Rich and dark, and full to the brim with moral ambiguities that simultaneously fill the reader with inspiration and shame. V for Vendetta is a dystopian graphic novel set in 1990’s London, in which a totalitarian state has exterminated all opponents (including liberals, minorities and gays) in concentration camps.
Who is V? He is no one and everyone. We do not know of his childhood or his parents. We only know of what could happen to a man tortured and experimented on in a fascist “medical facility”, a man with strong principles, who likes movies and romance, and who most would agree is justified in his vengeance. V is the sort of man who is so big an idea, most of us would follow him blindly. Who does V care for? He cares for everyone and no one.
Although V is certainly the most captivating character of the novel, for me, the story is about Evey, a lost girl, a product of the times. At the beginning, Evey has already been reduced to prostitution as a means to survive, and when her first proposition goes wrong, she is rescued by a cloaked man in a Guy Fawkes mask. Evey has and will lose everyone she loves at the hands of the government, which brings her to V, who eventually becomes her mentor, albeit an unconventional one. It’s Evey’s decision at the climax that solidifies the idea of V, and what he represents.
I also have a special place in my heart for the honorable and decent Eric Finch, the Chief of New Scotland Yard who buys into the new system for his love of order, but travels his own journey of tragic self-awakening. You are a true warrior Eric.
Who is V? Is he sane or mad? Is he hero or villain? Did he set Evey free or brainwash her? Are V’s methods any better than those whom he seeks to overthrow? Do the ends justify the means? For myself, I both love V and am terrified by him.