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Comic Book / Sin City

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"Walk down the right back alley in Sin City and you can find anything."
Marv, "The Hard Goodbye"

Sin City is an irregular comic book series about the venal Basin City (known as "Sin City" to the people who live there) and the seedy inhabitants who lurk in its alleys and doorways. It is probably writer/artist Frank Miller's best known work (other than Batman: The Dark Knight Returns).

Infamous for its absurdly macho writing, Sin City reads like an Affectionate Parody of Film Noir turned up a notch: every hero is a mentally and/or physically scarred bruiser and every woman is a beautiful dame with a heaving bosom. Black-and-Gray Morality is predominant.

The series' other defining attribute is its artwork, which is largely black and white, with occasional spot colouring for certain important characters. Miller plays heavily with silhouettes, high-contrast images and negative space to create a series of visually striking images that look like no other comic on the market.


Because it is almost exclusively set in and around Basin City's criminal underworld, Sin City has a number of recurring characters, although the protagonists vary from story to story. Additionally, some plotlines overlap or weave together in subtle ways (The Hard Goodbye and A Dame to Kill For are both mostly set on the same night, with the protagonists driving past one another in a single scene in both comics).

The currently available collected editions are, in order:

1: The Hard Goodbye - Originally just titled Sin City until the film adaptation, this story follows Marv, a big street thug prone to psychotic episodes, and whose face is so ugly that not even most prostitutes will let him pay for their services, who falls in love with a beautiful prostitute one night, only to find her dead the following morning and the cops beating down his door to take him in for her murder. On his quest for vengeance, Marv shakes down the criminal underworld, does battle with corrupt cops and discovers a sick conspiracy.


2: A Dame to Kill For - Dwight McCarthy, a freelance photographer with a vicious temper, is pissed off when his beautiful ex — Ava, the dame of the title — contacts him out of the blue. But his anger is allayed when he discovers that her life has been threatened. With time running out, Dwight must save Ava from her cruel husband and his bizarre manservant. But is Ava what she appears to be, or is Dwight being manipulated into making the biggest mistake of his life?

3: The Big Fat Kill - Dwight gets into more trouble when his new girlfriend, Shelly, is harassed by her abusive ex-boyfriend, one Jack Rafferty. Dwight chases after him, but can only watch as Jackie-Boy and his pals are killed by prostitutes for threatening to rape one of their number. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem — the prostitutes of Old Town are given free rein by the police — but Jackie-Boy has a dangerous secret, one that might tear Sin City apart.

4: That Yellow Bastard - John Hartigan may well be Sin City's last decent cop, but not for long: It's his last day on the job. But Hartigan's refusing to go quietly, especially since a well-connected young serial killer/rapist has just kidnapped little Nancy Callahan. It's no big thing — Hartigan's spent his entire life taking down scum like him. But this time, there will be repercussions...

5: Family Values - While picking up some intel for his new new girlfriend, Dwight learns of a mafia war that's about to go down in Sin City. Captured by one side of the impending war, Dwight has to rely on a certain enemy-turned ally for help: the deadly ninja Miho.

6: Booze, Broads and Bullets - A collection of short stories from various sources, including back-up strips from the early issues of The Big Fat Kill and stories from the various Sin City one-shot specials.

7: Hell and Back (A Sin City Love Story) - Wallace is an interesting guy: an artist, a war hero, a short order cook and a lightning-quick fighter. His life is pretty dull, though, until he saves a suicidal woman named Esther and they begin a tentative relationship. In typical Sin City style, however, Esther is kidnapped and Wallace must pull the city — and the lives of some of its most privileged men — apart to get her back.


Several of the Sin City comics were turned into an anthology film by director Robert Rodriguez, simply called Sin City, which was released in 2005.

Rodriguez quit the Director's Guild to let Frank Miller take co-director status. Even his friend Quentin Tarantino was given a co-director credit, since he came over on a day of shooting to film a scene. Rodriguez shot the film panel-for-panel from the comics, using black and white footage and Green Screen backgrounds to get the perfect Sin City feel.

The Sin City film comprised The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard and was bookended by an adaptation of "The Customer is Always Right", a short story featured in the Booze, Broads and Bullets collection.

A sequel, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, was released in August 2014, and at least one more Sin City film is planned. Originally, the first sequel was planned to include the titular story, along with a brand-new sequel to That Yellow Bastard and the three Blue Eyes short stories. The final film drops the Blue Eyes stories for a second original story and another Booze, Broads and Bullets yarn, "Just Another Saturday Night".

The other sequel will be centered around Hell and Back. Both films were originally scheduled for a 2008 release, but were in Development Hell for seven years until 2012, when they were Saved from Development Hell. Sadly, the recent deaths of two important actors - Brittany Murphy (Shelly) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Manute) - and Devon Aoki (Miho) taking time off from acting caused some difficulties. (Duncan and Aoki have been replaced by Dennis Haysbert and Jamie Chung respectively, with Jeremy Piven taking over from Michael Madsen as Bob).

The second film contains two original storylines not shown in the comics.

1: The Long Bad Night - Johnny is a young man with charm and great skill at slots and card games. Looking to make a name for himself in Sin City, he crashes a private poker game hosted by Senator Roark and cleans him out. However, considering who he just beat, Johnny's luck might not last the night.

2: Nancy's Last Dance - Four years after "That Yellow Bastard", Nancy still can't come to terms with Hartigan's suicide. She plunges into a self destructive spiral until she decides on what she must do. She has to kill the man responsible for Hartigan's death: the infamous Senator Roark himself.

Not to be confused with SimCity, which is potentially a whole lot nicer. Or GTA Vice City, which is definitely not all that nicer. Or Las Vegas, for that matter.

Sin City contains examples of:

Since the film is such a direct adaptation of the comic books, listing the tropes separately probably won't be necessary.

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  • Acceptable Targets: In-universe. Marv notes that he loves hitmen, because he can torture and kill them all he wants without ever feeling bad about it.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • When one cop advises another to kill Hartigan without hesitation, they're quickly dispatched and Hartigan quips "Good advice". In Die Hard, a terrorist who tells John McClane to kill without hesitation is offed, with McClane snarking "Thanks for the advice". Both played by Bruce Willis, lying on his back and shooting upwards both times. Frank Miller even said that he thought of that very scene from Die Hard when he drew that scenario in "That Yellow Bastard". Little did he know…
    • In the film of A Dame to Kill For, the way Hartigan's ghost talks to Nancy is very reminiscent of Bruce Willis's role in The Sixth Sense.
    • Christopher Meloni playing a cop with marital problems, anger issues, has a dim view of rape and eventually Jumps Off The Slippery Slope? Gee, where have we seen this before?
    • Gail calls Dwight 'Lancelot.' Around this time Clive Owen had also starred in King Arthur (2004), though playing Arthur and not Lancelot.
    • Jamie Chung takes up a sword to become a fearsome warrior in the second movie, around the time she was doing it in another show.
    • Michael Madsen amusingly shows up right after someone else gets their ear blown off. Although this time he's the cop.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The character of Mort (one of Basin City's few honest cops) was written out of the cinema version of That Yellow Bastard. In the comics, Mort is the own who picks Hartigan up outside the prison. In the movie, this was done by Bob. (The extended version still includes a scene where Mort visits Hartigan in hospital.) He does appear in the sequel, though.
    • Dwight's gluttonous Greek ally Agamemnon was omitted from the film A Dame to Kill For. Shelly was also omitted due to Brittany Murphy's untimely death.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
  • Adaptational Curves: Inverted with Nancy Callahan. She's drawn in the comics as an extremely curvaceous woman with a very large bust, which particularly explains Hartigan's gob-smacked "She grew up and filled out" comments. In the film, she's played by the much skinnier Jessica Alba. In modern modeling parlance, comic Nancy would be described as "thick", movie Nancy as "toned".
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • Nancy does not dance topless in the film due to a no-nudity clause from Jessica Alba.
    • Marv is nude in his sex scene with Goldie in The Hard Goodbye, while in the film he wears boxer shorts.
    • Dwight appears naked at the start of the original comic The Big Fat Kill, while he's practically fully clothed in the film.
    • The Yellow Bastard is naked when torturing Nancy near the end of his story. He was given shorts in the film.
    • Gail is naked when Manute kidnaps her in The Big Fat Kill, but is merely in her underwear in the film.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In The Big Fat Kill, the reason Dwight doesn't use his own car to transport the bodies of Jackie Boy and his cronies to the tar pits is because it doesn't have enough trunk space and it needs repairs, plus he fears that the cop that trailed Jackie-Boy to Old Town took his number plate and he'd draw attention driving in the rain with the top down. This isn't mentioned in the film.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The movie moves Dwight's "Most people think Marv is crazy" monologue from A Dame to Kill For to The Hard Goodbye. This works fine in a standalone movie, but in the comics the chronology of that night is very well fleshed out. It's revealed that while Marv was drinking at Kadie's after Goldie's murder two cops were questioning Shellie about Dwight's whereabouts. At that point in the story Dwight is recovering from events in his own story, so he couldn't be anywhere near Kadie's that night. Furthermore, he underwent plastic surgery which gave Dwight his appearance in the movie but that only happened months after the events of The Hard Goodbye, at which point Marv was on Death Row. It seems the films has addressed this by altering the timeline to make the entirety of Dame to Kill For take place before Hard Goodbye.
    • There's also The Salesman, the assassin from "The Customer is Always Right," who later becomes The Colonel, the Big Bad of Hell and Back. Since The Colonel is dead by Boom, Headshot! (and quite deservedly so) at the end of Hell and Back and the events of The Big Fat Kill take place after that story, the Salesman doing to Becky what he did to his "customer" in the other story at the very end of the film adaptation can't exactly happen in Sin City canon unless someone else is the Colonel in the film adaptation of Hell and Back.
    • The first movie has a newspaper near the end of The Hard Goodbye showing a headline involving Senator Roark denouncing the death of his brother. The second movie has as a major plot point Nancy's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Senator Roark...with Marv's help—thus clearly setting that story before The Hard Goodbye.
    • Some liberties taken with a specific scene of the A Dame To Kill For film adaptation have created another plot hole. Originally, the rookie cops chasing Dwight and Marv into Old Town end up with their car riddled with bullets, but manage to run off on foot and avoid being killed. In the film, however, one of the girls flat out torches them with a flamethrower before they can get away. This...doesn't even begin to match up with the logic and rules set up in The Big Fat Kill, where the entire truce between Old Town and the police is threatened because a corrupt cop is killed by the girls of Old Town.
      Klump (to Shlubb): "I can only express puzzlement that borders on alarm."
    • The film version of That Yellow Bastard omits a scene where Hartigan sabotages Junior's car, which explains why he didn't use that as a getaway vehicle rather than heading for the docks.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In Hell and Back, Wallace feels some pity after he kills Deliah, the contract killer who tried to seduce and kill him, calling her a "strange, sad creature", before silently closing her eyes.
  • The Alcoholic: Jackie Boy seems to be one and Dwight is a recovering case. Nancy becomes an alcoholic dancer after Hartigan's suicide.
  • Alien Blood: The Yellow Bastard has yellow blood, though this is more of a stylistic choice than an indication of alien-ness. Either that, or it's because of the large number of medical procedures done on him after his castration messed with his body's ability to get rid of waste - the blood, given its color and smell, is a direct result of that.
  • The Alleged Car Nancy's car. "No one but me can keep this heap running." Also the clapped out banger without enough space for all the bodies or enough fuel to get them to the tar pits and a cop-attracting broken tail-light. Also the battered old VW Beetle from Family Values. The ironic thing is, The Heap is a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, a very desirable car, and the car Dwight is given to ditch at the Pits was a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, both Cool Cars. Part of Dwight's narration mentions that it once was a Cool Car, but after years of abuse and neglect, it became a clapped out banger at the end of its life.
    Dwight: Dizzy dames. What were they thinking, sticking me up with a beaten up bucket of bolts like this? Somebody oughtta take it out back and shoot it. It'd be a mercy. A few years before I was born, this T-Bird must've been a sweet set of wheels. But it's been around too many blocks a few too many times and whoever owned her obviously didn't indulge in luxuries like the occasional tune-up or oil change. The engine jerks and farts like an old man on a bad diet. The steering mechanism's got terminal arthritis. The suspension makes every pothole an adventure. The left rear tire is as soft as a rotten banana and if that's a slow leak I'm good and screwed.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted with Shellie. She dumps the abusive boyfriend, Jackie-Boy, and goes for the much nicer Dwight McCarthy. But as readers know, Dwight's no angel either, and he even killed a former Femme Fatale girlfriend in a previous issue—but he's still a far cry from the sexist scumbag that Jackie-Boy was.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese theme is "Violet Sauce" by Namie Amuro.
  • Always Identical Twins:
    • Marv talks about a pair of twin prostitutes who "even smell the same." Then again, Marv is crazy enough that he mistakes one for the other... even while knowing full well that one of them is dead.
    • There's also Benny and Lenny, Rourke Junior's bodyguards, although they don't last long.
  • Always Night: All scenes in the film version play out at night.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted. At the end of The Big Fat Kill, Dwight tricks Manute and his men that Gail is all he wants in exchange for Jackie-Boy's head. The head was filled with explosives, and as soon as it goes off, every girl from Old Town shows up on the rooftops and fires every bullet they have into Manute and his men.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Obviously, Roark Jr. as the Yellow Bastard.
  • Anachronic Order: The comics were published in anachronic order, and the segments of the film are shown anachronistically as well.
  • And Show It to You: The natural conclusion of Marv's brutal interrogation technique.
  • And This Is for...: Right before Nancy caps Senator Roark at the end of "Nancy's Last Dance", she says "This is for John Hartigan, fucker!"
  • Antagonist Title: That Yellow Bastard refers to Hartigan's antagonist, the serial killing, child molesting Roark Jr. whom he must destroy to protect Nancy. It's the form Roark ended up as after the experimental treatment his corrupt father paid for to regrow his penis.
  • Anti-Hero: Every damned protagonist. Most of them are straight on Type IVs who like to Pay Evil unto Evil.
  • Anti-Villain: Nearly every villain in the franchise is motivated by nothing but For the Evulz or pure Greed. Most of them are utterly devoid of likable qualities. Even comical villains like Klump, Schlubb, and Gordo are involved in some pretty nasty stuff like aiding a pedophile and human trafficking. This makes the only four antagonists who actually do have some better traits stand out quite a bit (particularly the former two).
    • Liebowitz. He's as corrupt of a cop as any other and beats up Hartigan for not signing a false confession. Despite this, he is a devoted family man and eventually turns on the Colonel, going so far as to kill him. In the second film, Liebowitz goes out of his way to warn Johnny to leave the city after he beats Roark in a poker game.
    • Becky betrays her friends in Old Town to the mob, but seems remorseful, is clearly miserable being a sex worker, claims that Manute threatened to kill her mother, and gets caught in a somewhat harsh Contempt Crossfire from Gail and Manute.
    • Don Giacco Magliozzi is a downplayed example. He's a fairly unpleasant mob boss, but he deeply loved his niece Andrea and values avenging her death over continuing a profitable partnership with her Hate Sink killer's employer. If he hadn't entrusted the hit to his Trigger-Happy nephews, who accidentally kill an Old Town prostitute, then he'd barely count as a villain at all.
    • Dirty Cop Bob covers up the crimes of pedophile and Serial Killer Roark Jr. and shoots his own partner. However, he claims that he's only doing so out of fear that the Roarks will kill him and tries to convince Hartigan to lay down his gun for several seconds before shooting him again. In the movie, he claims to hate himself afterward and tries to make amends to Hartigan. While this scene is absent from the comics, in A Dame to Kill For, he's quick to believe that Dwight was set up and shows concern for his new partner.
  • Anyone Can Die: Many heroes and villains are offed in both movies. Hartigan and Marv who are two of the three main heroes end up dying. Senator Roark Lampshades this in the second film by saying sooner or later everybody dies in Sin City, which is an ironic line considering his fate at the end of the film.
  • Apathetic Citizens: A very dark variation of this trope. Marv beats people into bloody messes in bars and the people around him keep drinking, a ninja assassin can kill a man in an alley while citizens walk by (as seen in the background of the short story Blues Eyes), and shoot outs are not entirely uncommon due to the Wretched Hive nature of the city.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Marv has Kevin, a Serial Killer who murdered a hooker he loved.
    • John Hartigan has Roark Junior, whom he mutilated for raping children and eventually escapes from prison to take down for good.
    • Dwight McCarthy has Ava Lord, his ex-girlfriend who tries to make him murder her husband.
    • In the films, Nancy Callahan has Senator Roark, who ruined her hero John Hartigan's life and drove him to suicide.
  • Arrowgram: In The Big Fat Kill, Miho delivers a note to Manute and his crew this way: firing the arrow through Stuka's chest.
  • Art Evolution: In the first few issues of A Hard Goodbye the characters and backgrounds are drawn with more realistic proportions and with subtler shading, looking more like a standard black and white comic. By the end of the book the art is crystallized into the high-contrast, over-exaggerated, blocky artwork that became the standard of the series.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Herr Wallenquist (AKA The Kraut), the German crime lord. "Wallenquist" is a Swedish name.
  • Ass Shove: Jackie Boy falls on Miho's swastika shuriken and gets it stuck in his ass. In The Big Fat Kill, Miho apparently shoves her katana up a merc's ass (in the movie, she just stabs him through the back).
  • Ate His Gun:
    • Hartigan does this in The Yellow Bastard when he realises that his bum ticker is giving out and wants to make sure there is no way for the Roarks to use him to find Nancy.
    • Mort does this in a My God, What Have I Done? moment after he kills Bob in A Dame to Kill For.
  • Author Appeal: Frank Miller sure does have a thing for prostitutes, and Sin City is stretching this so far that there is a part of the city that is run by prostitutes. Similarly, count how many times the Nazi swastika appears.
    • This is why the series exists. When he was trying to break into the industry, Miller's samples were all noir, but the industry wanted superheroes so that's what he did, sidelining his crime stories. By the time Sin City was made Miller hadn't drawn a comic in years and decided to finally make the sort of story he wasn't allowed to do and fill it with stuff he loved to draw. For instance, the Tar Pits are just an excuse for him to draw dinosaurs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Cool Car Ferrari. Lampshaded by Shlubb and Klump.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Christopher Lloyd's role in The Long Bad Night. It is entirely possible he is the same doctor Marv mentions in A Dame to Kill For.
  • Backup Twin: Wendy serves as her twin sister for Marv, who is set on avenging the latter twin by hunting down her killer, Kevin. Marv's mental problems mean he keeps mixing up Wendy with her sister.
  • Badass Longcoat: Most of the characters wear one and Marv trades up for new ones all the time. If Marv ever says to you "That's a damn fine coat you're wearing", you'd better hand your coat over and he might leave you breathing if he's in a generous mood.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: A sizeable portion of the Basin City police, but the rest are as completely honest.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: In Family Values, a mafia hitman recounts how he "lit up" a diner with twin uzis, killing everybody inside, then stopped just to shoot a stray dog before making his getaway. This proved to be his fatal mistake, as the collateral damage from this event (shooting a prostitute in a phone booth next to the dog) brought the wrath of Old Town onto his entire organization.
  • Bald of Evil: Manute, Wallenquist, Liebowitz, Cardinal Roark, and the Yellow Bastard. There was also a bald bad evil rich guy with an odd sense of family values in the short story Daddy's Girl (though it's unclear if they are actually related or are a couple with an incest fetish).
  • Band of Brothels: The ladies are the law in Old Town.
  • Batman Gambit: Quite a few:
    • Goldie seduced Marv so that she would have someone to protect her... or at least avenge her death.
    • The story of Family Values is Dwight pulling one big Batman Gambit.
    • Wallace turns into Batman himself at the mid-point of To Hell And Back, turning the Colonel's own Corrupt Cop against him and calling several favors from friends in order to destroy the military helicopter the Colonel was using against him.
    • Dwight's revenge against Ava Lord.
    • Dwight's actions at the end of Big Fat Kill.
  • Battle Butler: Manute fills this role for Ava Lord in A Dame to Kill For and for mob boss Wallenquist in The Big Fat Kill.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Both in the sense of "body" and "soul" for Nancy. In Nancy's Last Dance, she puts herself through all kinds of degradation—drinking on stage, driving herself mad with rage and grief, cutting (and apparently dyeing) her hair, and cutting her own face to motivate Marv. Frankly, her last line in the film seems to imply she may not be able to return to her normal life.... However, Marv's presence emphasizes that this takes place before The Hard Goodbye—in which we see her back on stage, fully restored to her former glory.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Marv's reason for going through hell and high water for Goldie.
  • Berserk Button: Dissing Goldie in front of Marv, as the Padre and Cardinal Rourke find out.
    Marv: It's not a good idea to be talkin' about Goldie like that when I'm around.
  • Better than Sex: A hit man in "Family Values" says this about Dual Wielding Uzis.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Wallace is extremely polite and soft spoken. He's also probably the deadliest person in Sin City... which says something.
    • Even Marv can be a pretty jolly guy who's fun to be around. Just don't piss him off... ever.
  • Big Bad: Most stories have their own one such as Cardinal Roark in "The Hard Goodbye" and Ava Lord in "A Dame to Kill For".
  • Big Bad Friend: Bob in That Yellow Bastard.
  • Big Damn Reunion: In the fourth book, That Yellow Bastard, John Hartigan tries to track down the girl he saved many years ago from the twisted pedophilic serial killer whose Senator father framed him for his son's crimes and put Hartigan away for many years. It turns out that she's grown up to become the gorgeous stripper Nancy Callahan when he realizes that the bad guys have been using him as bait to find her. He tries to walk out when she notices him, freezes in the middle of her performance, then runs straight into his arms with a Big Damn Kiss.
  • Big Eater: Dwight's friend Agammenon in A Dame to Kill For is always eating something, to the point where his apartment is a mess of containers. Dwight promises him a pizza in exchange for giving him a lift, which he has after a Chinese meal and he asks Mort and Bob for doughnuts after consuming a pizza.
  • Big Electric Switch: The electric chair used to execute Marv is activated by a Big Electric Switch.
  • Bittersweet Ending: This is the best kind of ending you're gonna get in Sin City. Only on occasion will this be subverted in lieu of a more "happy" ending—such as in The Big Fat Kill (all the villains are gunned down and the mob is humiliated) or Hell and Back (Wallace and his love interest beat the villains and leave Sin City).
  • Black-and-Gray Morality No one in Sin City is good. Some folks are better than others, but none are good. Even the best of them like Dwight, Hartigan, and Wallace are Good Is Not Nice. Granted though, this isn't as clear in the first film adaptation.
  • Black Blood: The blood in the film is white. Or, in one particular case, yellow. This is an artifact of the comics it's based on, which are entirely black and white (no gray!) except for the yellow Junior (and his blood). It's worth noting however that it changes from shot to shot and story to story. In "That Yellow Bastard" the blood is always white, save for the Bastard's, but in "The Hard Goodbye" pretty much all the blood is bright red (in the commentary the directors noted that the black blood just made Hartigan's face look muddy instead of beaten to a pulp, so they had to make it red). "The Big Fat Kill" throws consistency out the window in favor of interesting visuals. Jackie Boy is shown with his sliced blown off and spewing white blood, but when his throat is slashed, red blood splashes on Miho's face.
  • Blithe Spirit: Nancy acts as this, not only to Marv and Hartigan, but to the series as a whole.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • The film adaptation of Marv and Manute's fight actually shows Marv ripping out his eye, while the book just showed Marv beating him.
    • In the comics, Lucille's severed hand is wrapped up in bandages. In the movie, we see the stitched up stump.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The series often ventures into this camp, whether it's Marv grinding someone's face into the pavement as he drives, Jack Rafferty gradually being hacked up, or Shlubb and Klump being brutalized. The violence goes so over the top that it's just fun to watch. Sometimes.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Subverted in the case of Ava Lord and her loyal-unto-death bodyguard Manute. Dwight interrogates him some point before the final confrontation, but Manute denies it when Dwight asserts that she must have seduced him to get his loyalty. Manute simply admires her cold-bloodedness in some manner of Admiring the Abomination.
  • Book Ends:
    • Though several examples exist, Hartigan's concluding speeches in the film's second and penultimate chapters are especially notable, as both close with Hartigan getting shot and losing everything so Nancy can live.
    • In the movie, the Salesman from "The Customer is Always Right", which opens the film, reappears in the final scene.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Dwight suggests that Marv would have had a better life in ancient times, as a warrior on the field of battle or a gladiator in the Roman arena.
    • Also, Hartigan is one of the last honest cops in Basin City. He appears to belong to a better age, and follows his own code of morals and honour, when no-one else does.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In the first part of the film version of "That Yellow Bastard," Hartigan's partner, Bob, shoots him 8 times with a 6 shot revolver without being seen reloading.
    • Revolvers with 7 or 8 shot cylinders are becoming more common in the early 21st Century, but these mostly post-date the film and the period of history it portrays, and wouldn't be seen in the hands of a cop. The only exception is the eight-shot .38 variant of the British Webley-Fosbery, but that was a very rare gun with a very distinctive appearance.
  • Breaking the Bonds:
    • Marv did this while being tortured by the girls of Old Town and managed to not let anyone see it.
    • Hartigan did it in an Indulgent Fantasy Segue while being beaten by a Corrupt Cop.
  • Breakout Character:
    • In the comics, it was Dwight, who after his first appearance went on to star in two other full-length yarns as well as a short story.
    • In the films, it was Marv, whose portrayal by Mickey Rourke was acclaimed as one of the highlights of the first movie despite him only appearing in one segment. As a result, the sequel film adapts his two other major appearances and features him heavily in one of the new stories.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: In the film, a federal agent is used as a shield while Marv hacks up his teammates with a wood axe. This actually seems to be unintentional on Marv's part since he was busy killing one of the agents when the human shield ran into the path of the bullets.
  • Bulletproof Vest: In Hell and Back, Wallace finds Esther at a farm, only to be ambushed by a helicopter that riddles him with bullets. He manages to survive thanks to one of these.
    Esther: Wh—why aren't you dead?
    Wallace: Lovely stuff, kevlar.
  • Bury Your Gays:
    • Poor Lucille. Also, Carmen in Family Values.
    • And the bisexual Captain in Hell and Back.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A major theme of the series is the act of seemingly random violence happening to the wrong person at the wrong time, resulting in the Anti-Hero taking revenge. The Big Bad in these situations often thought nothing of the crime and may not have even initially known the names of their victims.
    • A notable example takes place in Family Values where the mafia breaks a truce with a rival organization to take revenge for the death of a relative of The Don. Everyone involved is worried about a gang war. It turns out a hooker was killed by a stray bullet. No one thought much about it, except her friends and colleagues, who quickly gather to plot revenge.
  • Call-Back:
    • In "The Hard Goodbye", Marv says that he loves the rain, because it helps him think. In "The Big Fat Kill", Dwight says he hates the rain, because it makes it hard to think.
    • Another one happens during Marv's story, where he says, "This isn't some bar room brawl...Or some creep with a gas can tryin' to torch some wino!" The second line in particular references the main plot of "Just Another Saturday Night", where he fights some 'creeps' who try to torch a 'wino'.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In the opening teaser story, "Just Another Saturday Night", for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Marv is commented on his Bernini brand trenchcoat by one of the frat boys that he believed accosted him. This sets up the Running Gag of Marv getting a new trenchcoat each time it's ruined or destroyed.
      Marv: (Looking at his coat) Bernini, huh? And a fine coat it is....
    • Nancy's Last Dance emphasizes the depth of the bond between Nancy and Marv — which in turn gives new depth to Marv's lines in The Hard Goodbye about how there's nothing Nancy wouldn't do for him, and how it really "gets my goat" when dames like Nancy are "roughed up". In the same story, Marv also mentions "Roarks are hard to kill".
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Of the Black Market Opportunism type. Basin City is terribly corrupt and in the hands of a minority of political and economical elites, especially the Rourke family, who use their power to get away with regular dog-kicking so base, so vile, so monstrous, they don't even know what a Moral Event Horizon is. They get away with most of it, too, until eventually the working-class, downtrodden, impoverished underdog Anti Heroes defeat or murder them.
  • Captain Ersatz: Many of Sin City's characters are homages to previous characters from pulp fiction and film noir:
    • Marv was created as "Conan in a trenchcoat."
    • Dwight is quite obviously based on Mike Hammer.
    • Miller was always disappointed in The Dead Pool (the movie, not the comic character) so he wrote what he thought should be the real final case of Harry Callahan. Enter: John Hartigan.
    • The Yellow Bastard is a horrific case in that Frank Miller has admitted that he was based off of a grown-up (and deranged) version of the Yellow Kid, the earliest comic book character and a very popular one for children at that time.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Most of them openly admit to being bad guys. Senator Roark and Ava Lord especially. Ava gleefully seduces men left and right for her own purposes and gives out an Evil Laugh because she knows she can get away with it. Senator Roark openly admits that he killed his wife and gloats that there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it.
  • Car Fu: Marv applies this to a police motorcycle in A Dame to Kill For. He's on the receiving end in the Hard Goodbye.
  • Carnival of Killers: Hell & Back features a guild of assassins.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: One short story uses a subversion as a Secret Test of Character in which two mooks are given an apparent body to dispose of, but forbidden to unwrap it. It's rigged to explode when they do.
  • Casting Couch: Esther in Hell & Back is a struggling actress and is implied to have experienced this.
    No, it's not the parts they offer. I'm hardly in a position to pick and choose. It's that the only route to the sound stage includes a stop on the couch, if you catch my drift.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Casual High Drop: "The Big Fat Kill". Dwight McCarthy jumps from the window of his girlfriend's apartment and falls several floors to the ground, landing on his feet.
  • Catching the Speedster: Marv is soundly beaten by Kevin in their first fight, but in the second he comes prepared with a set of handcuffs and after letting Kevin get a few hits in to make him overconfident and get closer, Marv snaps the handcuffs onto himself and Kevin.
    Marv: I got you now, ya little bastard. Let's see you hop around now.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: When the Federal Agents arrive at the farm, Lucille naturally assumes that they are there to help and yells at them to not arrest Marv, as he's with her. Then they pour boxes of bullets into poor Lucille.
  • Celibate Hero: When we first meet Dwight, he's trying to maintain this trope. He seems to do okay until Ava comes back in his life.
  • Chained to a Bed:
    • In A Dame to Kill For, a man handcuffs a prostitute to a bed before he can murder her. Thankfully, Dwight, who's been photographing, intervenes.
    • In Hell & Back, Wallace does this to Delia to restrain her after realizing she's working for the enemy.
  • Chewing the Scenery: There's quite a bit of it in the movie, but it works with the tone quite nicely.
    • Even the comic gets away with this somehow.
  • Chiaroscuro: Miller loves to utilize this in his artwork anyway but it seems to be more obvious here.
  • Christianity is Catholic: The Catholic Church seems to be a big power player in the city, and crucifixes are a motif throughout the series. The Babe Wore Red also features a nun who is shown in a much more positive light than usual for Sin City.
  • Chroma Key: Generally quite good in the movie, but a notable "jerkiness" occurs when Miho stabs several people through the head with her sword.
  • The City Narrows: The Red Light District is run by the whores. The police do not go in at all, if a police car gets to the edge of the red light district, it will turn away or around and go somewhere else.
  • City Noir: The venal Basin City (known as "Sin City" to the people who live there) and the seedy inhabitants who lurk in its alleys and doorway. It's almost exclusively set in and around Basin City's criminal underworld. Exaggeration unto high art.
  • *Click* Hello: In The Big Fat Kill, Dwight follows Jackie-Boy and his cronies into Old Town and is about to pursue them when he's stopped by Gail's Uzi.
    That's far enough, Dwight.
  • Clothing Combat: Miho can use her sash as an entangling weapon, or to latch on to passing vehicles.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Marv is really fond of it, but only towards bad guys. Examples include:
    • He amputates all of Kevin's limbs and sicks Kevin's own wolfdog on him to eat him alive. Okay, Kevin was a cannibalistic serial killer, but still... brrr. Becomes A Fate Worse Than Death, but it didn't seem to bother Kevin much. He never screamed, just stared at Marv the whole time.
    • Cardinal Roark might have gotten it worse than Kevin, we don't know for sure what happened, but judging from Marv's narration he had the most "fun" with him.
      Marv: Kevin was damn frustrating but Roark's a pure joy. ... I stare the bastard in the face and I laugh as he screams to God for mercy and I laugh harder when he squeals like a stuck pig and when he whimpers like a baby I'm laughing so hard I cry. He spurts and gurgles and life is good.
    • Marv also tortures and dismembers a cop, partially for information but mainly to avenge Lucille.
  • Cold Open: The opening balcony scene.
  • Colonel Badass: The Colonel, the most dangerous hitman in Basin City.
  • Colorblind Casting: Nancy, Jacki-Boy and Gail are played in the film by Jessica Alba (Latino), Benicio del Toro (Puerto-Rican) and Rosario Dawson (Afro-Latino) respectively.
  • Combat Parkour: The gunfighters tend to have very standard action movie/crime noir moves except for Wallace. He tends to do a lot more hopping around and is probably the most skilled protagonist of the series.
  • Comforting the Widow: Mort, a mostly honest Sin City cop, tries to do this with Ava Lord and ends up tangled in her web.
  • Continuity Drift: There are a couple of plot aspects in "The Hard Goodbye", that while not being straight up continuity errors, don't quite gel with the other stories. Goldie hooked up with Marv because she was looking for protection, and went to bars trying to find the biggest and meanest looking guy in them. Future stories show that she was the boss of the Old Town girls, a position that certainly would have allowed her the services of Miho, who might well be the most dangerous person in the series. Marv also says that with his looks, he was never able to buy a girl. In the other stories, the only requirement for hiring an Old Town girl is money, and they certainly don't come off as the type of group to turn a customer away just for being ugly.
  • Continuity Overlap: The movie has this with "The Hard Goodbye" and "The Big Fat Kill", as both take place on the same night, both protagonists pass at the same bar, and several characters (such as the prostitutes) appear in both. The same applies for Part 2 of "That Yellow Bastard" and "The Customer Is Always Right".
  • Conversation Casualty: In the opening scene, when Josh Hartnett's character embraces the Lady in Red and confesses his love to her and then kills her with his silenced gun the very next moment.
  • Cool Car: Yet more Author Appeal; many characters drive classic American cars of various ages all in mint condition, to the delight of Marv and Dwight who both think modern cars look like electric shavers. The only modern cars treated with respect are European sports models like the Awesome, but Impractical Ferrari in which Shlubb proposes to smuggle Hartigan's body.
    • The 'Heap' owned by Nancy, and later, The Captain in Hell and Back, is a 1957 Chevy Nomad, which is in such disrepair that only Nancy can keep it running, and the 1957 Thunderbird Dwight uses to take the bodies of Jackie Boy and his buddies to the local tar pits has been abused and neglected so much that it just barely holds together for the trip, has a broken taillight, and doesn't even have enough gas to make it.
    • Marv leaves Dwight's classic Mustang behind in A Dame to Kill For because he can't pass up an opportunity to drive an honest-to-God Tucker Torpedo.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: Miho kills Jackie-Boy, realizing too late that he's actually a cop. If the body is found, the fragile truce between the corrupt cops and the Band of Brothels will be broken in the cops' favor, so they need to disfigure and get rid of it.
  • Corrupt Politician: In this world, being honest is contraindicated. Any politician who commits an act of honesty is committing an act of suicide.
  • Cradling Your Kill: The Salesman does this in "The Customer is Always Right." Word of God states that the victim actually hired the assassin, and requested that he comfort her in her dying moments.
  • Crapsack World: Basin City is one of the darker examples. It's a crime-ridden hellhole where vicious gangsters rule the streets and scum prey on the innocent, the police range from incompetent to outright corrupt (they even have a death squad to deal with those who get too close to the real bastards behind it all), and even the heroes of the setting tend to be ruthless sociopaths.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Jackie Boy.
  • Creator Cameo: Frank Miller himself appears as the corrupt priest Marv kills in confession.
  • Credits Gag: Not only done in the movie but Miller manages to pull it off in the comic as well.
  • Creepy Monotone: Manute in the movie, more so with the sequel.
  • Crippling Castration: In "That Yellow Bastard", Hartigan's Establishing Character Moment is removing the gun and penis off a pedophile (who happens to be the only son of a powerful US Senator, landing Hartigan in prison for years) to save his victim Nancy. Years later, Hartigan believes Nancy to be in danger and looks for her, trailed by a grotesque little man who stinks and whose skin is bright yellow (in a black-and-white comic). It turns out the yellow man is the Senator's son, whose appearance is due to the multiple treatments needed to grow a new penis (the Senator needed grandchildren). Hartigan defeats him and once again, removes his weapons—both of them, with his bare hands this time—before savagely pounding his head into the floor until there isn't a head anymore.
  • Crippling the Competition: After Johnny beats him at poker in "The Long Bad Night", Senator Roark breaks the fingers of his game hand with a pair of pliers. Shooting him in the knee is just an act of pure sadism.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Claire, Lucille's psychiatrist girlfriend, according to Marv:
    "She tried to analyze me once, but she got too scared."
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Marv tells his mother this. (The scene was filmed for the film, but it was deleted from the theatrical shot and can be viewed on the recut edition DVD). The scene was also in the comic.

  • Daddy's Girl: In the appropriately titled, Daddy's Little Girl. A young woman whose life is entirely controlled by her rich father asks her lover to shoot him so the two of them can be together at last. He eventually goes through with the deed, but it turns out the gun loaded with blanks and the father beats him to death. The two of them were in a sexual relationship (though it's unclear if they're an actual incestuous father and daughter or just a couple with a fetish) and used violence to turn the father on as foreplay.
  • Dark Action Girl: The assassin Blue Eyes.
    • Miho and the girls of Old Town are anti-heroic versions.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Kevin has the heads of six prostitutes mounted on the wall of his murder room. It may have been inspired by this already disturbing ad for "Stuffed" Girl's Heads.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In The Big, Fat Kill, Dwight hallucinates Jackie Boy is talking to him. He's fully aware Jackie Boy is dead and not really talking, but begrudgingly admits he makes some valid points.
  • A Deadly Affair: Subverted in the album "A Dame To Kill For". A wealthy businessman is visiting a particular hooker on the regular, but is worried that his wife will find out and financially ruin him in the process. He attempts to kill the prostitute after cuffing her to the bed, only to be prevented from doing so by the timely intervention of Dwight McCarthy, who had been hired by the man's wife to track her husband for evidence of the affair.
  • Deadly Graduation: It's implied that this is the final ritual for all prospective assassins in the Murder, Inc. division within Wallenquist's organization. Deliah AKA "Blue Eyes" murdered the only man she ever loved after reuniting with him on the Colonel's orders to prove her loyalty.
  • Deadly Hug: A few times. Dwight does it to Ava at the end of A Dame to Kill For and in the short story "The Customer is Always Right", the Salesman, a nameless hitman, does it to a woman who apparently put the hit out on herself.
  • Death by Adaptation: Nancy kills Senator Roark in the second film. This is an odd case in that while he's (apparently) still alive in the comics, this story was written specifically for the movie and doesn't really contradict the canon of the comics.
  • Death by Cameo: Frank Miller has a cameo in the movie as a corrupt priest. Marv shoots him.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The series is well known for its stark use of black and white, with no shading. The films, due to technical issues and artistic choices, still use monochrome but with a Splash of Color.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Shlubb and Klump, the Trope Namers. What can you say about people who render "circumnavigation" as "circumlocution" (when talking about driving around the block, yet!) or "quenched" as "quelched" or refer to "Consequences most dire" being "athwart us" or... you get the picture.
  • Demanding Their Head: In The Big Fat Kill, after someone informs the mafia of Jackie Boy's death in Old Town, news of which can break Old Town's shaky truce with the police, they send Irish mercenaries who attack Dwight (while he's disposing the evidence) and take Jackie's severed head as proof of his murder. Dwight and Miho later recover Jackie's head from the mercenaries before the mob can get it and use the head to broker a trade for Gail's life. After Dwight hands the head over to the gangsters and takes Gail, he triggers a grenade taped inside Jack's mouth, killing them and destroying the remaining incriminating evidence.
  • Destination Defenestration: Dwight is punched through a window by Manute in their second encounter. Manute has the same done to him by Wallace in To Hell and Back.
  • Determinator:
    • All of the protagonists, but especially Hartigan could be the poster child of this: sixty years plus and feeling it, survives a heart attack, a hanging and having a revolver emptied in his back at close range. Every one of the incidents and each of the bullets should kill him, but he just keeps going.
    • Senator Roark says he does everything he can to save Hartigan, so that he can disgrace him.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Senator Roark mentions that he could get away with murder in public since he's done it in the past... to his own wife, even.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the original comic book, Becky gets gunned down alongside Manute's men by Dwight and the girls of Old Town. In the film, she escapes the ambush and it looks like she has survived. However, a coda at the end of the film shows her being cornered in an elevator at the hospital by the Professional Killer known as the Salesman. This forms a bookend with "The Customer is Always Right" vignette that opens the film.
  • Dirty Cop: About half the Basin City police force.
    Dwight "I don't have nearly enough money to bribe this cop, 'course there's always the chance he's one of the honest ones"
  • Dirty Coward:
    • The Yellow Bastard both before and after his transformation is more likely to run away from a fight than stay.
    • Hartigan's former partner Bob is also quite cowardly since he is more willing to turn on his partner and threaten a child than he is about catching the real Big Bad.
    • Shlubb and Klump can be pretty cowardly. Especially in the presence of Dwight since he beat up both of them throughout the one-shot The Babe Wore Red.
  • Disposable Love Interest:
    • Goldie exists only to die in the first few pages of The Hard Goodbye and give Marv a reason for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • Ava Lord has this attitude toward her lovers. She's a straight-up sociopathic Femme Fatale, after all.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Somewhat averted. Goldie's death in The Hard Goodbye is used to set the plot in motion, but she is portrayed posthumously as a person of value, especially to Marv and her sister. In other stories, the prostitutes of Old Town tend to avoid getting offed by psychos due to their firepower. When one is offed, they respond in kind.
  • Disposing of a Body: In The Big Fat Kill, Dwight and the girls of Old Town learn that the abusive scumbag that they just killed was a hero cop. Since this could ignite an all-out Mob War they need to make the body disappear so nobody is even sure he's actually dead. They set about disposing of him and his buddies by having Dwight dump them into the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits. Things... don't go to plan.
  • Doing It for the Art: invoked Wallace is an artist who refuses to sell out despite money problems. Dwight also had aspirations of being a photographer as opposed to a PI but they never came to be.
  • Domestic Abuse: Jackie Boy is an abusive boyfriend to Shellie... or was at least.
  • Don't Tell Mama: In the comics Marv tries to keep his mother innocent of what his real purpose is when he goes to get Gladys. As well as Becky with respect to...well, you know.
  • Door Stopper: "Big Damn Sin City", a compilation of every Sin City yarn published to-date.
  • Doughnut Mess With A Cop: In A Dame to Kill For, while Mort and Bob interrogate Agamemmnon:
    Agamemmnon: Not to change the subject, but have you got any doughnuts around here? Everybody knows about cops and doughnuts and I'd give my right nut for a couple of cream horns.
    Mort: Get the man some cream horns, Bob.
  • Downer Ending: Many of the short stories have one. Like the one where a guy who thinks he's saving his girlfriend is beaten to death by her controlling father.
  • The Dragon: Sin City dragons tend to be Dragon In Chiefs due to their bosses usually staying in the background and not being physical fighters. There's quite a few: Kevin to Cardinal Roark, Manute to both Ava Lord and Wallenquist at a later date, who also has another dragon, The Colonel.
  • Dramatic Irony: In "That Yellow Bastard", Hartigan goes looking for Nancy Callahan, and is shocked to learn that the girl he once saved is now a drop-dead gorgeous stripper, clearly expecting a homely bookworm instead. The thing is, this is a surprise only to Hartigan, as Nancy had been a supporting character in previous volumes, so readers were already aware of her future.
    • The Magliozzi Crime Families Roaring Rampage of Revenge was launched when Bruno casually killed one of their members as collateral damage while she was in bed with a stoolie, not realizing that she was connected to a powerful, vengeful, close-knit family while remaining oblivious to their hunt for her killer. When Andrea's brother or cousin Vito kills Bruno, he also kills an Old Town Girl as collateral damage with a stray shot, provoking a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Magliozzi's by a powerful, vengeful, close-knit faction they had no idea they'd wronged by killing a member of.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Hartigan knows that his death is the only thing that can once and for all save the girl. He promptly shoots himself in the head.
    • Mort after he shoots his partner dead and realizes too late how much Ava has ruined his life.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: It's precisely this that sets Marv on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge Goldie's death. Notably they actually just had consensual sex, but her murderer killed her while Marv was still sleeping.
  • Drop the Hammer: Kevin lays Marv out with a sledgehammer.
  • Drunk Driver: Jack Rafferty drives drunk in "The Big Fat Kill". He dies that night, but it had little to do with his state, surprisingly.
  • Drunken Master: Marv admits he's more dangerous when he's drunk. In a later story, Dwight purposefully gets Marv "good and drunk" so he can be of better use in the upcoming fight.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: The extreme lengths Marv is willing to go to for avenging Goldie.
  • Dull Surprise: One of the most significant-if subtle-differences between the comics and film is that dialogue that was shouted in the comic is usually spoken quietly in the film. For example, Senator Roark never yells at Hartigan, and Jackie-Boy never raises his voice despite his Hair-Trigger Temper. Also Bob's reaction to Mort shooting him in the eye in the sequel.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Marv looks much smaller in the first few pages of The Hard Goodbye, apparently before Miller settled on characterizing him as a mountain of muscle.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Wallace and Esther. They are the only Sin City characters to get one.
  • Enormous Engine: Muscle cars pop up sometimes, engines exposed and all. Sometimes, the engine is not shown but described in explicit detail.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Done in a very literal way. Wallace is under the effects of a drug given to him by the bad guys. He finds a dead child in the trunk of a car but all we see is his hallucination: a Raggedy-Ann doll. He knows what the doll really is but actually expresses gratitude that the villains drugged him for that one moment.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Marv visits his frail old mother. Later he concedes to sign a confession for the villains when they threaten his mother, though he breaks the lawyer's arm first.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Word of God says that Kevin hates Junior and thinks he's an abomination. Kevin will coexist with him, but will not help when Hartigan attacks the farm.
    • The corrupt cop Liebowitz has at times shown moments of kindness or morality, such as when he tries to warn Johnny not to beat Roark in poker, or when he declares war on the Colonel.
  • Evidence Dungeon: The Farm at North Cross and Lennox featured in "The Hard Goodbye," where it was Kevin and Cardinal Roark's base of operation for their cannibalistic impulses has (at minimum) the decapitated heads of their victims.
  • Evil Plan:
    • In "A Dame to Kill For," Ava Lord manipulates her ex into killing her husband for money.
    • In "The Big Fat Kill," Manute seeks to destroy Old Town when the prostitutes there killed one of his organization's Dirty Cops.
  • Evil Redhead: One of the female assassins in the Wallenquist mob is a Femme Fatale redhead named Mariah. Much like her colleague Blue Eyes, that trait is highlighted in the otherwise black and white comic.
  • Executive Suite Fight:
    • The Hard Goodbye: The last stop of Marv's Roaring Rampage of Revenge through Basin City is Cardinal Roark's 5th story luxury bedroom/chapel.
    • There was also the Lord Estate in A Dame To Kill For, which was the setting for two major fights, including the climax.
    • "Daddy's Little Girl" has a rather tragic subversion of this battle when the main character goes to a rich man's estate in order to fight for the right to marry his daughter. The daughter set her boyfriend up to be brutally murdered by her father. As it turns out, they're in a incestuous relationship and apparently killing poor schmucks turns him on.
  • Exiled to the Couch: In The Hard Goodbye, Marv and Wendy stay at a motel en route to the farm to kill Kevin. She sleeps on the bed, while he sleeps on the couch, partly out of chivalry and partly because she reminds of him of Goldie.
  • Exploitation Film: With a heavy dose of Film Noir for good measure.
  • Explosion Propulsion: Apparently Miho has the ability to Rocket Jump while taking no damage whatsoever.
  • Exposition Victim: Happens off-screen when Kevin kidnaps Marv's parole officer.
  • Expy: Hartigan is an expy of Dirty Harry according to Word of God
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: In A Dame to Kill For, Dwight has Marv help him rescue Ava. As Marv is beating up the security guards, he notices Manute (who had given Dwight a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown earlier) among them and yells "You! You're the bum who hurt my pal!", before tackling him through a window and beating the crap out of him. After the beatdown Marv sits beside Manute panting, he hears Manute gasp for breath, and continues beating him up. It is later revealed he also gouged out one of Manute's eyes.
    • Let this sink in for a second. Marv is a Determinator who has shrugged off bullets, cars, and all manner of attacks on his person, has thrown people through walls, and has generally proven to be Made of Iron and an Implacable Man...and he beats Manute up so damn badly he tires himself out.
    • That Yellow Bastard gives us the page quote for this trope. Police Detective John Hartigan saved 11-year-old Nancy Callahan from being raped and murdered by Roark, Jr., then was framed for the rape and spent eight years in prison. After Hartigan is released, Roark gets a hold of Nancy again and tortures her. Hartigan doesn't take it well.
  • Eye Scream: Marv rips Manute's eye out of his socket. In most cases of this trope, this would be out of desperation. Not here. Marv just did it for the hell of it.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Marv and Hartigan, the former of whom merely snarks at his own execution to annoy the guards, the latter of whom performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The unnamed female character in the short story The Customer Is Always Right fits this trope as well, but it's implied that she put the hit on herself. According to Frank Miller, she took the hit out after breaking up with someone in the Mafia, who swore vengeance.
  • Face on a Milk Carton: The Colonel's fate at the end of Hell and Back.
  • Fair Cop: In Family Values, Dwight is hit on by a rather comely female officer. Since Dwight is at that moment on a mission for Old Town with the nearby and concealed Miho, who will kill the cop if anything goes wrong, he pretends to be a Depraved Bisexual and asks her to handcuff him, spank him and call him Belinda to scare her away.
  • Facial Markings: The hitman cop who visits the Roark farm in "The Hard Goodbye" has some pretty cool looking tattoos.
  • Fake Shemp: Used a lot due to how the movie was shot. Since most of it was green screen, characters could be added in after certain scenes had already been shot. For example, when Marv takes Wendy to Nancy's apartment, Jessica Alba had not been cast yet - so she was added in later. Likewise, Mickey Rourke and Elijah Wood never met until the premiere - despite their characters interacting prominently in the movie.
  • Fallen Hero: Jack Rafferty was once a hero cop nicknamed "Iron Jack". Word of God states that he used to be a good man but the corrupt system eventually ate away at him.
  • Family-Friendly Stripper: Nancy in the movie doesn't take her clothes off, whereas she's often dancing topless in the comics. Taken to the extreme in the sequel, where Nancy does normal stripper stuff like jumping the stage, spanking herself and getting on all fours yet the scene is played out as self-destructive behavior and Marv even leaves the bar disgusted by the raunchiness, even though it's pretty standard stripper stuff and she's not even topless.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Roarks. Also, the unnamed family in Daddy's Little Girl (assuming they actually are related).
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: That Yellow Bastard. Hartigan tears his balls off with his bare hands before beating him to death.
    • Also Kevin, who is dismembered, graphically eaten by his pet wolf, and finally decapitated.
    • Any way Marv kills a person. One particular instance has him squeezing a man's head so hard it pops like a grape.
  • Fan Disservice: That Yellow Bastard is also shown in full glory.
  • Fanservice:
    • A good number of attractive actresses get naked (or wear very little) in the name of art. Carla Gugino brandishes a gun topless and wears a thong, Rosario Dawson is in her underwear, Brittany Murphy is in nothing but panties and a button down shirt, and Jessica Alba is a stripper as well. In the comics, all of these characters are depicted naked at one point or another, even if their actresses weren't nude in the movie. We can also add Miho to the mix. Half of Ava's total screentime in the second film is without clothes. And Sally in the second film is always either topless or in lingerie. No other options.
    • Not to be outdone, the ladies are treated to Dwight getting naked in almost every one of his stories. Hartigan and Wallace also both get Male Frontal Nudity scenes.
  • Female Fighter, Male Handler: Dwight often employs the female assassin Miho to kill the various mobsters and hitmen they go up against so he can focus on his plans.
  • Finger in the Mail: Hartigan gets a severed finger in the mail instead of his usual letter from Nancy. Junior couldn't find her, so he tricks Hartigan into tracking her down.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: In a rare case of What Measure Is a Mook? happening to someone on the hero's side, the prostitute Dallas gets gunned down by mercenaries when she, Miho and Dwight fight the mercenaries over Jackie Boy's head, and Dwight doesn't even bat an eye despite being on a First-Name Basis with her. It's only when Miho gets hurt that he gets involved, and gets pissed.
  • Fragile Speedster: As Marv proves, Kevin isn't so tough when he can't hop around.
  • Frame-Up:
    • In The Hard Goodbye, Kevin kills Goldie and leaves Marv to deal with the police. Marv realises the too quick police response means he was set up.
    • In Family Values, the Magliozzi crime family orders a hit on Herr Wallenquist's hitman-turned-local-politician for murdering Don Magliozzi's niece years earlier, in spite of a truce currently between the two syndicates. While most are on edge wondering whether Wallenquist will take action or write off the hit as a "business expense", Dwight and Miho massacre the family and frame it as retaliation by Wallenquist for the hit because the hitman shot a stray dog for fun, unknowingly killing an Old Town girl who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Borders on a False Flag Operation.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The date of Marv's trial and therefore the series' timeframe, which is in the '90s, can be seen on a newspaper if you freeze at the right point.
  • Freudian Threat: Shellie threatens to cut the manhood off of one of Jackie Boy's friends when he hits on her. A couple of pages later, Dwight holds Jackie at knife point and says he'll cut him in ways that would "make you useless to a woman."
  • Friend to Psychos: The Roark brothers to Junior and Kevin.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Dwight fights Manute in the buff in A Dame to Kill For and the Yellow Bastard engages Hartigan while naked at the end of his story.

  • Gag Nose: Otto the bartender. It borders on being a Non-Standard Character Design.
  • Genius Loci: The general idea is that the city is the main character of the series. It's not uncommon for characters to talk about the city as if it were alive.
  • The Ghost:
    • We know that the third Roark brother is an attorney general but otherwise, he's only mentioned a couple times, never shows up in any stories, and is not even named. The movie, understandably, did not mention him at all.
    • Kadie, owner of the eponymous Kadie's Club Pecos. Apparently an overweight transgender woman, she's never appeared in any issue.
    • Herr Wallenquist in the first movie. Finally seen in the sequel, played by Stacy Keach in heavy facial prosthetics making him unrecognizable and ugly.
  • The Glomp:
    • Just when Hartigan is hoping to sneak out before Nancy recognises him, she leaps off the stage and throws herself into his arms, letting Yellow Bastard know exactly who she is.
    • Wallace's war buddy The Captain:
    Wallace: Here comes one of his hugs. Here's hoping my ribs are good and flexible. My ribs hold up fine. Not so much as a crack.
  • Going by the Matchbook: Hartigan finds Nancy with the help of a book of matches in her apartment. He does, however, point out in the narration that it's his only lead. The time period in which the story is set isn't entirely clear; some characters dress like '90s antiheroes, while the cars (equipped with early '90s car-phones) look early '60s at the latest and weapons run the gamut from swords to bleeding-edge sniper rifles. But they had to use the matchbook gag, as the whole premise of the series is "take film noir and turn all the dials up to eleven".
  • Gonk: Marv, in-universe. Before Goldie, he states that he'd never even been able to buy a woman.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Kadie's. Not so much of a Good Guy Bar as it is an Anti-Hero Bar since the main protagonists, Marv and Dwight, frequent the establishment. This is where a few major side characters work as well.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Many of the series' more ethical characters skirt (if not outright embrace) this trope. Perhaps justified, considering that Basin City is a pretty nasty place where most people are either victims or victimizers — being neither of those, in this setting, seems to require a degree of hardassery. Again though, this isn't as clear in the first movie adaptation.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs:
    • Marv likes taking care of things this way.
    • Averted with Dwight who simply either uses guns or his martial arts to do a lot of flying kicks since he hates skinning his knuckles.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • John Hartigan has a distinctive good-guy scar in his forehead... yep, also in the shape of an "X", whereas the villainous Manute has a horrible glass eye to replace the one that Marv ripped out of him in "A Dame to Kill For".
    • Marv has plenty of his own scars, but he is a bad good guy.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Most characters smoke but the good guys usually have cigarettes while the bad guys chomp on cigars.
  • Gorn: Kevin's collection of severed hooker heads. Hartigan ripping out Junior's testicles. And several more incidents.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Sometimes invoked... sometimes averted.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Senator Roark and Mob Boss Wallenquist. The former is an immensely powerful and unashamedly Corrupt Politician who can get away with anything while the latter is an immensely powerful crime lord controlling most of the organized crime in the city. While both men are responsible for the greatest evils in Basin City and perpetuate the Crapsack World itself, neither would really qualify as the main villain in any of the stories. Their organizations and influence are so vast that they're usually concerned with larger matters than direct confrontation with the (Anti-)heroes.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Hartigan to Roark Jr., who certainly deserved it. Twice.
    • Marv also shoves a hatchet into a cop's crotch and at one point, crushes Weeval's balls in order to get him to comply.
    • When he first meets Dwight, Manute gives him a good kick in the junk.
  • Guns Akimbo: Everyone wielding a gun (i.e everyone) almost always ends up with two of them.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: It's hard to tell because the comics are largely black and white, but Nancy Callahan is canonically blonde. A young woman working herself through law school by working as a topless exotic dancer off hours, she's probably the kindest and most innocent character in the comics (Word of God calls her "an angel" living in a Wretched Hive). She's acquainted with a lot of the major characters, who protect her from abusive or downright evil men out to hurt her.
  • Hand Cannon:
    • Hartigan uses a Smith & Wesson Model 29 in the beginning of the film. Later on, he uses a Ruger Blackhawk and a .44 Magnum.
    • Some of the Old Town prostitutes also use Blackhawks, noticeably Dallas.
    • The (likely fake)revolvers Nancy Callahan uses in her cowgirl outfit are stainless Blackhawks. In the sequel, Nancy uses a real gun (specifically Hartigan's old revolver) during her stage acts and isn't afraid to fire very real warning shots at any patron who grabs her.
  • Has a Type: The Yellow Bastard has a type: little girls. He says that Nancy isn't his type now that She's All Grown Up... but he's willing to make an exception. Partly to hurt Hartigan, partly because she's The One That Got Away.
  • Hate Sink: Ethan Roark, Jr., is a sadistic paedophile who only gets away with his atrocities because his father is a senator. He is completely impotent unless he hears a preteen girl screaming, and has had hundreds of victims. Eight years after he's beaten to near-death and castrated by hero cop John Hartigan, he comes back to finish the job on the girl he saved, planning to torture her to death.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Shelly wears Dwight's shirt when Jackie Boy arrives at her apartment. He is not amused.
  • Heroic Suicide: At the end of That Yellow Bastard, Hartigan kills himself so that no one will hurt Nancy to get at him.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Thanks to the fact that many stories feature Kadie's Bar many characters appear in each other's stories. Marv holds the record for most appearances for a protagonist, appearing in six stories while only being the protagonist of three. Dwight and John Hartigan both have a quick cameo outside of their own stories as well. Wallace is the only protagonist to only be seen in his own story.
    • In the short story "Blue Eyes," Jim is on the run from the mob (and shows a bit of resourcefulness in the process). It's never revealed why The Colonel and Manute are after him, and his narrative significance is merely to be killed by Delia for her Initiation Ceremony into the mob.
    • In "The Babe Wore Red," Private Investigator Bernard G. Zimmer becomes a Posthumous Character due to being brave enough to investigate a drug ring that the mayor and district attorney are involved with.
  • Heroes Act, Villains Hinder: In Hartigan and Marv's stories, the main characters respond to crimes that happen off-screen to people they have little connection to. Because they decide to act, this leads them to make more decisions and the plot follows them. Dwight is an even greater example. He starts off reacting to Jackie Boy being the plot driver but he takes over the plot when he decides to chase Jackie Boy into Old Town and from there, his actions led to trouble from different directions. The main villain of that particular story doesn't have a part in the plot until the mid-way point.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Marv is telling Nancy they need some tools to take on Roark's men, when three armed-to-the-teeth outlaw bikers turn up intent on tearing up the joint. Our anti-heroes quickly relieves them of their delusions, weaponry, and motorbikes. And their lives.
  • Hidden Villain: For most of the original comic, Marv has no idea who Goldie's killers are until he tracks down first Kevin, then Cardinal Roark. In the film, they do briefly show a shot of Kevin entering the room where he killed her, but he's a complete stranger all the same.
  • High on Homicide: According to Patrick Henry Roark, Kevin came to him with guilt over murdering and cannibalizing prostitutes, despite feeling in it "the touch of God Almighty." This led the cardinal to not only cover up his crimes but join him in them as well.
  • Holier Than Thou: Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark uses the mob, a police death squad, and a silent and deadly farm boy cannibal whose proclivities he shares in order to do his dirty work. Too bad he's also The Man Behind the Curtain. However, Marv is shown to be a practicing Catholic as well, and he wears a cross around his neck.
  • Honor Before Reason: The protagonists each possess this trait. Despite their violent and sadistic nature, they will still put their lives on the line and suffer greatly for the sake of those they wish to protect.
  • Human Head on the Wall: Serial killer Kevin mounted the severed heads of six of the prostitutes he's murdered and eaten on plaques and hung them on the wall.
  • Human Traffickers: The Colonel, one of the Wallenquist Mob's lieutenants, was responsible for managing a huge human trafficking network that was later dismantled by One-Man Army Retired Badass Wallace.
  • Humiliation Conga: Jack Rafferty's last night on Earth was a bit of a rough one, even by his own admission.
  • I Call It "Vera": Marv's pistol Gladys, named after the toughest nun he ever met. He thinks it has almost lived up to its name.
  • I Own This Town: The Roark Family are the de facto rulers of Sin City. (Except for Old Town, where the girls are the law, with Goldie and Wendy being the rulers.) The city also has two "normal" criminal syndicates, the Wallenquists and the Magliozzi, but while both are hinted to be powerful, they aren't enough to challenge the Roarks
  • If I Do Not Return: Before his final confrontation with Kevin, Marv tells Wendy to leave if he doesn't come back in twenty minutes.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: When Ava Lord of A Dame to Kill For allies with Wallenquist, he tells her, "I'll warn you once and only once, Mrs. Lord — do not flirt with me. I have no use for your charms." Interestingly, despite being the most powerful crime lord in the city and having a number of drop-dead gorgeous women who work for him such as the assassin Mariah, Herr Wallenquist is never shown being involved with any woman (or man, for that matter), implying that he's completely uninterested in sex in general.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Kevin and Cardinal Roark, who occasionally joined in.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted in many cases. Every hero has been pinned down or even clipped by Mooks. Shlubb and Klump, who are typically Plucky Comic Relief bad guys, even prove to be expert marksmen. There have also been a few unnamed snipers who proved to have decent aim.
  • Implacable Man: All the heroes get this treatment but Marv is probably the main offender.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Miho, Wallace, and Dwight all get these moments.
    • Even Hartigan, as old as he is, is able to shoot a man's ear off with a crack shot.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The sequel was released as Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Detective Hartigan has one at one point in That Yellow Bastard.
  • Informed Ability: Wallace is said to be a great artist, but we never see any of his work. This is to avoid the usual problems with this trope. If the audience never sees it, there's no need to worry about it living up to the readers' expectations.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Nancy is often seen as the most beautiful woman in Sin City. While she is drawn quite lovely, she doesn't seem to be all that different from say, Shellie, who looks very similar.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Delia and Mariah express admiration for Wallace's combat abilities in To Hell and Back.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In "Hell and Back", Wallace is in a car chase with Blue Eyes in the passenger seat. When the bad guys are about to open fire on them he tells her to get her head down, so she, well...
  • Instant Death Stab: Miho kills 3 of Iron Jack's men instantly with katanas to the face, through the roof of the latter's car.
  • Instant Knots: Miho does this when she uses her sash to wrap around the bumper of a moving car and hold on.
  • Interquel: All four stories in A Dame to Kill For take place between "That Yellow Bastard" and "The Hard Goodbye" since Marv is alive and well in each story. In the comics "Blue Eyes," "Wrong Turn," "Wrong Track," "Just Another Saturday Night," "Family Values" and "Hell and Back" were written as interquels, being published after the earliest and latest stories in the series timeline ("That Yellow Bastard" and "The Big Fat Kill").
  • In the Back:
    • In The Big Fat Kill, Miho stabs one of the Irish goons in the back with her sword before he can kill Dwight.
    • In The Yellow Bastard, Bob shoots Hartigan in the back several times before he can finish Junior off.
  • Intimate Artistry: We never do meet the model (Or even see the picture itself), but part of Wallace's Establishing Character Moment in Hell and Back is him showing a painting that he had been hired to create. Despite clearly being intended for some sort of pornographic magazine, Wallace had painted an intimate and artistic portrait that showed the model covered by a sheet instead of being naked because he felt it was the better picture. When his boss laments his decision, Wallace shows that he had also painted the completely-naked version, then rips the nude painting in half in front of him.
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: Marv asks Kevin this during their second fight. Kevin responds by planting his foot on Marv's face. They also end up being Marv's last words, after the first shock from an electric chair fails to kill him.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: That Yellow Bastard has been covered up by comic vendors in some parts for this reason, though by today's standards "bastard" actually isn't that bad.
  • Internal Retcon: A recurring theme in the series is characters having to cover up what actually happened because of the disastrous consequences if the truth were known.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Wallace stopped Esther's suicide attempt.
  • Invincible Hero: Ex-Navy SEAL Wallace. While the other protagonists accomplish their goals by either taking a lot of punishment (Marv and Hartigan) or by having tons of back up (Dwight), Wallace almost single handily takes out every one in his way easily, with nary a scratch to show for it. He's also not held back by any particular moral standard like Marv's dislike of hitting girls. The only time he's seriously inconvenienced are when the bad guys manage to sneak up on him and tranq him.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. Hartigan hurts his hand punching out his partner Bob, and Dwight later tries to avoid skinning his knuckles in a fight.
  • Irish Explosives Expert: Brian is a former-IRA bomber who now works as a mercenary, who admits that explosions are his preferred method of killing.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Hell of a way to end a partnership."
    • "Deadly little Miho. You won't feel a thing. Not unless she wants you to."
    • "I take away his weapons... both of them."
  • It Works Better with Bullets: In Hell & Back, Wallace sneaks into Liebowitz's house. When he reveals himself to the cop, the guy grabs the gun under his chair and squeezes the trigger. Wallace then shows him the handful of bullets he had previously removed.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Marv is really fond of this. Amusingly, when the Old Town prostitutes try it on Marv, he takes several blows from a .38 revolver used to Pistol Whip him and explains himself. Then he calmly rips out of their ropes like they were tissue paper, and could have done so the whole time.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In The Big, Fat Kill, Dwight hallucinates Jackie Boy talking to him while dead. Jackie Boy tells him to watch the road, points out the car is almost out of gas and, when a motorcycle cop chases Dwight, states not stopping will only make things worse.
    Dwight: Sure he's an asshole. Sure he's dead. Sure I'm just imagining that he's talking. None of that stops the bastard from being absolutely right.
  • Jerk Jock: The story Just Another Saturday Night has a group of jerk jocks from a fraternity. This being Sin City, they don't stop at just being jerks, though. They like to light homeless people on fire. Too bad for them they ran into Marv, who's a little higher up on the Sin City food chain.
  • Just One Man: Despite all the political power and muscle with guns controlled by the Roark brothers and Ava Lord, each of them are taken down by one determined protagonist on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Kangaroo Court: This is the only court available, given the thoroughly corrupt legal system in general. As an example, the police threaten Marv's elderly mother to coerce Marv into confessing so he can be sent to the electric chair.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Senator Roark may not get his comeuppance in That Yellow Bastard, but with Junior dead and Hartigan's suicide denying him revenge, he's still screwed. By the movie A Dame To Kill For, Roark's luck runs out as his reputation is first ruined by his (literal) bastard son, then he's killed by Nancy for what he did to Hartigan.
  • Kick the Dog: All the bad guys love to do this but special mention goes to Lucca from Family Values who shoots a dog and ends up inciting a Roaring Rampageof Revenge, a massive No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, and a Mob War.
    • Kevin loves forcing his future victims to watch him eat the ones he's already killed, and locked Marv's parole officer in his basement with their severed heads.
    • Roark Junior is a dog-kicking machine, raping and murdering hundreds of little girls for his own jollies. In fact, he's physically incapable of getting hard without children screaming.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Kevin.
  • Kinky Cuffs: Subverted when Wallace takes a beautiful blue-eyed woman to a hotel room after he spent the past several issues ignoring her every advance. She's quite surprised by the handcuffs, but it turns out he only wanted to restrain her. He'd already long figured out that she was an assassin sent to kill him.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Salesman approaches a women outside of a party and tells here that he has come to help her face her troubles, and that he loves her. Then he subverts it. He was never there to be her shining knight; she hired him to kill her in a delicate fashion because a mob figure threatened to brutally murder her after she broke up with him.
  • Kubrick Stare: Kevin gives an indescribably creepy one right before he ambushes Marv. Marv does one right back upon overhearing the cannibal's name from his prison. "See you later, Kevin."
  • Lady in Red: The title character in "The Babe Who Wore Red" is a beautiful Damsel in Distress whose striking red dress is the only object of color in the otherwise black-and-white noir story. She turns out to be a subversion of the trope, as she's actually a nun who considered forsaking her vows.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Despite the stories often ending with the hero dead or in dire straits, the bad guys usually get what they deserve before all is said and done. Even if they survive, they usually lose whatever they held dear. Case in point, Senator Roark is still alive but he lost his son and has to live with the fact that the Roark family lineage is now cut. Considering this family has lorded over Sin City for more than a century, that's a letdown for him and his one surviving brother. And the film A Dame To Kill For has Nancy killing Roark, effectively ending their reign over the city.
    • The short story Rats has a Nazi war criminal being shoved in an oven.
    • In the movie Becky seemingly escapes with nothing but is killed by The Salesman in the movie's final scene. In the book her segment's based on, she dies along with everyone else.
  • The Last DJ: John Hartigan, the last honest cop in Sin City.
  • Life Saving Misfortune: In "Wrong Turn," Eddie Dubois (a jewel thief selling his goods on the mob's turf) gets a flat tire which keeps him from driving into an ambush where Delia is waiting to kill him. Unfortunately for Eddie, this only buys him a few hours before Delia tracks him down in the sequel story "Wrong Track."
  • Lightning Bruiser: Marv is big and tough but he proves to be very fast and agile, as evident in his fights with the cops.
  • Little Useless Gun: Ava shoots Dwight with a .32. Marv tells him he'd be in trouble if she'd used "a real gun" on him. The .25 Dwight carries in the climax of A Dame To Kill For also counts, as the six shots it carries barely fazes Manute.
  • Local Hangout: Every main character hangs out at Kadie's these days. Even Roark, the Big Bad goes there for his weekly poker game!
  • Lotus Position: Wallace meditates in this position to clear his mind.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming:

  • Mad Bomber: The psychopathic Irish henchman in The Big Fat Kill who only uses bombs and grenades to kill his enemies.
  • Made of Iron: Many characters exhibit this trait to an incredible degree.
    • Two characters who seem particularly adept at shrugging off damage are Manute and Marv, who require really extreme trauma to be eventually killed: Manute in a hail of bullets courtesy of an army of prostitutes; Marv by being electrocuted in the electric chair - although notably, Marv doesn't die until the second time in a row he's electrocuted.
    Marv: Is that the best you can do, you pansies?
    • The animalistic Kevin is so good at avoiding damage that he doesn't get a chance to display his durability much, but the fact that he can survive being dismembered, eaten alive by a wolf, and eventually disemboweled, without even making a sound, until he's finally killed by decapitation indicates that he's got a lot of iron in him as well.
  • Magic Realism: It's in the crime genre but that doesn't stop it from dabbling slightly with mysticism (Miho, Kevin, the empathic elements of the Farm) or even light sci-fi (Yellow Bastard, the Colonel's operations). There was also the torture technician in The Big Fat Kill who could cause pain with a simple touch. This was changed to Manute in the movie. And none of this is explained, and when its explained, it defies logic in many ways, and in fact a lot of the events depicted in the series are taken at face value by the characters, as if this is just how things work in that world every single day.
    • According to Frank Miller, Miho and Kevin are two sides of the same coin: he refers to them as the "demons" of Sin City, Miho being the "good demon," Kevin being "the bad." This is in reference to their silent, super-violent, sadistic natures, and the fact that both are incredibly difficult to harm.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: There are quite a few bits in both movies where people with grievous injuries don't exactly react how you'd expect people to react. Stuka's reaction to being shot by an arrow through the chest in The Big Fat Kill is downright nonchalant (though some of it can be attributed to shock).
  • Male Frontal Nudity: The comics are loaded with fanservice so much so that even the guys get in on it. Every major male character gets at least one full frontal nude scene... except for Marv.
  • Male Gaze: The Big Fat Kill has a deliberate closeup shot of Becky's butt—in skintight leather pants, natch—that takes up a panel, when Jackie Boy is scoping her in his car.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: In The Hard Goodbye, Marv kills his way through hitmen, gangsters, a police death squad and a silent and deadly farm boy cannibal killer to get to the man behind the murder of Goldie...who turns out to be a really little old man who isn't nearly as imposing as his fearsome reputation as a Cardinal would lead one to believe. The big bad cowers and dies screaming as Marv exacts his revenge on him.
  • Man Bites Man: Gail bites Becky in "The Big Fat Kill," nearly ripping her throat out, after learning that she sold Gail and the other girls out to the mob to protect her own neck.
    Gail: Your neck, your neck, your precious little neck...
  • May–December Romance: Nancy and Hartigan. He doesn't go so far as to actually sleep with her, since he understandably thinks he's way too old (around 65 at the end of the story) to enter a relationship with a 19-year old, but they do share several very passionate kisses and he describes her as "the love of my life" in his internal monologue. This is really a subversion, as Hartigan explicitly rejects the relationship due to the age difference.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Hartigan's ghost appears multiple times during Nancy's story in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which suggests that Nancy has gone insane over the four years since his death. His mirrored reflection at the end of the movie which gives Senator Rourke a Jump Scare suggests otherwise.
  • Meaningful Echo: "She says her name is Goldie." The first time he's referring to Goldie. The second time he's referring to Wendy, Goldie's twin sister, giving him his final night of passion before he's slated to be executed for the events of the story, who has just told him "You can call me Goldie."
  • Mega Crossover: Several stories overlap and there has been at least one instance of protagonists teaming up: A Dame To Kill For.
  • Men of Sherwood: The Girls of Old Town is the only large force of tough combatants that isn't working against the heroes (except briefly, due to a misunderstanding when Marv is framed for Kevin's crimes). None of them are ever killed except when they're caught alone, and the unnamed background members help wipe out a lot of Mooks in The Big Fat Kill.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Characters are often supposed to be hiding out from the cops or mafia, but when they choose rides, they usually get the Cool Car. This trope is actually justified in that most cars in the city are vintage muscle cars.
  • Mob War: Most notably with the Old Town Girls once resisting attempts from the mob to invade their turf and later striking back at The Mafia for the death of one of their own when she had been just an Innocent Bystander.
  • Model Scam: Implied Trope in That Yellow Bastard. When Hartigan meets with Nancy at Kadie's, Agamemnon approaches him and asks Hartigan to put in a good word for him, claiming he's a world-famous photographer. He's definitely full of shit, since Agamemnon is a lazy slob who is established in Dame to Kill For to get by doing "cheating spouse" photo jobs and similar low-rent stuff.
  • Monster Misogyny: Most of Sin City's male villains are some form of misogynistic scumbag, to the point that in A Dame to Kill For, Ava plays on Dwight's violent protectiveness of women in general by casting her perfectly innocent husband as one of these in her Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Moral Myopia: Not only does senator Roark not care that his son is a sick child-raping/murdering monster, he actively aids him in his depraved activities.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: This always happens when Dwight teams up with deadly little Miho. Dwight is a brooding noir hero who can hold his own in a fight. Miho is an extremely agile and deadly Old Town assassin, probably the most dangerous character in the books. Dwight tends to stand back while she slaughters whole groups of enemies in front of him.
  • More Dakka: This is what the Big Fat Kill refers to. Dwight and the Old Town girls unload on Manute and his men until they're just "wet chunks of meat."
  • Mr. Fanservice: While the series is known for its alluring female characters, almost every male protagonist has a nude scene and there are plenty of Shirtless Scenes as well. Not to be outdone, while the movie avoids Male Frontal Nudity due to Double Standards in the movie industry, the male leads are played by the likes of Bruce Willis and Clive Owen.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Most of Nancy's appearances have her topless, since she is a stripper. Downplayed in the film, due to Jessica Alba's refusal to appear topless. Though in the film, it IS still Jessica Alba as a stripper with killer abs.
    • Ava Lord spends more time undressed than clothed, especially as she's fond of skinny dipping. She uses her looks to manipulate any man to do her bidding. The fact that she's played by Eva Green certainly helps sell her status as a femme fatale.
    • Lucille is introduced wearing just a thong and is later naked in Kevin's basement. And she's played by Carla Gugino.
    • Gail is the leader of the Girls of Old Town, so is a prostitute in fetish gear. And is played by Rosario Dawson.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: In "The Big Fat Kill", the kill of the title is the climactic showdown when Dwight and the Old Town girls take out the Wallenquist gang members by raining down a hail of bullets on them from every hooker with a gun until even a Made of Iron monster such as Manute has to succumb.
  • The Murder After: This kicks off The Hard Goodbye, which has Marv having the night of his life with a hooker by the name of Goldie who is murdered in his bed. He is swiftly framed for the murder, setting off a Roaring Rampage of Revenge as he hunts down the ones responsible.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Colonel's organization specializes in contract killing next to human trafficking.
  • Murder-Suicide:
    • Hartigan commits suicide after killing Roark, Jr., realizing that he's the only link left leading to Nancy (the latest victim). By killing himself, he ensures that she is left alone.
    • Officer Mort, a minor character in A Dame To Kill For is seduced into helping the Femme Fatale, and murders his partner when he tries to make Mort listen to reason. He then kills himself out of remorse.
  • My Car Hates Me: Subverted with Nancy's car, which waits until the Yellow Bastard's taking her away to break down. This is because she's the only one who knows how to get it working right. Played straight with the car Gail provides to Dwight to dispose of Jackie Boy and his crew. The trunk is too small to hold all the bodies and it runs out of gas before he reaches the tar pits.
  • My Card: In Hell & Back, Wallace returns to his apartment in his search for Esther. His landlady Mrs. Mendoza shows him Esther's business card, which has her home address on it and tells him where to go next.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Happens to Mort after his obsession with Ava Lord causes him to shoot his partner Bob in A Dame to Kill For. The realisation leads to him eating his gun.
    • In Daddy's Little Girl, a young man shoots his beautiful lover's rich and controlling father at her urging and immediately regrets it. He doesn't get long to ponder when the man gets up and beats him to death, as the gun was a blank.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In "Nancy's Last Dance" it's revealed that Roark Jr's first name was Ethan, which is also presumably the name of his father, Senator Roark. Wallenquist's first name is also mentioned to be Alarich by Ava.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Not usually, but in "The Big Fat Kill" Dwight says that Gail "Lets out with a string of curses that'd kill the Pope".
  • Nazi Hunter: The Janitor, in "Rats", hunts down a Nazi war criminal. This may or may not have taken place in Sin City.
  • Nazi Protagonist: The POV character in the two-page short story "Rats" is an escaped Nazi war criminal who served in an extermination camp. "Rats" is what he called the Jews he murdered there. At the end he is killed by a Nazi Hunter.
  • Neck Snap: When Marv sneaks onto Cardinal Roark's estate, he approaches a police officer on guard duty from behind and breaks his neck.
  • Necro Non Sequitur: In Family Values, a mob hitman machine-guns a passing dog For the Evulz while he on a job, causing a Disaster Dominoes effect when a stray bullet accidentally kills an Old Town girl. The girl's lover, also an Old Town girl, has Dwight and Miho systematically bring down the entire crime family, even going so far as to force the hitman to kill his own brother and betray The Don. The girl's lover comes in during the last act and guns down the mafia heads, including the hitman who killed her girl. To cover their tracks, the heroes frame the Wallenquist crime family, inciting a Mob War which would surely result in even more deaths.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight:
    • Every story featuring Miho, who brings a katana to a gun fight quite often.
    • Marv also took out a SWAT team that were armed with automatic rifles while all he had was a hatchet.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • The biggest example is Dwight beating up Jack Rafferty at the beginning of The Big Fat Kill. If he hadn't, not only would Jack be alive but Old Town would've been much safer.
    • Another Dwight example is from A Dame To Kill For. Dwight kills Ava's husband, but that just means that Ava will now be in control of his organization and will pin everything on him.
    • Hartigan's actions at the beginning of That Yellow Bastard also count. He ends up exposing Nancy, leading Junior right to her.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Marv goes several days without eating or sleeping, gets run over by a car many times in a row, gets shot, slashed, kicked around, hit with a sledgehammer, and more in the span of one story and still manages to bring down one of the most powerful men in the world.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Invoked. Marv did not allow Wendy to see him torturing and killing Kevin, because she would have nightmares about that.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Where the hell is Basin, anyway?
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Silent Night only has a single word balloon.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: The Yellow Bastard's appearance completely changes due to the medical procedures that made him whole again, but his voice has remained the same.
    Yellow Bastard: Remember my voice Hartigan, you piece of shit cop?
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Hartigan pays so very dearly for saving Nancy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Hartigan to Yellow Bastard.
    • Marv to... everyone. The exception being Kevin.
    • Miho to everyone, but particularly Jackie Boy.
    • Wallace to everyone.
    • As for villain examples, Manute delivers one against Dwight and, as implied above, Kevin gives one to Marv.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: In the short story "Fat Man and Little Boy", Shlubb triggers a bomb planted by their employers to punish them for past failures. They're frazzled by the explosion, but are okay otherwise.
  • Not Quite Dead: Marv and Miho both have scenes where they surprise people by still being alive.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Dwight starts The Big Fat Kill in the buff since he's over at Shellie's apartment where they are post-coital. Jackie-Boy comes over to start trouble and he has enough time to pull on a pair of pants and throw on his long coat but does not wear a shirt under it Since the entire story takes place over the course of a single night, he has this look throughout the miniseries.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: At the end of "Nancy's Last Dance", Senator Roark has Nancy dead-to-rights. Before he can shoot her, John Hartigan's reflection appears in his mirror. This distracts Roark long enough for Nancy to grab her gun and shoot Roark.
  • The Nth Doctor: The sequel, based around "A Dame to Kill For" (Dwight's "pre-facial surgery prequel" story), starred Josh Brolin instead of Clive Owen. Owen was supposed to play Dwight again after surgery, but his schedule prohibited it, so they used prosthetics and makeup to make Brolin look as much like him as they could.
  • Offing the Offspring: Senator Roark does this without hesitation to his illegitimate son Johnny for beating him at poker twice and ruining his image.
  • Off with His Head!: Miho is fond of decapitating her opponents.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Dwight realizes that Jackie Boy is a cop, and later, Manute and his men when they realize Dwight tricked them into an ambush. Also Becky in the film, when the Salesman tracks her down.
    • Becky still has that reaction when she gets gunned down in the comics, and when she realizes that Manute wasn't going to let her live after all.
    • Shlubb and Klump too.
      I can only express puzzlement that borders on alarm.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Hartigan vs Roark Jr.
  • Once is Not Enough: "I take his weapons away. Both of them." And he does this twice.
  • One Degree of Separation: Major characters are often hanging out in the background. In some cases, this is used to show that two major stories are happening at once.
  • One-Man Army: Most of the anti-heroes (and several villains) in Basin City can kick major ass, but Marv, Miho, and Wallace have taken on entire crowds of bad guys and come out of it unscathed.
  • Only One Name: Everyone. The setting is "down there", after all. If we learn someone's full name (such as Nancy Callahan), chances are good they're one of the extremely rare honest men or innocent women in the city.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Clive Owen as Dwight. Most audible in "Dammit Gail, not right now."
  • Outside Ride:
    • Marv hopped onto the back of a getaway car in Just Another Saturday Night and found himself on the hood of a cop car a few seconds later.
    • In Family Values Miho rollerbladed after a car, hitched onto the bumper, then climbed into the trunk without the mobsters knowing it.
    • Dwight attempted this in A Dame To Kill For, but failed.
    • In the first Sin City tale, Marv subverted this by actually hurling himself through the windshield of a cop car as opposed to just hanging on.
  • Pædo Hunt: Junior is a particularly disturbing example of one of these, in that he likes to slash his victims to ribbons once he's done raping them, and he Loves To Hear Them Scream. It's quite telling that when he gets his hands on Nancy again, he says that she's "too old for him", despite her being nineteen years old at this point.
  • Parental Incest: Such is the case in the short story Daddy's Little Girl. Although its unclear if they really are related, or it's just a fetish.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Marv inflicts on various criminals horrible torture which would maybe even make Jack Bauer sick. He's kind of like Dexter in being a pretty messed up person himself. But when he brutally tortures and dismembers the bad guys, few readers will shed a tear. Lampshaded in the film, when Marv remarks "I love hitmen. No matter what you do to them, you don't feel bad."
  • Percussive Prevention
    • In one of the few times that he hits a woman, Marv from does this to Wendy in order to spare her from watching him torture her sister's killer to death, something that would "give her nightmares."
    • Lucille, Marv's parole officer, does the same to Marv earlier on to stop him from fighting a group of cops she thinks have come to help them after they escape the farm. Unfortunately for Lucille, the cops sent to the farm turn out to be a death squad who proceed to murder Lucille after she tells them what she knows.
  • Pistol-Whipping
    • In the original comic (though not in the film), Marv actually criticises Wendy's technique while she's pistol-whipping him in case she harms the gun! But then, he is crazy. And unkillable.
    • After Marv and his parole officer Lucille escape from her cell, he is about to attack some cops. Lucille hits him in the back of the head with a gun and knocks him out in order to protect him from them.
  • The Place
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Marv, bound by Gail, plays along with an interrogation until his captors understand he wasn't the one who killed the missing girls. Then he just gets up and shrugs off the ropes.
  • Plucky Comic Relief:
    • Shlubb and Klump are usually the only bright spot in a story if they show up.
    • Of all characters, Marv has been used as this when he shows up in brief cameos at Katie's Bar, as opposed to taking a larger role.
  • Pocket Protector: Jackie-Boy's badge stops a sniper bullet meant for Dwight's heart.
  • Police Brutality: Hartigan being interrogated by Liebowitz.
    • The cops have similar techniques against Marv.
    • Averted when cops try to beat up Wallace for little reason. The keyword is try.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Arguably one of the best examples in a comic book movie. The stories are mostly frame-by-frame adaptations, right down to the cinematography. However, a lot of narration is chopped out, either in small trimmings (removing a fair bit of Frank Miller's infamous use of repetition) or in entire pages worth of backstory, commentary, etc. that would have bogged the movie down. It's done so smoothly that it's not noticeable unless you read along to the movie.
    • A pragmatic example: In the book, Marv escapes from a cell by bull-rushing the door, slamming into it with his shoulder, over and over and over again, until he finally jars the bolt loose from the wall. This is implied to take at least an hour. Since this would have slowed down the movie intolerably, he instead simply wrenches the window bars out of the frame.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Cop: Sir, there's no sign of the target.
    Marv: Here's a sign.
  • Precision F-Strike: Despite all of its many taboos, the comic is pretty tame in terms of language. The one and only F-Bomb comes from Liebowitz when he shoots the Colonel and says, "Make a missing person's case out of this fucker."
    • The last line of the second film, right before Nancy kills Senator Roark.
    "This is for John Hartigan, fucker."
  • Predatory Prostitute: The prostitutes of Old Town are armed and mow down people without mercy or regret. However, played with in that the people they kill are truly wretched and awful.
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: Marv's first encounter with Goldie's identical sister has him assuming first that it's her, but then he puts it down to his habit of hallucinations.
  • Prison Episode: Both movie and comic versions include a very existential-looking prison for John Hartigan.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Being a stylistic imitation of classic film noir, the series made extensive use of it, and even managed to play it straight. It is responsible for the classic line, "Walk down the right back alley in Sin City, and you can find anything."
  • Professional Killer: Both hitmen and assassins show up. Hitmen are sent after Marv early on in The Hard Goodbye; Shlubb and Klump are specifically described as "low-rent killers" but are often just errand boys for the baddies. Miho and Kevin are used as assassins but they're in it for more than money. The Colonel (The Salesman in the movie) has a guild of assassins.
  • Psycho for Hire: A good number of people, including one good guy.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Josh Hartnett's version of The Salesman is a Professional Killer who chats up his victims before killing them. In the brief span we see him, he doesn't harbor any ill will towards his targets or derives pleasure from their deaths. After he kills the woman in red, he holds her in his arms, then casually notes that he'll cash her check the next morning.
  • Punctuated Pounding: EIGHT! LONG! YEARS! YOU! SON! OF! A! BITCH!
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Marv avenges Goldie, but is captured by the police, blamed for the murders committed by Kevin as well as by him and finally executed in the electric chair.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The IRA mercs and the small group of thugs led by Manute.
  • Rabid Cop: Even the Basin City cops who aren't actively corrupt or on the payroll of the bad guys are usually pretty violent. For example, Lt. Liebowitz is perfectly fine with beating Hartigan right back into a coma in order to get a phoney confession from him (Hartigan still refuses), and he deals with the Colonel by just shooting him in the face, though that guy really had it coming.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: In Sin City: A Dame To Kill For episode "Nancy's Last Dance", Nancy Callahan punches the mirror twice because she's depressed by Hartigan's suicide.
  • Ramming Always Works: Marv rams the frat boys' car multiple times in Just Another Saturday Night to get them off the road and doesn't mind running straight into armed foes more than once.
    • Averted when Dallas rams the IRA members' car in Big Fat Kill. Dwight remarks that she is too excited and careless. This leads to Dallas getting shot to death, Miho getting caught by a grenade, and Dwight almost getting killed.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Miho.
  • Rasputinian Death:
    • The Big Fat Kill - Manute had previously survived everything from being knocked out of a window, getting shot multiple times, stabbed by Miho, and getting an eye torn out by Marv. Even right before his death, he survives a close-range grenade with what appears to be minor burns. He eventually dies when Dwight and the Old Town girls unload on him and his minions to the point where they are nothing but "wet chunks of meat".
    • Marv survives jumping out of several story windows, fights against multiple lackeys, being tortured for a bit by the women of Old Town, being beaten by the serial killer in the barn, being run over at high speeds twice, and has several rounds of bullets fired into him, and he still doesn't die after that. He also does all of this without eating, drinking, or getting any sleep for literally days. It finally takes the electric chair itself to kill him, and even then they have to shock him twice.
    • Further proved by Marv's last words (before being shocked again): "Is that the best you can do, you pansies?"
His target Kevin survives after having his arms and legs cut off and most of his organs eaten by a wolf yet still calmly breathes till Marv saws his head off.
  • In That Yellow Bastard, Junior Roarke is stabbed, gets his genitals ripped out, and has his head pounded into the floor so savagely that when John Hartigan is done, his head is pretty much gone. He was probably going to die from the stabbing alone but Hartigan had had more than enough of all of his shit.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Ava Lord turns up naked in Dwight's bed. Despite all common sense telling Dwight otherwise, she successfully seduces him again.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jessica Alba signed on not knowing that Nancy dances completely naked. She asked for the nudity to be removed. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller agreed, feeling there was no need for it.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Marv gets a great cleansing rain scene while he waxes philosophical about his killing spree and the final hit he's building up to do. Like the rest of the comic, done damn well, and plays out identically in The Movie.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dwight describes Marv's eyes as going "killer red" when he recruits him in A Dame to Kill For. The film version has them turning red in the same scene.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: In The Big Fat Kill, when the girls of Old Town are revealed to be surrounding Manute and his men and shower them with bullets, the sky turns red.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mariah and Blue Eyes, the assassins in the Colonel's Guild, although we never see them together.
  • Red Light District: Old Town fits into the "hostile" version of this trope, but only if you don't play by the rules — the ladies are the law in Old Town, and trying to mistreat them is not conducive to one's continued survival. The protagonists find allies in the girls in question, and often work with them to take down even worse guys.
  • Red Right Hand: Manute has a fake eye. The Yellow Bastard has, well... yellow skin.
  • Rescue Romance: Hartigan and Nancy are a one-way example. When Nancy was 11, Hartigan rescued her from rape and death at the hands of the sadistic paedophile Roark Jr., nearly giving his own life in the process. 8 years later he tracks her down when he thinks that she's been targeted by his enemies. Nancy declares that Hartigan is the only man she's ever loved and tries to make a move on him. He rejects her, both because of their huge age difference and their history.
  • Retirony: Detective John Hartigan was on his last hour of his last day before retirement, as soon as he rescued skinny little Nancy Callahan. Too bad he lives in Sin City. He ended up being shot in the back by his partner, framed for raping the child he saved from an actual child rapist, then thrown into jail where he was resuscitated so that he could be beaten up some more, and then forced to confess to the accusations.
  • Retronym: The very first Sin City story was titled just that... Sin City. The series caught on, resulting in future stories containing secondary titles (i.e. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For). Even when the original story was first collected in a trade paperback format, it retained its original title. Word Of God gave it the nickname The Hard Goodbye and that's what Fanon called it when discussing this particular story. When the movie came out, the collected editions added this title. Likewise, this particular sequence in the movie shares the same title. It resulted in a slightly awkward line, however. Every story name drops its own title but this one never contained the line "the hard goodbye" since that wasn't its original name. The line was added to the dialogue in the movie.
  • Road Block: A minor occurrence in the first story (also depicted in the movie). The cops are chasing Marv on foot through the hotel. He drops out of the window and tries to go down the alley, only to see a cop car heading him off, blocking his way. He ends up jumping through the windshield to beat up the drivers and subsequently, take the car.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Hard Goodbye and the end of That Yellow Bastard. All of Hell And Back. Frank Miller loves this trope.
    • While it's not obvious at first, the story Family Values also ends up invoking this.
  • Robbing the Dead: Dwight sifts through Jackie-Boy's wallet after the latter was killed by Miho. He finds a wad of cash (which he puts in his own pocket)... And Jack's police badge.
    • Marv also takes some money off of the hitmen who ambush him in Kadie's bar.
  • Rollerblade Good: Miho uses this to race after a speeding car in Family Values.

  • Say Your Prayers: In Family Values, one of the mobsters about to be massacred starts doing this.
  • Scary Black Man: Manute. He becomes even scarier after he loses an eye and has it replaced with a gold one. He was portrayed in the first movie by Michael Clarke Duncan and the second by Dennis Haysbert.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Kevin wears glasses with lenses that often whited out so his eyes are not visible. This is carried over to the film version of the story.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: How Marv and Goldie meet. Subverted in that she dies instead of him, due to some very bad people being after her.
  • Scope Snipe:
    • Wallace manages this. With a semi-automatic handgun, no less. Hand Waved in that he's an ex-navy SEAL.
    • The Big Fat Kill has Miho throw a metal rod into Jackie-Boy's gun — when he fires it the slide blows backward through his head.
  • Seen It All: When the DA threatens Marv's mother to force him to sign a confession, Marv casually breaks his arm in three places and then signs. The watching police interrogator just shakes his head.
  • Self-Plagiarism:
    • In Daredevil: Born Again, one of the Kingpin's lieutenants speaks with an excessive amount of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, which is played for laughs. Miller would later use the same type of gag when writing Shlubb and Klump (AKA Fat Man and Little Boy).
    • Hartigan's line "On your feet, old man. Show 'em you're not completely useless", is taken from The Dark Knight Returns.
    • In Hell and Back, Wallace shoots a sniper in the eye through his scope. A similar scene occured in Robocop 2, which was also written by Miller.
  • Self-Restraint:
    • Before he goes back to Ava, Dwight struggles with this.
    • Wallace fits this as well since he's probably the most calm protagonist in the series.
    • Hartigan has to employ this to keep himself from sleeping with Nancy.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Kevin from The Hard Goodbye, who also practices cannibalism.
    • Roark Jr. from That Yellow Bastard. Who also doubles as a Serial Rapist of pre-teen girls.
    • In the short story Behind Door Number Three there's such a killer who likes to go after prostitutes. The girls from Old Town give him a very karmic punishment when they introduce him to their private assassin Miho.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The Big Fat Kill takes place after Hell and Back, but Dwight is seen driving the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado he took from Vito at the end of Family Values, a story that takes place well after both The Big Fat Kill and Hell and Back.
    • The sequel, A Dame to Kill For creates a rather glaring one: Nancy, who is having a Sanity Slippage, badly scars her face when she decided to quit her job as a stripper. Not a big problem, except in the the Sin City segment from the first movie, which chronologically takes place after the new one, she is unscarred and still a stripper. Then again, Dwight's story establishes Magic Plastic Surgery is available, so it's not much of a stretch to assume Nancy simply had the scars removed.
    • In Nancy's Last Dance from A Dame to Kill For, Nancy has a S&W Model 14 chambered in .38 Special, which is explicitly stated to be Hartigan's revolver. But in That Yellow Bastard Hartigan carried a S&W Model 29, chambered in .44 Magnum. The Model 29 is slightly larger than the Model 14 and has a shroud around the ejector rod. possiblly averted off-screen there is nothing to say that Hartigan never had a S&W Model 14 chambered in .38 Special maybe intended as a back-up weapon.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Shlubb and Klump to the point of having Delusions of Eloquence.
  • Sex for Services: Leibowitz has to force a false confession out of framed cop John Hartigan, but after beating him for several days he starts complaining that his back is getting sore, so instead brings in a prostitute and offers her to Hartigan to see if the carrot works better. She's not that happy with the whole thing, since Hartigan is accused of being a pedophile serial killer.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: At the start of The Big Fat Kill, Shelley is wearing one of Dwight’s shirts when her ex-boyfriend, Jackie Boy, forces his way in. Jackie Boy notices.
    Jackie Boy: That’s a man’s shirt you’re wearing. And it sure as hell ain’t one of mine.
  • She Is All Grown Up: John Hartigan saves eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan from a pedophile rapist. Eight years later he walks into a bar looking for her and is dumbfounded when informed she's the buxom stripper (played by Jessica Alba in the movie) up on stage in the cowgirl outfit.
    Hartigan: Skinny little Nancy Callahan. She grew up. She filled out.
  • She Knows Too Much: This trope is what sets the whole plot of The Hard Goodbye in motion, as Goldie is killed on orders from another character after she discovered his nasty secret habit. Lucille dies after mistaking a death squad for honest cops and telling them everything.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Carmen from Family Values was sexually abused by her father before running away from home at twelve and surviving on the streets. She eventually found her way to Old Town where she became a prostitute and found love and happiness with a woman named Daisy. Then she's senselessy gunned down in a mob hit she had nothing to do with.
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned in the Captain Ersatz section, there are many shout outs:
  • Signs of Disrepair: In at least one instance, a now entering sign is shown outside the city "Basin City" with the B and A degraded.
  • Silent Scapegoat: Hartigan allowing himself to go to jail for seven years for raping Nancy Calligan in order to protect her and everyone he cares about from Roark's revenge. And even when he realises he needs to get out to protect her, he does it by publicly confessing to the rape and begging forgiveness.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: A Dame To Kill For takes place during both The Hard Goodbye and Blue Eyes. That Yellow Bastard takes place at least partially during the course of Just Another Saturday Night.
  • Sinister Minister: Cardinal Roark as well as the priest Marv interrogates and kills.
  • Skinny Dipping: Ava Lord does this in ''A Dame to Kill For", putting on a show for Dwight.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: In the short story "Silent Night", the brutal killer and street thug Marv visits a secret warehouse where he pays a lot of money for what turns out to be a little girl in a cell. He then turns around and murders the female pimp and takes the girl home in what turns out to be a rescue mission.
  • Sleep Cute: Family Values has an adorable scene where Miho falls asleep in Dwight's lap. This is sandwiched between scenes in which Miho carves up an entire mob family.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Dark, gritty, and ridiculously over-the-top with its cynicism, but there's a bit of humanity within that puts a sliver of idealism in there.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Marv combines this with Breaking the Bonds.
  • Smash to Black: How Senator Rourke is finished off in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. We don't see Nancy pulling the trigger, but we hear the gunshot just as the screen goes to black.
  • Snow Means Death: Hartigan performs his Heroic Suicide in a snowy field.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Several of the main characters skirt this trope, but ultimately subvert it.
  • Splash of Color: That Yellow Bastard (and his blood) are constantly colored yellow after the prologue. Other stories, like "Blue Eyes" and "The Babe Wore Red" featured similar use of color. The movie added splashes of color to stories that didn't have them in print, more due to technical issues than artistic choice.
  • Stairwell Chase: Marv's escape from the apartment building.
  • Steam Never Dies: In A Dame to Kill For, Wallenquist's specialist (Dwight) arrives from Phoenix (Texas in the film) on a train driven by a steam engine.
  • Stern Nun: Marv named his gun Gladys after the toughest nun he had in school. He feels it has almost lived up to the name.
  • A Storm Is Coming: In "The Big Fat Kill", Dwight comments on an approaching storm in noir style: "The night's gotten just about as hot as it's going to get. There's a wild crackle in the air. The wind's got a crazy edge to it. There's a storm coming." This foreshadows things going right straight to hell when the girls of Old Town kill an abusive scumbag named Jackie-Boy who turns out to have been a hero cop.
  • Suicide by Assassin: The short "The Customer is Always Right".
  • Suicide Mission: This is a recurring idea in the comics, where almost every mission is said to be one in which the hero could easily be killed. Considering the Anyone Can Die structure of the narrative, it isn't far-fetched to believe that they really will meet their end.
  • Super Window Jump: When Marv goes to fight Kevin again, he throws a can of gasoline with a burning rag in it into the Roark farmhouse. Kevin jumps through the window a split second before the gas ignites.
  • Swirlie: Marv is seen interrogating one man by shoving his head in a toilet. Another time Dwight sneaks up on Jackie while he's taking a leak and shoves his head into the toilet, holding him there long enough until he's forced to take a few gulps.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Every story has a different protagonist but aside from that, there's a brief sequence in Hell And Back where Liebowitz's son is the narrator.
  • Sword Cane: Giacco Magliozzi draws one out to punish a minion, but Dwight stops him from doing so.
  • Teeth Flying: Dwight knocks out Shlubb's protuding lower tooth in "The Babe Wore Red". He has it back in the next chronological story he appears in.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The ex-IRA mercenaries sent to kill Dwight.
  • That One Case: That Yellow Bastard is all about John Hartigan tying up his final loose end: a serial child rapist/murderer who happens to be the son of one of the most powerful people in Sin City.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill:
    • Manute and his men are machine gunned to death with an endless hail of bullets. The story's called The Big Fat Kill for a reason.
    • The death of Junior involves being stabbed in the chest, manually castrated (again) and stomped to mush by the hero.
  • This Bed of Rose's: When Dwight McCarthy is on the run from the cops, the girls from Old Town heal him and let him stay.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: Happens twice in two poker games between Johnny and Senator Roark. They seem to pull their very impressive hands right out of nowhere.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!: In "That Yellow Bastard", Nancy reveals to Hartigan that she fell in love with him because he rescued her and makes a pass at him. He rejects her, because he first met her when she was still a child.
    Hartigan: God! There's wrong, and there's wrong, and then there's this!
  • Thriller on the Express: "Wrong Track" features a man who thinks he has gotten lucky by finding a lover on a train. It turns out, she is an assassin who snaps his neck and throws him off the train.
  • Title Drop: Sin City is mentioned in every story for obvious reasons but even then, the secondary titles are always dropped as well (i.e. "The Big Fat Kill" "That Yellow Bastard", "Blue Eyes", etc.)
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jackie-Boy and the mob enforcer from Family Values both made the mistake of using racial slurs towards Miho.
    • A neo-Nazi once insulted the bartender at Kadie's. Marv asked her if he should step in but she told him to remain calm. Dwight mentioned that Marv was in an "all too generous mood". The Nazi then began to insult the bartender some more. Marv voiced his displeasure but maintained his cool. The thug then decided it was a good idea to shove a pistol in Marv's face. It didn't end well for him.
  • Torture Cellar: The Farm at North Cross and Lennox featured in both "The Hard Goodbye," where it was Kevin and Cardinal Roark's base of operation for their cannibalistic impulses, and "That Yellow Bastard," where it was where the truly sick titular character took Nancy after kidnapping her.
  • Torture Technician:
    • Kevin, also Roark Jr., but with less horror.
    • There is also Davis, the torture expert in The Big Fat Kill, who can inflict pain just by touching people. This character was changed to Manute in the movie.
  • Tragic Hero: Several of the protagonists.
    • While Marv kills Kevin and Cardinal Roark, the men responsible for Goldie's murder, he is convicted of the murders Kevin committed and is executed.
    • Hartigan, one of the few honest cops in the city, is arrested after saving a little girl from Roark Jr., a vicious child rapist and murderer who is the son of a powerful politician. In the end he commits suicide to protect her.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: While Hartigan is in solitary, he keeps getting letters from Nancy, but she never reveals who she is. One day, Hartigan gets a chopped off finger in the mail; thinking it's Nancy's, he agrees to be framed for Roark Jr's crimes just to be let out on parole. First thing he does is go to Nancy — only to find out that Roark had been bluffing... and following him after he left prison.

  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Partly justified in that the Old Town prostitutes are self-employed, unionised and heavily armed. Averted with one particular character, who doesn't want her mother to know what she does for a living and is desperate for a way to get out of the game.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Ava Lord in A Dame To Kill For starts off hating her mafia-tied husband and begs Dwight to do something about it. He does but it turns out to be a setup for Ava to inherit her husband's estate.
  • Urban Legends: The Colonel has many operations going, two of which, involve snuff films and Organ Theft.
  • The Vamp:
    • Ava Lord was an evil (by her own admission) and greedy seductress who manipulated her old lover, Dwight McCarthy, through a Wounded Gazelle Gambit into murdering her husband so she could get her hands on all his money, and then tried to kill him once he had outlived his usefulness to her. As Manute explains, Dwight is not the first man she has destroyed with her deadly wiles. Lampshaded-slash-deconstructed in her admission, as she points out that "evil ruthless seductress" is so cliche nobody believes she can be one...until it's too late.
    • A number of other female characters play this up too, such as the assassins Blue Eyes and Mariah, whose looks are on par with Ava Lord and have a thing for seducing their victims before murdering them. Their boss actually gets annoyed with the former because she keeps wasting valuable time during missions getting into snog-sessions.
  • Vapor Trail: Marv does this to a wrecked car in Just Another Saturday Night.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Highly averted when characters enact revenge, they often remark how good it feels.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: The assistant district attorney finally gets Marv to confess to the murders actually committed by Kevin and Cardinal Roark (and their murders, which he was guilty of) by turning off the recorder and showing him a picture of his mother in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. Marv breaks his arm in three places, but signs.
  • Villain Protagonist: The following stories. The others usually feature dark anti-heroes.
    • The "Blue Eyes" stories, in which the protagonist is a Professional Killer pursuing her marks.
    • "The Salesman Is Always Right", in which the Salesman is revealed at the end to have come to murder the woman he strikes up a conversation with. It's then revealed he's a hitman she hired to kill her because her mobster ex-boyfriend swore vengeance.
    • "Rats" centers on an escaped Nazi war criminal who is living incognito in the United States, and reminisces about all the people he murdered during the war.
  • Villain Ball Magnet: Marv just wants to be left alone but he will always end up in trouble with someone. Usually this is just a drunk bar patron looking for a fight. And sometimes it's the Roark family.
  • Villain by Default: Many of the villains.
    • Marv has fought hitmen, a police death squad, a corrupt cardinal, and a silent and deadly cannibal whose proclivities the cardinal shared.
    • Dwight took on a vicious abuser who turned out to be a hero cop, a team of Irish "rented terrorists", and a syndicate bent on enslaving the girls of Old Town.
    • Hartigan's primary nemeses were a pedophilic rapist/Serial Killer and his corrupt US Senator father.
  • Villainous Friendship: Cardinal Roark and Kevin are shown to be really close in "The Hard Goodbye". Cardinal Roark mentions Kevin as speaking only to him, and kisses his severed head as he prepares to be killed by Marv.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Kevin, the especially disturbing silent killer. He only talks to Cardinal Roark, who says that he has "the voice of an angel."
    • Deadl Little Miho also qualifies, though she's on the side of the Anti Heroes.
  • Waif-Fu: The diminutive female ninja-assassin, Miho, regularly beats the shit out of men who are triple her size.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: This happens mid-chase in A Dame to Kill For. Dwight McCarthy has just been betrayed, is bleeding to death, is being chased by cops, and has Marv behind the wheel of the getaway car. The entire situation is harrowing for him to say the least but Marv quips how fun the situation is.
  • What a Drag: Marv does this to an informant in The Hard Goodbye, dragging him from the driver's side of a moving car.
    I don't know about you, but I'm having a ball.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: The female assassin "Blue Eyes" (real name Deliah) is so named for her most noticeable physical attribute, which is usually the first thing that other characters comment on. In fact, her pretty eyes are specifically highlighted through Splash of Color.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Marv blacks out a lot due to unnamed mental problems. This is most notable in Just Another Saturday Night where he has to sit down and remember the events of the night in order to figure out why he's surrounded by dead bodies.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lucille gives Marv one of these when he reveals that he beat up a group of cops. She also gives Hartigan one when he decides to confess to Junior's crimes.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Basin City's state is never mentioned, though Arizona is the most likely candidate given the desert location with infrequent but harsh winters. Even Marv's execution by electric chair and Dwight's mention of the gas chamber are indicative of Arizona, who switched from the electric chair to gas asphyxiation in 1993.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Marv does not like it when guys rough up girls. At all. His response to a frat boy beating up his favorite stripper Nancy is to "straighten him out but good," mentioning that maybe he went a little too far (which implies that he beat the guy to death). In A Dame to Kill For, Dwight plays upon this in order to recruit Marv for the "rescue mission" of Ava, which he feels rather rotten for as he's doing it. Unfortunately, it's later learned that Ava, the dame of the title, was playing Dwight's own violent protectiveness of women like a two-bit fiddle.
  • Womanliness as Pathos: In this series, women (whether good or bad) are quite often the cause of anguish, danger or the eventual downfall of several characters, especially the protagonists.
    • "That Yellow Bastard" opens with protagonist John Hartigan pursuing pedophile child-killer Roark Junior to save the eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan. John saves Nancy and destroys Junior's genitals, but is betrayed by his fellow cops and framed for the crimes himself. While in prison, Hartigan's wife refuses to wait for him, divorces him and has children with another man. Hartigan's only solace during this time are the periodic letters he receives from Nancy, who (under an alias) tells him about her life and how much she loves him for saving her. One day, Hartigan receives one of Nancy's letters with a finger inside, and he confesses to all the false charges so that he'll be released early and able to save Nancy. Upon finding her working as a stripper, Hartigan realizes that he was tricked and has led Roark Junior directly to Nancy. Nancy spots Hartigan in the crowd and immediately leaps into his arms, kissing him, thus accidentally revealing who she is. Hartigan protects her from Junior, and while hiding out, Nancy tries to convince Hartigan to sleep with her, but he refuses due to their age difference. While Hartigan struggles to keep his urges under control, Junior finds them and attempts to kill Hartigan while promising to rape and kill Nancy. Hartigan escapes, saves Nancy, and kills Junior. He and Nancy declare their love for each other, and she goes off to wait for him to find her again. Hartigan, however, realizes that with Junior dead, his father will now scour the ends of the Earth for Hartigan and Nancy, and so he does the only thing he can to protect her—killing himself.
    • "The Big Fat Kill" involves a gang of Dirty Cops trying to shake down and sexually assault one of the prostitutes who are in charge of Old Town. The cops and the hookers have a non-aggression truce whereas they'll leave each other alone, but this broken when Miho kills the dirty cops and gives the police an excuse throw The Lopsided Arm of the Law at Old Town and take it over. This starts a war in which the protagonist Dwight has to protect the freedom of the working girls against an army of cops, gangsters and mercenaries. It's later revealed that Becky, the girl who caused all of this, intentionally provoked the cops and started the war—and she is later implied to be killed because of it.
    • In "The Hard Goodbye", Marv is a hideous, lonely man who pines for Nancy but feels that no woman would ever love him because of his looks. He is shocked when a woman named Goldie takes him to bed and gives him a great night of sex, only to find her dead when he awakens. Feeling indebted to Goldie for giving him the one night of passion he thought he'd never enjoy, he tracks down everyone involved with her death—leading up to Cardinal Roark, brother of the corrupt Senator. Along the way, Marv finds his parole officer, Lucille, tortured and with her hand eaten off, and she is later killed by a squad of Dirty Cops. He is then attacked by (and later teams up with) Goldie's twin sister Wendy. After killing the people responsible for torturing Lucille and killing Goldie, Marv is captured and sent to prison. He endures every torture they inflict and refuses to sign a confession that would allow them to legally execute him, but reluctantly signs the confession when they threaten to kill his mother. The story then ends with him being thanked by Wendy, but executed for his good deeds.
  • World of Badass: Even the Comedy Relief bad guys, Shlubb and Klump, can withstand an explosion from close-range. Well, the Yellow Guy is anything but badass.
  • World of Buxom: As per Frank Miller style, every single attractive female character has Baywatch level breast size and their bodies tend to be drawn identically as well.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Marv murders the elderly Cardinal Roark in such a gruesome fashion that we don't get to see it.
    Roark: Will this give you satisfaction, my son? Killing a helpless old man?
    Marv: The killing, no. No satisfaction. Everything up to the killing will be a gas.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: One of Marv's only rules. The only time he breaks it is to spare Wendy from watching him torture Kevin to death.
  • Worth It: Marv's quest to avenge Goldie results in his death, along with some pretty brutal baseball bat torture, being riddled with bullets and the death of Lucille. Considering the person he was avenging only slept with him for protection and felt nothing for him some might wonder if it was all worth it. But Marv? When he gets confused and sees Wendy as Goldie he proudly says "I got him for you good, didn't I?" For him it was completely worth it and he'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • Ava uses Dwight's violent protectiveness toward women in general to manipulate him into murdering an innocent man.
    • Ironically, Dwight does the same thing to Marv when he recruits him to help rescue Ava. Marv, who Wouldn't Hit a Girl, is absolutely enraged when Dwight tells him how Ava is being tortured at the hands of her husband. Dwight knows he's manipulating Marv, but doubts Marv would really care anyways.
    • Hartigan does it too. He apparently collapses when confronting the Yellow Bastard the second time, to lure him in close. This also causes Junior to let go of Nancy, who Hartigan was presumably worried about hitting.
    • Nancy does it the second film. She cuts her own face and then tells Marv the Roarks did it, knowing that Marv will be so enraged he'll help her attack them. Knowing Marv, he probably would have helped if she just asked.
  • Wretched Hive: If the name was no indication, the fact that it was based on the worst parts of Las Vegas, LA, New York, and Chicago should fill you in.
  • You Are Fat: During his torture of Nancy, one of Junior's many psychotic insults is to call her a "fat, ugly cow". To be clear, Nancy is the World's Most Beautiful Woman with a body that most men would die for, while Junior is a sadistic pedophile. Rather than a true insult, it just highlights Junior's bizarre preferences.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Subverted by Hartigan the first time: "You can't even lift that cannon" — "Sure I can."
    • Not that Junior learned his lesson the second time around, either.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ava Lord guns down Manute, even through he's completely loyal and worships her, offering to let Dwight take his place.
  • You're Insane!: In A Dame to Kill For, Dwight tells Ava this. Her response:
    Insane? Ha. That's so easy, so convenient—and so wrong. Crazy people push shopping carts down the streets and talk nonsense. Crazy people sit in padded cells and soil their pants. A madwoman couldn't have pulled this off. No. There's a word for what I am, but nobody uses it anymore. Nobody wants to see the simple truth. If they did, they'd kill people like me as soon as we revealed ourselves. But they don't. They close their eyes and blather about psychology and say nobody is truly evil. That's why I've won. That's why I always win.
  • You're Not My Type: Subverted by Roark Jr., a pedophile serial killer who could only get it up from hearing his victims scream. When he captures Hartigan and Nancy (who almost became one of his victims years ago), he smirks that she's no longer his "type" now that she's an adult, but he's willing to make an exception to get revenge on both of them.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Kevin was a Serial Killer who ate his victims, all female prostitutes. Cardinal Roark, who supported him and joined in, claimed that he ate not only their bodies, but their souls as well, which would "fill him with light" and feel close to God. The story makes it clear that they're just delusional though.

Reader, that's a damn fine coat you're wearing...

Alternative Title(s): Sin City A Dame To Kill For