The pretentious-and-educated-sounding title of today’s post is lifted from the end of Book 3, Chapter IV of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s graphic novel “V For Vendetta”.
I am currently rereading this gem, now that I finally own a copy, courtesy the Friends of the Champaign Public Library. Calling it a “graphic novel” is a bit of a misnomer, as it was orginally published as a series of 7-page stories in various British magazines. (People get away with calling Great Expectations a novel, though, so what the hey). It concerns the dystopian London of 1998 (the near future at the time it was written, beginning in 1981), and a mischievous, anarchist, Guy-Fawkes-masked rebel known only as Codename V. Post-apocalyptic Britain is ruled with an iron fist by the Big Brotherish Leader. Codename V fights the overly authoritarian government by killing crooked government leaders and bombing government buildings with dramatic flair.
Moore and Lloyd explore a lot of old territory here, but with style. Interesting points are made vis-a-vis anarchy vs. authoritarianism (and anarchy vs. chaos, for the unintiated). Moore indulges his love for repeated use of symbols here, as the letter and Roman numeral V recurs over and over, almost becoming a secondary character to the story. Almost no character is sympathetic, and even the titular hero is an insane vigilante, almost a bizarre conflation of Batman and the Joker. Even as we hope the Leader is toppled, we aren’t sure who’s going to make it out alive. (Don’t spoil it for me, I don’t remember how it ends).
If you enjoyed Moore’s Watchmen and From Hell, a lot of the same intelligence, wit, and style is on display here. If you are new to Alan Moore’s comic book work, well, this would be a fine place to start.
V For Vendetta. Read it now!!