Comic Book: V for Vendetta
Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November, V for Vendetta
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
is a comic by Alan Moore
and David Lloyd. Starting in March, 1982, it ran for 10 issues, originally in a British anthology comic called Warrior, and later in its own comic published by DC. It features several of Alan Moore's trademarks: Anarchy portrayed as a positive force, mixing fiction and historical fact, and large amounts of cynicism
The title character is V, a government experiment Gone Horribly Wrong
. Armed with extraordinary intellect and fighting skills, along with some home-made high explosives, he escapes from the facility that created him and sets about committing terrorist attacks against the fascist government of Britain. He is The Faceless
throughout the comic, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask in order to conceal his true identity. The fact that Guy Fawkes was arrested for trying to blow up the king has something to do with it, of course.
Evey Hammond is rescued from rapist policemen by V, and this act of kindness starts the comic. She is taken to his Elaborate Underground Base
, and, although scared by V at first, she decides to join his campaign to bring down the Government, replacing it with an anarchist society.A film adaptation
was released in 2006 with reasonably good reviews and box office success.
This series provides examples of:
- Actual Pacifist: Evey refuses to help V when she realises he's murdering people, and at the end she says of the rioting Londoners, "I won't help them kill. But I will help them build."
- Added Alliterative Appeal: After Finch takes acid he comes up with:
V: Vaulting, veering, vomiting up the values that victimized me, feeling vast, feeling virginal... was this how he felt? This verve, this vitality... this vision... La voie... la vérité... la vie.''
- The name of every chapter in the novel is a word starting with the letter 'V'.
- After the End: Nuclear war has destroyed everything but the British Isles.
- Age-Inappropriate Dress: Evey's prostitute outfit. She is only sixteen at the start of the comic and is turning to prostitution to make a living.
- All There in the Manual: The musical interlude, This Vicious Cabaret, pretty much outlines all of V's plans, but the initial reading makes it look like a summary of the preceding chapters.
- Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted. V explains in detail that traditional anarchy is not without order. There is far too much information to cover here but needless to say, Moore makes it very clear where he stands politically.
- Anti-Hero: V is a Nominal Hero or an Anti-Villain, depending on how much you agree with his pro-anarchy rant.
- V, when he is at his darkest, is more than willing to sacrifice innocent lives and at one point tortures Evey for days if not weeks, making her think it's the government, in order to make her understand his philosophy and test her resolve.
- Finch works for the government as a detective but doesn't really agree with its methods, growing increasingly disenchanted during the course of the story.
- Adam Susan has some of this as well since he is reluctant to carry out his "duties" and seems to believe he is doing the right thing. However, he is arrogant as well as displaying racist and homophobic tendencies.
- Apocalypse Anarchy:
- Invoked by V, who's trying to bring about the end of a fascist system by increasing the amount of disorder. He inspires the population to more acts of violence and vandalism, which causes the government to crack down, which leads to more uprising...
- Inverted in the backstory, in which a minor apocalypse brings about a brief phase of chaos which leads not to anarchy, but fascism.
- Arc Words: The repeated V/Five motif.
- Artistic License: Moore has admitted he knew basically nothing about nuclear weapons when he started the comic, and so it's insanely optimistic about how many people would survive a nuclear war, which of course depends on how widespread the war is, as a limited war might lead to this situation.
Alan Moore: I came up with a character called "Vendetta", who would be set in a realistic thirties world that drew upon my own knowledge of the Gangster era, bolstered by lots of good, solid research. I sent the idea off to Dave. His response was that he was sick to the back teeth of doing good solid research and if he was to draw one more "28 model Duesenberg" he'd eat his arm. This presented a serious problem.
- Asshole Victim: Several, but some stand-out examples are Prothero, Liliman, and Harper.
- Attempted Rape: V meets Evey when he saves her from a police gang-rape brought on by her soliciting undercover cops.
- Author Filibuster: The reality is a bit more complicated. As Alan Moore himself says: "The central question is, is this guy right or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this?" Given that V's terrorist actions are hardly whitewashed or excused, one can easily make the argument that the true hero of the piece is Evey who looks to be forging a middle ground between Norsefire's order and V's chaos.
- Batman Gambit: V's entire plan involves manipulating the government heads into national collapse.
- Beard of Evil: Invoked by V's mask.
- Becoming the Mask: V is more of a symbol. Whoever wears the mask, is essentially V. Evey takes the mask and the role of V after his death.
- Beware the Superman: V, if you consider him a villain. His backstory is basically the archetypal superhero origin story in its most distilled form (downtrodden man is injected with experimental chemicals that give him peak-human abilities, dons a costume and goes off to fight evildoers) but his experiences also drive him insane, leading him to become an anarchist terrorist instead of a crime fighter.
- Bittersweet Ending: Britain is free of the Dictatorship that had been ruling the country, but V lost his life in the process, and we don't know how well Britain will be able to take care of itself without a government in charge. The comic also ends with Evey possibly training the future government as the second V, potentially leaving the identity to a third party.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: V, though he certainly has some goals beyond simply blowing stuff up. The comic could in some ways be considered a Deconstruction of this trope.
- Book End: V kidnaps someone (to save them from a gang/mob).
- Break the Cutie: V does this to Evey. It leads her to a Heroic Blue Screen of Death and after she reboots she Took a Level in Badass.
- Break Them by Talking: V to Lewis Prothero, though the coup de grâce that really breaks him involves more than talking.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Finch has said, to Adam Susan's face, that he disapproves of the Norsefire party. While most people would probably be locked up for this, Finch is so damn good at his job that Susan lets it slide.
- Bury Your Gays: Among the people who were tested alongside V, there were two lesbians called Valerie and Rita, who due to hormone injections not only died, but in Rita's case developed vestigial fingers on her leg. Also Ruth, Valerie's lover, who committed suicide after falsely claiming that Valerie seduced her and giving up her location to her captors, apparently in order to commute her own sentence from death by medical experimentation to lifelong imprisonment. According to Finch, this was the fate of most of Britain's LGBT people. This is assuming V isn't Valerie.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: From both sides, although opinions vary on whether V was justified with his.
- Corrupt Politician: Norsefire were brutal opportunists.
- Crapsack World: It's a post-nuclear wasteland, the second coming of the Nazis has taken power over Britain, and the only person who dares to stand up to them is an apparently insane terrorist who wants to replace them with... nothing.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Happens to the show Storm Saxon by V comparing it to the government's propaganda: "Sometimes I miss the Storm Saxon show. The dialogues were better."
- Dark Messiah: V has this written all over him. A ruthless demagogue who secures the fanatical following of a substantial multitude by presenting himself as a savior.
- Disaster Dominoes: V sets this in motion for Norsefire. Scenes of the effects are interspersed with him setting up and toppling a massive number of dominoes shaped as his logo.
- The Dog Bites Back: Rose killing Adam Susan, with V being involved in causing the trope to happen.
- Domestic Abuse: A rare instance where both sides of the coin are portrayed simultaneously. On one hand, we have Derek Almond as the violent, abusive and ungrateful husband towards the gentle, faithful and enduring Rosemary. On the other hand we have Helen Heyer as the domineering, manipulative and cheating wife of the loving and good-natured Conrad. Both Helen and Derek regularly belittle, insult, shame and beat up their respective spouses for whom they feel nothing but contempt.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Subverted, when V broadcasts his communiqué over BTN's network.
- Doomed Moral Victor: As a part of the Thanatos Gambit.
- The Dragon: Almond functions as this throughout the first chapter.
- Dramatic Unmask: Averted with Evey having the chance to unmask V, but deciding that even if he were her father as she suspected, knowing the anarchist's true identity would not be worth diminishing his role's symbolic value if she unmasked him.
- Dual Wielding: V's main weapons are a pair of knives.
- Eldritch Abomination: FATE is either a highly sophisticated computer that Susan in his insanity believes to be alive, or it's this, in which case it's also the Bigger Bad.
- This theory about FATE is disproved when we discover that V has taken FATE control since the very beginning and it's using it to detroy Norsefire from the inside and play mindtricks on Susan. Susan even reacts like a spurned lover.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Shadow Gallery.
- Emergency Authority: The Norsefire group has been using these sorts of powers to maintain order in Britain, resulting in a dystopian Police State society. After the Leader is assassinated, the ambitious head of the Fingermen tries to grab power and become the new de facto head of government with this as his justification.
- Evil Overlord: Susan was arguably a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but the ways he went about fulfilling his goal clearly seat him in the "evil" territory (torture, genocide etc.). And his argument that he needs to be in power to support and bolster England kinda goes into "Overlord" territory.
- Evil Versus Evil / Grey and Black Morality / A Lighter Shade of Grey: Opinions vary as to how to interpret the Fascism vs. Anarchy of the graphic novel. General consensus is that V is probably better than Susan and the majority of Norsefire, but still not exactly a great guy, while some of Norsefire's lower-ranked members (like Finch) may or may not be better people than V himself, if somewhat misled. And we shall not go further into it.
- Expressive Mask: V's mask never moves, but it still manages to convey emotion through shadow and angles.
- Fictional Political Party: Norsefire. They came to power after first Thatcher's government fell, a Labour Party government replacing Thatcher withdrew from NATO and caused the Cold War to go hot, resulting in the most far-right policies being seen as vindicated, but Alan Moore models them as a Fictional Counterpart to the British National Front.
- Final Solution: Like their real-life counterpart, the Norsefire Party rounds up and kills off everyone who doesn't conform to their "Nordic race" mould.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Valerie's letter. She knows she will die (either from the injection or execution), but she writes out a beautiful love letter to whoever it is in the next cell over, trying to offer them solace, strength, and hope for a better future.
- Funetik Aksent:
: Cor, that's smashin' that is, Dennis. Guz down a treat. Drop out o'the Bishop's private stock, izzit?
- Gambit Roulette: Everyone is manipulating everyone else. V is, more often than not, the puppet master, though.
- Girlish Pigtails: Evey sports them as part of her disguise as an underage prostitute.
- Graffiti of the Resistance: The A-in-a-circle sign is used, along with the V.
- Hacked by a Pirate: V has actually been manipulating the Fate computer for years. The "pirate flag" is just the final stroke to drive the Leader completely over the edge.
- Happiness in Slavery: discussed, deconstructed, then outright defied by V, saying the people's happiness comes from having never compared their lives to freedom.
- Hero Antagonist: Finch spends the entire book tracking down the protagonist and investigates Larkhill's past to discover why V has such a murderous rage for its former staff. When he figures out the truth, he acknowledges the government is wrong and should be changed but also reaffirms his belief that V is still a dangerous murdering terrorist and he needs to be stopped, too.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- V himself goes through an anti-heroic sacrifice.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: V's hideout is in the Underground at Victoria station, with the sign modified to show V's trademark circled letter V. When Finch finally finds this out, his face shows he realizes how obvious it was.
- Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Finch takes a dose of LSD in the abandoned concentration camp, which gives him some rather creepy visions, but also helps him figure out various things, including the whereabouts of V.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Almond tortures his wife by pretending to shoot her with an unloaded gun. Later he runs into V and threatens to shoot him... with the still-unloaded gun.
- Illegal Religion: Merely possessing a Qu'ran, let alone following the Islamic faith, is punishable by death by the government and it happens to Gordon in the film for having a copy.
- Kick the Dog: Taken Up to Eleven with Valerie; while Gordon is bagged for incredibly petty reasons, Valerie and Ruth are taken because they love each other. Valerie is specially notable as her story is shocking enough to make Evey instantly sympathizes with V even after he's tortured her simply because Valerie and her story are real.
- V's torture of Evey, although it's more like an invoked version of Kick the Morality Pet.
- Rosemary's treatment at the hands of the government. Obviously the government treats everyone poorly but Rose's husband was a high ranking official. You'd think even they would be more sympathetic.
- Certain crimes (such as prostitution) are classified as "Class H" offenses, which means that their punishment is solely under the discretion of the arresting officer. This means, to put things bluntly, that the arresting officer can do whatever the hell he wants with you without you being able to do a thing about it, which is music to the ears of the sadists and bullies that many of the cops in this fascist government are. This is showcased in the scene where Evey almost gets raped and murdered by the Fingermen after they catch her during her first time as a prostitute.
- The Kindnapper: V kidnaps Evey twice, both times motivated by some form of benevolent intentions. The first time, he saves her from being raped by the government's secret police. The second time, he is testing her — albeit in a horrible way — to see if she is worthy of being his successor.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Eric Finch.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter begins with the letter V.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Almond plays a sick game with his wife where he pretends to go crazy and shoot her — but his gun is not loaded. Then he finally catches V, and tries to Just Shoot Him — with the still-not-loaded gun.
- Lady Macbeth: Helen Hayer. So obsessed with power is she that, as her husband and lover lie dead or dying on her living room floor, she is so incensed their passing would mess with her plan that she hooks up a video camera to their television set just so her dear hubby can watch himself die.
- Laser-Guided Karma: How V kills the last three employees of his old "Resettlement Camp".
- Lewis Prothero ordered V to be part of the experiment that drove V mad and valued his dolls more than the inmates; V dressed his dolls up as prisoners and loaded them into an incinerator, driving him insane. For the final touch, his face was painted to look like one of his dolls when he was delivered to the police.
- Archbishop Anthony Lilliman was a pedophile who stood by while V was administered the serum, so V had Evey dress as a prostitute to get close to him, and killed him by forcing him to consume a cyanide-laced communion wafer. The whole point is that V forced Archbishop Lilliman to confess to him and to repent in a blasphemous mockery of the Catholic rite (though Liliman's lifestyle was practicing many things the Catholic Chuch's teachings oppose). The cyanide-laced communion wafer is horrifying to the clergyman because the Catholic faith dictates that no matter what the wafer is made of before it is consumed, it will become the "flesh of the savior" through the "miracle of transubstantiation" the moment it enters a pious man's mouth. However...
- Dr. Delia Surridge injected V with the serum, so V poisoned her in her sleep. However, she got off easy compared with the others, as she actually regretted her actions.
Is it meaningless to apologize? V:
I'm so sorry. (dies peacefully)
- Susan knows he is oppressing his people, but he is doing it to ensure their survival. When he realises his infautation with FATE is over and he cannot escape this way, he really wants human contact from the people he saved by oppressing them, and welcomes the high party woman he has seen a lot of times but whose name he could not remember ...and she has a gun.
- Legacy Character: Evey takes on the mantle of V and is even shown grooming the third person to wear the mask.
- Liberty Over Prosperity: One of V's points during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to all England (and/or humanity in general) is that they have accepted trading their freedoms in exchange for security. He does mention that he doesn't mean that they should go back to the Stone Age, but that they need to stop stagnating.
- Finch reflects exactly this at Larkhill camp: He pretended to work for the party so society can survive and to heal from his son and wife deaths... but at the end, finds that the sacrifice was not worthy and abandons Norsefire.
- Susan reflects: Freedom to my people? The freedom to die from hunger or freeze? I don't think so
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Give the Man in Room Five a garden plot, he'll grow roses. Give the Man in Room Five some gardening chemicals, he'll make napalm and mustard gas.
- Loners Are Freaks: The Head, Adam Susan, is completely obsessed with technology and his own idealization of fascism, and has virtually no interest whatsoever in social or romantic pursuits. At his advanced age, he is a virgin convinced that his own computer system is in love with him. When he finally decides to be a better leader towards the end and actually get to know his people, he's revealed to be quite socially awkward and shy.
- Manipulative Bastard: Some of Norsefire, but notable examples are Roger Dascombe and Helen Heyer.
- Meaningful Echo: Evey's rebirth is meant to echo V's "birth".
- Meaningful Name
- Evey, the pronunciation is similar to "IV", being the Roman numeral for "4", and also the number of the room that Valerie was kept in.
- Her name also sounds like the letters "E" "V" — "E" being the fifth letter of the alphabet and "V" being, well, V, and also the Roman numeral for 5. As well as V being the fifth letter at the end of the alphabet.
- Also the last character in the name is Y, being the 25th letter which 5 is the square root of. And 2 5 seperated is two five, leading into 2 halves to the whole of 10 completing the cycle.
- The herb rosemary is a common symbol of remembrance in Western culture. Fittingly, Rosemary Almond is a vengeful widow who never forgets her grudge against Adam Susan, and is the one who ultimately assassinates him.
- Monochrome Casting: Every character in the graphic novel (except for some people in flashbacks or hallucinations) is Caucasian. This is due to Norsefire carrying out their idea of a Final Solution, so every non-white person in England (and it's implied in other parts of the world) is either dead, in hiding or left the country.
- Morality Pet: Part of the reason Evey is in this graphic novel is so that V can be shown being kind to someone, making him more sympathetic.
- Moral Myopia
- Lewis Prothero, as V notes, cares a great deal more for his rare doll collection than he ever did for the people he sent to the ovens at Larkhill.
- V himself is guilty of this — he claims to care about people, but the cold, sociopathic way in which he kills so many Fascists and slaughters Mooks makes it clear that really, he only cares about the people he's decided to like. And having been driven mad himself, he sets out to do the same to Evey if "necessary".
- The Nameless: V. He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V."
- Noble Top Enforcer: Finch, head of the Nose.
- No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me: V takes revenge on those involved in the concentration camp and the experiments which created him.
- No Place for Me There: V's speech to Evey about the two faces of anarchy, destroyer and creator, has a strong subtext of this, especially since as he tells her this, he knows that he will soon be dead.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Justified. All the backup died. V was the only survivor. He then burned the facility to the ground, and later kills the scientist and steals her diary.
- Oh, Crap
- At the close of the first arc, Finch presents an Oh, Crap moment to the surviving members of the Head: that the idea of V being a serial killer murdering those who wronged him is, in fact, the optimistic and comforting view. The alternative is that V was killing those who witnessed his transformation, and thus may have been able to stop him from executing his real plan.
- The same day V promised to destroy Downing Street, Dominic is controlling the policemen to make sure that Downing Street is not attacked, and hoping that V is actually dead, and then a bell starts to sound. Dominic identifies that bell as Big Ben... but then he remembers that Big Ben had been blown up the previous year. And then Evey as V appears.
- One-Letter Name: V, which is a name taken from the door of a cell he escaped from.
- Order Versus Chaos: V's objective is to abolish all law. He does not, however, want to abolish all order. As he tells Evey, he doesn't want people rioting in the streets; he desires an orderly society that remains so even without a government. V advocates actual anarchist principles, as opposed to simple mayhem; as noted above, it strictly and consistently averts the Anarchy Is Chaos trope.
- The Other Darrin: Invoked and Exploited by V. Part of his reason for getting Lewis Prothero out of the picture, other than just revenge, is that the Norsefire propaganda machine has casted him as the voice of Fate, as they couldn't create a convincing enough computerized voice. After Prothero has been driven insane, Norsefire is forced to find a new voice for Fate, and the general public does indeed notice the difference, seeding a subtle sense of distrust towards the government in them.
- Passing the Torch: Evey becomes V.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: In-universe example: The Norsefire leader for the government computer system, FATE. The idea that FATE could ever return Susan's affections is part of what drives Susan insane.
- Pet Rat: Alistair Harper and his gang are hired in this capacity by the government when the existing police force isn't enough.
- Pet the Dog: V does this with Evey occasionally — reading to her, dancing with her etc.
- Police Brutality: Norsefire Fingermen.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: The titular character from the Story Within a Story show "Storm Saxon". As the show is racist propaganda, Storm Saxon is a Hero In Name Only, with the villainous characters being every negative stereotype about black people (most likely portrayed by white actors in Blackface), borrowing from the equally racist and flawed Birth of a Nation.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Norsefire. All of Norsefire.
- Pompous Political Pundit: Double Subverted with the pro-Norsefire radio program The Voice of FATE, ostensibly hosted by the computer system itself. It's actually done by Lewis Prothero.
- Punch Clock Villain: Eric Finch, arguably.
- Putting on the Reich/A Nazi by Any Other Name: Norsefire are Neo-Nazis, so it's not too odd. The dictator even gets a monologue saying why fascism is a good thing. The song sung by the cabaret singer in Chapters 5-6 ("I like the boots" etc.) lampshades this, citing everything from Triumph of the Will to "blond and blue eyes" to the "Heil Hitler" salute...
- Psycho Serum: The testing V endures while at Larkhill, drives him a little insane.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: V gives one to the entire country by taking over the Norsefire equivalent of The BBC.
- Redemption Equals Death: Delia Surridge, who tells V she's sorry for what she's done to him. V had already decided to show mercy to her, and gives her a quick, painless death.
- Redemption in the Rain: Evey after her "birth".
- Samus is a Girl: While the original V isn't a girl (probably), Evey finds that with the cloak and mask and everything, he easily can be.
- Secret Test of Character: V puts Evey through a fake dungeon, starving her and shaving her hair to test her loyalty to the cause and her moral fiber. She passes.
- Show Within a Show: The Storm Saxon Show
- At one point in the comic, V is depicted reading the novel V. by Thomas Pynchon, one of Moore's acknowledged influences.
- The chapter titled "The Land of Do-As-You-Please is a shoutout to Enid Blyton, of all things. Specifically her Faraway Tree books.
- throughout the book, V plays various songs on his record player including "Dancing in the Street" by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas, Beethoven's 5th and "Streets of London" by Ralph Mc Tell
- He also likes to quote people, including William Shakespeare, The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Aleistar Crowley, Mark Twain, and various others
- V's book shelf is full of them
- As noted above, when a man robs a store while wearing a V mask, he yells "Anarchy in the U.K.!" before fleeing.
- Sinister Minister: Lilliman. Accessory to murder and torture, promoter of Fascism, explicitly a paedophile, and gives creepy sermons.
- Sociopathic Hero: V. Literally. Finch describes him as being a clinical psychopath.
- The Starscream: Creedy, among others.
- Sympathy for the Devil: V. Yes he is a murderer and terrorist, but his cause is a worthy cause. In fact, that particular Rolling Stones song appears in the graphic novel.
- Take That: Adam Susan is based on another 80's famous politician with the name of a girl, Ronald Reagan. And in this universe, Susan did not survive the attempt on his life that Reagan did.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Evey
- Tranquil Fury: Vengeance with a smile.
- Traumatic Haircut: Evey's torture.
- Trophy Room: The Shadow Gallery.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The comic is from the early 1980s and is set in the late 1990s.
- Unexpected Successor: "Queen Zara": in order for Zara to become queen over half the British Royal Family has to be killed off, forced to abdicate or pass up the throne. It may be a hint that Norsefire "disappeared" that many before settling on a suitable royal figurehead.
- Unreliable Narrator: As Finch points out to Susan, everything they think they know about V comes from clues (like the diary) that V deliberately gave to them, and certainly altered. Since V killed everyone at the concentration camp that ostensibly created him, we have no other witnesses - we can't even be completely sure he was ever at the camp.
- The Un-Reveal: The identity of V is now simply "V". He removes his mask a couple of times, but he's always angled so that his face is never shown. He is described as being "beautiful", at least by his doctor (though she had previously described him as ugly while at the camps, so it's possible this was a symbolic near-death change of perspective).
- He is shown to the reader from behind and in silhouette in the segment from the graphic novel where Eric reads Delia's diary, depicting a muscular man who appears to be white. This dismisses the idea that he is a woman unless Norsefire developed hormones that can change a person's bone structure. He may not even be Caucasian, as he could've had darker skin that changed colour due to the experiments or a condition like Vertilligo. In addition, Alan Moore has officially stated that V is NOT Valerie or Evey's father.
- Viking Funeral: V gets a modern take on one; laid to rest on the train that delivers his bomb to Parliament.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- V himself is a rare Anti Heroic example.
- Also, Adam Susan — he's killed more people than V, by far, and for reasons just as if not more extreme, and he's completely dumbfounded when he gets shot.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Head's computer is hacked and he is sent an anonymous love letter (from V obviously). He is affected so heavily he is turned into a Woobie for some people.
- Villain Protagonist: The only reason V skates by as a "hero" is because he's going after people much worse than he is.
- Western Terrorists: Deconstructed.
- Wham Episode: It's implied that the key formative event in the Man in Room Five's transformation into V isn't the experiments upon him, or the cruel and indifferent treatment he received from the prison camp's staff. It's the note from Valerie, which he delivers to Evey exactly as he received it himself. It has a similar effect upon her.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Army is mentioned on TV as fighting a insurgency in the north. However when martial law is declared no troops are deployed to London.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Evey's initial reaction to V's torture of her and when he kills the Bishop. She forgives him for both times, though.
- Written Sound Effect: There aren't any. Not one.
- You Are Number Six: Played straight. The camp dehumanized V to the point that nobody knew him as anything but "The Man in Room Five", so he took it as his new identity ("V", the Roman numeral for "5", was inscribed on the door to his cell). He may not even remember his original name and identity.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Absolutely. To the Nth degree. V even explicitly describes himself as a terrorist.