Sin City (Vol. 6): Booze, Broads, and Bullets by Frank Miller

Sin City (Vol. 6): Booze, Broads, and Bullets by Frank Miller 

Frank Miller's Sin City Volume 6: Booze, Broads, & Bullets 3rd Edition (Sin City (Dark Horse)) Kindle & comiXologyBooze, Broads, and Bullets is the sixth volume in Frank Miller’s SIN CITY series, and it’s a welcome return to form after the travesty known as Family Values. The artwork is excellent, the stories are tight, and there are hardly any wasted pages (other than the story Rats perhaps). It makes sense since a number of these stories were written earlier. You will find all of Frank Miller’s favorite themes on display: solitary men intent on vengeance, sultry femme fatales, vile criminal lowlifes, and the seedy black-and-white world of Basin City itself. In many ways Sin City is best taken in small doses, never wearing out its welcome. Since Miller is dealing in crime noir archetypes, we don’t really need in-depth character studies. Certainly he excels at short-clipped tough-guy dialogue, but one of the best stories, Silent Night, features hardly a word spoken and breathtaking visuals. This is one of my favorite Sin City stories thanks to its gorgeous use of stark images to tell the story.

SinCity_V6_2Two of the stories are featured in the Sin City movies, The Customer is Always Right (which opens and closes the first film) and Just Another Saturday Night (which kicks of A Dame to Kill For). And there are FIVE, count ‘em, FIVE stories about sexy femme fatales who dupe guys and make them regret it, complete with cool touches of color (Blue Eyes, Daddy’s Little Girl, Wrong Turn/Wrong Track, and The Babe Wore Red). Of those, Wrong Turn stands out for its vivid artwork and setting, which are the same bizarre dinosaur statues and pouring rain of the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits seen in Vol 3: The Big Fat Kill. Delia’s skin-tight blue dress makes for dramatic contrast with the movie-set backdrop.

Upon further reflection, though the stories are engaging and effective separately, the whole adds up to less than the sum of the parts. There is a lot of repetition of themes, especially among the femme fatales, which was basically distilled into Vol 2: A Dame to Kill For. So in many ways these sketches feel like explorations that would later be expanded into Miller’s full-length stories, though I’m not sure of the actual writing order. Reading the series in order, there isn’t much in this book that hasn’t been covered earlier, so it’s probably only necessary for serious fans to read, but they are bound to appreciate its vicarious pleasures.

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STUART STAROSTA, on our staff from March 2015 to November 2018, is a lifelong SFF reader who makes his living reviewing English translations of Japanese equity research. Despite growing up in beautiful Hawaii, he spent most of his time reading as many SFF books as possible. After getting an MA in Japanese-English translation in Monterey, CA, he lived in Tokyo, Japan for about 15 years before moving to London in 2017 with his wife, daughter, and dog named Lani. Stuart's reading goal is to read as many classic SF novels and Hugo/Nebula winners as possible, David Pringle's 100 Best SF and 100 Best Fantasy Novels, along with newer books & series that are too highly-praised to be ignored. His favorite authors include Philip K Dick, China Mieville, Iain M. Banks, N.K. Jemisin, J.G. Ballard, Lucius Shepard, Neal Stephenson, Kurt Vonnegut, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. LeGuin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, etc.

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One comment

  1. Great review. I think you are right that these tales “feel like explorations that would later be expanded into Miller’s full-length stories.” For that reason, to introduce students to Miller I often have them watch the first movie and read this collection for a good, quick overview of Sin City. The excellent movie introduces them to the best stories in the Sin City comics and this volume gives them a look the various ways he approaches his favorite themes. My only disagreement with you: I think “Rats” is an excellent story!

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