V for Vendetta (Review)

November 24, 2010

Book cover for "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore.Title: V for Vendetta

Author: Alan Moore

Illustrator: David Lloyd

Publication Year: 2008 (original serial form: 1982-1989)

Pages: 296

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Source: Purchased from Chapters

From the cover:

A new trade paperback edition of the graphic novel that inspired the hit movie!

A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet.

In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.

This new trade paperback edition features the improved production values and coloring from the 2005 hardcover.

Like with Watchmen a few months back, I wish that I had read this sooner.

I’ve never seen the movie, but had obviously heard of it, so I didn’t really know what V for Vendetta was supposed to be about. I knew that it involved a mysterious guy in a mask, and I knew that it was kind of dark, but I didn’t know the rest until I finally picked up a copy and took a look at the back. From reading the cover copy, I was immediately hooked.

While I don’t know that I would call this a graphic or literary masterpiece, I definitely think it is worthy of being considered part of the canon of our time. It’s one of those post-apocalyptic works that really makes you think about the possible direction that our world is headed – it feels like it could actually happen, and you can see yourself and the people around you as if they were characters in the story. Even though the backstory isn’t laid out for you all at once, you can figure it out on your own, and what you come to realize is chilling to the core.

I loved the way that Moore really attacks the moral dilemmas in V for Vendetta, as well as the ambiguities about what is “good” and what is “evil”. I loved how he incorporated plausible elements into the overall context and feel of the work, including things that have parallels in what has already happened in our world. Most of all, I loved Evey and V – the main characters, mostly – and how they struggled to figure out their places in the world. I loved how V, in particular, challenged the status quo and tried to make the world a better place, but not the way we would normally expect to see someone do so.

There are bits of V for Vendetta that can be confusing, and parts where I had to go back and re-read to really “get” what was going on. There are also bits that are slightly unbelievable or unrealistic, but I think that’s largely due to the time that it was originally written – as Moore says in the foreword, we simply didn’t know then what the fallout of nuclear war would look like. The flaws didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the graphic novel, though – there was just too much great stuff and thought-provoking ideas floating around for me to get caught up worrying about the minor details.

All in all – great read. Not quite as fascinating or nuanced as Watchmen, perhaps, but still a formidable piece of work.

Rating:

2 Comments

  • Nana Fredua-Agyeman November 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

    After reading Lord of the Flies and Oryx and Crake and knowing that 9/11, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Holocaust, Slave Trade, the Crusaders, the Rwandan Genocide and many others actually did happen I am not doubtful of anything that comes from a creative mind. I know and believe strongly that our world is only heading for disaster yet we pretend to love peace. Why do we then spend billions in military accoutrement acquisition whilst many people wallow in poverty? Why should we all be eager to accumulate nuclear weapons? Our days are numbered on this planet.

    Thanks for this…

    • Carina November 29, 2010 at 9:56 am

      I love books like this (and Oryx & Crake, etc.) that make me think.

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