A Dame to Kill For
Writer: Frank Miller
Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Those of you in webland who follow my reviews know of the stellar review I gave to Frank Miller's Sin City and 300 movies. Well it was the latter film’s success that prompted me to pick up on of Miller’s graphic novels to read and enjoy. Unfortunately, the 300 graphic novels were pretty much sold out around my area, so I opted for the next best thing, the novel for which one of the stories of the upcoming Sin City 2 is based. This is how I came across A Dame To Kill For.
The graphic novel follows Dwight McCarthy, former newspaper photographer turned hired lens with a shady past and two very bad habits: booze and women. The former he’s managed to abstain from for months, thus keeping the horrible temper inside of him at bay. But the latter, his obsession with women—one woman in particular—is about to rear its ugly head once again. Ava, a former lover, calls him out of the blue and begs to meet him. Dwight, of course, can not say no to her, even though he hates her for breaking his heart, and is immediately sucked into her world of danger. She begs him for forgiveness and for his help, claiming that she’ll be dead before long and that she wanted to make peace with her past before that happens.
Suspicious, but unable to resist, he investigates her claims and gets more than he bargained for. What ensues is a series of violence, betrayal and sex—not necessarily in that order. Beaten and nearly broken, Dwight retreats to the only place he knows he can, Old Town, a town run by hookers who would just as soon kill than screw and who follow no one’s rules but their own. Seeking the assistance of another former lover, Gail, Dwight gets the hookers to help him enact his revenge. His life is shattered, his hopes are crushed and all that is left of Dwight McCarthy is the monstrous temper that he had been trying to keep under control for so long.
All in all I loved this novel. It had the same noir feel to it that the movie had. The art was—while not the best I’ve ever seen—dark and intriguing and the dialogue was like something from an old movie. It worked in this kind of medium and it really helped to push the story forward. The action was well illustrated and sometimes left me wincing even though it didn’t show much at all. Now for those of you who’d seen the movie, you’ll notice some similarities in certain lines and narration. The plot is also a little similar—the whole going to the Old Town and getting the girls help to save the day—but it managed to work well in this story. Of course, one has to realize that A Dame to Kill For came out before the movie and thus should not be penalized for an inconsistencies or repetitious plot lines. On it’s own it was great and I’d recommend it to anyone who is old enough to have watched the Sin City movie without a parental guardian present. Enjoy, I sure did.