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V for Vendetta Paperback – October 24, 2008
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V for Vendetta is, like its author's later Watchmen, a landmark in comic-book writing. Alan Moore has led the field in intelligent, politically astute (if slightly paranoid), complex adult comic-book writing since the early 1980s. He began V back in 1981 and it constituted one of his first attempts (along with the criminally neglected but equally superb Miracleman) at writing an ongoing series. It is 1998 (which was the future back then!) and a Fascist government has taken over the U.K. The only blot on its particular landscape is a lone terrorist who is systematically killing all the government personnel associated with a now destroyed secret concentration camp. Codename V is out for vengeance ... and an awful lot more. V feels slightly dated like all past premonitions do. The original series was black and white and that added to the grittiness of the feel while the coloring here in the graphic novel sometimes blurs David Lloyd's fine drawing. But these are small concerns. Skillfully plotted, V is an essential read for all those who love comics and the freedom, as a medium, they allow a writer as skilled as Moore. --Mark Thwaite --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–The date is November 5th, 1997. War has ravaged England, entire races have been eradicated, the entire British populace is under constant surveillance, and the absolute power is absolutely corrupt. On this historic day, a man with a strong resemblance to Guy Fawkes (in action and dress) blows up Parliament. The bomber, a masked character named V, saves a girl named Eve from a violent crime and takes her under his wing. Moore's dystopian, fascist version of England, ruled by one central leader and his sects (named after parts of the body, such as Finger, Nose, and Voice), is systematically dismantled by the enigmatic V. Readers must ultimately decide if V is a mad anarchist/terrorist or a freedom-fighting avenger for good. Originally published in 1989, V has been reissued as a hardcover book with never-seen-before sketches and two new vignettes. This story is slated to be released as a major motion picture in 2006, and demand should intensify as the movie trailers come out. Combining alternate history with moral questions about freedom and identity, this book would work well in a school setting; and while there is some slight nudity and violence, they fit well within the framework of the story.–Jennifer Feigelman, Plattekill Public Library, Modena, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Every story should have at least one "Moment of Awesome", and this story has lots of them. From the opening scene on, it's great stuff. The dialogue especially is exceptional.
I really liked the artwork also. It was a bit dark in some places, so it has to be studied sometimes. But it was still wonderfully done.
My only negative about this story is that for me, it was a bit difficult sometimes to understand who all the characters were. There were a lot of names thrown around, along with many inner monologues. This wasn't a bad thing exactly. It just took a while for all of it to click. Once it did, it was okay. I'm sure it will all make more sense to me on a reread.
The story is compelling. Even though you can often predict where it is going, it is still very satisfying. The near future envisioned also holds up well. This is surprising, considering how long ago this story was written. It seems some themes don't grow old.
I like how this book - at its core - is about ideas. Personal freedom, and the role of government. These are important things worth thinking about, and most comics don't go there. That's part of what makes "V for Vendetta" so special. It's not so much a typical action story - although it does have action. It's really more of a thought piece.
What makes a "terrorist", exactly? Would a government building bombing be morally acceptable, if done against an evil regime? What is anarchy, and is it ever appropriate?
This book raises these uneasy questions, and offers no answers. The protagonist suggests his own answers, but still leaves the final moral judgment up to the reader. This is compelling reading, and raises the story above usual comic fare.
The Guy Fawkes mask was a stroke of genius by the authors. Forever now, it will symbolize something great: Ideas of freedom, personal responsibility, and constrained government. It also represents the flip side of that: mob rule, anarchy, and anonymity. (And at worst, terrorism.) It's not easy to consider those things in full.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I highly recommend it.
Not to give too much away, but two scenes that deftly highlight this dynamic are the Madam Justice scene and the Bishop Lilliman scene. In both scenes, the point of view of the panels had the aforementioned effects. I found what makes V for Vendetta, and graphic novels in general, compelling is that they’re like no literary work I’ve read before. The last time I read a book with images was in elementary school. The originality, in addition to the detailed excellence of the graphic novel as a whole, is what makes V for Vendetta compelling, and why I would recommend it to all.
But first the good. Title character V is as interesting a protagonist as one could possibly ask for. A man of culture, V is known for giving passionate, insightful speeches and speaking in scintillating prose while handing out beat-downs. His philosophy, and the plot that comes forth out of that philosophy, is endlessly entertaining and at times, horrifying. The plot advances at blistering pace, giving the story a great sense of urgency. I also appreciate how more attempted to give the fascist regime some real depth, rather than just using one-dimensional villains.
Sadly, he can't always deliver on that attempt, and that's what holds the story back for me. After the first third of the book, which I would consider flawless, characters go through a lot of change, and it feels like we only get the broadstrokes of their development while avoiding the details. A love story is introduced and then disposed of in barely a dozen pages. The main villain gets more ridiculous. A character who was barely established in Act 1 returns out of nowhere in Act 3 as one of the most important people. It just seemed to need a part four. V himself gets to be a little too omnipotent for my tastes.
Despite these complaints, this is a story by Alan Moore. Very little of what he writes isn't worth a read, and I have no doubt you will enjoy this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My few problems with the book is the quality or style of the art work. I found it sometimes hard to read to image.Read more