My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The story begins in the not so distant future of 1997 (the comics were originally published back in 1983-85). During an attempted rape and murder, a young woman named Evey Hammond is rescued by a masked vigilante known only as “V”. Together, she and the mysterious cloaked figure in a Guy Fawkes mask stand on rooftop overlooking the London skyline – at which point “V” detonates a bomb in the distance, reducing the Houses of Parliament to rubble.
Modern day London has come under leadership from a Fascist regime and whilst in power have sent millions of homosexuals, foreign immigrants, and left-wing liberals to concentration camps (including Eveys father who had once belonged to a left-wing student group) under the promise of restoring order.
Unhappy with the oppression from a totalitarian government, “V” has big plans to shake up the city of London. When he takes an unconscious Evey into his secret lair known only as “The Shadow Gallery”, she becomes entangled in his web of anarchy and political dissent.
Before I picked up this graphic novel, I had very recently read the novel 1984 and couldn’t help but notice the striking similarities between the two stories, but then, it’s not exactly uncommon to have stories about an omnipotent futuristic government who oppress society in order to remain in power. Whereas the book 1984 takes a very introspective look at fighting ‘the man’, ‘V for Vendetta’ does quite the opposite, with the titular “V” using murder and terrorist tactics in order to lash out against those in power.
Throughout this three part epic by Alan Moore, we slowly see the pieces fitting together as “V” reveals the intricacies of his master plan and the method to his madness. Always hidden behind his characteristic Guy Fawkes persona and refusing to reveal his true motives and origin, Evey begins to help with uprising and falls deeper down the rabbit hole.
I’ve never been much for politics, but if politics featured a masked vigilante who blows up buildings, murders corrupt city officials and talks only in a series of peculiar riddles, then I’d probably show a little more interest. As much as Alan Moore is well known in the comics industry as a ‘difficult character’, it’s also very difficult to deny his talent. The man has a knack for writing stories which can capture a specific mood, and V for Vendetta is no exception.
Although I think in parts the story lacked momentum, when it’s good, it’s really good. I debated between two stars and three stars because, in all honesty, this just isn’t my kind of story, I can tell it’s a powerful piece of writing but I just got a little bored in parts – that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I just think the more politically minded comic book fan would enjoy it a lot more. I don’t regret reading this, but it’s not a book I’d probably read again.