Thursday, March 09, 2006

"V for Vendetta" - Alan Moore and David Lloyd

So I dug out my old copy of this comic in preparation for the impending Wachowski Brothers' movie. Rereading it reminded how little respect I have for Alan Moore and how bad that movie's going to be.

For those not in the know, "V for Vendetta" details the exploits of a Guy Fawkes masked vigilante wreaking havoc across a post-nuke holocaust fascist England. In the days after the war the England's nazis came out from under their beds and began rounding up the blacks, Pakistanis, gays and leftists and put them in concentration camps. In some camps horrible experiments were undertaken and one of the victims escaped and is now seeking his personal as well as societal revenge.

There's more stuff - a rescued teen girl taught about freedom, a cop who feels deep guilt over what England's become and various fascist functionaries. Unfortunately it's undercut by the childish politics undelying the book that might as well have been written with crayons on looseleaf paper.

I'm not annoyed with the political sympathies of the books (even though they're not mine), but with their facileness. There might have been a lot to be said about Margaret Thatcher but she sure was no nazi. We're told the main thing people should've done before the war was prevent the deployment of missles in England (a big issue in the early 80's and one that's been shown to have been a big element in the collapse of the Soviet Union). A country that laughed at Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists in the thirties is depicted as a nation just waiting to slip on the nazi bridle when things get hard.
There's just lots of trite crap. When the cop rhapsodizes about the his love of the varied skin colors of the murdered blacks and Asians and the long lost gay pride parades I dare you not to laugh. Comics ain't always subtle, in fact their lack of subtlety's often one of their selling points to me, but criminey this book's dopey.

Simply taking on the cloak of politics doesn't mean you've got the brains or talent to make anything interesting out of it and "V's" the proof. I have lots of problems with "Watchmen" but it's a vast improvement over this overblown piece of subpar agitprop (yeah, think about that prospect for a moment).

Beyond all that stuff the book's just dull. Too much psychobabble claptrap between V and Evey and nothing happening that's attention holding. The art's sort of crappy and the story's blah. When I finished it I put in on the growing pile of stuff I'm planning to dump at a yard sale this spring.

Since Matrix II had lots of crappy bits and Matrix III is an utter laughable abomination I don't hold out much hope for "V for Vendetta" as movie. I'm really expecting a stinking pile of garbage.


PDarcy said...

Now, you see I did the same thing about a month ago. You and I have very different opinions about Alan Moore (I have nothing BUT respect for his work), however, I'll agree that this is not his strongest work.

I tend to look at the story as a post apokolipse "Robin Hood". Steal from the government and give to the people. V was initially serialized and then discontinued and eventually restarted several years later. This is evident when you read it as it kind of drags in the middle.

The story works for me. If you don't focus on the politics of it and instead think of it as a Revenge Story, it works. One (crazy) man can make a difference.

I'd be interested to hear about your problems with Watchmen. I just bought the Absolute edition (an oversized Hardcover slipcase) and reread it for the first time in 15-20 years. I really enjoyed it. As a comic, its just so well technically conceived.

The Wasp said...

My problem Moore arise from his magpie like swiping of whole story ideas from other places and then neither he nor his fans ever admitting it. "Halo Jones" is a poor rip of Joe Haldeman's "Forever War" and Paul Y. can show panels in "Watchmen" taken straight from a book called "Nexus" and Ozymandias' plot is from the Outer Limits (or is it the Twilight Zone - I can't remember which right now).
"League" is at least gorgeous at times but ultimately thin gruel with little going for it (but dang did I want to love it). And it's a pastiche of type thats been done before.

I see your interpretation but I don't think it's what Moore and Lloyd were going for. I think it was a simple diatribe against Thatcherism and the belief that nazis were in the collective British cellar just waiting to slip their leashes.