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Reviews of V For Vendetta (1990)

Review by rinabeana (2006-06-15)
Synopsis: V is the product of a government experiment gone wrong and committed to freeing Britain from its totalitarian regime. He uses Guy Fawkes as his inspiration and encourages the populace to rise with him on November 5th (Guy Fawkes Day). By saving Evey he meets an unexpected potential ally. But is she ready to help him with his plan?

Comments: So it took me a little while to get used to the graphic novel style. Not having ever really read comic books or picture books more complicated than Dr. Seuss, it was a bit difficult for me to decide where to direct my attention first (text or illustrations). Since I'm a more of a text person I went with that first and only gave the illustrations cursory glances. This, I think, led me astray at times, though it generally worked for me. My other problem was that many of the characters looked similar so I had trouble figuring out who was in each frame sometimes. I think for the most part I knew what was going on, but there were definitely moments of confusion.

My favorite aspect of the book was the plethora of literary and historical references. I'm a dork like that. This also struck me when I saw the movie (and I can't help making some comparisons). I looked up the poems mentioned in the book and read up on Guy Fawkes.

I had a little trouble with Evey. I actually didn't think her character was as developed as she should have been and I didn't really see why V loved her. Granted, she was only sixteen and I suppose one can't quite expect her to act like an adult (though she did try to prostitute herself). Yes, she'd had a difficult life, but you'd think that would have made her less naive. She didn't understand what V was trying to do and couldn't seem to relate to him very well.

At any rate, I did enjoy reading this, but it didn't make me want to run out and read lots of other graphic novels. I think I'll stick to text only for a while.

Review by archren (2006-04-16)
Guilty admission first: I waited to read the comic book until I saw the movie. I can enjoy a book very much after seeing a movie, but if I read a book and then see the movie, I spend too much movie-viewing time saying ďThatís not how it was!Ē So, knowing that there was a movie coming, I held off. Thus I was able to view the two different versions philosophically, with the added bonus of hearing Vís dialog in the inimitable voice of Hugo Weaving.

That said, the differences were not distracting. It became clear that the creators of the film hewed very closely to the tone and spirit of the graphic novel, merely changing emphasis to better address the concerns of the post-9/11 era (and of course dropping plotlines to encompass the time-concerns of a blockbuster movie). Considering that the novel was finished in 1988, it is amazing to see how little had to be changed to update it.

The basic plot still involves V, a terrorist, engaging in an epic vendetta against government figures and the government itself for abuses perpetrated on him in the past. In the course of it he picks up the fragile girl Evey Hammond. He at various times saves her, uses her, nurtures her and abuses her. To say it is an ambiguous relationship would be to drastically understate it.

David Lloydís artwork was very effective. As mentioned in an essay at the end, the pair decided to tell the story with no sound effects and no thought-bubbles. I didnít notice their absence at all until it was pointed out. The action was rarely unclear. That said, the palette was sort of bland, lots of beige and washed-out colors. While that was almost certainly deliberate, it doesnít necessarily keep the eye engaged over 300 pages.

Politically, there is a lot to argue with in this book. It is an unambiguous statement in favor of anarchy. While anarchy may be preferred to fascism, itís unclear if it should be preferred to a flawed democracy. And like all books of its type, it stops right before the hard part: throwing down a government is always easier than building something new and lasting.

Review by sqbr (2003-07-07)
This is pretty good, although in my opinion not as unusual and interesting as Moores other work. A fairly affecting and believable fascist England. The "V" character is your typical (if well drawn) man who has suffered injustice and become incredibly driven to oppose it (Like a grown-up poltical Batman)




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