Thursday, January 2, 2014

V for Vendetta

Written by: Alan Moore
Artist: David Lloyd
Publisher: Vertigo

Read if:
1) You enjoy a good vigilante plot.
2) You believe the government will one day turn society in to a dystopia.
3) You like ninjas.

"Remember, Remember the 5th of November. The gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."


     V for Vendetta takes place in England in the 1990's. After the war, the government took a drastic turn towards fascism. Every aspect of life was controlled by the government even down to the exact minute that it was going to rain for the day. Now I know what you're thinking. It's England. Does it ever stop raining? And I will tell you something. Indeed it does. Indeed it does.

     The government is made up of separate departments and each department represents a different body part. For example, the police and general security were referred to as "The Finger," the detective agency was referred to as "The Nose," media including television and radio were referred to as "The Mouth," and so on. And all of these departments and the entire country of England is controlled by Fate. In a country that no longer practices or believes in traditional religions, Fate is a loose representation for God. It supports the  human need to believe in something greater than oneself.

     As part of the governments quest for control, concentration camps were set up for the Jews, gays, blacks, and other minorities of England. Ring a bell? This similarity to WWII helps fuel the fire of the readers hatred for such a corrupt system. In these camps, the subjects were used for drug experiments. I will say nothing more on this topic.

Main Character

    Anyways, our main character is not given a name. He simply goes by "V." That is your first clue as to how positively bad ass this character is. (Next clue: ridiculously awesome dagger-throwing skills.) Now, "V" is not your typical superhero or typical vigilante that keeps company with birds in the sky or frequents the local spandex shop. Oh no. He scurries about dressed in black for obvious reasons. (Just ask a ninja, black is the way to go when performing sketchy acts. Oh wait, you can't, because you'll never see one.) A billowing cloak distracts his enemies and enhances his majestic appearance. (Just ask Batman, capes can do wonders for your appearance.) A tall conical shaped hat and a guy faux mask complete the ensemble.

      This costume houses an androgynous personality and a strong sense of justice tangled within a web of crazy. The goal of Moore and Lloyd was to create a new type of hero. One that was unorthodox. Yes, he is not the first to be motivated by vengeance or justice, but instead of fighting alongside the government against a common enemy, "V" fights AGAINST the government BECAUSE they ARE the enemy. "V" and his, for lack of a better term, apprentice (Evey Hammond), fight for freedom. Not just to achieve freedom for himself and others but also to instill in people the knowledge of their need and the right to be free.

     The story is driven almost completely by dialogue. There is no narration which again separates this graphic novel from others. I found this to be a nice breath of fresh air.

     The artwork by David Lloyd is amazing, and I am convinced that stripped of all text, I would have stilled enjoyed the hell out of this book. When reading any graphic novel, I have to like the artwork to really enjoy the entire experience. The story is one part but really, if you just don't like the style of the artwork, the experience as a whole just won't speak to you as much. Well, said shortly, I'm picky about artwork styles in my graphic novels, and this is one of my favorites.

The writing of course is wonderful as well
***V For Vendetta has also been made into a movie by Warner Bros. Hugo Weaving stars as "V" and Natalie Portman stars as Evey Hammond. Calm down, I know that's exciting. Go watch it now. 

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