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V for Vendetta
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Book Club Reading Discussions > Optional Book Club Discussion: V for Vendetta - May 2012 (may contain spoilers)

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Sérgio | 453 comments Hi everybody. This is the topic for our Optional Book Club Discussion for May 2012, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.


The discussion will occur during the month of May to give our members time to get a hold of the book. However, if you have the book in hand, or have already read the book, and feel like posting, then please feel free to do so.


Adam will be our Discussion Leader for this. Thanks very much for volunteering Adam.


If your post will contain spoilers, then please type SPOILERS in capital letters at the top of your post so that members who are still reading or have not yet read the book can avoid critical details that can spoil their reading.


Enjoy our official book discussion everyone.


Derrick (derrickmims) Anyone have the Absolute edition? I am guessing it's worth getting because the pages are so dense. It seems that, just like with Watchmen, the story really benefits from being on the larger pages.

Anyone have feedback?


Adam | 130 comments The only Absolute I've got is Warren Ellis' Planetary (and only vol. 2 at that). It's unwieldy, but glorious.


Derrick (derrickmims) Adam wrote: "The only Absolute I've got is Warren Ellis' Planetary (and only vol. 2 at that). It's unwieldy, but glorious."

I used to have Absolute Watchmen, Long Halloween, New Frontier, and Hush. I have also read Superman: For Tomorrow and Death, from the library. It's not as easy to read those supersized books, but they're generally worth it.

I think I probably will get the Absolute V next week, when I get paid. I have seen the movie, of course, but I never got around to the book. For shame.


message 5: by Adam (last edited Apr 29, 2012 04:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam | 130 comments I guess this read officially starts tomorrow. I only started Habibi yesterday, and I'll start re-reading this once I'm done with that. I don't plan to butt in here too much, I'll just ask the odd question, as Sergio's been doing on past reads.

Looking forward to this one though, it's one of my favourite books.

Thanks, Sergio, for letting me take the reins here.


Sérgio | 453 comments Thank you Adam for volunteering. :)

Looking forward to this discussion too. This books tackles a lot of themes in interesting ways so we'll have plenty to talk about.


Yvonne Mendez (Yvonne_Mendez) I just finished reading the book, I remember watching the movie way back when, but only remembered bits and pieces so the story was almost new for me.

I agree Sergio, will be an interesting discussion!


Adam | 130 comments Well let's start then; it's May in this time zone at least.

What were your general impressions of the book? Marks out of ten?


Sérgio | 453 comments I thought this was a really well thought-out dystopian graphic novel. It’s a very intricate work by Moore and Gibbons, where almost all of the many characters interact with each other in some way. It made me think about interesting themes like the meaning of freedom or where’s the limit to what you can do to achieve it.

Frankly, I’m not sure of what Moore thinks about those subjects since this is a very ambiguous book. Even about anarchy I’m not really sure of his intentions with this book because V preaches anarchy but manipulates the whole population to react exactly as he wants to, but we’ll have plenty of time to discuss that.

I think this book is too text-heavy, I don’t think the book flows that well (if that makes sense) and that took some pleasure of my readings of it.

I’ll shut up for now.

I would give it 7 out of 10 - impressive work and certainly food for thought but not as satisfying in the end as I would wish it to be.


JoJo Laforte (jojolaforte) | 8 comments This is one of my top 3 graphic novels of all time. It tackled some big ideas in some amazing ways. As mentioned earlier, there are some places where the flow and pacing are handle a little bit clumsily, but it still gets a 9/10 from me.


Yvonne Mendez (Yvonne_Mendez) I agree with Sergio on the text-heavy side of it. The book took me almost a week to read and more than once my mind glazed over many of the points Alan Moore was making with his dialogue..my biggest problem was the artwork, the faces of the characters were not distinct enough and often I had no idea who the character was until the someone mentioned a name.

Some of the action panels were so obscure I had no idea what happened, then again that puts the reader in the same vantage point of the character who's watching the action, sort of 'what the hell just happened?'

Taking a step back and looking at the overall work, it is quite an important part of our modern history. And I'm sure that Guy Fawkes guy would be very impressed to know his face is all over the world.

I give V for Vendetta an 8 out of 10, because even though I did like the book, it's not something I would add to my bookcase


Adam | 130 comments Couple of questions for you:

Is V in this book a straightforward hero? Freedom fighter or terrorist? Do you approve of his goals and his methods of achieving them?


Yvonne Mendez (Yvonne_Mendez) This is a tough question, while his methods seem very bad-ass in the book, in real life I would hate for historical buildings to be destroyed like that.

I see V as more of an anti-hero with delusions of being a freedom fighter since he is trying to force people to be free and different, in a similar way the government is forcing the people to be submissive and the same.

As for the comment I made earlier about the art and how the characters look too similar, I guess it makes sense if the government got rid of everyone who didn't fit the norm then literally everyone looks alike.

England Prevails!


JoJo Laforte (jojolaforte) | 8 comments I would say he's a freedom fighter. His actions may seem extreme but thru are just and the only ways to deal with the problem. There may have been casualties and collateral damage but he liberated a country and brought hope to people who had none for so long.


Sérgio | 453 comments Ellie wrote: "Some of the action panels were so obscure I had no idea what happened, then again that puts the reader in the same vantage point of the character who's watching the action, sort of 'what the hell just happened?'."

I know what you mean. I got the guys in charge of The Eye and of The Mouth mixed up many times. I guess the murkiness of the art helps setting the mood of a world as bleak as imagined in this book.




About him being a straightforward hero, I don’t think he is. His plans are as much about destroying the regime as to obtain personal revenge and his methods are completely ruthless.

Ellie wrote: "he is trying to force people to be free and different,"

Yeah. As I said before he’s extremely manipulative. That makes me wonder ‘Is it really freedom if you are simply being manipulated into your actions?’. That part when Evey is tricked especially makes me wonder.

NYKen wrote: "Also, this makes me think that you can look at this question from two philosophical viewpoints which will elicit two very different answers. One is Utilitarian type of answer... and the other is Kantian type of answer. "

Could you explain this further, I don’t know that much about philosophy. From what I know ‘utilitarian viewpoint’ would be that V actions, even if they are bad, would benefit the greater good, right? The ‘Kantian viewpoint’ would be to ask if V follows the values that are inherent to the definitions of Freedom and Good, maybe?

(I’m sorry if I’m saying nonsense but I’m trying to see if the couple of podcasts I heard some months ago about Kant were useful to me in any way. lol )

Anyway, I don’t think Moore would think like Kant did, he seems more like a post-modern type of person to me.


JoJo Laforte (jojolaforte) | 8 comments Sérgio wrote: Yeah. As I said before he’s extremely manipulative. That makes me wonder ‘Is it really freedom if you are simply being manipulated into your actions?’. That part when Evey is tricked especially makes me wonder."

Here's a very poor analogy: Say someone has been surviving by eating carrion, and you offer them some Chicken Parmesan, but never having tasted Chicken Parmesan, they are afraid to eat it. Is it wrong to disguise the food as something else, when you know they'll like the taste and it's better for them? Sometimes someone must be lied to in order for them to find the truth.


message 17: by Sérgio (last edited May 10, 2012 11:59AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sérgio | 453 comments Glenn wrote: "Sérgio wrote: Yeah. As I said before he’s extremely manipulative. That makes me wonder ‘Is it really freedom if you are simply being manipulated into your actions?’. That part when Evey is tricked ..."

-SPOILER ALERT-

Evey feels liberated after her experience, sure, but she goes through incarceration and torture so she can feel that way. It feels like it was a brainwashing experience for her to attain the truth, (his truth anyway). It’s hard to defend what V did in this case, in my opinion.

About the rest of the people that V manipulates it’s hard to sympathize and think of them as free, self-determining people when he can predict everything that everyone does as if they were pawns in a game.

Take the director of the Nose, he seems like someone who thinks for himself but V in the end knows exactly where and when to meet him and what are his intentions.

Because of that it’s hard to think of this book being about freedom and V a freedom fighter. I guess this is just a hard book to interpret for me.


Sérgio | 453 comments Thanks for that explanation Ken.

I think V could only justify his actions through Utilitarianism, then (as I think you were saying JoJo).

I actually found this article that makes the exact same point as you do Ken, but instead they used the Walking Dead Tv series as an example. Fun stuff:

Immanuel Kant in Zombieland


Wendy I've been really, really thinking over in my head something useful, thoughtful and intelligent to add to the conversation. I've started, stopped and deleted about 12 different paragraphs trying to form coherent thoughts to this.

This really is a story that transcends the medium. It worked OK as a movie (IMO), because I saw the movie a few years before I ever picked up the GN. I'm sure I wouldn't have read it without seeing it. As I may have explained before, I only came to reading gn's about 4.5 years ago.

Alan Moore, love him or hate him, he has a way of making you think, I'll say that.

V is a hero, a terrorist, a freedom fighter and a madman. He's all those things. He's also hell-bent on vengeance. I think Moore is just giving you this person, throwing all those things together, and telling you the reader to sort it all out yourself.

In a mad world, are you allowed to do mad things? In a terrorist society (or tyrannical), can you commit terrorist acts and still fall within the norms of your society?

He fights for freedom. I can't really wrap my head around that. I live in America and 'feel' free everyday. I have NO IDEA what it means to not live free. Would I be strong enough to stand up and say, "Screw You, Tyranny!!"

I'm also told that my freedoms are slipping quickly through my fingers. What's an average person to do?

I certainly can't blow up buildings. But V can.

Drat. I should end now before I start deleting.... I'm having a hard time articulating.


Cyndi (BookChick64) | 90 comments Picked this up from library yesterday. Will most likely read over the upcoming weekend.


Robert Wright (RHWright) | 182 comments Actually, though it reflects things going on in early 80s Thatcher-era Britain, Moore didn't start this til '82 and didn't finish it up until '88 when DC reprinted the early stories. (Post-Watchmen.)

It's actually my favorite Moore story. It's self-contained, open to interpretation, and doesn't rely on directly riffing on others' work (Watchmen, Miracleman, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.)

For me, it's really Moore at his pinnacle, before he began to believe all that press about him being a "genius" and becoming incredibly self-indulgent in his work. And over-opinionated. But don't get me started.


P Fosten | 24 comments Oh Robert, I feel we could have an "interesting" conversation on the works of Alan Moore at some point. But not here... :)


Robert Wright (RHWright) | 182 comments For those who wish to stray into other things Alan Moore:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...


Adam | 130 comments I think V could only really have been written in Thatcher's Britain, and I wonder if you had to be there to get that. We've got the Tories in government again now (albeit in coalition with the Liberal Democrats), and I feel the same hatred for my current 'leaders' that I had then.

But having said that, the Police-Stateism Moore was reacting to only got worse under Tony Blair's Labour government. So - and I was gonna save this question for later, but we're on topic - I'll ask you:

V For Vendetta was written as a response to Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s. Now that the Tories are back, are its themes as relevant today as they were then? Is this recognisable to readers from different countries, who never lived under Thatcher?


Sérgio | 453 comments Well, I don’t know that much about Thatcher's Britain, except for what I hear in 77 punk rock documentaries, so I just know that it isn’t well regarded at all. Still, it seems to me that Britain in V for Vendetta is certainly a lot more extreme than Thatcher’s, I was more reminded of fascistic regimes and Orwell’s 1984 while reading this.


If I’m not mistaken, the security cameras in the streets were a nice prediction of what happened in the nineties there, right? (Or maybe it was the other way around: politicians got the idea from the book.)


Adam | 130 comments Well, CCTV came into Britain in the early 80s, and there were already police vans on the streets with surveillance cameras by the time the book was published. I'd say it's a cross between the two - certainly inspired by Orwell, but drawing from Thatcher's free-market-but-xenophobic-and-socially-authoritarian government. And, yes, during the height of the cold war. Moore was looking at then-current political trends and saying 'what if?'.


Wendy I think it says something the he set it in the near future instead of the far future.

It's as if he was saying: People, it will be like this someday.


Matko (Mali_Mate) | 26 comments Well let's start then; it's May in this time zone at least.

What were your general impressions of the book? Marks out of ten?


I'm a bit late in this conversation, but didn't have time to read this sooner.

I remember reading it for the first time ten or so years ago. I was astounded back then, mainly because I expected another super-hero novel and this actually blew my mind.

Bit older now (not necessarily wiser), bit more time spent inside the world of comics, seeing things I would've missed the last time and I must say that V4V didn't quite work for me this time.

I still think of it as good, but I don't think of it as great anymore. There are odd bits of script every now and then, some pages are too saturated with color and shadow and one can hardly see what's actually going on (though I must say I still adore the old-school coloring here and David Lloyd's work in general), politically it's a bit naive etc.

But, I do smile every time I see the Guy Fawkes mask on a random protest out there. It became iconic and it seems that anarchy and public disobedience finally found appropriate symbol...V instead of pretty-boy Che - I like it.

7 out of 10


Matko (Mali_Mate) | 26 comments Sergio wrote: V preaches anarchy but manipulates the whole population to react exactly as he wants to, but we’ll have plenty of time to discuss that."

That's true but I find that interesting...As V said - anarchy is about there being no leaders, not about there being no order. Question arises - where does this order come from, what are its foundations. As far as I can see V is manipulating the entire population just like he manipulated Evey in "prison" - in order to make them free. Becoming free is the necessary step to regain the power; but what one does with this power is beyond V; new society might turn to be totalitarian again but it would be freely chosen


Matko (Mali_Mate) | 26 comments Is V in this book a straightforward hero? Freedom fighter or terrorist? Do you approve of his goals and his methods of achieving them?


Straightforward in what way? Is he single-minded? He is. Is he intentionally written to be ambiguous? He is. Is he like other heroes present in comic-books before '80's? He isn't.

Is there a difference between freedom fighter and terrorist in method of their fight? I think that to call them on or the other depends on a viewpoint. For government in V's Britain he is terrorist; for oppressed he is freedom fighter.

I do. I'll put a lid on this for now so as not to turn this into a political debate :D


Matko (Mali_Mate) | 26 comments I see V as more of an anti-hero with delusions of being a freedom fighter since he is trying to force people to be free and different, in a similar way the government is forcing the people to be submissive and the same.

I don't see a delusional part of it. Don't we do it as well in a modern day society? Think of the children - educating them is forcing them to do something that they initially don't want to do.

V is a teacher whose methods are debatable...I think that real question is is V's message, i.e. what V is teaching about, valuable - should we cherish it or make it happen-


Matko (Mali_Mate) | 26 comments V For Vendetta was written as a response to Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s. Now that the Tories are back, are its themes as relevant today as they were then? Is this recognisable to readers from different countries, who never lived under Thatcher?

I doesn't have to be Thatcher :) (or maybe it does I couldn't tell). Mid-nineties Croatia was a nasty piece of work and Moore could have wrote this there and then as far as I'm concerned.

But I don't think we should necessary connect this with a particular state or political climate. It seems to me that this is relevant today on many levels. "Anonymous" appropriated V's imagery for a reason.


Cyndi (BookChick64) | 90 comments I am at book 2 now...I have to agree that V is all things stated and acting on the premise that seeking the vendetta serves a higher purpose.

While Anarchy and Facism are named as competing for supremacy I get the feeling that it's about the consequences of removing choice, forcing a mindset on humankind and the loss of basic humanity....evocotive of deep thought considering the state of our planet and nation.


message 34: by Amy (last edited May 23, 2012 06:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I agree with what people are saying about how V fighting for freedom seems conflicted with his methods (essentially controlling them and replacing current leaders for himself). But since he purposefully removed himself from the equation at the end and did in fact leave them leaderless, was it really hypocritical? Thoughts?


message 35: by Sérgio (last edited May 24, 2012 10:14AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sérgio | 453 comments SPOILERS

I don't know if he left them leaderless. After all he left Evey to take his place and start building the future.

(She kidnaps the cop in order to do that, so maybe she intends to have as active a role in changing society as V before her.)

I think Alan Moore said that V was basically a destructive force so he had to die so Evey could be a more positive force for the world.

I guess V maybe was going against his principles to be able to end the regime (fight fire with fire) and when those tactics were no longer needed so was V.


Wendy A thoughtful discussion for V which gave me new insight.


Thanks to everyone who participated.


Adam | 130 comments This edition of the book has an essay at the back written by Moore in 1983 when V was still a work in progress. It explains a bit about his and David Lloyd's intentions for the book and their process in putting it together. Interesting enough, anyway.

I was going to ask a final couple of questions, just for anyone who's read the book and seen the movie adaptation:

Which version of the story did you encounter first, and did this affect your enjoyment of the other version? Was the film a decent adaptation of the story? Do you think it captured the themes and meaning of the book?


Amy I saw the movie first and didn't even know it was based on a graphic novel. Because I loved the movie so much, I went into V with a more welcoming attitude. Comparing the two is interesting because I believe that film adaptations of the book should only be judged based on whether or not they capture the essence of the source material since two different medium will necessarily tell two different stories. That said, I felt it was a good adaptation if a little brighter and more optimistic feeling that the graphic novel.


Robert Wright (RHWright) | 182 comments Pulled this out to the to-be-reread pile.

To answer some of the latest questions:

1) I encountered it when DC first reprinted and finished the series in monthly installments. By the time the movie version came out, I had read it many times.
2) I thought it was a decent adaptation. I enjoyed it, but...
3) I thought the film took the book at face value and adapted it to its time. The film is very post-911. Whereas the book is strongly of the Reagan/Thatcher era.

I haven't read/watched them in close enough proximity to make a deep comparison of book vs. film. Maybe this time around.


Paul Dinger | 4 comments I really think, along with From Hell, this was one of the best of the recent spate of Alan Moore adaptions, certainly better than the dreadful Watchmen and the horrible League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It wasn't very faithful to the book, but it was good on it's own. You are correct, it is very much a 911 movie.


Adam | 130 comments I have to take issue with the From Hell adaptation - it's such a humdrum, boring film, whereas the book for me was one of the most mind-blowing things I've read. far from faultless, but that's part of what I loved about it. Bite off more than you can chew, then bite off some more, then more again and... well fuck it, why not keep going?

There's a general Alan Moore thread on here now - guess we should go there for discussion of the other books & films though.


Yvonne Mendez (Yvonne_Mendez) I remember watching the movie many years ago and normally when I like a movie I make it a point to read the book, in this case, the movie made me loose any interest in reading the graphic novel.

After I read the novel, I rented the movie again, while it was a decent adaptation I will be more likely to re-read the book instead of re-watching the movie.

As a comment/question....does anybody know if there's been an obsession over V's identity since the book was published? Personally, I think it's beside the point as to who he was before he became V, he was just V....but I don't know if super fans felt the same way


Adam | 130 comments I haven't seen any serious discussion of that aspect of the story, but then I haven't been looking for it. For my money, his anonymity is part of the point of the character - he's an avatar of freedom, rather than being any particular individual. That's one of the reasons I really like the mask's adoption by the Occupy movement, that seems to be exactly how it was envisaged.


Cyndi (BookChick64) | 90 comments @Adam...agree..agree..agree.


message 45: by Robert (last edited Jun 19, 2012 08:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Robert Wright (RHWright) | 182 comments Well, re-read the book and re-watched the movie in close succession.

So many things changed. Which tends to happen in a movie. It was good that it was updated. (The book is set in 1998 after all, technically making it an alternate history at this point.)

The major differences, for me:(view spoiler)

To the good, I think the movie retained almost 100% intact one of the best scenes from the book, where V confronts the female doctor from Larkhill. It also created from whole cloth one of the best scenes in the movie, which I think is very in keeping with the spirit of the book, the scene where Stephen Fry's character reveals his (view spoiler)

The movie did its own thing. It's good, if not great. Never understood why Moore gets so worked up about it. Now the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, on the other hand...


message 46: by Sérgio (last edited Jun 19, 2012 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sérgio | 453 comments I don't think he's been watching movies based on his work since the LOEG and From Hell adaptations.

I thinks the lawsuit after the LOEG movie was his main reason to stop endorsing adaptations of his work, not the quality of them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Leag...


Plus, you can't never be too careful in those situations or you might end up like Boris Vian. :S


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V for Vendetta (other topics)

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