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V for Vendetta - Alan Moore

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Genre: Graphic Novels / Comics / Author: Alan Moore, David Lloyd / Paperback / 288 Pages / Book is published 2000-04-14 by Titan Books Ltd

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    7 Reviews
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      22.09.2010 01:25
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      Do Artists use lies to tell the truth?

      I decided to read this before watching the film, as I had heard so much about the legend that is Alan Moore, but after watching the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and then reading the comic book, felt I should do this work justice and read the original work first.

      Published by Titan Books in 2000, it was written by the incredible Alan Moore a man whose mind and writing are so far ahead of everyone else, he has now moved into and created an entirely new genre of comic books, this is one of his master works and is incredible in every sense of the word.

      288 pages long, it is illustrated by David Lloyd, it tells the story of V a man who is masked like Guy Fawkes, in a future version of a Totalitarian London he is determined to undermine the powers that be by blowing up the House of Parliament.

      In the future, the UK has been affected by a nuclear war, whilst not being destroyed, people were put into quarantine and others were experimented on to further society.

      V is a rebel a man mysteriously killing people in authority, some would say maniacally, others would say poetically, it is unclear for much of the book whether he is a madman or a genius, the writing is so good that you are left guessing throughout. Sadly the film misses some of the finer more thoughtful points of the comic and in my opinion suffers for it.

      Evie Hammond is a young ne'er do well, arrested for prostitution, V saves her and blows up the Old Bailey to show her that there is still rebellion in society and that she must join him to rebel and save society. As V builds up his plots of unrest, a groundswell of public opinion follows him, as television presenters controlled by government and judges and people in high positions with moral issues are slain the plot develops further.

      The story builds up brilliantly, you don't want it to end as V and Evie's relationship builds and the story twists and turns to a thrilling climax.

      I bought the comic book from Forbidden Planet in London for £12.99 but it is only £9.99 on Amazon.com. I would recommend it to anyone, the graphic element is excellent, its clear and imaginative and pays homage to a darkened London but also a more Victorian age, something which prevails through a lot of Moore's work.

      The writing is exceptional, witty, quoting historic figures and offering moral issues that a decade of Neighbours couldn't get close to, the whole story is awesome, I didn't want it to end and this is easily comparable with the best books I have ever read, its a classic in every sense and whilst the film nowhere near does it justice, the film is still better than most of its kind too.

      Beg, steal (ok don't steal), or borrow this graphic novel, it is the bees knees.

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        24.07.2010 21:51
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        Highly recommended. a deep thoughtful story about society and Britain

        V for Vendetta, created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, is one of the best (if not the best) pieces from the late British comic-book industry. Britain used to produce a great deal of sequential art, but now most comics in Britain are produced in the US (or the East). British creators now have to break into the main publishing houses. While 2000AD and children's comics, like the Dandy and Beano, are still produced in Britain, they do not match the output (or market value) of the US comic industry. This is a British comic, in that it depicts British society (of the 80's, but nonetheless) with very british characteristics and settings.

        Other reviews here list the history of the publishing of this novel, as it passed between two different anthology comics. When it was re-printed, the black and white drawing was coloured in, and this is what is collected in novel published by Vertigo. While the colour is very good in some places (such as the psychadelic colours in the Night, and highlighting the difference betweens dreams and reality) I would love to have seen the original, non-coloured format; the stark black and white offsetting the moral grey depicted in the story.

        V for Vendetta is so brilliant and so recommendable for a number of reasons. It is a piece of dystopian literature, looking at how British Thatcherism could have developed into a fascistic regime following nuclear war. This theme is more relevant then ever today, as the spectre of war and fascism still hang heavily within Britain today. Its exploration of Fascist doctrine and Big Brother-style oppressive tactics are well conveyed through the combination of dialogue and imagery that ony the comic format can truly deliver. It is also a love letter to Anarchist theory, and how Anarchy can be used to fight oppressive government regimes. Sadly, while the central character ruminates and expounds the virutes of Anarchy, the novel ends at the point Anarchy is achieved. We are not shown the consequences or results of this change in order; "Anarcxhy wears two faces; both creator and destroyed" says V, but how it acts as creator, and what it creates, is not shown.

        Many would argue that the central character is the enigmatic V, a super-hero, an anti-hero and a terrorist, rolled into one figure, dressed as Guy Fawkes but acting like Robin Hood as portrayed by Errol Flynn. But V is simply a catalyst, a plot device. His actions cause a spiral of events that effects every other character in the book. The book is at its most interesting when it depicts these various smaller figures, such as the despot slowly losing his mind and his various agents in the system locked in a political power struggle. The book portrays how this oppressive regime impacts upon marriages, upon civilians, upon psyches and how criminals and the two-faced use the situation to there advantage. Like the great pieces of dystopian literature, it explores all areas of the society.

        The novel asks strong questions of the reader, especially how would you act? Many in the centre of the political system are not there because they are evil, but because they are trying to survive. V murders many innocents and destroys historical monuments in London, in order to free its citizen, is that right? The book is filled with questions and its morally grey characters. Mr Finch is a detective for the government and is the one who kills our hero, but is he a villain? No, because he is doing what he believes is right in the name of justice.

        This is a challenging piece of work, with some inconsistencies and problems as it was one of Alan Moore's first works before he truly crafted his art (which can be seen in Watchmen) but it is a fantastically well told story, both evocative and emotive, exploring two conflicting ideologies in engaging depth.

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          25.05.2009 16:03
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          A must buy

          'A frightening and powerful story of loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world. V for Vendetta is the chronicle of a world of despair and oppressive tyranny. A work of sterling clarity and intelligence, V For Vendetta is everything comics weren't supposed to be. England Prevails...'

          "V for Vendetta" is a 286 page graphic novel by Alan Moore collected from the original series of strips he produced with illustrator David Lloyd. The story is set in the near future after a limited nuclear war that resulted in Britain being controlled by a fascist government. However, the careful control exerted over the country by fascist party "Norsefire" is threatened by a flamboyant lone anarchist/terrorist known as only as "V". This theatrical and mysterious vigilante, who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and flowing wig and cloak, declares war on the the government and his personal vendetta seems to be especially bad news for anyone connected to a secret and now obsolete concentration camp...

          It would be hard to draw up a list of essential graphic novels without including Alan Moore's classic dystopian epic V for Vendetta, which is like a sort of cross between Batman (although V is a far more cultured and romantic hero) and 1984. Moore himself drew on multiple sources for inspiration including George Orwell, Judge Dredd, The Shadow, Max Ernst, Thomas Pynchon, Harlan Ellison, Fahrenheit 451, Dick Turpin and Robin Hood. The end result is an incredibly absorbing and somewhat downbeat comic that is complex, full of ideas, and very British. V for Vendetta is not crammed with action and works all the better because of this. While there is plenty of incident and destruction, the uncomplicated art and strong story and dialogue from Moore make V for Vendetta an atmospheric and gripping book that touches on concepts like freedom, control, and even nostalgia.

          One of the chilling things about the story is that Moore's nightmare vision of a future Britain doesn't seem that far-fetched today with video cameras watching our every move and terrorist raids becoming increasingly routine. In V for Vendetta a fascist group seizes power in the aftermath of turmoil and it's a small step to genocide and imprisonment of ethnic and sexual minorities and those who are different in any way. In the introduction to this collected graphic novel, written by Moore in 1988, he lambasts the Thatcher government - clearly an inspiration for the book - and comments on little creeping changes he's noticed like how the police are starting to film people with video cameras fitted on their cars and government legislation that seems to target minorities. 'I don't like it here,' says Moore. 'It's mean-spirited.' You dread to ponder what he thinks about now. When V says in the book - 'We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions' - you think immediately of Parliament today. There are some apparently timeless themes in V For Vendetta.

          V for Vendetta is told for the most part through other important characters. The most important one is Evey Hammond, a sixteen-year-old rescued by V when her attempt at a career in prostitution ended as soon as it began and nearly led to her being raped and killed by 'Fingermen', a sinister secret police unit. After blowing up Parliament ('Remember, remember, the fifth of november...') and showing her real fireworks for the first time in this symbolic act of destruction, V becomes a mentor to Evey and takes her on a very strange and difficult journey. The relationship between V and Evey is quite touching and sometimes surprising. V is not a predictable character. Like 1984, Moore creates a vivid atmosphere of a society that has been brainwashed to forget its past. V takes Evey to his underground station headquarters where he shows her the books, film posters, and paintings that used to make life worth living. He even plays old songs from a juke-box - 'They have eradicated culture...tossed it away like a fistful of dead roses...'

          Another key character in the story is Detective Finch, the man charged with finding and apprehending V. The story of V and Evey and Finch's search for V are both very absorbing story strands and the characters are fairly well developed. The police and government characters seem like real people in comparison to your average graphic novel. Moore's depiction of the government and their systems of control are always interesting and we even get a glimpse of what television in a fascist landscape might look like.

          Great use of flashbacks also adds to the complexity of the book and the central mystery of V is never too far below the surface. We learn a little more about him as we read on and you are always desperate to perhaps find out who he is or more about where he came from. Moore has said that V touches on 'A good tradition of villains and sociopaths as heroes', highlighted by the likes of the aforementioned Batman and Rorsarch from Moore's Watchmen. The ambiguous nature of V is a strength of the book. He is a killer and probably mad, but he's on the side of us and not them. The painted Guy Fawkes mask with the permanent smile is an instantly striking and iconic image and adds a real sense of enigmatic mystery to V. V is a complex and cultured hero and is constantly saying enjoyably flowery and dramatic things like - 'The flames of freedom. How lovely. How just. My precious anarchy...O beauty 'til now I never knew thee' - as he goes about his campaign. The central concept in the story is that ideas are the most important things people have. Ideas can never be destroyed.

          The original run of comics of V for Vendetta was printed in black and white but the additional colour here works quite well with a lot of browns and dark frames helping to maintain the grainy down to earth feel. The artwork is fairly simple and rudimentary but it doesn't matter a great deal because the story is the real star of the book. You don't really notice the art a tremendous amount because the story is so absorbing. Within the graphic novel you also get 'Behind the Painted Smile' - an article that first appeared in Warrior Magazine in 1983 when V For Vendetta was a 'work in progress'. This article is an interesting look at the origins of the story and, in addition to other pieces of information, we learn that Moore originally started off with an idea for a transsexual anarchist terrorist called "The Doll"!

          V for Vendetta is a classic graphic novel an essential buy for anyone interested in comics or Alan Moore.

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            07.11.2008 05:07
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            tired of Britan'sauthoritarian system, a man who'se been chastized by it's people decide to revolt.

            I found this movie incredibly touching. It basically tells the story of two couples who are starting to think they have relatinship problems and attend this seminar about how to improve their sex lives. Little do they know that this seminar actually implies the couples being in a room and making love with another couple, this being sex therapy to better their relationship problems.
            Culking from Home Alone plays in this movie, and his acting isn't that great, but this movie is not that much about the way in which actors played their roles, but the roles themselves. I never saw a similar movie, and this one moved me in the sense that I witnessed what people do for each other and to make their relationships work.
            By the time the movie ends, one of the couples decides to split up, while the other one doesn't, but these decisions are clearly not affected by what happened in the room with the other couple, but is in fact the natural course of their lives and relationship habbits.
            Worthwhile, but not a great movie!

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              21.09.2008 19:51
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              Read it

              This book gave birth to what i think is the greatest super (if you could use that word) hero of them all. A super intelligent vengence compelled twisted man know as 'V'.
              With echos of guy fawks and the gun powder plot, set to 80's Thatcherism (to young for me to remember all) and a bleek totalitarian society, V battles for freedom whislt expossing iconic land marks as nothing but symblos of supression of the stricked laws the 'fingermen' enforce.
              Its good when a writer paints such and amazing picture of what he see's and could easily be the future for us all, and can come up with and insightful and charismatic figure of freedom as 'V' (or guy fawks if you will). If you have not read this you really should and if you like others just see graphic novel as big comics your only stopping yourself from another source of brilliant writeing and culture.

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                10.09.2008 02:18
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                Very, very good

                Mysterious, unconventional superhero V takes on a fascist regime in a future Britain. He has befriended naif waif, Evey, but is he to be trusted?

                I'm going to take a slightly different tack in this review by talking about an encounter I had with the author, the great (and mysterious) Alan Moore.

                I first read this series in black and white (or, perhaps more appropriately, chiarascuro) in the sadly missed monthly magazine, "Warrior".

                I enjoyed comics, of course, as I was only about 14 or 15, but I had never encountered a visual narrative that had so captivated and enthralled me before. These three or four roughly drawn pages a month became an addiction, I would read them over and over again, and each time there was a new installment, I would read the whole thing again. I bought the 12" V for Vendetta single by David J, and wore a Guy Fawkes badge on my school blazer.

                ...And just when the narrative was beginning to reach a head of steam, the magazine ran into financial trouble and collapsed - there would be no further episodes!

                Fast forward four years. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were in my local comic shop to promote their new graphic novel, Watchmen. They spoke for a while, the notoriously reclusive Moore saying very little and speaking in epigrams, when he spoke at all. Everything was about the Watchmen, until I piped up with a question about "V". I can't remember what I said exactly, but I basically queried what had happened to the rest of the story.

                Silence.

                Everyone looked at me. The Comic Shop Guy (a dead ringer for that one from the Simpsons) started to say something along the lines of "Well, I would thank you to PLEASE talk about the SUPERB graphic novel we're ..." when suddenly Alan Moore jumped up out of his seat and pointed at me.

                "GOOD QUESTION!" he bellowed, and proceeded to talk about all of the campaigns and conspiracies centred around this particular narrative, how the Thatcherite government was strangling free speech, how he had seen, actually seen, that morning, a CCTV camera with "For your protection" written on it...and so on for nearly half an hour. He loved Watchmen, sure, but "V for Vendetta" was a labour of love - and conduit for his politics. The audience were rapt. I was rapt.

                Moore promised that if he had to force David Lloyd at gunpoint, the story would be finished, and if he had to go into a publisher with a dynamite midriff, it would be published, and so another year or so after that, it was.

                I bought it the day it came out as a comic. I bought the trade paperback. I gave it to my friends.

                All I can say to conclude, is that its message has become more timely, and although one or two little things have dated badly, this extraordinary book will change the way you look at your relationship with the powers that be.

                Remember: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

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                  21.02.2001 01:13
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                  I know this is almost a cliche,but this is the book that proves that comic books are not just for kids.It originally appeared in the doomed British monthly 'Warrior' and was later revived and completed by American giant DC comics.They published it in twelve issues and later released a lush omnibus edition complete with extra pages and test drawings. It's not a comic and should be seen as a graphic novel equal to any other form of art or literature.Written by British comics god Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd it has stood the test of time as one of my all time favourite works. Set in the near future,in a Britain that has escaped the annihalation of nuclear war but not the economic consequences.A totalitarian regime has seized power and all minorities are persecuted.All aspects of life are comtroled by the Fate computer with it's laws rigourously imposed by it's various departments - these are named after parts of the body such as the 'Eye' for surveilance,the 'Nose' for intelligence and the 'Finger' for detection. The story follows the fate of Evey Hammond,a young girl arrested for soliciting and saved from death by the mysterious 'V'.She is taken to 'V's lair and witnesses his fight aganst the oppressive regime.Soon landmarks like the Houses of Parliament and the Old Bailley are destroyed and these acts of terrorism begin to galvanise the people.Key members of Government are also slain or rendered mad,such as the evil propoganda minister who cares more for his dolls the people, who is left mad muttering 'mama' for ever more. The focus of the story shifts and we also follow the fingermen on 'V's trail.Slowly the clues are added up and this leads to human experiments done some years previously.As the net closes deceptions and infiltrations are exposed and the masked face of 'V' seems tantalisingly close... This is a great book that
                  I'd heartily recommend.The writing is so good that new ideas come through with each passing read.The theme could be the triumph of the human spirt or that good will prevail no matter what.The bad guys are sympathetically shown with their own problems at home and at work.When finally the fate of 'V' is revealed the outcome is both shocking and predictable,disappointing and uplifting.Small details emerge to the fore with every look, could room 5 at Larkhill settlement camp hold the key? and why has Evey been surrendered to the Finger?.The letter V and numeral 5 crop up throughout,V being 5 in Roman numerals. The artwork is superb,being clear yet dark throughout,several sequences have no speech with the images alone telling the story.The violence is slight with V relying on stealth for his kills, with one great sequence ending with a doctor begging to be killed only to be told she was already dead due to a bedtime injection whist she slept. There is so much to this masterwork that these few lines have barely scratched the surface.A book of hope and despair in equal measures that may just encourage you to vote at the next election. England prevails!(Scotland too!)

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                • Product Details

                  Originally published in 1990 V for Vendetta is a frightening and powerful story about the loss of freedom in a totalitarian England. Written against a background of third term Thatcherism and tabloid rants against minorites this is a work of startling clarity and intelligence. Everything that comics weren't supposed to be. Returning to print after a long absence fans of Alan Moore, old and new can now enjoy this remarkable piece of storytelling - a true classic of comic literature.