#72 A Review of V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

V for Vendetta

“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

V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
DC Comics (2009)
Paperback 296 pages

My Top Ten…Modern Classics (Part I)

I was having a conversation with Todd and Adam the other day about books published in the last 50 years and which ones might be considered classics in 50 years.  Before I go into which books I chose I first had to think about what makes a classic a classic:

  • The ability to draw people in whether through the story or characters.  Classics are classics because we reread them over and over again.  Take Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc; we re-read them continuously even though we know the outcome.
  • Teaching a lesson about life or society.  If a book can teach us a lesson and we learn from it, then that book and lesson will stick with us forever.
  • Relevance in changing times.  A classic is always relevent, despite changing social mores, technology advances, and even changes in language.  A classic continues to tell universal tales and life lessons that always hold true, no matter the circumstances.

Keeping some of those things in mind, here are the top ten books I think will become modern classics

Cover Image10.) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (Published in 1955)

Williams offers the reader of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tons in terms of themes and lessons to be learned.  He shows what greed and secrets can do to a family that has no trust in each other.  The play is filled with the theme of nihilism and mendacity, questioning whether or not life really does have meaning, and if it does have meaning what is it?  One of the main characters in the play, Big Daddy, is the representation of all of these themes and one more, that of facing death.  The dialogue and events make you really question what life is all about and how we should spend the time we’ve been given.  The above barely touches on the themes, motifs, and symbolism in the play.  It’s a play I’ve read over and over and over and one that I definitely see as a contender for being a modern classic.

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9.) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Published 1986-1987)

Surprised to see a graphic novel on the list?  Don’t be.  A lot of people think that graphic novels have nothing to offer due to small dialogue boxes and lots of illustrations, they’re wrong. Taking place during a time period spanning the 1940’s through the 1960’s, Watchmen offers us a glimpse into an alternate universe, one where superheros help us win wars, develop high-tech science experiments, and help keep the general peace.  The graphic novel has a lot of complex ideas about the deconstruction of the superhero and the existentialist movement.  It attacks the notion of putting all our faith in people we believe are going to save us, without knowing who they really are or what they are really capable of.  It attacks the notion of superheros and why we’re so enthralled by them. 
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8.) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (Published in 1958)

Capote totally changed the world for women with his explosive novella about a woman who was an upscale classy prostitute.  Holly Golightly forever changed how women were looked at and what they were capable.  This novella shows that women could be just as free as men were sexually and that in some cases it actually empowered them.  It also showcased women’s independence from men.  They could have parties, male friends, drink, smoke, and have sex.  Gone was the idea of the stereotypical 1950’s housewife that greeted her husband at the door with a kiss and a cocktail.  Golightly was the epitome of what every women felt she COULD be.  With Capote’s help women everywhere were liberated and on came the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. 

7.) The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling (Published in 1997-2007)

What can I say about a book that inspired thousands of new readers across the globe?  J. K. Rowling’s story of a young boy who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a magical world in which he is a celebrity.  This boy, Harry Potter, lives in a world that is endless: full of dragons, spells, mystery, and the epic battle between good and evil.  Imagination has no limit, as this work showed everyone around the world that they could escape their own worlds if just for a few hours as they explored Hogwarts and lived vicariously through Harry as he soared through the air on his broomstick.  Rowling’s work is so universal and its themes are so basic at the core of her writing that it truly can be applied to and understood by all.  The spark and uptick in reading that this book created is testament to its status as a stalwart classic novels that will stand the test of time.
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6.) Night by Elie Wiesel (Published in 1960)

Although the horrors of the Holocaust are now widely known and reflected on in modern media, Wiesel’s gritty retelling of the grueling abuses he endured as a prisoner of Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps was an initial raw and clear look into the horrors of that time.  He is angry, hopeless, insightful, introverted, caring, and many other emotions as he struggles to survive physically and mentally in his tormented state.  Night is written simplistically, with little allegory or metaphor.  The reader simply draws conclusions from Wiesel’s writing, and in its stark state it tells a powerful story of the struggle of the human will to live and overcome obstacles.  Changing the way we learned about the Holocaust, Night paved the way for an outpouring of emotion that had remained unseen as the world struggled to right itself after the horrors Hitler performed.  Not just dry facts in a history book, Wiesel made the pain real because of his memoir.  Like Anne Frank, one could now associate a names and faces with the destruction of the Holocaust.  His work will always be remembered for making the Holocaust personable.
Join me tomorrow for my top five choices!!  Until then share your comments below and happy reading!!

New Year; New Challenges

January 1, 2011.  It’s the official beginning of my new challenge!!  I have 365 days to read 100 books.  I’m partaking in two reading challenges this year (that I’ve signed up for so far) so 11 of those books are the Jane Austen mystery series and 20 of them will be historical fiction novels. I’m excited that I’m mixing it up this year and doing some reading challenges as well.  I think it will help keep me motivated throughout the year. 

I’m really looking forward to some of the titles that I’ve decided to read this year.  I have a very eclectic group to read so far.  Some of the titles include:

  1. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (It’s the 200 year anniversary of the book this year!)
  3. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  4. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
  5. V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
  6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  7. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
  8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson
  11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  13. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  14. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

I have a much bigger list than this, but I’m really looking forward to the specific books above!

So now that my new challenge has begun I would like to encourage you guys to do your own challenges.  You don’t have to read 100 books like I do, but you can do something similar to Todd and try for between 25 and 50.  You are always welcome to post on the blog thoughts about your own reading challenges or about specific books.

If you decide to do a challenge: Good Luck and Happy Reading!