It's night in Sin City. Dwight and Shellie (a waitress at The Saloon) are spending some quality time together when they are interrupted by Jack and his buddies looking for a good time. Jack has a "mean drunk" on, as do his friends, and he wants Shellie to show them a good time. Shellie was involved with Jack in the past, but it was an abusive relationship. He has the penchant for drinking, feeling superior by beating women, yet is a family man with a wife at home. Dwight offers to take care of the interruption, but she refuses his
help. Jack and their friends force themselves in while Dwight waits for Shellie to persuade them to leave.
She can't, of course, and Jack beats Shellie horribly. He goes into the bathroom to relieve himself, and Dwight can't let him get away with hitting Shellie. He persuades Jack to leave Shellie alone, with threat of bodily harm. Convinced, Jack and his friends leave. Dwight wants to follow the group because he's worried about what they may do next. Shellie tries to dissuade him, but he's insistent. As he leaves she warns him about something, but he can't hear her over the noise of a helicopter passing by.
Unfortunately, Jack and his pals make their way to Old Town, and look for another victim. Little does he realize that the girls of Old Town spot him as trouble and set a trap for him. They hit on Becky, who warns them to leave. This further frustrates Jack. When he pulls a gun, Miho steps in. Dwight, who has followed them to Old Town watches with his former love Gail, knowing the forthcoming carnage will be merciless.
When they remove valuables from the corpses, Dwight discovers what Shellie was trying to warn him about. Jack was a cop. Not just any cop, but "Iron Jack" Rafferty, a hero officer. His death would disrupt the uneasy truce between the police and the girls of Old Town, which would bring a mob presence back to Old Town. Gail welcomes the impending fight, but Dwight convinces her that they should dump the bodies in the Tar Pits. He convinces her that he should do it, because he owes them for the help they gave him in the events of A Dame to Kill For.
The rest of the graphic novel chronicles Dwight's attempt to conceal the evidence, and the thugs hired by crime boss Wallenquist who try to bring the evidence to the attention of the police. Among the thugs is Manute, who bears the scars Marv gave him. Manute kidnaps Gail, and tries to force her to "cut a deal" with Wallenquist to give him control of Old Town. Needless to say, it's up to Dwight and the girls to save her and keep "Iron Jack's" head away from Wallenquist and the police.
Miller's story is compelling because of his juxtaposition of characters. There's Rafferty who is a hero cop, yet is also alcoholic and abusive. There's Gail who is very independent and strong, yet she has a tender side as well. There's Dwight who loves Gail, but knows he must stay away from her to keep his inner demons at bay. Each has the inconsistent qualities that makes for good characters.
Sin City as a whole is compelling because Miller writes about warriors. In A Dame to Kill For Dwight describes Marv as a warrior born in the wrong era. Dwight describes Gail as "the Valkyrie at his side." Dwight himself uses a tactic used by King Leonidas of Sparta. The 300 graphic novel explores this tactic in greater detail, but Dwight's use of it forces us to draw comparisons to his characters in Sin City and the warriors of the past. Perhaps the noir protagonists are our present day warriors; their stories our present day mythology.
Text (c) LCB 2000
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