A Dame to Kill For introduces the reader to Dwight McCarthy, who will reappear in The Big Fat Kill and Family Values. Dwight is a photographer by trade, mostly taking pictures of husbands cheating on wives. He's celibate, clean, and sober, but has had a wild past. The trouble starts when Ava, a woman that broke his heart but he can't get out of his head, reunites with him asking for help. She claims her wealthy husband, Damien Lord, is abusing her and asks Dwight for help.
Dwight turns her down cold, but is intrigued by her story. He brings his camera to Lord's mansion for a little reconnaissance to check out her story. He gets caught and is beat up and dumped in the middle of nowhere. By the time he makes it home Ava is there waiting for him. They make love, releasing the demons Dwight has been keeping in check. Damien Lord's chauffeur, Manute, interrupts them, and Dwight fights to protect Ava from him.
Dwight loses the fight, and Manute returns Ava to Lord. Dwight enlists the help of Marv (the protagonist in the first Sin City story) who is pure fighting energy and together they storm Lord's mansion to save Ava. While Marv is taking care of business, Dwight confronts Lord, and kills him. Ava thanks him by shooting him several times. It's only through Marv's intervention that Dwight survives.
Dwight seeks asylum in "Old Town", where the law cannot reach him. He is nursed to health by Gail (they have a history together), and, in echoes of Dark Passage, gets a new face. In the meantime, Ava has seduced the detective assigned to Damien Lord's murder investigation assuring that she will be absolved of any wrongdoing (she ultimately drives him to self destruction). She is also trying to consolidate her power by making overtures to Wallenquist, the local crime lord, to use her money in "extralegal" affairs.
The remainder of the story is Dwight's attempt to exact his revenge upon the woman that he must have, yet that brings out the "monster" that resides within him. Will he have the courage to rid her of his life forever, or will he spare her only to be faced with meeting her again? Will his lust for her overcome his desire for revenge?
As usual, Miller's artwork is amazing. His heroes are drawn muscular and powerful. His femme fatale drips with sensuality. The girls of "Old Town" do as well. The common man is drawn like a grotesque gargoyle. Classic cars roam the streets while helicopter silhouettes are seen flying overhead. There's a cinematic quality to the artwork making the transitions between scenes seamless. He clearly enjoys this black-and-white world that he has created. Lucky for us that he does, because it looks like we will get more Sin City tales for many years to come.
Text (c) LCB 2000
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