Monday, December 8, 2008

V For Vendetta

I started this graphic novel a little while ago after being completely blown away by the film, even with its misleading commercials and trailersnote below. But I stopped reading 1) because the artwork and drawings were too dark and rustic looking in their bold lines and pale, pastel colors. Perhaps this is something Alan Moore was aiming for (although I didn't really see why), but almost all of the characters, kind of, visually blended into each other and it was quite difficult to tell which character was who. 2) Because after about pg. 30, I didn't know what the hell was going on plot-wise. This was last year or somewhere around that area. A week and some change back, I had seen the trailer for Zack Snyder's (unfortunately) filming of "Watchmen", another well renown Alan Moore comic series and quite possibly what put him as a great artistic staple in the public eye. I was impressed by the trailer and immediately wanted to buy the graphic novel so that I could know the story ahead of time. But I felt....I don't know....incomplete. It would always hang over me that I didn't complete "V For Vendetta" if I were to just start reading "Watchmen" instead. Like I was running away from it or something. So, I bought "Watchmen" and dove head first into "Vendetta" to clear the conscience. Although the animation was still pretty crummy, I now don't understand what I got confused about plot-wise the first time around (I remember being confused about who is named who though). The story, most before the third act, was pretty straightforward and in-depth simultaneously. It is also one of the greatest stories I've ever read.

The story starts in the future, November 5th, 1997 (this was published in 1988). A young factory worker, Evey Hammond, hits the streets of totalitarian England in this oppressive, dystopian world ruled by Norsefire, the fascist government. She is starting her job as a prostitute, as factory work is not able to pay her bills. Upon approaching and soliciting the first man she meets, she finds, to her own dismay, that he is an undercover cop. Before a gang of policemen gather to rape and kill her, a mysterious figure in a conical hat, cape and Guy Fawkes mask appears, reciting lines from a Shakespeare play and dismembering the group before rescuing Evey. Up on a rooftop, the figure introduces himself as V before showing her Parliament being blown up right before her very eyes. From here, the fight for freedom begins.

V himself is an anarchist, and throughout the story he discusses the importance and meaning of an anarchic society, how exactly the totalitarian government oppresses society, and how the society just allows them to do it. Themes of past sins, hypocrisy, corruption and tyrannical order all also play important parts in the story. I remember seeing, around the time the movie came out (2006), titles and posts on imdb.com asking if it was ok to promote terrorism at a time like that, when America was still somewhat sensitive to 9/11, the Iraq War and xenophobia. And while thinking that this was an asinine sentiment at best, I admired the Wachowski Bros. (the producers of this film and the directors of The Matrix Trilogy) and James McTeigue (the director of this film) for putting forth a story that spoke of not letting the government restrict your freedom and life through fear and terror. V never takes his mask off (although, for the film, if you know the actor, you know exactly what he looks like), and the story uses this to symbolize that he is solely a representative of an idea, or of the ideal that every person should strive to achieve in their own rational ways. The message of the graphic novel is clear, and the story is highly entertaining and intriguing. I'd recommend to everyone.

4 comments:

  1. I loved the film version of this book,and will definitely place this on my to-read list. (After I finish the following titles in no specific order -The Wedding, Black Wings, Wintering, etc..)

    Thanks so much for checking out trackdujour - if ever you feel like writing a post, let me know!

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  2. I can't say I read the book but I saw the movie.
    I was drawing a mental parallel between V and the Iron Man.
    Both more or less about terrorism. Both about masked men.
    Iron Man a box office smash, V a flap. Why?
    My take. Iron Man had a better mask.
    PS: I liked V and hated the Iron Man.

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  3. Since English is not my native tongue, some time my choice of words is not quite apropiate.
    Once I told my girl friend to f#$% off when I wanted to be left alone, without realizing how strong that was.
    You are quite right; V was not a flop much less a flap. I was merely trying to make a comment on the American taste in movies.
    Since I feel I know you a little bit already and I think you are a words craftsman, I would like to ask you for a big favor. Please bring to my attention my mistakes. Nobody does it because they are being too nice, but they are not doing me a favor. The only way to get better is to be aware of my mistakes. It will be a great help if some one would be honest with me for a change.
    Thanks!

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  4. i absolutely loved the novel when i first read it, and enjoyed the film even more.
    "remember, remember, the fifth of november", was one of my most favourite lines for ages.
    have you read "300" by the way?

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Bollocks, what's your bloody take on things then?