Wednesday, November 4, 2015

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta
© 1988 Alan Moore and David Lloyd
300 pages



Remember, remember the Fifth of November.  The Britain of 1998 is a nation that has lost its spirit,. After nuclear war and crop failures, widespread disorder was quelled only by the face of a fascist order, Norsefire.  Controlling the country through ideology, violence, and a computer known as Fate, they rule over a bleak place whose greatest claim to fame is that it at least survived the nuclear war. Vast portions of Earth -- including Africa -- are simply "not there".     Enter "V", however,  a mysterious masked marauder who dreams of inspiring the people of this Airstrip One-in-the-making to revolution. Channeling the story of Guy Fawkes, who was caught attempting to blow Parliament to perdition,  V is at the story's start engaging in a two-year propaganda campaign involving blowing up symbolic institutions, while at the same time close to finishing a vendetta against people involved in an insidious concentration camp experiment.   The story is much the same as the movie based on it -- a woman named Evey falls in with V as a detective named Finch tries to find the man responsible for so much bedlam -- but there is significant characterization here completely missed on the big screen. Detective Finch, for instance, nearly destroys his mind with drugs attempting to get a handle on who V is and what he wants.  Although V orates on the distinction between anarchism and chaos -- "without rulers" and "without order" --  the story is more effective at communicating the importance of myth to the human imagination, of legends and symbols.  The historical story V appropriates has little bearing to his actual ideal; Guy Fawkes intended no revolution, but the restoration of England's traditional order against rising Puritanism in Parliament.  What matters to V, however, is that people see and remember him as a revolutionist; ultimately, V himself becomes the symbol.   As much as I like the movie (I watched it three times in two weeks), this graphic novel did a better job reminding me of and supplementing the dramatized version that it did winning me over in its own right.





3 comments:

  1. I had a 'go' at this a while back (loving the movie as I do) but gave up part way. I suppose that part of the problem was that I was reading it in bed (tired) so didn't give it the attention it needed. I'll try again in a while - though not in time to make the 2015 Challenge I think....

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  2. This languished as my "Loading Time" read for two years before I decided to focus on it this morning.

    That leaves..a book with antonyms in the title, and a book set in Christmas!

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  3. I noticed that you're almost finished. Well done! I'm aiming @ 30/50.

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