Sin City: Family Values
Medium: comic
Year: 1997
Keywords: Sin City
Writer/artist: Frank Miller
Format: 128 pages
Website category: Comics
Review date: 24 October 2021
I'm not planning to review all the Sin City stories, but here's another I pulled from my bookshelf. It's fun, but I don't think it's as strong as its predecessors. The difference is that the plot's linear. Everything goes according to Dwight's plan. It's all under control. He doesn't suffer reverses and "holy shit" reveals like those in The Hard Goodbye or The Big Fat Kill.
The art's also weaker. Part of what makes The Hard Goodbye's style so striking is the contrast between the big, splashy silhouettes and careful, almost mathematically meticulous panels of brickwork and tiles. Family Values only goes splashy. No page ever looks as if Miller spent a long time drawing it.
There's a different contrast, admittedly, between the line-only style for drawing Miho that makes her an albino and the black-heavy default style of everything else. Personally, though, I don't think it actually looks great.
While I'm being negative, incidentally, Klump and Shlubb feel a bit silly to me. Fortunately, they're hardly in it. I also find Miho's outfit implausible. She's wearing a flyaway sort of semi-kimono that shows her tits. All evening and after dark, in winter. And it appears to be snowing (although given the art style, those white splotches could be anything).
That said, though, the book's still fun. The baddies are still utter irredeemable bastards who deserve every last drop of what our murderous heroes are about to do to them. The ultra-violence is still explosively gory and, despite what I said earlier, I still love Frank Miller's art in Sin City mode. I particularly like some of the pages in the cadillac when driving to see the don. Miho killing the gate guard on pp92-93 is magnificent, while the silent non-conversation between Miho and Vito on pp88-89 is an unusual sequence where Miller's albino inking for Miho really achieves something. Meanwhile, the narrative's heavily built around the theme of its title, even down to details like Dwight telling Vito to kill his brother, or drunken Peggy's fierceness about her son. "You son of a bitch. I take good care of my boy, you son of a bitch."
Incidentally, I've seen it suggested that Peggy might be Bruno's wife and they do look similar in the flashback on p29, but I'm not sure if the timescales quite work. It feels to me as if Peggy's been on the slide too long for that.
It's good. It's not brilliant, unlike The Hard Goodbye, but it's still definitely worth reading.