Tom Nixon's Reviews > V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
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's review
Sep 16, 12

Read on September 16, 2012

Minor confession: I didn't add this to my Goodreads list when I got it- AND- it's the first book I've ever read/reviewed from a Kindle, courtesy of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet I got for my birthday present! So I didn't start it and finish it in the same day--

As with all movies and books, I found that the book is far better than the movie. Famed comic duo Alan Moore and David Lloyd join forces to tell the story of a Fascist post-Third World War Britain of the late 1990s. (Thatcher's Conservatives lost the 1983 election to the Labour Party* who went for complete nuclear disarmament, thus removing Britain as an obvious target of a Third World War.) A young woman named Evey Hammond is rescued from the clutches of the Secret Police by a terrorist in a Guy Fawkes mask named only V.

V, as in the movie embarks upon a vendetta against key figures of the ruling fascist Norse Fire Party. After rescuing Evey, he destroys the Houses of Parliament and then kills three key party figures for their involvement in past atrocities. First is the Party's propaganda Broadcaster, Lewis Prothero who V drives insane by destroying his prized doll collection before his eyes. Then there's Bishop Anthony Lilliman whom V forces to eat a cyanide laced Communion wafer and finally Delia Surridge- whose remorse for her past crimes leads her to get a painless death from V.

The chaos soon grows as V takes over the government's broadcasting tower and broadcasts a speech urging people to take charge of their own lives. Evey, who was set free by V when she questioned his methods finds herself captured after seeking revenge on the gangsters who murdered her lover. Interrogated, she receives a message from a fellow prisoner named Valerie an actress who was imprisoned for being a lesbian. Inspired by Valerie's courage, Evey refuses to yield to interrogation only to find that the whole thing was a hoax set up by V to give her a similar experience to what moulded him- Evey is angry but eventually accepts her identity.

The following November, V brings his final plan to fruition, destroying the government's eavesdropping and propaganda capabilities. Chaos grows and Finch's partner Dominic figures out that V has hacked into the government's servers the whole time. Detective Finch who has been trying to capture V puts together V's plan, confronting him at Victoria Station and shooting him. Evey rather than reveal V's identity gives him a Viking funeral, blows up Downing Street and assumes his identity, while in the chaos of the collapsed government, Finch heads north, alone.

This was much darker and much deeper than the movie. I loved every minute of it and found myself wishing that the filmmakers had stuck to their guns a little more and gone for the R-rating on the movie to better capture the spirit of the novel a little more. As with Watchmen, there are plenty of ideas at play in V For Vendetta- fascism vs anarchy, dystopia vs utopia and the meaning of freedom and it makes for a dark and thrilling read.

Overall: One of the best graphic novels I have ever read. Hands down.

*The Labour Party's manifesto for the 1983 elections was described thusly. So Moore was needless to say, wrong- very wrong.

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