V For Vendetta
Movie Novelisation

Author: Steve Moore
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 1 4165 1699 9
Available 06 March 2006

The world has changed. In response to biological terrorist attacks and a fear fuelled by the media the population loses its nerve and elects a right wing party to power, a party that quickly transforms a devastated and demoralised England to a fascist dictatorship. One man, V arises to challenge the absolute power of the state and enact a personal act of vengeance. When V saves Evey from being raped and killed both their futures are altered...

V for Vendetta, by Steve Moore, is the novelisation of the film which, itself, is based on the late eighties graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Alan Moore is an astounding talent, who has led the vanguard in bringing comics to a more mature audience; many of his graphic novels have been turned into films including Constantine, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. Unfortunately, his Watchman graphic novel has been languishing in production hell for far too long. Steve Moore is no stranger to comics either having penned more than I'm sure he would like to remember.

V for Vendetta tells the story of an enigmatic anarchist with a penchant for Guy Fawkes masks. Throughout the book his identity is never revealed, this enables him to remain a symbol, rather than a person. In the end of the book Evey rightly identifies him as the embodiment of everyone, making what he stood for more important than the mask that he wore. Although, the name V for Vendetta is an obvious play on the old World War Two poster V for Victory and had been used previously in its more literal form in V The Series, throughout the book it stands for many things. It is the first letter of the name of the authoress of the letter that Evey finds in her cell, it's the Roman numeral for five which adorns V's own cell where he is medically experimented on, it stands for vengeance, violence and vendetta.

Whilst, both the book and the film keep the core of Moore's original graphic novel, many of the subplots have been removed and the ending totally changed. The graphic novel starts with the destruction of the Houses of Parliament and ends with V's funeral train blowing up Downing Street. I presume that this was changed for an international audience who would be aware of what Parliament looked like and would have no idea of the significance of the unassuming front door of number ten.

Although it would be difficult to completely make a hash of a novelisation based on such strong material, I've seen it done. Thankfully Steve Moore does a great job at bringing out all the dark ambience of a Britain under a fascist dictator. Descriptive passages are brooding; full of menace and it is easy to see why, at the beginning of the novel, Evey's spirit has been crushed and cowed by circumstance. It is only through meeting V and the transformation which V brings about is she able to drop her mask of fear behind which she had hidden.

The prose style which Steve Moore utilises, virtually drags the reader through the plot twists as the police attempt to uncover V's secret identity uncovers a much darker secret at the heart of the new regime. The finished novel is a veritable page turner and a good story in its own right.

Charles Packer

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