V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

V for Vendetta

"Remember, remember the fifth of November..."A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd.Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this...

Title:V for Vendetta
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1401207928
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:296 pages

V for Vendetta Reviews

  • J.G. Keely

    I struggled for a long time with the growing notion that conservatives simply aren't funny. At first it seemed a silly idea, since conservatism draws from sources as varied as progressivism: all levels of intelligence and wealth, all kinds of people from all walks of life--yet none of them are funny.

    Certainly they can tell jokes and be charming, but not satirical, not biting. Subversion doesn't come naturally to them, and it should have been clear why: Conservatism relies on ideals, on grand her

    I struggled for a long time with the growing notion that conservatives simply aren't funny. At first it seemed a silly idea, since conservatism draws from sources as varied as progressivism: all levels of intelligence and wealth, all kinds of people from all walks of life--yet none of them are funny.

    Certainly they can tell jokes and be charming, but not satirical, not biting. Subversion doesn't come naturally to them, and it should have been clear why: Conservatism relies on ideals, on grand heroic notions which are to be believed in. Progressives (or Liberals) rely on deconstruction of these notions, which is in itself a subversion.

    That might not entirely explain the sad discrepancy between Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore, but it's a start. I feel like this difference in mode is also to blame for some of the more common critiques of Alan Moore's work.

    He's recently achieved notoriety as a Hollywood Gold Standard--and as the scowling, bearded mascot of rebranding 'Comics' as 'Graphic Novels' (despite the fact that

    , Gaiman, and I all prefer the original term). As a product of this new visibility, he has been discovered by new readers, some of whom dismiss him as a subversive anarchist.

    I agree that he is subversive, and that he is interested in exploring violent anarchism in his works, but he has too much subtlety to be saddled with the views of some of his characters. Critics can quickly identify attacks on their ideologies, but seem less skilled at seeing how an apparent 'progressive' like Moore simultaneously attacks his own representation of the agents of change.

    Rorschach in Watchmen is a parody of the superhero staple of morality by violence (or is it the other way 'round?), a parody the film version completely fails to recognize. Likewise, 'V' is meant to be flawed, fraught and difficult, and Moore invites us to question his philosophies and methods.

    Moore always gives his characters motives because his characters operate by their psychology: their history, their disposition, their experiences. But in 'V', Moore is giving us a background to establish a motive, which is why we might end up on V's side (beyond the David and Goliath trope).

    Moore gives us this motive so that he can communicate his ideas clearly. We see that V's actions are accountable personally, which leads us to ask whether they are accountable socially, morally, or ethically. It is, after all, a story concerned with the nature of politics, power, subjugation, and resistance. Like a philosopher hashing out his ideas, Moore explores his theme by setting limits to focus the hypothesis.

    Whether V can be excused or praised outside his personal motivations is another argument, but the fact that Moore has isolated and located this argument at a point in narrative space shows his thoughtful, deliberate mastery of the form.

    Like Watchmen, the film version mostly strips out this layer of complexity, and is content (like the majority of action films or violent dystopias) to let this personal struggle be the end of the moral question, thus reducing V to a violent hero (or antihero). This idealized 'personal morality' is common not only in action movies, but in cape comics and conservatism--yet focusing on a wholly personal response precludes observing how politics works, or any grand social scale which is necessarily defined by the

    .

    The personal is simply not important, not viable, and in the end, gets lost in the mix. The billions of personal elements counteract one another into a kind of Brownian Motion, stirring without direction, while the real forces of power move above them and alongside them, shaping the world.

    Think of all the people acting out their personal moralities, proud as peacocks. You hear people talk about turning off the water when they brush their teeth despite the fact that more than ninety percent of water use is industrial. People buy free-range organic despite the fact that the money still goes to the same five companies (and the term 'organic' is entirely unregulated). People get self-satisfied about their Prius when five shipping tankers produce as many tons of emissions as all the cars in the world.

    It is not that these personal beliefs cannot change things, in fact they often come to the forefront, but this change is momentary and complex, and hence, no great theory could be made to predict it, so it cannot be harnessed, only taken for granted by the forces of power. The more people act personally, the more they will be taken advantage of, impersonally.

    It isn't surprising that critiques of Moore tend to focus on these personal, symbolic journeys, but that's simply not how Moore operates. Sympathy for his characters should be mistrusted, just as we must mistrust Milton's Satan; even with all his charm, it is the utmost foolishness not to recognize him for who he is.

    You don't have to look hard to see these little subversions--these clues that something isn't right--but you do have to look. There is a fast-paced, exciting, complex plot atop it all, and it's easy to get caught up in Alan Moore's stories. Unlike some authors, Moore won't spell it out for you, but calling him an Anarchist is an oversimplification.

    In interviews, Moore has said that an Anarchist state is one where the powerful rule the weak by fear and force of arms, noting that this describes every government and nation in history, no matter what florid terms are used to make such governance more appealing. Moore may use V to present the ideal of the Anarchist, but we must remember: he doesn't believe in ideals.

    Which is why Alan Moore is funny. When you are quite sure that he is being serious, you can be certain that he is being funny. After all, the surest sign that we have ceased to think clearly about something is that we can no longer laugh at it. So remember: if you aren't laughing, you aren't thinking; and if you aren't thinking, then you definitely won't understand Moore.

  • Alejandro

    Writer: Alan Moore

    Illustrator: David Lloyd

    It's one of the first sentences that came to mind when you think about the masterpiece by Alan Moore & David Lloyd. And

    Writer: Alan Moore

    Illustrator: David Lloyd

    It's one of the first sentences that came to mind when you think about the masterpiece by Alan Moore & David Lloyd. And certainly something quite easy to

    each year on the mentioned date.

    However, the most powerful quote that sticks to my mind is...

    That quote resumes the power of this story.

    Story of one man.

    One man who can be everybody.

    And the story of "V" is one very powerful to tell...

    This is my favorite graphic novel ever!

    One of the first impacts when I read reading this graphic novel the first time, it was when I realized that you don't start to read in the beginning of the story.

    No, the plan of "V" is so carefully crafted that when the government think that he started, he is already finishing it.

    It's very likely that by now, you may have watched the film and it's a very good adaptation. I liked it a lot and it's one of my favorite movies. Are there differences? Oh, yes! But, honestly, as a hardcore Alan Moore's fan, I think that the changes are good thinking that film is a different format than comic book and therefore, some things can be changed and still delivering the same powerful message.

    However, if you are a truly

    's fan, like me, you must read the graphic novel at some point, or you will be missing a lot.

    It's a wonderful joy to watch how Alan Moore put everywhere the letter "v", in the titles of the chapters just to mention an example.

    Also, David Lloyd is a very creative partner of Moore, making into art many original concepts like a chapter made entirely in the form a music sheet.

    Wonderful concepts that you only can get in the format of a graphic novel.

    I am a huge fan of Alan Moore's work and I have the luck to find a lot of his work, not only the quite known examples like

    and this very graphic novel

    but also his entire runs of

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ,

    , along with great issues like

    ,

    ,

    , etc...

    ...and I loved to read everything and I have to say that my favorite work by Alan Moore is this graphic novel

    .

    I think the strongest issue that convince me to realize that

    is my own personal favorite graphic novel but also my own personal favorite work by Alan Moore is because it's that each little detail on the story was so carefully done, so carefully thought, so carefully presented.

    And that's the beautiful irony of all.

    Since this is a story about chaos, but it's done with a precision where nothing is left to chance. Everything is where that's supposed to be. No more or less than needed to tell the story.

    And threrefore, My own personal opinion is that this is his masterpiece in the middle of an universe of masterpieces written by Alan Moore.

    Not only is a strong political story but also an impressive artwork.

    Also, the terrorist known as "V" is one of the best characters ever made in literature.

  • Bryce Wilson

    If

    is Alan Moore's Sergeant Pepper, and From Hell his Abbey Road (And in the end the love you take is equal to the number of prostitutes you disembowl) then V For Vendetta is his Rubber Soul.

    Like Rubber Soul it tends to get overlooked and undervalued because it's "merely" a perfect pop record rather then a artform redefining masterpiece. V is simply put a potent piece of Pop Art. The story is bracing, the art beautiful, the way it plays with iconography of humanities past sins is simpl

    If

    is Alan Moore's Sergeant Pepper, and From Hell his Abbey Road (And in the end the love you take is equal to the number of prostitutes you disembowl) then V For Vendetta is his Rubber Soul.

    Like Rubber Soul it tends to get overlooked and undervalued because it's "merely" a perfect pop record rather then a artform redefining masterpiece. V is simply put a potent piece of Pop Art. The story is bracing, the art beautiful, the way it plays with iconography of humanities past sins is simply genius. It's politics are more earnest then they are sensible. I find Anarchy to be a very coddled philosophy. It's the same reason I snicker whenever I see someone wearing an Emma Goldman or Ayn Rand T shirt. Not because I have any great love for government, but because I side with The Joker in my firm belief that so called "civilized" people will eat eachother alive when given the slightest reason or provocation. Hell most of them do it anyway.

    Anyway rant ended, great book, Alan Moore Prevails.

  • Stephen

    For all of the criticism heaped on movie versions of novels and other literary works (well deserved in many cases), there are times when the filmmakers get it very right (e.g.,

    ,

    ,

    ). The Graphic Novel, in particular, is a format that lends itself well to adaptation and, in the right hands, can often IMPROVE on the source material. Examples of this, IMHO, would include:

    ,

    and

    . To that small but distinctive li

    For all of the criticism heaped on movie versions of novels and other literary works (well deserved in many cases), there are times when the filmmakers get it very right (e.g.,

    ,

    ,

    ). The Graphic Novel, in particular, is a format that lends itself well to adaptation and, in the right hands, can often IMPROVE on the source material. Examples of this, IMHO, would include:

    ,

    and

    . To that small but distinctive list I would add

    as I thought the film version was superior to the print.

    That's not to say the graphic novel is not good. Alan Moore deserves a lot of credit for this ground-breaking, original story. Had I not seen the movie prior to reading this, I would likely have been far more impressed with it. However, as it is, I couldn't help feeling that the film did a better job of conveying the “oppressive nature” of the fascist society envisioned in the story. The stellar cast assembled for the movie didn't hurt either. While reading, I often found myself thinking to myself that I preferred the film's vision of the narrative.

    Without spoilerizing, one example of this is that I thought, in general, the character depictions were vastly enhanced, largely due to the superior casting. I mean seriously, the movie had

    ....NUFF SAID!!!

    I also think the movie more clearly defined the central plot, allowing the underlying message of the story to be delivered with more power. As for the climax, the movie's was golden, and I thought the addition of the public’s “participation” was inspired.

    To be fair, the GN had its share of moments of advantage as well, enough to make reading it worth while even if you have seen the movie. V’s “confrontation” with the “Voice of London” was much more elaborate in the graphic novel, and V’s back story is expanded upon and given more depth. Both of these are interesting and well done.

    Still, overall I found the movie was superior and I think my rating of the GN suffers a bit, unfair or not, as a result. Thus, a good read and one that I recommend...just make sure to see the movie as well!!

    3.5 stars.

  • Bookwraiths

    Originally reviewed at

    .

    When I picked up this graphic novel (after years of telling myself I’d get to it one of these days), I really wanted to love it.

    by Moore is one of my all-time, favorite graphic novels, so I always envisioned

    being another masterpiece of comic writing along those same lines: not only entertaining but enlightening as well. Unfortunately, I was immensely disappointed by this graphic novel.

    Now, to be fair, I hate overtly political literary

    Originally reviewed at

    .

    When I picked up this graphic novel (after years of telling myself I’d get to it one of these days), I really wanted to love it.

    by Moore is one of my all-time, favorite graphic novels, so I always envisioned

    being another masterpiece of comic writing along those same lines: not only entertaining but enlightening as well. Unfortunately, I was immensely disappointed by this graphic novel.

    Now, to be fair, I hate overtly political literary works. If a writer wishes to explore political themes in the framework of an interesting and compelling story then I am fine with that, but I personally do not enjoy stories that are only about politics. And for those of you who have read

    , you already know that this graphic novel is 100% a work of political theology. It preaches. It prods. It shouts at you to pay attention. But no matter V’s incessant soliloquies, it utterly falls flat.

    Probably the majority of the blame for

    ’s failure goes to the fact that in order to have a story you must first have a character, and V is not a character but a political ideology given human form in his iconic black suit and white mask. He is an idol to anarchy, wrapped in pop culture coolness to make anarchism an attractive viewpoint.

    And to make this political theology even more appealing, Moore squares him off with the most repulsive opponent he could concoct: an ethnocentric, homophobic, pedophilia, racist, anti-science fascism that drapes itself with religious justification for its inhumane actions.

    No matter his opponent, however, V quickly proves himself to be insane. (Whether his insanity is mild or extensive is up for debate, I suppose, but there is little doubt that he is not going to pass a psychological evaluation without getting several diagnoses.) He kills when he needs to. He blows up things when he deems it appropriate. He tortures – both physically and emotionally – his foes and friends alike when he believes it serves some greater good. And he shows no regret for any innocents who might be harmed in the aftermath.

    Revolutionary behavior, I hear some of you saying. Perhaps. Yet,V never seems to have any rhyme or reason to his madness. At least not one that he sticks with. There is no desire to fix the problems of the world, but rather an all-encompassing desire to unleash chaos so that it may spread in a wild conflagration until anarchy is obtained and, somehow, remolds society into a chaotic utopia. Sure, apparently innocent people will get harmed , but, ultimately, all the world’s problems are these people’s fault anyway, so why shouldn’t they suffer for their poor choices.

    To describe the story as convoluted is to be gracious to its famous writer, because this tale is filled with ambiguity to the point a reader has no idea if V is a “good” guy, a “bad” guy, or just some mentally deranged person running around killing people and blowing things up for fun. He will aid a person one page only to set them up for horrible things to happen to them the next. He will give a grand soliloquy on the need to “

    ” one moment, then turn around and exhibit his new, enlightened values by torturing his “supposed” friend to induce a level of insanity comparable to his own. Honestly, V’s display of anarchist morality becomes a tiresome exercise in futility.

    The sad truth about this graphic novel is that

    is a work of political proselytism. A piece of demagoguery whose message takes precedent over the actually story being told. V more an avatar for anarchy than a real revolutionary attempting to better the lives of his fellow men and women. This graphic novel is not inspirational. It doesn’t expand your mind by forcing you to analyze your current political leaning. Rather, it is just another piece of political ideology, where the writer frames the narrative in his terms so that only his viewpoint is attractive, and as such, it is better left undisturbed by those seeking a true story.

  • Lyn

    I enjoyed the 2005 film V for Vendetta starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving and so my son bought me the book.

    The BOOK turned out to be a graphic novel.

    I asked if this was an illustrated version of the literature and searched to discover that this WAS the book. So the graphic novel sat on my bookcase for months and months while I read other books, more traditionally published.

    But then I learned that Neil Gaiman had published The Sandman series and I recalled fondly my high school days whe

    I enjoyed the 2005 film V for Vendetta starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving and so my son bought me the book.

    The BOOK turned out to be a graphic novel.

    I asked if this was an illustrated version of the literature and searched to discover that this WAS the book. So the graphic novel sat on my bookcase for months and months while I read other books, more traditionally published.

    But then I learned that Neil Gaiman had published The Sandman series and I recalled fondly my high school days when I read Marvel and DC comics and I have helped to enliven in my youngest son a fondness for the comics as well and he and I have had fun as he discovered this exciting medium.

    And then, out of the blue, I found the copy of Alan Moore’s well written and well illustrated story of hope growing like a rose amidst the imagination stifling autocratic theocracy that had become England and I found myself liking it very much.

    And so, Sam I am, I WILL read graphic novels, in a box, and with a fox, …

  • Algernon

    Comic books are for geeky kids who dream of men in tights saving the world and women in skimpy outfits who swoon into their brawny arms, right? Who takes comic book seriously? Alan Moore is not the only name to be put forward in answer to this question, but he is for me the best example of the power behind the medium. I rate 'V for Vendetta' on the same level as '1984' or 'Animal Fa

    Comic books are for geeky kids who dream of men in tights saving the world and women in skimpy outfits who swoon into their brawny arms, right? Who takes comic book seriously? Alan Moore is not the only name to be put forward in answer to this question, but he is for me the best example of the power behind the medium. I rate 'V for Vendetta' on the same level as '1984' or 'Animal Farm' or 'Fahrenheit 451' : one of the literary manifestos that have come to define our modern society (as Voltaire and Montesquieu defined the French Revolution), an allegedly dystopian future that is painfully already become the present we are living in. 

    Honestly, the actual presentation of the book was uneven, alternating between brilliant script passages and stark, powerful poster-art graphics down to muddled secondary characters and slow paced detours from the main story. But, like it says in my opening quote, the idea behind V is stronger than the execution (Alan Moore was still experimenting with the medium and developing his skills in this early piece). The proof of the enduring quality of the tale is not necessarily in the success of the movie version (which I liked even better than the comic), but in the recent proliferation of masked 'Guy Fawkes' anarchists who are starting to challenge their governments in their abuse of authority, and who believe in the freedom of information and the freedom of expression, with Wikileaks, Anonymous, assorted whistleblowers and antiglobalization protesters hopefully only the tip of the iceberg:

     

    And in another place:

    The society presented in the novel is an exaggeration of trends towards fascism and mass surveillance that Moore noticed already in the early 1980's, while the nuclear conflict that caused the collapse of democracy in his story has been avoided so far, terrorism being the rallying point of fearmongering. The artist uses his anarchist premise in a didactic role ( with V as the teacher and Evey as a stand-in for the reader) , as a challenge to take a hard look at our own lives and do something about changing the world:

    The artist is 'V', who makes a spectacular entrance as the flamboyant masked justiciary in a cape who saves a damsell in distress (Evey) from the clutches of secret police thugs. His introduction is a riot of wordplay and innuendo, and of course I've bookmarked it for savouring it at my leisure:

    Pretty soon Evey learns her saviour is no knight in shiny armour like Superman or Captain America, but a dangerous anarchists who is bent on bringing down the government in a blaze of fire. I will leave the actual details of the plan and of the execution out of my review out of consideration of readers unfamiliar with the comic, only mentioning that Alan Moore did a sterling job subverting the myth of the superhero, pointing out the risks of taking the law into your own hands and the fact that destruction is necessary but not enough for creating a better world.

    The identity of the man behind the mask remains a mystery to me, as it should, because 'who' he is is less important than 'why' he is. Sometimes I found his teaching methods too brutal and hard to swallow, but at the end of the journey in his company I knew him in his secret heart and I bleed for him and for my own inadequacy:

    The comic spends a lot a panels on fleshing out the oppressors, the politicos supported by police, army, secret surveillance, propaganda, religion, scientists involved in concentration camp research on immigrants and indesirables. They are called in the book The Eyes, The Voice, The Fingers, The Head etc. This is the part I sometimes found confusing and less well executed, with the exception of an elderly crime investigator who still reads books and thinks outside the box.

    Since I named the comic a literary manifesto, I will close my review with the rest of the slogans that jumped out of the panels to write themselves on my conscience. I hope they will remain there to burn brightly as I continue my literary pursuits in other directions.

    ---

    ---

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Prison. What exactly is prison? Is it just the confinement in which we are placed after crime? Or is it something more? Can we become imprisoned without being aware of it? Can we even imprison ourselves? Perhaps even to the state?

    Alan Moore depicts these questions in this scary graphic novel that is set in some crazy right-winged London that reeks of fascism and corruption. It’s a dark, eerily real place; it is a place that might have actually

    in an alternate history. Just like in

    Prison. What exactly is prison? Is it just the confinement in which we are placed after crime? Or is it something more? Can we become imprisoned without being aware of it? Can we even imprison ourselves? Perhaps even to the state?

    Alan Moore depicts these questions in this scary graphic novel that is set in some crazy right-winged London that reeks of fascism and corruption. It’s a dark, eerily real place; it is a place that might have actually

    in an alternate history. Just like in

    Moore shows us an alternative past that is stark and weirdly possible. The people struggle under an oppressive regime; they have no voice; they have no liberty or identity: they are in a monumental prison of both body and mind. And, worse yet, because of the mass propaganda campaigns, intimidating armed troop patrols, and lack of freedom in general, the people are not fully aware of their own oppressive plight. They’re ignorant and led along by the voice of power and authority. They have no free will.

    This is where V. comes in. In the guise of a shadowy villain, the costumed rogue represents pure anarchy. His way of thought, as he himself admits, would lead to nothing but chaos. But, anything is better than fascism, right? Well, you’d think so but V. is far from the morale crusader he identifies himself as. Despite his form of vigilante justice, he is not morally good. What he inflicts on his protégé is nothing but damn nasty; yes, it opened her eyes to the prison of life, but in order for them to be opened he had to inflict great cruelty. Do the ends ever justify the means? Anarchy is the complete lack of authority over the populace, which is what V. is striving for, but he is acting with the power and ruthless of the very thing he is trying to overcome.

    Indeed, what he exacts is a form of manipulative control, which is the very thing he is trying to destroy through his wave of terrorism. He is certainly a dark and complex character. Perhaps his ethos is even slightly self-defeating and contradictory. I don’t think he’s any better that what he is trying to destroy, but perhaps that’s the idea. Perhaps, Moore is trying to suggest that corruption is the very essence of human nature, and that nobody is beyond it. I think V. is less a man than an ideal. He represents something much bigger than himself, which is signified by his legacy. But, what this thing is destructive and extreme; his idea is not necessarily something beneficial to mankind.

    I much preferred Watchmen to this; it was less political and focused on human nature rather than the complex nature of politics. I think the right reader could take a lot from this, but for me, I thought it was too bleak. There's little in the way of redemptive themes here.


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