on January 29, 2000
Let me start by saying I'm a big Frank Miller fan, and I absolutely love "Sin City."
If you have heard about how great "Sin City" is, and want to check it out, I'd recommend you read this one last. If you're going to skip one, this is the one.
Basically, there's nothing to it. It had my interest early on, but then it just turns into one absurd action scene after the next. While that may sound cool, it gets old real fast.
If you're a diehard "Sin City" fan, nothing I say will stop you from buying this. I don't think you'll hate it. I didn't. It's just mediocre when compared to the other "Sin City" stories.
on August 10, 2001
It's hard to imagine what could have possessed Miller (a man I respect as a genius) to write this thing.
Family Values might as well have been called Family Matters; the plot to this story is about as deep as one that would be found on the old sitcom. I can remember when I first got this, I remember the sinking feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when I realized how atrocious it was, and the money I'd wasted. It's staggering to think that Frank had the option of taking this story in any direction he wished -- and he chose this one.
I hope it doesn't come off as sexist of me to say it would have been better if Dwight had done all of the killing, alone. That might have been slightly thrilling, if unimaginative. The direction that Miller took in this story, however, is beyond unimaginative: it's stupid and insulting. This train-wreck of a graphic novel goes great lengths toward undermining the credibility of Sin City, as Family Values is essentially a super-hero story. That is tragic.
I would implore you to buy ALL of the other Sin City graphic novels, but not this one. Just pretend it doesn't exist. Send Frank a message: "We love Sin City, Miller, stop disgracing it."
on January 10, 2000
I love Frank Miller's Sin City series. Even though I lost interest in comics as a teenager, my interest in the Sin City stories has stayed strong. But "Family Values" is a real disappointment. It starts off promising, brutal killings, great dialogue, a mafia theme, but it gets pretty far-fetched before long. I found myself cringing at the action sequences. Spectacular deaths, yeah, but freakin' CHEESY! The art work looks rushed.. sure, it's looked rushed before in other Sin City volumes, but the stories always made up for it. This story wasn't very impressive. The ending just fizzles. I would recommend this for hardcore fans and Sin City completists, but for anyone else, you'd be better off whipping out your old Sin City issues and reading 'em again.
on November 8, 2002
This is not the best Sin City book I have read,... in fact it is probably the worst, but it is still a fun little read and supports my theory that Frank Miller really is one of those few masters like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman who simply can't write bad work. As for the art, some of it seems a little hurried, but anyone who is simply looking for a little thrill will enjoy this immensely. Granted it isn't shere comic-book brilliance like the rest of the series, but it is fun and I think that's all Mr. Miller wanted it to be; but who knows. I enjoyed it, and as long as you're not some soap-box comic-snob who refuses to read anything other than Watchmen and Marvels, than you probably will too. :)
on May 26, 2004
This story grabbed by the throat and dragged me, page by page, to it's surprising end.
I wasn't struggling. This is a very well-done revenge story in the classic style, but built with modern pieces. The art captured the tone beautifully: harsh black and white, with the emphasis on the black. Every page is drawn in jagged, bleak contrast. Only Miho stands out, a ghostly white with draw with delicate line, and an interesting addition to the usual noir cast of characters.
This is a keeper. Every time I open it, its mood grabs me all over again.
Oh, and when I finished the story, I had an uncontrollable urge to watch Bogart or Cagney.
on March 19, 2004
I find myself confused as to why most people dislike Family Values so much. I found it to be extremely refeshing, and is one my favorite Dwight story. To give a few plot points, one of the girls of Old Town has been killed, and so they send Dwight and Miho out for revenge. The rest of the book covers Dwight's investigation and the inevitable retribution. The art is much looser than Miller's previous outings, but I like it. Family Values does not reach the level of the first Sin City, or That Yellow Bastard, but it is a very entertaining piece of pulp dealing with the value of family, and all the different ways that word is used.
on July 6, 2000
Just when you think Frank Miller's back, he hits another slump.
The Old Town Sin City stories have always been the weakest of the bunch, yet Miller returns to the formula yet again here. This time, the prostitutes of Old Town are caught in a Mafia gangwar. The plot is fairly incomprehensible as it marches on to its blood-soaked resolution, the artwork is definitely rushed and passionless, and the writing is pedestrian.
Miller must have had some bills come due to justify putting this one out. If you need this to complete your Miller/Sin City collection, do yourself a favor and pick it up last.
on June 28, 2001
Others here have downgraded this book because of it's unrealistic action, but I found the fantastical killing spree that leads up to the book's final set piece to be just about the only juice this story had to offer. Nearly every other bit of narrative here occurs in flashback, watered down by tired characters and often incomprehensible artwork. I have never read a Sin City yarn before, and do not know if the main characters here (the narrator and the skating ninja) are developed in other books. I would be happy to learn more about this duo, but this bit of fluff only whets my curiosity.
on September 4, 1998
if frank miller could find a motive for any of his characters besides evil priests and evil women, he could write a story that competed with unillustrated fiction. I appreciate all the progress he has made in the comic book and graphic novel realm but I'm waiting for the next step. He has become formulaic in his character's motives and so the storylines have become simple revenge stories. Though revenge stories are typical of the 'film noir' style he has developed, they remain typical. I am really looking forward to Miller's breaking out of the trend in which he has stuck himself.
Frank Miller gave noir a new, gritty face with the "Sin City" series, and his favorite is reportedly "That Yellow Bastard." It's another story where a hardened man goes down a dark path, regardless of harm to himself -- and Miller's exceptional art and storytelling are in their prime here.
John Hartigan is mere hours from retiring when he finds that little Nancy Callahan has been kiidnapped by murderous pedophile Roark Jr., who also happens to be a senator's son. Hartigan disarms Roark Jr. (both as a killer and a rapist) but ends up in prison, abused and hated, where his only comfort is his weekly letter from little Nancy. She knows the truth, and loves him for what he did.
But eight years later, Hartigan finally gets himself paroled, since he's concerned about Nancy. She's now an exotic dancer being pursued by a hideous, yellow-skinned creature -- Roark Jr., reborn as a horrendous, unnatural creature. Now Hartigan will do anything -- including sacrifice himself -- to save Nancy from her disgusting attacker.
A knight-in-tarnished-armor theme runs through the "Sin City" series, with deeply flawed men seeking revenge or protection for women. It started off the series, and popped up in many others. That story is at its height in "That Yellow Bastard," which also contains what may be the noblest character in the whole series -- and he's a broken-down cop with angina.
Miller's black-and-white artwork is as striking as ever, especially for a series where everything is a shade of grey. There are lots of shadows and stark faces, as well as the typical violence of the series -- guys, you may end up cringing a lot in the castration scenes. Yet somehow the violence seems appropriate, no matter how horrible it is, since it's being aimed at the deformed rapist-murderer.
Hartigan may be the noblest character in the entire series. The entire story is about him trying to protect Nancy, even to the point of suffering eight years of prison and beatings without a word. He's the only honest cop in Sin City, and similarly, Nancy Callahan retains a sense of innocence despite her raunchy job.
"That Yellow Bastard" is a raw, dark noir comic that somehow manages to be poignant as well. It's a disturbing ride, but still worth taking.