“Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot”
So begins the rhyme commemorating Guy Fawkes Day, when in 1606 Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the House of Parliament with multiple kegs of gunpowder. He was subsequently caught, tortured, and killed, and to this day Britons remember this act by burning bonfires and effigies of Fawkes on the 5th. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to review an amazing graphic novel that deals with Fawkes.
Taking place in a post-nuclear war London of the 1990’s, Moore and Lloyd’s V for Vendetta follows the tale of a mysterious cloaked figure with a Guy Fawkes mask named V. He comes to the aid of an Evey Hammond, who is surrounded by members of the totalitarian government’s police force, known as the Fingermen, who intend to rape and kill her. After dispatching the officers, V takes Evey under his wing, telling her of his plot to overthrow the Fascist regime and create a government ruled by the people. He takes her to a rooftop and displays a magnificent bombing of the House of Parliament, which he planted previously. An inspector Finch of the local police force is assigned to investigate the bombing, and it is through his investigation that we see the aftermath of the death of multiple heads of government offices at the hands of V. After a brief falling-out between Evey and V, she is captured and subjected to bouts of depression and torture, eventually breaking down and finding inner courage and strength that she did not know existed. After this, she discovers that V engineered the entire event, to put her through a similar situation he endured in a concentration camp known as Larkhill. Together, they plan to mount one final assault on the government and incite an uprising. Will they succeed? What will become of Evey?
The best way to describe this novel is that it’s one huge middle finger to political apathy. V speaks to the people and holds them accountable for what they’ve allowed to happen; not only to their political system, but more importantly to their country. He makes them realize what being apathetic has cost them: art, music, love, and most of all – freedom. At times, he tells them they deserved their losses due to their stupidity. They should be held accountable and made to WANT to make decisions.
I already expected great things of Moore’s writing due to how much I liked The Watchmen, yet I was amazed at how he was able to fit so much political commentary into the series. His between the lines commentary on Fascism and Anarchism is excellent, and it’s almost as if we’re reading two sets of stories: one about V and another about political uprisings that define a population that could have taken place in any country in the world. It’s this dualism which makes the story great.
The graphics are outstanding. Lloyd is a talented artist, conveying every emotion possible through his artwork. When Evey is depressed and losing hope in her cell, you feel it. When you see the people starting small uprisings and igniting hope, you feel it. His art conveys the proper moods, setting the stage with dark colors and shadowed landscapes. This allows the scenes in The Shadow Gallery (V’s home) to really stand out and make a statement.
The novel is pure genius, and in the political world we are living in today, one everyone should read. If this book can force someone to take a stand against apathy, then it’s done it’s job. Currently, with the “Occupy” protests taking root all over the world, this book is more relevent than ever, and we can all learn from the power of the collective masses. We don’t have to stand by and take what is doled out to us by the 1%, we can choose to exert our collective power and be heard.
5 out of 5 Stars
This is my nineteenth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge