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Customer Review

517 of 555 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Moore's most provocative graphic novel, December 2, 2000
This review is from: V for Vendetta (Paperback)
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.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 19, 2011 5:10:45 PM PDT
'...to the democratic ideals of "liberty" and "property"'

Interesting ordering of concepts. Liberty and property are not ideals of democracy, Ancient Athens and Wiemar Germany are examples of democracy without liberty and property. Both societies allowed the destruction of liberty and property by democratic means.

Democracy can destroy society no less than totalitarianism. No, the political goals are Liberty and Property and only democracy is the government form that has any possibility to exist consistently with Liberty and Property, and the reason our Constitution has a Bill of Rights.

Liberty and Property is the goal, the purpose, not Democracy.

Posted on Oct 4, 2011 5:49:56 AM PDT
Kenneth Sohl says:
"Fascism" is a meaningless term, to be tacked on as a suffix to any agenda that is contrary to one's own.

Posted on Oct 30, 2011 2:15:39 PM PDT
Thanks for the world-weary pathos, Ken, but it actually does have a definition :P

I agree with William. A democratic nation that is driven by fear and intolerance can be just as poisonous to freedom and property rights as any facist government. On the flipside, it is possible to have an autocrat who understands the need for such things and allows them to flourish.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 1:52:47 AM PDT
Kenneth Sohl says:
Never said it didn't have a definition, but it is so vague as to be next to useless, and is usually invoked to demonize an opposing viewpoint.

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 11:38:49 PM PDT
Order and chaos must be brought to balance.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 9:07:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 6, 2012 9:09:46 PM PST
Yog Sothoth says:
It does have a definition, but the reviewer seems to have something else in mind when he says fascism.

often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 12:02:32 AM PST
Kenneth Sohl says:
Hmmm, scary definition...reminds me of a certain country I know very well. If this movie (and graphic novel) is based off of the old novel of the same title written by Dennis Wheatley, then I strongly suspect that the repressive regime against which the protagonist struggled was a socialist one-but then, that's what the nazis were.

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 11:24:13 AM PDT
I want to start from the beginning, is this a good start?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2015 4:00:57 AM PST
S. McGregor says:
"Liberty and Property is the goal, the purpose, not Democracy."

Anarcho-capitalist ideology. Liberty for the rich and slavery for the poor.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Lawrance Bernabo
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   

Location: The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota

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