V for Vedetta
One of Alan Moore’s most famous works is probably the ten issue series (published between 1982 and 1988) V for Vendetta, depicting a dystopian view of Great Britain, in which the general populace is controlled by a totalitarian regime. Similar to Orwell’s 1984 the people are spied on by their government and most of their freedom is taken from them. The regime also has similar traits to the Nazi regime under Hitler, as they lock up and kill foreigners and homosexuals in special camps.
In this hostile environment, most people give in and follow their leader Adam Susan out of fear of prosecution. Only one man decides to stand in the way. In the beginning of the story this character is only known as V and he wears a long cape, an elaborate hat and a Guy Fawkes mask. Only later we learn his story and why he decides to stand up for the people (but that is for you to find out). Early in the story V rescues the young Evey Hammond and gives her shelter at his secret hideout “The Shadow Gallery”. On November 5, 1997 V blows up the Palace of Westminster and thus starts off his year long terrorist activities in which he rattles the cage of the totalitarian regime. He kills specific party members and blows up other buildings of major importance and introduces chaos into the rigidly controlled nation. During her stay at the Shadow Gallery, Evey slowly learns off V’s intentions and he tries to liberate her mind and make her an ally, but only if she voluntarily chooses to comply. In the meantime Eric Finch, Chief of Scotland Yard and Minister of Investigations, tries to stop the vigilante and discover his secret identity, before order is replaced by chaos.
Moore couldn’t have chosen a better artist than David Lloyd, as he incorporates both the dystopian flair of the story and manages to make V look like a real anarchist from the 16th century. As with Watchmen it is important to remember that both graphic novels have been published in the 80s and therefore still have a typical 80s art style, which is not a bad thing in my opinion, as it fits the more realistic storytelling. V for Vendetta reads like a novel and holds everything you need for an interesting, yet intellectually stimulating evening.
Reread Value 9
Overall rating 9/10
In 2006 the Wachowski Brothers released a movie adaptation of V for Vendetta, starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. Although Alan Moore did not collaborate on the project, I thought the movie was quite good and worked for itself. Sure, several parts and characters were altered, but I think that a lot of the core material was still there and the main message remained. But in the end it all comes down to personal taste and I guess you have to make up your own mind. Read the graphic novel and watch the movie and feel free to express your own opinions right here. Until then!
“Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot”