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V for Vendetta

October 22, 2008

As promised on Monday today I’ll be reviewing another of Alan Moore’s magnum opus’, V for Vendetta. How many masterpiece works to end all works can one dude produce? 

Like anything by Frank Miller I won’t be giving a bio on Moore but he does use a different artist for this particular series so you’ll get to know David Lloyd at least. Let’s hit this then.

Background: David Lloyd is a British artist who got his start in the 1970s on Halls of Honor and TV Comic. He co-created a series called Night Raven

He is most famous for his work on V for Vendetta with Alan Moore. Side note: why does Alan Moore really like artists named David?

I’m not sure what he’s done recently except a crime noir comic by him called Kickback. 

Moore started writing V in the early 1980s and it wasn’t finished until 1988. V was released by former Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn through comic magazine called Warriors. The series was reprinted by DC Comics after the magazine folded. 

While Moore created the characters and wrote the script, Lloyd created the Guy Fawkes look for V and suggested to Moore not to use thought bubbles or sound effects. 

The Comic: V is set in 1998 after a nuclear war has broken out and finished between Russia and the United States. In response England walled itself off from the rest of the world and a fascist government rose to power. 

Blacks, Jews, Basically ethnics, and homosexuals were deported or taken to Nazi style concentration camps and murdered, similarly to Nazi camps with ovens, shootings, starvation, disease, expirmentation etc. 

Unlike V the movie which followed mostly Evey Hammond and V’s relationship, the novel looks at V’s actions through several points of view, the Leader, Eric Finch, Creedy, Rose (the wife of a man killed by V), Susan (a woman trying to get her subservient husband into a position of power), and of course V who actually has more of a role in the novel than the movie.

Now, I didn’t like the movie but there are things that the movie does better than the book. For example, the simplified points of view allow for a dissemination of information that relates to the story better. There are characters in the novel that are seemingly introduced at random and dropped with apparently tons of story behind them that doesn’t get told. There are other characters who suddenly gain huge amounts of import but fly in out of nowhere with little explanation. It keeps the actual story somewhat messy at times. 

Also, there is no connection with Evey Hammond in the novel. The ending feels like a let down because of her and not because it’s a bad ending. She starts out whiny and amazingly gets progressively worse. In the end she becomes this harpy like creature who is horrendously ugly and without redeeming quality even when she does, more or less, good actions by the morality set by Moore’s story. 

While I had problems with V that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good story. The version in the novel is miles better than in the movie and the V from the novel is compelling and not a shadow who quotes and says as many V words as possible whilst sounding like a tool. 

There is a lot of depth to Moore’s story that gets the reader to see all sides of the equation. While the overriding issue is pointing to V’s rightness in creating an anarachal society that doesn’t mean you have to agree with him while looking at how the rest of the cast deals with scenario. True, many of them you want killed off but at least you know where their thought processes lie. In fact, the leader in the novel is not nearly as evil as you would think, instead he is just pathetic, alone, a man lost in his faith in something that betrays him. 

The characters (other than the annoying Evey) are very strong and most of them are well written. Few, except the Scot, are shallow characterizations. To be honest my least favorite character is V, which is more my fault than Moore’s. I love reveals and the lack of one towards the end kills the mystery for me. It’s weird that I like reveals since I dislike crime procedurals and hate crime novels but I love crime comic books. 

Let me note that if you’ve seen the movie everything you know about V for Vendetta is wrong. The movie focuses on this get the people involved, bring about democracy (for american audiences) feel that it loses what V’s message actually was, ANARCHY. Controlled anarchy. Destroyer anarchy and creator anarchy. There is a whole philosophy behind V that is missed in the movie. 

To end this, the novel is about two extremes of the political spectrum complete control (fascism) and complete freedom (anarchy. The movie on the hand is just about the edge versus the middle (democracy). The novel is better about its politics. 

My recommendation: Read it. Watch the movie. Compare. While I’m not shooting loads of comic jizz for Alan Moore I do think he is a good writer. Of the three Moore books I’ve read I’d rate the Killing Joke as his best work. However, I do recommend picking up V, it’s a good read with some interesting philosophies behind. There is one thing you can say about Moore you don’t see his style of books even today. He questioned politics, society,  and life he pushed it too the edges and brought it back again. He lets the reader make the moral decision even when his novels clearly choose a side. I can honestly say that most comic writers don’t do that. Most just make their novels dark and edgy. Feh. Moore may not be top three in my comic list but he is a great writer, can’t fault him that.

Scyo.

10 more words just to make sure  I hit 1000.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 22, 2008 5:48 pm

    Hi,

    I’m just getting started with my new blog. Would you want to exchange links on our blog-rolls?

    BTW – I’m up to about 100 visitors per day.

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