V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At this point I shouldn't be shocked at Alan Moore's genius, but "V for Vendetta" somehow managed the task. I read it in one sitting and cursed myself for having taken so long to get to it.
The good-not-great 2005 movie probably kept me from getting to it sooner. Silly me, not to realize that Moore's artistic vision is best expressed via words blended with still images, the shifting narrative forms of horizontal presentation and interspersal of non-verbal frames that only the comic book medium can provide. Just as with "Watchmen," there is no way a movie can compare to an Alan Moore comic book.
Shards of stirring -- and also disturbing -- hope streak through his dystopian tale, which makes an insane anarchist of a terrorist as the hero. The Guy Fawkes mask-wearing V is a haunting phantom who somehow grows more ethereal and mysterious as the story goes on. The fact that his identity remains a secret throughout only adds to his mystique.
With style and savvy, Moore manages to get you to -- if not root for -- at least appreciate with fascination what otherwise would be a villain in any other story by pitting him against a totalitarian 1990s British government. Eerily prophetic about the willingness of society to give up privacy to a fear-mongering, hyper-aggressive faction of government and corporate interests, the setting stands as a worst-case scenario warning of what society can come to without vigilance.
Moore's storytelling ability is at the peak of its powers here, having constructed a shimmering example of inspiration meeting technique and drive on equal planes.
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