back: This story is the longest of the Sin City series, and also the weakest. The hero? Total Mary Sue. (Or would that be Gary Sue? Marty Sue? Marv Sue?) He’s honorable, he’s hot, he’s an OMG GREAT ARTIST with loads of integrity, he’s a veteran, he kicks le ass avec beaucoup de dispatch, etc. Miller is at his best when writing about psychos and lowlifes; this guy is conventionally heroic, and ultimately, I found him boring. Besides the tiresome perfections of the hero, the story isn’t as tightly-constructed as the others, and I’m not as fond of the art style Miller employs. Plus: WHAT’s with his fetish with bangs? All the supah-hot women in Sin City have bangs (Nancy, f’rexample), and the heroine, who’s black in this book, has bangs too—and unfortunately, she ends up looking like Rick fucking James (bitch!) in a lot of the panels.

I’m not kidding. Look:

I'm Rick James, bitch!  Yeah, I'm supposed to be hot, but I look way too much like Rick fucking James

Somebody stab my eyes out, please.

However, the sequence in which the hero hallucinates his way through a killing spree? Awesome. Overall, a B-.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I just got The Hard Goodbye from the library,thanks to your earlier rec. Plus I liked the movie, esp. Clive Owen.

  2. 2
    Michelle K says:

    Boy Mary Sue = Marty Stu

  3. 3

    mmmmmh Sin City.

    I actually liked Hell & Back more than you did, Candy, because I’m a big sucker for a hot male hero kicking ass. Sigh. I also liked Miho on rollerblades, which to me was Well Worth The Price. :) Great Lightning Review.

    I do really like Clive Owen, but after reading Dwight in the ink (ha ha) I do have to agree Clive just doesn’t have the big brass balls necessary. Sigh.

  4. 4
    Anna says:

    I’m amused that you had almost the same reactions that I did.  I read Sin City (before it was called the Hard Goodbye) some time ago, and have read almost all of the ones you’ve listed here, except Family Values.

    Good stuff, I loved it.

  5. 5
    Miss Skeeter says:

    Great review – just finished reading the one about The Historian, and I couldn’t agree more.

    As for this one – just thought I’d let you know – if it’s a guy Mary Sue, then it’s a Gary Stu. The whole rhyming thing. (rolls eyes)

    Your site keeps me laughing – I even got my boyfriend to look at it, and now he’s the one who’s obsessively waiting for updates. Keep it up, ladies.

  6. 6
    Darwin says:

    Hahah, that Rick James shit is off the hook.

    I bought a copy of “A Dame To Kill For” on my first date with my ex. I’ve still got the TPB, she’s multiple years gone.


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