A mysterious masked individual known only as ‘V’ defies a corrupt Fascist regime. Pursued by government agents, V emerges as an enigma. Who is he and what is his purpose? V raises the question, “What is the difference between a Hero and a Villain?”

V for Vendetta

Minorities are inevitably the victims of authoritarian states. In a system that values unison and conformity above all, differences are a threat and must be eradicated. Whether that difference is racial, ethnic, political, or ideological makes no difference. They are all deviants.

One group of minorities is special: the insane. They are the minority of one. The only set of rules and morals they obey are their own. Those on the outside can only guess at what those are. But wait! Who determines madness? It may very well be that the majority acting in unison is the true madman. Isn’t mob mentality a form of mass insanity after all? One could even say it’s contagious.

In government the majority is always right. Justice is often just another term for the imposition of majority rule. That raises the question: what is the government of a minority of one. The answer: Anarchy. 

V for Vendetta tells the story of a mysterious masked person called ‘V.’ His true identity is concealed. All that the outsider can glimpse is the mocking grin of the mask. His motives are unclear. Is he out for revenge or does he seek an even more sinister goal?

While V pursues his path of murder and mayhem, the agents of the state desperately pursue him. In many ways, the agents generate more sympathy than V because they are easier to understand. The agents are the “villains” but V is an enigma, almost inhuman. Certainly, his style of murder and infiltration evoke the supernatural. V is a mystery. He is unknown, and that is why we fear him. 

We are first introduced to V when he comes to the rescue of a young girl named Evey. She becomes our mediator between our familiar world and the unfamiliar world of V. She allows us to see some of the more human side of V. Nevertheless what Evey witnesses is both fascinating and disturbing.  

The graphic novel subverts the usual comic book theme in a very interesting way. Comic books traditionally examine the role of justice in society. However the hero in this case is not traditional. If the Joker from the Batman comics were to be cast as the hero, V for Vendetta would be the result.

While I enjoyed the themes of the comic, the execution left me rather cold. Aside from V’s design and mannerisms, I didn’t find the artwork engaging at all. The comic also has trouble dealing with exposition and depends upon the monologue too often. Instead of flowing, the story halts and jerks. Still, I found Volume One to be quite an interesting read.  

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