V for Vendetta (the book)

V for VendettaV for Vendetta, masterfully written by comics genius Alan Moore and moodily illustrated by David Lloyd, was originally published as a ten part mini-series completed in 1990. Fortunately, most of Moore’s dire predictions about its now outdated setting of a 1998 post-Apocalyptic Britain under fascist rule have not come to pass (like the limited nuclear war that obliterated most of the other world powers). Still, this Orwellian vision of a xenophobic, homophobic and intolerantly “Christian” nation seems to be the ultimate goal of those in our own country who desperately (and angrily) long for an America made “great” again.

Thankfully, Alan Moore offers his readers a cure for the type of social disease spread by such divisive hatemongers.

Anarchy from the U.K.
It is the tale of the mysterious V, who haunts the pages of this book masquerading as Guy Fawkes, who was part of a thwarted 1605 plot to blow up Parliament. The anniversary of Fawkes’ failure has since then been commemorated with annual bonfires, fireworks and a poem recited by V at the beginning of the book:


V picks up where his predecessor left off, almost single-handedly bringing down the State using extraordinary physical and mental abilities gained through experiments performed on him while in a government concentration camp.

His mission is to replace fascism with anarchy—not in its commonly accepted meaning of “chaos,” but in the form of the political ideology also known as anarchism. This philosophy considers the State undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, seeking to diminish or even abolish all forms of coercive authority in the conduct of human relations. The idea was eloquently expressed by British native and American Founding Father Thomas Paine in his Revolution-inspiring Common Sense:

Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver . . .

The State vs. V
V gives an equally eloquent defense of a stateless existence in an imaginary conversation he has on the roof of London’s Old Bailey, where he explains why he’s abandoned Justice for Anarchy. It is one of the greatest monologues in graphic literature (despite some of the misogynistic terminology V uses).

[You can read this entire scene here.]

To make the case for anarchy to the British people, V addresses the nation via the State’s own pirated airwaves, delivering a stinging indictment of political apathy and a rousing appeal for personal responsibility. While traditional superhero comic books teach lessons in learned helplessness in which humanity can only be saved through the divine intervention of super-powered beings, V places the blame for his country’s troubles on the voters who are so eager to put their lives in the hands of others.

[You can read this entire scene here.]

V acts as a Robin Hood for the new millennium, redistributing the only wealth of importance in the Information Age. Knowledge is not only power, it is freedom. As people become self-aware, they become self-reliant, and soon they become unwilling to prostrate themselves before the trappings of authority.

Note Unfortunately, the 2006 film based on the book ultimately dumbed down this message for a more mainstream audience.

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