Marv is dead. Honestly.

You remember Marv. He was the one-man wrecking ball, played by Mickey Rourke in "Sin City" (2005), with an undisclosed mental "condition" that made him plenty dangerous. He took and dispensed a lot of punishment en route to avenging Goldie, a hooker who had been kind to him. That revenge led him to the powerful, corrupt (and cannibalistic) Cardinal Roark, and killing His Hungriness earned Marv a one-way ticket to the hot seat.

But anyone who has seen the trailers for "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," premiering Aug. 22, can be forgiven for a little confusion. Because there's Marv, big as life well bigger doing what Marv does best: violence.

How can this be?

For one thing, the chronology of the many "Sin City" stories, all written and drawn by comics legend Frank Miller, has been skewed by the first movie, which presented the stories out of order. "Sin City" the film adapted the first, third and fourth graphic novels "The Hard Goodbye," "The Big Fat Kill" and "That Yellow Bastard" plus a short story found in the sixth book, "Sin City: Booze, Broads and Bullets," titled "The Customer Is Always Right."

Meanwhile, the second movie will depict the events found in the second graphic novel, "A Dame to Kill For," plus another short story from "Booze" titled "Just Another Saturday Night." And interestingly, Miller has written two new stories for the second movie, "The Long Bad Night" and "Nancy's Last Dance," instead of adapting the other nine short stories from "Booze" or the two remaining graphic novels, "Family Values" and "Hell and Back." (Perhaps they're being saved for a "Sin City 3.")

But there's another reason for Marv's presence as well, which movie mavens will understand instantly with a two-word explanation: "Pulp Fiction." That is to say, the various "Sin City" stories often take place simultaneously, with storylines, characters and events sometimes overlapping each other.

For example, in the latter part of the "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" graphic novel, an alert reader will see some of the events from "Sin City: The Hard Goodbye" in the background, with the "camera" observing from a different angle. It can be amusing, as when two cops near the end of "Dame" are passed by a car with Marv and Wendy inside, on the way to the climax of "Goodbye."

And virtually every "Sin City" story visits Kadie's Club Pecos at some point. That's the strip club where Nancy Callahan (played by Jessica Alba in the movies) is the star attraction, which the reader sees a lot of in two senses: 1. because Marv is a frequent audience member, and 2. because she takes her clothes off. (Marv is heard to mutter frequently, "Boy, that Nancy is really something.")

Nancy was a major player in "That Yellow Bastard," found in the first film, being the girl rescued at both ages 11 and 19 by creaky cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis). It's also where Shellie works, the waitress that Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen) rescued from Jackie Boy (Benecio del Toro) in the first movie, setting in motion the events of "The Big Fat Kill."

Speaking of Dwight and Nancy, both return as important characters in "A Dame to Kill For." Those who saw the first movie (or read "Kill") will recall that Dwight made reference to having a new face, and being wanted for murder. Who he killed and why he had plastic surgery are both important elements of "Dame " so movie-goers will finally get that explanation. (Readers, if they read the comics in order, already know.)

And "Nancy's Last Dance," one of the new stories written for the second movie, is a sequel to the events of "Bastard." In the first movie, Hartigan kills himself so that the powerful Sen. Roark the father of the now deceased "Bastard" can't torture him to find and kill Nancy. The comics leave the story there.

But "Dame" will follow Nancy's story after Hartigan's death a story in which she is no longer a victim, and is looking for a little revenge of her own. It should give "Sin City" fans more closure than the original ending, plus and this will be good for ticket sales it gives Alba a lot more screen time than the comics would provide.

However, the bulk of the movie is likely the title story, and it also promises a lot to make fans of the first movie happy. Dwight now played by Josh Brolin returns, of course, as does his sometimes girlfriend, the "valkyrie" who runs the hookers of Old Town, Gail (Rosario Dawson). Manute the killer chauffeur is back, although now played by Dennis Haysbert, since Michael Clarke Duncan died of a heart attack in 2012. "Deadly little Miho," the diminutive ninja killer, also returns, albeit played by a different actress. And the woman of the title Ava, a dame to kill for is played by the incredibly gorgeous Eva Green, who ... well, let's say the role was cast really well. (Green also starred in "300: Rise of an Empire," another movie based on Frank Miller comics.)

And Marv? Well, he plays a big role in "Dame," several weeks before his send-off in the electric chair (as seen in the first movie). He's also the protagonist of "Just Another Saturday Night," and you can probably guess what that means for a guy like Marv.

Who, honestly, is dead. But in "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" ... not just yet.

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(c)2014 Andrew A. Smith

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