Review by Frank Plowright
Dwight is a private eye in Sin City, but the extent of his career is lurking in the shadows with his camera to produce the evidence for divorce cases. It’s an irony as Dwight himself has a vast gaping hole where a relationship should be after the love of his life broke up with him. He’s enough of a sucker, though, to meet her in a bar, where she comes on to him before claiming that leaving him was the greatest mistake she ever made. She’s barely revealed this before a human pylon in a chauffeur’s uniform ferries her away.
A little deduction on Dwight’s part reveals she’s now married to a rich and cruel man, but when Dwight has mates like Marv, as seen in Sin City’s opening shot, he figures he also has options. This, though is a world of crime where money equates with power and where the little folk ought to know their place. Events don’t go to plan for Dwight.
Although violent and twisted, there’s not the same visceral intent to shock that filtered through the first volume, and that’s good, but there is a similar gratuitous use of sex. It’s valid in setting a mood, but the validation diminishes with repetition.
Miller’s art is also toned down a little. The mesmerising contrast of light and shade remains, and the effects of brutality are explicit, but whereas The Hard Goodbye almost resembled woodcut pictograms such was the chunkiness, there’s a greater emotional content here.
A Dame to Kill For is one of the weakest Sin City plots, linear and throwing few curveballs that the reader won’t see coming. At every opportunity the obvious route is taken, and while the ride looks thrilling there’s far better to come. Starting with the next volume, The Big Fat Kill, actually, which connects with this via Dwight.
The entirety of Sin City can be found in a large oversize hardback on glossy paper titled Big Damn Sin City.