On his last day on the police force, honest cop Hardigan receives a tip about an 11-year-old girl kidnapped by the rapist son of a corrupt city official, Roark Junior. Despite a severe heart problem, Hardigan makes rescuing the girl his last mission before retirement. The story begins eight years before the story lines in the previous volumes, before Nancy Callahan became the mesmerizing cowboy dancer in Kadie’s Club.
That Yellow Bastard is the best the Sin City series has to offer. Not only is it my favorite story, but the progress in the visual storytelling bumps this volume up for four stars. Miller uses his distinct black and white coloring scheme with unusual framing, more suspenseful negative space than ever, and for the first time, a hint of color. The use of bright yellow to portray the side effects of the radical medical procedures used on young Roark is powerful in its ability to create an unforgettably disgusting villain.
The strong moral compass of Hardigan mirrors Marv, but Hardigan actually lives on the right side of the law. One thing Hardigan does have going for him — he’s the first male lead that doesn’t hit women. The reader also finally gets to see a little of adult Nancy’s personality after all her topless lassoing in the previous volumes. She’s young and sweet and her apartment is filled with books, papers, and scholarly analyses Hardigan has never heard of. She’s in love with Hardigan like a lost little puppy, which makes her seem younger and significantly more naive than a nineteen-year-old girl in Sin City ought to be.
Burt Schlubb and Douglas Klump are a pair of minor characters worth mentioning. “Mr. Klump and Mr. Shlub, two any-dirty-job-there-is thugs with delusions of eloquence.” Although I appreciate the new and interesting take on the the small-time hit men, the attempt at humor with their over-the-top banter misses the mark.
Recommended as part of the Sin City series (note language, violence, and nudity). But if you’re less interested in the series as a whole, I would easily recommend picking up this volume first, which is the first story chronologically.