Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
497 of 535 people found the following review helpful
Alan Moore's most provocative graphic novelDec 2 2000
- Published on Amazon.com
It is perhaps simplistic to declare that "V for Vendetta" is Alan Moore's version of George Orwell's "1984." Orwell came up with his "prophetic" title by reversing the last two digits of the year in which he wrote his book. Moore began his story in 1982, picturing a future that was around the corner and setting his tale in then late 1990s in a Britain that had become a fascist state. Moore worked from the assumption that in 1983 the Conservatives would lose the elections and that the Labour Party would remove American missiles from the British Isles, which meant that England would no longer be a target during a nuclear war. In the post-holocaust Britain of the 1990s, Moore posited a Fascist takeover. The title character of V is a one time victim of a concentration camp medical experiment who is now an enigmatic hero wearing a grinning Guy Fawkes mask; Fawkes was one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot that was an attempt to assassinate King James I of England. In the opening chapter V sets his sights on The Voice of Fate, the official voice of the government's propagandistic lies. From that small but significant initial victory, the battle continues. There is something decidedly "English" about "V for Vendetta," and not simply because of the setting. Moore can talk about Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" and "Fahrenheit 451" being among the elements he drew upon to create his own brave new world, but it is clear that he owes more to Orwell and Huxley, to Robin Hood and "The Prisoner," than American manifestations of the same impulse to freedom. V is not a superhero, even if the medical experiments have somehow made him more than human. Sometimes we forget that a lot of our heritage, both culturally as well as politically, comes from England, and on one level this work reminds us of our English roots. It is ironic that Moore tells his story as a graphic novel because traditionally your comic book superhero is essentially a fascist vigilante. However, Moore succeeds in finding the perfect context to turn the traditional approach on its head. Most people have no conception of what is meant by the term "Fascism." They equate the idea with Hitler, although it was coined by Mussolini, and Hitler means Nazis, Anti-Semitism and Concentration Camps. Of course, Moore knows better. Fascism is based on the "struggle" for "order" wherein the ends justify all sorts of means. This dynamic clearly runs counter to the democratic ideals of "liberty" and "property." Historically, then, we are confronted with the monumental irony that although the Fascists lost World War II, the Cold War was on one level the triumph of Fascism, a period where we allowed all sorts of travesties, from the McCarthy witch hunts to Nixon's executive orders in the name of "national security." Moore brings the idea of fascism home. If you cannot recognize it in England's green and pleasant fields then you are never going to recognize it when it walks down Main Street in your hometown, U.S.A. Don't you think you should? David Lloyd is the artist for the "V for Vendetta" series, although Tony Weare did the art for "Vincent" and some additional art on "Valerie" and "The Vacation." Notice the pattern? All of the chapter headings in each issue begin or at least include the letter "V." Lloyd's peculiar style is particularly well suited to this particular storyline. It is odd and a bit off, just like the world it is depicting. Lloyd, Siobhan Dodds and Steve Whitaker did the coloring, and I give them special mention because there is a carefully constructed style that also fits the mood and tenor of the tale.
156 of 173 people found the following review helpful
Alan Moore Strikes Literary Gold Again with "V for Vendetta"May 22 2000
Jeffrey A. Veyera
- Published on Amazon.com
British writer Alan Moore earned his place in the comic book writers' pantheon with his seminal turn on Swamp Thing in the 80s, part of the triumvirate of Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Moore who transformed lowly comic books into a respectable artistic medium. And, like Miller and Gaiman before him, Moore found that the only way to carry on once you've thoroughly changed your industry is to do do it again and again in new and novel fashion. Thus, I give you "V for Vendetta," the absolute furthest thing from "Swamp Thing" and "Watchmen" imaginable. Moore almost singlehandedly restored the creepy cool of EC horror comics with his run on "Swamp Thing." He redefined the superhero genre with "Watchmen." With "V", Moore abandoned the conventions of both genres and embraced gritty Orwellian scifi. "V" is set in a Britain which has embraced Fascism following a nuclear conflict which left the nation intact but badly bruised. Mirroring Hitler's ascent over the ashes of the Weimar Republic, the Norsefire party seizes power in Britain and restores order at a horrible price. That is, until a stylish terrorist in a Guy Fawkes mask codenamed "V" appears on the scene to tear the new order down. "V for Vendetta" marks a major departure from comic book style. David Lloyd's cinematic style plays like a storyboard for a film; gone are the motion lines and Batman-esque sound effects so familiar to comic readers. Lloyd also dispenses with one of the comic writer's main crutches for exposition---the thought balloon. The story is thus relayed entirely by motion and dialogue, deepening the inherent mystery of the plot as we try to comprehend the master plan of the inscrutable antihero "V". As with "Watchmen", Moore has layered his tale with enormous depth, making subsequent readings a must to truly comprehend all that's going on within the plot. If you're interested in seeing what the comic art form is capable of when geared toward an adult audience, rush out and grab a copy of "V for Vendetta" today.
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Tiny panels in paperback edition mar dark tale of struggle against fascismMarch 14 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Based on plot and artistry, "V for Vendetta" deserves five stars. Alan Moore's alternate history throws the reader into a chilling fascist England where the champion of liberty is the poetic, deranged vigilante, V.
England has somehow survived the consequences of humanity's self-destructive myopia, but it has not survived intact. Facism rules the day, and England has been generally "purified" of minorities, homosexuals, and other officially-targeted degenerates.
But plenty of officially-sanctioned degenerates abound, and they form both the upper and lower echelons of this new England. That is, until V strikes a blow for chaos, for liberty, and for freedom. V, a scarred survivor of the worst of the internment camps formed by the fascists, is undeniably insane, but he has the spirit of a poet and the mind of a genius hidden behind his Guy Fawkes mask. He singlehandedly leads a campaign of terrorism against the corrupt powers-that-be, and there are several dazzling passages as "V" explores both V's perspective on life and his history as well as the more sordid characters who comprise England's new corrupt power structure.
Many of these scenes are captured by Moore with startling visuals and poetic images. This is a dark-yet-colorful graphic novel -- nothing like Frank Miller's zebra-esque "Sin City" stories. Lurid colors combined with creepy darkness evoke the corruption that is the brave new world.
Unfortunately, this review is of the paperback edition of the story, not the story itself. The paperback edition of "V for Vendetta" is, quite frankly, too darn small. Several panels feel crimped and crammed in, and I felt a lot of eye strain as I tried to explore the details of some of the more intricate panels. This is particulary important for a very "talky" graphic novel, where often much of the panel is given over to dialogue boxes, even further reducing the artist's available space for the artistic elements.
While I would strongly recommend reading "V for Vendetta," particularly in advance of the blockbuster movie, I strongly recommend avoiding the paperback edition and hunting down a larger hardback copy.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Cry, laugh, read this over and overMarch 19 2006
Kurt D. Adam
- Published on Amazon.com
I've read it about ten times and each time I still find myself moved, shocked, impressed and always coming away satisified. Truly a great novel
If you are trying to find out about the plot before you read, STOP. Just order the thing. Moore creates an incredibly intricate universe of characters that are both likable and believable.
AS I SAID: If you're interested in seeing what the comic art form is capable of when geared toward an adult audience, rush out and grab a copy of "V for Vendetta" today.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
My favorite graphic novel of all timeSept. 3 2003
Steven E. Higgins
- Published on Amazon.com
If you ask most people who the greatest living writer in comics is, they'll reply without hesitation Alan Moore for his role in taking comics beyond their ordinary roots and single-handedly expanding the potential of an entire medium. If you then ask what work of Moore's best exemplifies this contribution, most will again not waver before responding that Watchmen is not only Moore's greatest work but quite possibly the best comic book ever produced. And in the case of Moore's gift to comics, these people would be one hundred percent correct. It is not possible to laud this man and his genius enough. However, in naming his best work, they have fallen short. Yes Watchmen is brilliant, and yes it is quite possibly the best exploration of the superhero that has been or can ever be written. But Moore's best work? Not by a long shot. And no, his best work is not either of his tenures on Miracleman or Swamp Thing, as groundbreaking and innovative as those runs were. Nor can it be found in painstakingly researched books like From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which are crafted with such time and care that they require extensive notes to fully grasp all the details dropped in by this master craftsman and his collaborators. Rather, Moore's best work comes in the form of a novel about the fascist government in the England of the future and the man who rebels against the system, a man named only V. The book is V for Vendetta, reprinted today by DC from their ten-part series of 1988, which in turn was made up of reprints of work originally seen in England in the early 1980s in the magazine Warrior as well as new material to close the story out. It is not only my favorite graphic novel but quite possibly also the best work written to date in this medium. Now admittedly, I am quite biased in claiming it is the best comic ever written, because my love for it is so deep. V for Vendetta marked a first for my collection, as it was the first book I owned as both individual issues and in trade paperback form. I have given away my trade paperback before, only to buy a new copy when I missed it so much. I hope to someday own the original Warrior issues and I would be more than happy, should DC ever decide to release a hardcover version, I would pay top dollar for that as well. It is also the only comic book I read repeatedly. I have probably read V for Vendetta at least ten times if not more, and I know that I shall read it again. Very few books I read in any form are deemed worthy of repeat perusals. Breakfast of Champions is one, A Prayer for Owen Meany another, Catch-22 yet another-these are all books that I come back to many times to read again and again, gaining new perspectives on both the text and myself each time we cross paths. And V for Vendetta is among them, a book I cannot go more than a year without opening anew. Shall I give you tons of reasons why I think it's so brilliant? Shall I tell you of the deep philosophical mind of the main character V, a man who takes a meaningful stand against the system for the betterment of mankind? Shall I inform you of the beautiful portrayal of Evey, a young girl who has lost all to the system and whom V takes under his wing? Shall I tell you of David Lloyd's exquisite artwork which makes the cityscapes of London seem familiar and which, through the use of his muted colors, creates an almost tangible atmosphere of the dim, dull existence of life under this fascist regime? No. Instead I shall choose not to spoil your reading experience and leave you to discover these things for yourself. Just one warning, though: do your damnedest not to cry when you read Valerie's letter, composed on toilet paper. It gets me every time.