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Dark and humourless, V for Vendetta is a sometimes wordy comic book that keeps on gabbing. I found myself trying not to skip some of the more verbose panels. Par for the course in Alan Moore's work, it does include superb character development.
It doesn't help that David Lloyd's expressionistic art is low key with a very atmospheric style and minimalist colour. It does get occasionally confusing and it feels cluttered in some passages with the aforementioned wordiness competing for space. You may have trouble telling some characters apart.
The original run was ten issues of 30 pages each; it feels as if the story could easily fit in eight or seven issues without losing much.
I actually read V For Vendetta back when it was first issued in my country in the early 90's.
The story itself is not very subtle about being a Nazi Germany rip-off but somehow, and this is where the writers showed their genius, it just... works wonders.
The premises are particularly well-rendered with David Lloyd's art and his smooth shading that underlines the darkness of the novel's universe. Suspense and tension can be cut through with a knife and it's amazing just how the main plot and sub-plots carry each other to fruition. It's really worth noting how the world V created for himself in the Shadow Gallery brims with dark poetry and ironic beauty, the same way he kills most of his chosen victims. V is also the only case I know of a heroic, Warrior Poet-like, Monster Clown. All of this explodes in a terrific finale and a hopeful conclusion that leaves many questions unanswered nonetheless.
As for the film now, it was expectedly disappointing. First off, the whole overhauling of the plot was disastrous and made the movie into a big cliché-driven mess. Second, Character Derailment, ahoy. Cutting off Rosemary and Helen Heyer, the two most powerful female characters after Evey, irritated me to no end since, as a female viewer, I'd really like to stop being reminded that Most Writers Are Male and I'm only a periphery demographic of any given non-Chick Flick film. Additionally, making Gordon Dietrich a Gay guy just didn't work, plus it could pass off as some gross pandering. And really, expanding the role of Creedy into some kind of stock Big Bad Wannabe was unnecessary. Third, the choice of actors was really not that judicious. Yes, Natalie Portman can act but, as Evey, she really didn't convince me.
To finish on a lighter note, I do understand that many people might have liked the film if they never read the book before. But, as is often the case, the original novel is way superior to the film.
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