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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comic Book Review: V For Vendetta

 V For Vendetta
Issues:  10
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: David Lloyd
Published by Quality Comics (UK) and Vertigo Comics (DC)

Alan Moore strikes again. No doubt why he is hailed as "arguably the greatest comic book writer in history". Nobody paints a better story with great characterization like Moore, and it certainly shines once more in his cult-classic V For Vendetta.

Haven't watched the movie so I didn't have an idea as to what the premise was all about before reading the novel. I heard or saw it on TV before I dunno, but anyway...let's go on.

Set in a futuristic-dystopian England from the 1980s to the 1990s after the world was almost destroyed by a nuclear war, a Guy Fawkes masked anarchist/revolutionary named "V" aims to eliminate the totalitarian  and fascist government  and its leaders one-by-one. He then goes on to do vile acts of terrorism and violence in order to convince people to bring down the government and accept the idea of anarchism or  "ruling themselves". And as he goes on his own personal rampage, the lives of the people he encounters are changed in the process, leaving in each one of them his own mark.

Fascism vs anarchism plays an important part in this wonderfully crafted story about the essence of freedom and revenge. Moore again uses multiple plot lines to address the central theme of the story and he isn't afraid to show the "real world" in his characters and their respective dialogues. His writing is crisp, clear and his use of almost "Shakespearean" language when it comes to V's lines are nothing short but compelling. He guides his readers onto his fictionalized world and never lets them go until they reach the end. Its a mystery-thriller novel with a little bit of superhero in it, while retaining its own realistic aspects.

Now let us talk about characterization. Out of all the personalities in the story, the "protagonist" steals the show as always and I truly believe that "V" is an excellent but intricate work of fiction, and is sure one of the most complex of characters I have ever encountered.

V is masked right from the start and his face was never revealed, making him such of an enigma. But what makes this character as mysterious as he is, is his intentions, his goals, and his ways of implementing his elaborate and theatrical plan of destroying the fascist government. Its cruel and done in the most violent of ways, and you can't help but wonder if the guy is really a force of "good" or "evil". At first you might think that his goals are for the better good, but then as you go deeper and learn the history of this character and see the things he does as they unfold before your eyes, you will begin to question yourself and re-evaluate his whole image from scratch, up to the point that you don't really have a definite answer. 

Then it will slowly dawn on you... it all depends with the reader.

And that to me is what makes Alan Moore such a great writer. His dynamics and characterization is flawless, and he clearly blurrs the line between "what is right" and "what is wrong" in this novel. Nobody does it better than him.

Now pair that with David Lloyd's artistry that perfectly fits the "feel" and "tone" of Moore's storytelling genius and you've got one hell of a classic that truly transcends any form of literature. The 2006 movie of the same name and the use of guy fawkes masks during protests is a testament to the profound effect of this graphic novel onto society's consciousness.

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