Freeman Teen M.E. Grimm Reviews: V for Vendetta
What is the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the word “anarchy”? Probably scenes of destruction and the strong reigning supreme are some of the many things that appear upon the mention of anarchy. While these ideas and stereotypes of anarchy’s concepts are conceived from popular knowledge, (and, in extremely select situations, are not technically wrong), without a doubt the largest misconception of the word is that anarchy is inherently “evil”. Many seem to forget that order can, at often times, be just as bad as or WORSE than no order at all. Just take Stalin’s Soviet regime for example or Hitler’s fascist state. These governments required their subject’s total and unconditional allegiance to their cause, unless they were ready to face the brutal consequences of doing otherwise. Anarchy is an ideological resistance, the spirit of an idea that revolves around those who are not content with their leading powers and choose to not accept the influence and assistance that would come from accepting said powers. Anarchy is what came before order and is what will come after it’s time comes to a close.
The question is, though, if your government was responsible for mass-genocide and the indoctrination of hundreds of thousands of people, would you be willing to unleash anarchy in order to make the government pay for their crimes?
V for Vendetta is the critically-acclaimed graphic novel written by comic legend Alan Moore and drawn by his good friend and trusted artist, David Lloyd. The story centers on an Orwellian United Kingdom, where a radically fascist party known as “Norsefire” holds the populace of 1997 London under its complete totalitarian grip. Every conversation is monitored, every citizen under surveillance, and all information censured and altered for the glorification of the state. On November 5th, 1997, Sixteen-year-old Evey Hammond is assaulted by a group of Norsefire Secret Police, but is then promptly saved by a cloaked vigilante wearing a top hat and a Guy Fawkes mask who identifies himself only as “V.” V tells Evey that he has sworn a vendetta against the ruling party for the atrocious experiments that they conducted on him in their concentration camps; and that for all of the sins committed by the government, both past and present, he will tear down the entire system piece-by-piece until his vision of absolute freedom is achieved.
You will never see or read a graphic novel/comic series quite like V for Vendetta as the profound notions of “Order-vs.-Anarchy” that are repeatedly presented throughout the entire story are guaranteed to keep you thinking and vying for more. In fact, much like another of Moore’s most celebrated comic works: Watchmen, V for Vendetta is widely regarded to many as one of the most pivotal examples in the argument of comic books being considered an artistic medium. There are no bright and flashy “BAM!” or “BIFF!” sound effects, no larger-than-life heroes or villains, no otherworldly powers or settings, and no bright or happy futures for the characters to look forward to. Instead; there are characters with true and complex psychological flaws driving them to do things that they might not do otherwise, an extremely believable dystopian world devoid of any foreseeable freedom, and a plotline that is a startlingly honest social commentary on the merits of fear, fascism, anarchy, and the connection between all three on the human condition.
I am no comic official, but to refer to V for Vendetta in such a sense as to refer to it as a mere “comic” would be to deny it its proper praise as a brilliant work of contemporary literature unparalleled by even some of the modern novels present in today’s day and age. This is no mere comic to read for enjoyment of grandiose heroes, vile villains, or otherworldly elements. Profound, dark, and honest, V for Vendetta is a graphical novel which I would recommend to be read by anybody wishing to dive into a deep, thought-provoking and riveting storyline of tyranny, chaos, and the anarchy of true, unadulterated freedom.