‘Classic Comic’ Review – V for Vendetta

Written by Alan Moore

Art by David Lloyd

Published by Titan Books

 “Good evening, London. It’s nine o’clock and this is The Voice of Fate…. It is the Fifth of the Eleventh, Nineteen-Ninety-Seven….

The People of London are advised that the Brixton and Streatham areas are quarantine zones as of today. It is suggested that these areas be avoided for reasons of health and safety….

Police raided seventeen homes in the Birmingham area early this morning, uncovering what is believed to be a major terrorist ring. Twenty people, eight of them woman, are currently in detention awaiting trial

Have a pleasant evening”


So I’ve missed out on a load of classic graphic novels and comics – fact.

In order to try and right this wrong and with the help of some suggestions from various forums and best of lists I am embarking on a mammoth ‘let’s read the classics’ kick. Top of the list was V for Vendetta written by Alan Moore with art by David Lloyd.

To describe this book as layered – I think is to do it and Alan Moore a disservice, this book is an experience, anybody who reads this book will interpret it differently and take away with them many different things that are personal to them and ultimately that may be the underlying genius of V for Vendetta.

Not only should it be considered as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time I think it should also be considered as a classic piece of literature which is as relevant and contemporary today as it was in 1982 and surely that is the mark of greatness?

Originally published between 1982 and 1985 in the weekly British comic Warrior and then to story completion by DC Comics starting in 1988, V for Vendetta presents us with nightmare vision of a post-apocalyptic Britain in the grip of a fascist dictatorship and the masked vigilante known only as ‘V’ whose ultimate goal through acts of terrorism is to free the British people whilst carrying out his systematic plan for personal revenge on ranking members of the ruling ‘Government’. This is a powerful and moving story of revenge, personal discovery, identity and a hell of a lot more besides.

The book begins on the 5th November 1997 in London with a cloaked figure in a Guy Fawkes mask rescuing a young girl called Evey Hammond from a group of undercover police who intend to rape and kill her.  After killing most of policemen V heads to the rooftops with Evey in tow and blows up the Palace of Westminster thus finishing off the failed Gunpowder plot of 1605. V then takes Evey to his under ground lair called the Shadow Galley (how amazing is that!!) and what begins then is a battle for Evey’s mind, body and soul that will have cataclysmic ramifications for V, the ruling fascist party ‘Norsefire’ and the population of Britain as a whole.

There are two extremes of political views that permeate this book, on one side you have Norsefire’s ultimate fascist regime, it is xenophobic and controls the masses through fear and force. As with most fascist regimes there are state organisations that help to maintain this control with society it’s self the body and these organisations the part of the body, the detectives are known a The Nose, the uniform branch of the state police are The Finger and the media are portrayed as The Mouth, now that’s a brilliant concept. Although these organisations are in effect controlling society and obeying the one leader they are not above playing a game one up man ship with each other, which again is a theme dealt with through out the book.

Then there’s V whose anarchism which is built around the central belief that the old society has to be torn down and smashed before a new one can be built on its ruins, and so, these two opposing forces are set on a collision course of death and destruction and a battle for Britain’s soul which in turn mirrors Evey’s journey through this book and the discovery with V’s help of her ultimate identity and potential. 

Also there is the enigma and central mystery of the book– who is V? This theme of identity continues through the whole story and by the end of book I still don’t think we really know just who V is, yes I have my own ideas and thoughts but then so will everybody else who has read this book.

This book is an absolute stone cold classic, a highly thought provoking read, I challenge anybody not to read this book and be profoundly moved by it and if you don’t come away from it thinking about things a little differently I would be amazed – yes it really is that good.

I will leave you with a quote from V for Vendetta and the genius that is Alan Moore

“The Management is terrible! We’ve had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was you! You who elected these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was “No”. You have no spine. You have no pride. You are no longer an asset to the company.”

Goodnight Britain.

Goodnight Home Service and V for Victory.

GS Rating 5/5 – A Classic in every sense

Dry Slaps – None for the book. Maybe five for me for not having read this book before now.

GS Reviewer Nick Roberts

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