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Comic Book / V for Vendetta

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Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

V for Vendetta is a comic by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Starting in March, 1982, it originally ran in a British anthology comic called Warrior, and later in its own ten issue 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.

It's the late 1990s in an Alternate History, and Britain is ruled by the Norsefire Party, a Christofascist government headed by "the Leader", Adam Susan, that came into power after World War III broke out in 1988, during which the United Kingdom avoided getting hit by any nuclear weapons, apparently the only European nation to do so. Cameras are on every corner, surveillance vans roam the streets, and the government has long since rounded up any deviants or undesirable citizens that would otherwise taint the purity of Britain.


On November 5th, 1997, a young woman named Evey Hammond, with a job that pays too little to live on and no prospect of anything better, goes out after curfew to try her hand at prostitution. A run-in with a few rapist policemen is interrupted by a mysterious man in a Guy Fawkes mask, a man who kills several of the policemen and takes Evey to a nearby rooftop, giving her a spectacular view of his next act: blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

He later brings Evey to his Elaborate Underground Base, where he introduces himself as V. Though frightened by the man at first, Evey decides to join in his campaign against the ruling powers of Britain, one that quickly spirals from a few acts of destruction into something that threatens to plunge the entire country into anarchy - which is, of course, exactly what V wants.


Also featured in the story are several government officials and the people that surround them, and how the acts perpetrated by V affect their professional and personal lives. The regular citizens of Britain are also featured, for what V does to those in power affects them as well, directly or otherwise.

As noted by David Lloyd in his foreword in the collected edition, this is a story for people who don't switch off the news.

A film adaptation was released in 2006 with reasonably good reviews and box office success, though Moore, as with all other film adaptations of his works, publicly disowned it and asked to have his name removed from the credits. The BBC announced they were working on another adaptation in 2017, but little has been heard from it since. It has been confirmed that the third season of the Epix show Pennyworth will adapt elements of the comic and act as a prequel, featuring predecessors to V and showing how the show's British Civil War will lead to the rise of the Norsefire government.

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."
    • Minor subversion, as Evey was about to shoot Alistair Harper for murdering her lover before she was captured by a disguised V.
  • 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.''
  • After the End: Specifically, a nuclear war in 1988. While the state of the world as a whole is never directly addressed, Europe and Africa in particular are said to be "gone". Given that Africa contains little or nothing of interest to a nuclear power's targeteers, it may be surmised that the war's aftereffects have ravaged the world even more thoroughly than the weapons themselves must have.
  • 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.
  • Alliterative Title
  • 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 an Unscrupulous Hero or an Anti-Villain, depending on how much you agree with his pro-anarchy rant.
  • Anti-Villain
    • 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.
  • 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. Also at the hands of Liliman, but he didn't get as far.
  • Author Appeal: Alan Moore has long been identified as a sympathizer of Anarchism. It shows here.
  • 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 more positive, constructive version of anarchy.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Colin Clarke serves as a dark example in the "Intermission" story "Vertigo". A cruel Fingerman who takes out his personal problems on a random citizen where he can come up with an excuse, it's revealed when V puts him through the same deadly "walk around the building" trial that he, Colin, is himself a military veteran and draws on his experience to actually have a good chance of surviving which it's implied — this is the last we see of the story — didn't prepare him for a banana peel being in the way.
  • 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 guiding the future society as the new V, and implies that she will train a successor of her own.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: 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. Especially since it's a vigilante terrorist vs a tyrannical dictatorship.
  • Book Ends: V kidnaps someone (to save them from a gang/mob).
  • Boom, Headshot!: Rose gives one of these to Adam Susan.
  • 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.
  • 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 in her leg. Also Ruth, Valerie's lover, who committed suicide out of regret for having betrayed Valerie under torture. According to Finch, this was the fate of most of Britain's LGBT people.
  • Byronic Hero: V.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Writ large for the country. Norsefire came to power blaming the lack of recovery on undesirables: minorities, the elderly, the mentally handicapped and LGBT people. The population accepted this as when the government began their purge most people did nothing. They weren't really English so who cares. This is best exemplified in a rioters inner monologue who is furious the government publicly executed an English looter "like some Paki."
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: The idealized Aryan hero Storm Saxon from the show-within-a-comic.
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe example: Adam Susan for the government computer system, FATE. The idea that FATE could ever return Susan's affections is part of what drives Susan insane.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Uhhh... is the Head masturbating to his computer? Physically, yes, but he really is masturbating to England herself. So he's lying back and thinking of England?
  • Celibate Hero: V, more than likely, chooses to be celibate. His sexual preference, if he has any, is anyone's guess.
  • Classical Music Is Cool: V keeps a room full of rare high culture artifacts in his Elaborate Underground Base, including many recordings of classical music, which he deeply appreciates. Evey, who has never heard such a thing, is overawed.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: V.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: From both sides, although opinions vary on whether V was justified with his.
  • Cope by Creating: Subverted. Delia Surridge thought that the Man In Room Five's making strange intricate patterns on the floor of his cell with fertilizer and grease solvent was just him trying to cope with the trauma of his experiments through art. In reality, he was using the various chemicals to create gunpowder, napalm, and mustard gas for his eventual escape.
  • 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.
  • Create Your Own Hero/Villain: Moral ambiguity aside, the constant is that V was born from the inhuman experimentation conducted in Larkhill.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Happens to the show Storm Saxon by V comparing it to the surveillance footage of rioting England: "Sometimes I miss Storm Saxon. The dialogue was 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 communique; over BTN's network.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: As a part of the Thanatos Gambit.
  • The Dragon: Almond functions as this throughout the first chapter. Harper eventually serves as this to Helen, being a Dragon with an Agenda to Creedy.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Richard Almond's "hobby" of terrorizing his wife with an unload revolver comes back to bite him in the ass when he runs into V. He pulls his gun, only to realize too late that he forgot to load the bullets into it. V promptly kills him.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Averted with Evey having the chance to unmask V, but deciding that 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.
  • 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.
  • Epiphany Therapy:
    • Evey has this after she's realised that it was V making her think she was in prison, but it's done so harrowingly that it's justified.
    • Finch has one when, during an LSD trip to get inside V's mind, he experiences himself suffering V's Larkhill trauma, and realizes that no one's been keeping him in his "prison" of a job except himself.
  • Evil Overlord: Susan was arguably a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but his prejudices and 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.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A subdued one, but near the start Mr Susan hears Finch's theory that V was killing everyone who knew his past, just to cover it up and get to the main part of his plan. He initially dismissed the idea that someone would create a pile of corpses just to cover something up...and then realises what he and his people have done over the years. And that V might be more of a problem that he supposed.
  • Expressive Mask: V's mask never moves, but it still manages to convey emotion through shadow and angles.
  • Fan Disservice: Evey strips her remaining clothes off when she's standing on top of the building in the rain, after she's had her Epiphany Therapy, but she's so skinny and traumatised that she looks like a camp victim — which is, of course, kind of what she is.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: The Norsefire Government, as it's supporters point out the Norsefire dictatorship "stabilized" a post-war England. However, they utterly failed to progress past that. When the story begins, there are massive shortages and substantial rationing; with propaganda suggesting by 1998 some limited rationing will be released(it wont.) Furthermore, the fact that there is a thriving black market means other countries and their economies have recovered enough to export. Lastly, having actually completed their purge of "undesirables" the government lack a boogeyman to pin all of their ineptitude on. As a result, they have to constantly invent enemies and take increasingly repressive acts to remain in power. Frankly some in the government actually seem relieved when V begins his campaign.
  • Fictional Political Party: Norsefire. They came to power after a Labour Party government replacing Thatcher withdrew from NATO and caused the Cold War to go hot, 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:
    Mook: Cor, that's smashin' that is, Dennis. Guz down a treat. Drop out o'the Bishop's private stock, izzit?
  • Future Society, Present Values: was first published in the 80s and depicted a dystopian future in which homosexuality was outlawed and most of Britain's LGBT people were persecuted in death camps. This kind of thing still felt plausible in the 2000s when the film adaptation was made, but in The New '10s, acceptance for LGBT people got a massive amount of traction - making it come across as rather fantastical from a modern perspective that the public would accept such a thing.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Two cases, before the war, Susan was nothing more than a police chief constable. In the upheaval that follows, he takes the opportunity to form Norsefire, take over England, successfully carry out a genocide of various undesirables, and rule the country with an iron fist for several years. His genocide creates the second instance of this trope, turning another nobody slated to die in his camp into the vengeful anarchist V.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
    • Rosemary.
    • 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.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Norsefire maintains at least one seemingly Christian church. However, it blatantly contradicts the teachings and edicts of God/the Bible and seems to be maintained only for cynical nationalist reasons. To name a few, the hymn seen endorse "one race", contradicting the great commission from Jesus: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:19. It's run by Sinister Minister Liliman (see below) who refers to God and the supercomputer FATE interchangeably, while blatantly stating his sermon was what the computer wanted him to say and the implied fate of non-white Christians under the Norsefire regime.
  • 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter begins with the letter V.
  • Illegal Religion: All religions outside of what the Norsefire version of Christianity have been made illegal.
  • 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 Himwith the still-not-loaded gun.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • 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.
      • The government might have been more sympathetic had it been up to them, but V puts preparing his 'most special rose' before assuaging a widow's grief.
    • 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.
  • Lady Macbeth: Helen Heyer. 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 Christian rite (though Lilliman's lifestyle was practicing many things Christian teachings oppose). The cyanide-laced communion wafer is horrifying to the clergyman because his 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.note  However...
      Finch: When it reached his abdomen, it was still cyanide.
    • 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.
    • Delia also talks about the Milgram Experiment, in which test subjects obeyed orders from white-coated lab technicians to shock another person, which they believed was up to the point of death (in reality it was just an actor pretending) and speculates sadly that there is something inherently wrong with human beings to help explain her crimes. Also, notice V did not show Delia Valerie's letter, the Fling a Light into the Future that saved V and Evey from desperation. No redemption for you Delia!
    • Susan knows he is oppressing his people, but he is doing it to ensure their survival. When he realises his infatuation 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.
    • Once everything falls apart at the end of the story Helen Hayer finds herself trapped in a world where she can no longer manipulate anyone, whether because the people are too strong willed or just so disinterested in her that they can't be bothered to do her bidding and just ignore her while she cries and screams in impotent rage.
  • 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's 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 gunpowder, 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: Class H offenses are crimes where punishment is at the sole discretion of the detaining officer. Under normal circumstances, this means it's a minor crime and it's up to the officer on the street to decide if it's worth prosecuting at all. However, the exact wording of the definition means that a sufficiently sadistic person can take it as a license to punish the perpetrator in any way they see fit. Given the kind of people that go into the Fingermen, that interpretation is used freely.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Evie wonders if V is going to reveal that he is her father. He says he isn’t.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Some of Norsefire, but notable examples are Roger Dascombe and Helen Heyer.
  • 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.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: While there is no shortage of violent men in the series, the most prominent being Derek Almond and Allistair Harper, Helen Heyer who is just as ruthless and scheming as the men she acquaints with only uses her connections to influence the events towards her own ends.
  • Monochrome Casting: Every character in the graphic novel (except for some people in flashbacks or hallucinations) is Caucasian; a stereotypical black Funetik Aksent is depicted in the in-universe series Storm Saxon, but it's anyone's guess who's playing them. 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.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Finch has said more than once, to Adam Susan's face, that he disapproves of the Norsefire party. When we see him do so, Susan notes that it's only because Finch is so good at his job, leading the Norsefire regime's security forces, that he is still alive.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Evie wonders why V has never tried to sleep with her, and says that maybe he doesn't fancy girls. But if that's the case, "there's nothing wrong with that."
  • 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, meaning that they can no longer maintain the illusion to the public that Fate itself has an actual voice, seeding a subtle sense of distrust towards the government in them.
  • Passing the Torch: Evey becomes V.
  • Pervy Patdown: Alistair Harper discusses an instance of Offscreen Villainy in which he arrested a married couple, beat up the husband, then performed a strip-search of the woman and took the opportunity to feel her up.
  • 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 engage in this as a matter of course.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: The titular character from the Story Within a Story show "Storm Saxon". Intended in-universe as the show is racist propaganda against black people; it's premise is like the racist movie The Birth of a Nation, except a British TV show instead of a US movie.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Norsefire. All of Norsefire. It comes with the territory.
  • 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.
  • Prefers the True Form: When V visits the doctor who helped in his torture years prior but now lives as The Atoner, she calls him beautiful when he removes his mask.
  • Psycho Serum: The testing V endures while at Larkhill, drives him a little insane.
  • 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.
  • "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 Identity Apathy: Evey has the opportunity to unmask the dead V. However, after fantasizing various faces of who is under the mask, including her father, Evey decides that even if he were her father, that would still not be worth diminishing what V stood for and so decides never to learn the literal truth.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out
    • 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 McTell
    • He also likes to quote people, including William Shakespeare, The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Aleister Crowley, Mark Twain, and various others
    • V's book shelf is full of them
    • The Storm Saxon Show is essentially a racist Expy of Dan Dare.
  • Show Within a Show: The Storm Saxon Show
  • 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 Spook: Finch discuss this trope with Susan. V had killed Larkhill personnel that tortured him. The interesting part is that the only proof the government has of that story is the documents V had left for them to find. What if this is just a smokescreen? What if this was done not as a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but to erase all proof of Vs past? What if this is only the beginning of something more great? How can they hope to stop him?
  • Starbucks Skin Scale: Finch hallucinates victims of a concentration camp and makes the analogy as he states he misses the diversity England once had.
  • The Starscream: Creedy, among others. Par for course with a fascist regime.
  • Sub-Par Supremacist: The more racist a character is, the more defective they are.
    • At the lower end of the spectrum, Bunny Etheridge and Conrad Heyer are government tools with poor nerves.
    • Toward the middle, Richard Almond's bullying behavior and Louis Prothero's boorishness are masks for Almond's impotence and Prothero's cowardice.
    • And at the top, Adam Susan is both a vile racist and an imbecilic manchild, barely able to function without his computer system to tell him what to do.
  • Suicide by Cop: It certainly appears that this was V's ultimate fate. He's behind Finch, but waits until Finch turns and sees him before attacking, and Finch simultaneously shoots at him. Later on Finch wonders why V would do that, since he moves like "greased lightning" and could easily have taken Finch down before Finch even knew he was there.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: V. Yes he is a murderer and terrorist, but his cause is a worthy cause. In fact, that particular The 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.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Strongly implied that part of V's Batman Gambit with regard to Mr. Finch was to let himself be found at Victoria Station, so Finch could shoot him in the stomach and kill him. Finch notes that V appeared behind him and didn't even attempt to kill him. It's possible that at the culmination of his plan, V decided that his work was done and that dying would help keep the flame of anarchy alive in Britain in the form of Eve and her protegé.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Evey
  • Trail of Blood: Evey follows one to find V.
  • Tranquil Fury: Vengeance with a smile.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Evey's torture.
  • Trophy Room: The Shadow Gallery.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The comic is from the early 1980s and is set in the late 1990s.
  • Twisted Eucharist: V confronts Bishop Anthony Lilliman, who at the Larkhill concentration camp had stood by and watched V being given the serum that drove him mad. V presents him with a communion wafer and asks him if it's true that it becomes the body of Christ when ingested. The bishop confirms this, whereupon V has him swallow the wafer, which he'd laced with cyanide. "And you know what?" says detective Eric Finch afterward. "When it reached his abdomen, it was still cyanide."
  • Unexpected Successor: "Queen Zara": At time of printing, Zara Phillips was 7th in the British Royal Family line of succession (and the youngest, being born in 1981). Either the others died in the war and related chaos, or 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 - the government can't even be completely sure he was ever at the camp. (Unless V lied about its origins or faked it, both of which seem unlikely, Valerie's letter suggests that he was indeed the man in room 5 — but only Evey and the readers ever get to see that particular piece of evidence.)
  • 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).
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Early in the series, Finch says that in order to crack the V case he'll have to "get inside his mind [and] think what he thinks." Eventually, he does just that by visiting what's left of the Larkhill camp and taking LSD. As a result, not only does he deduce where V's hideout is located; he ultimately comes to sympathize with V's view of the Norsefire regime, though not V's tactics, and ends up quitting his job.
  • Viking Funeral: V gets a modern take on one; laid to rest on the train that delivers his bomb to Parliament.
  • Villainous Breakdown: FATE is hacked and used to send Susan an anonymous love letter (from V obviously). He is affected so heavily he is turned into a Woobie for some people.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
  • 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.
  • 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 an insurgency in Scotland. 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.
  • Withholding Their Name: V underwent a Meaningful Rename, where they discarded their old name/identity to become a symbol of revolution. When asked, V states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V."
  • Written Sound Effect: Most comic books have at least some, but here it's an Averted Trope. There aren't any. Not one.
  • You Are Number 6: 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.

England prevails.