Thursday, April 21, 2005

V for Vendetta

It's so hard to find anything unique or insightful to say about titles that are already regarded as classics. Honestly, if people don't already know about this series by now then they can't really call themselves comic fans. Alan Moore, for what it's worth, is easily one of the greatest comic book creators in my mind. Nearly everything that I've read which was written by him was nothing less than amazing. The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen is probably the only exception to this. I admired it for the ways in which Moore tied everything together, but on a storytelling level it didn't work that well for me, but that's not really important for this review.

V for Vendetta was a series that I had been wanting to read for a long time, but never actually got around to it. Much like Watchmen, this is a seminal classic that every comic reader should read sometime at least once. While reading through this series, the biggest surprise didn't come from the story itself. What blew my mind was that this series was originally started way back in 1983, only 2 years after I was born. The finished version of it was put out in 1988, which still would put me at the tender age of 7. Even though I read a lot of comics that aren't current, I usually don't stray back into the pre-90's, usually because I don't like the storytelling contrivances of many older titles.

V didn't feel like it was written in the 80's at all. If you would have told me that it was written in this millennium, I'd probably believe you. The maturity of tone and content is something I didn't think existed in the comics medium during the 80's, maybe because I only read the popular superhero fluff from that decade.

Moore again mixes his uniquely bleak storytelling style with many lyrical situational descriptions to create a living, breathing, and believable alternate England. This version of England is a totalitarian union where anything deemed wrong by the state has been eliminated. Gays, blacks, Jews, and any other person that didn't live up to the English ideal was killed or removed from the state. V, a victim of England's genetic experimentation takes it upon his shoulders to liberate England.

The path that V takes is mesmerizing and you get the sense of this being more than just a simple vendetta against the country that had thought him a subhuman waste of flesh. No, he knows that England has given up its freedom and someone needed to give it back to her. The intelligence, tenderness, harshness, and artistry of V makes him admirable all while knowing that he was only doing what he had to do.

You know, I could break down the plot points, the rest of V's character traits, the methods he uses in training his successor, and elaborate on other aspects of this story, but the only way to really experience it is to read it yourself. Go buy the trade or pick up the back issues and dedicate a couple of days to sit down and digest another one of Moore's masterpieces.

Art: 3
Story: 5
Overall: 4.5

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