Sin City
That Yellow Bastard

Author: Frank Miller
Artist: Frank Miller
Titan Books
RRP 14.99
ISBN 1 84576 048 4
Available 22 April 2005

Just one hour before he retires John Hartigan
performs one last heroic act that will destroy his faultless record as one of the straightest cops in Sin City. He stops a man from raping 11 year-old Nancy Callahan. But the man he takes down is the son of a high ranking official who frames Hartigan for the rape of the girl. Convicted as a pedophile, Hartigan is jailed but keeps his silence to ensure that Callahan comes to no harm. Eight years later he is released and discovers that someone has already gotten to Callahan. Hartigan sets off to save her once again...

That Yellow Bastard is the most powerful of the three Sin City stories released this month - which are also the tales that are used for the new movie (the other two being The Hard Goodbye and The Big Fat Kill). While the previous volumes have revolved around heroes (?) who have a jaded past, That Yellow Bastard in concerned with the life of a cop who has never been anything but straight.

This, thanks to years of Hollywood conditioning, makes it easier to sympathise with Hartigan's actions. It's not until after eight years at her majesty's pleasure that he sets out to seek revenge - and only then because he has evidence that someone has kidnapped (maybe even killed) Callahan.

It seemed odd, given the seriousness of the sexual crimes that Hartigan is charged with, that the court did not allow a medical examination of Callahan to prove that she had not been raped. But, having said that, this can be explained by the fact that the man who wants him put away has the power and the influence to do what ever he wants in Sin City. Also, surely Callahan would have told somebody that Hartigan had saved her life, not destroyed it.

This is the comic book collection that will convert all non-comic book fan into raving anoraks. The best thing I've read since Frank Miller's Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns converted me into a true believer of the comic medium. In fact, the best thing in the comics industry at this present time.

Darren Rea

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