Book Review: ‘V for Vendetta’ by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Posted: 9 July 2016 in Book reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Synopsis

In the late 1990s, something is very wrong with England. As the world was falling apart from war and disease, England caved in to their fear and came under control of a fascist, religiously extreme leader Adam Susan. He rules with an iron fist and an extremely brutal police force. But there is one who refuses to sit and take their abuse: V.

After our mysterious hero V rescues Evey Hammond from being raped by fingermen, he blows up Parliament as the encore to his plan to liberate his country. One by one, V brings down the tyrannical leaders of the country. Evey attempts to help him, but after he kills one she refuses to be a part of his killing more. This doesn’t stop him. But how much of his killing is justice for the country, and how much is vengeance for wrongs done to him?

After a time, he lets Evey go. She boards with a man, Gordon, for a time. After he is killed, she attempts to go after his killers but is captured. She is tortured and repeatedly questioned about V despite not knowing anything. She is released and as a result of her incarceration completely loses her fear. This loss of fear enables her to survive and do what is required of her.

As the government struggles to locate V and discover his identity, V’s plans are nearing their completion. While good intentions seldom result in happy endings for everyone, for some the liberation for England ends worse than for others. But as all the stories lead up to one climactic conclusion, will England rise up to meet his challenge, or will they lose themselves forever?

My Thoughts

The first time I had ever heard of this was when the film came out in 2006. I loved it. There have been few films that have affected me as this one did. I felt uplifted, motivated, philosophical, like I could change the world. It was beautiful. The film still remains one of my top 5 films ever. And now I can say that I have finally read the source material.

I love the story. It is quite a bleak futuristic picture, but fascinating as well. It is a great commentary on what could happen if people give in to their fears. Funny thing is that while reading this, I couldn’t help but think of the current political climate brewing here in the USA. Fear of Muslims, homosexuals, the different, the unknown, the other. There is an unwillingness to understand. The current political candidates feed on these fears and act as if their plans with assuage said fears. Such is what happens in this story. People gave up their freedom in the hope that these politicians would protect them and keep them safe. By doing so, they lost more than their freedom. They lost their desire to be free. They were safe so they refused to see what it had done to them. Sounds like a reality that could very well happen. Kinda scary.

I love V. His mind fascinates me. He is very complex, but despite this his motivations are quite simple and to a point honourable. I found it very intriguing how despite his cavalier attitude towards killing, he believes he is doing it for the success of the greater good. They aren’t spiteful. Yes, they are retribution for the wrongs done to him, but he also views them as justice for the wrongs done to the country as a whole. He has taken it upon him to reclaim the country for the people. Evey is a character I think most of us can relate to. She is simply trying to survive in any way she can, but wishes she were stronger and less afraid. Now, we don’t need to go through such drastic methods to rid ourselves of our fears, but we need to recognise them and work to overcome them. The strength she gained from losing her fear is remarkable.

I would be remiss if I didn’t do some sort of comparison with the movie. There are many differences between the two. Evey is 16 in the comic and an adult in the movie. Prothero is not the voice of Fate as in the movie. In the comic Fate is a computer. Prothero also doesn’t die in the comic. Leader Adam Sutler is Adam Susan in the comic, the events in the film are sequenced differently in the comic, Parliament is destroyed first and not last (plus there are three blasts as opposed to two), Gordon isn’t Evey’s boss (nor gay) and dies differently (as does Sutler/Susan). Clearly there are many differences between the two, but to be honest, they both contain the same spirit and are wonderful.

The artwork and dialogue were good. There is definitely a different feel and tone to this than contemporary graphic novels and comics. The artwork actually makes it seem much older than it really is. One thing that I found interesting was that there are more storylines in this than I expected. You see Evey and V, but then you also see Mrs. Almond and how all of this affected her. It actually got a little confusing at times with all the different scenes being portrayed and their relevance to the greater story. There are a couple areas where I’m still not exactly sure the point or what was really going on. It felt a bit jumbled and incoherent. But other than that it was very well done.

Clearly, I enjoyed this. I give it 4.5/5. It is clever and dark, and an eerie window to a realistic future. If you enjoyed the film, you definitely need to give this a read. Enjoy 😉

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