V for Vendetta
From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ V for Vendetta Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
V for Vendetta (1988) | Written by: Alan Moore
V for Vendetta
Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Whatup my bruthas and sistas? This week we vowin to vanquish the villainous voice of the oppressor by venerating V for Vendetta by Alan Moore.
It’s November 5th 1997 and it sho’ do suck to live in England. In the late 1980s an all-out nuclear war busted out, people started gettin’ scurred like they do, and voted in a fascist government full or racist-ass honkies called Norsefire. Ever since then, the government got errybody by the balls.
Peep 16 year old Evey Hammond, fo’ instance. Girl so cashed out dat she gotta turn tricks on the street just to get by. One night, some secret po-lice cats called “The Finger” start gettin’ rough with Evey and even bout to ghost a girl when BAM- a badass mutha rockin’ a Guy Fawkes mask jumps dem bitches and saves Evie. This true blue anarchist go by the name of V- and he keep it 100 erry day plottin to burn NorseFire to the GROUND. How real do he keep it? Well, after saving Evie, he blow up the Parliament building like he don’t give a FUCK. Then, he take her back to his Batcave, called The Shadow Galley.
Meanwhile, there be this old school detective name Finch who tryna bring the heat down on V. Dude got all the government big-wigs in his posse- including the top dawg himself-Adam Susan, who spend most of his time chillin’ with “Fate”- a computer that pretty much controls errything.
Apparently, V been HUSTLIN’ lately- mercin’ haters left n’ right: a paedo peacher-man named Lilliman, some radio jockey asshole named Prothero, and a doc named Surridge. Finch eventually realize that all these homies connected- they all used to work at a government “resettlement camp” called Larkhill where peeps got experimented on and tortured. V was one of the victims- he supposedly had a psychotic breakdown, busted shit up, and bounced on outta there. Now it looks like brutha is on a gnarly revenge grind.
Months later, V busts in to the propaganda building head up by a shyster named Dascombe, and broadcasts a message to erryone preachin that things gotta CHANGE, and they ain’t gonna unless people step up and buck the system. V pulls some sick moves escaping from the building, and Dascomb gets capped in the process.
Meanwhile, things might be lookin’ up for Evie- fo’ a little while, at least. Evie left the Shadow Gallery and is shackin’ up with this old dude name Gordon. But when her boy toy gets shanked, Evey gets fed up with this shitty world and try to strap up and serve up some street justice. But befo’ she do, girl gets GOT and thrown in the can.
While she wastin away in her solo cell, Evey finds some letters written by Valerie Page, an actress who got locked up, tortured, and eventually killed for being gay. Val went out like a real G, tho. She kept showin’ da world love and refused to give in. Evey reads dat letter over and over. Evie’s captors roll in and tell her to cooperate or die. But Evie wanna keep it clutch like Valerie did, and tells ’em where to stick it.
Thinkin she bout to get glocked, she surprised as fuck when somebody roll up and be like “You FREE girl!” Huh? Turns out dis whole prison-torture scenario was a big play put on by V who was tryna set Evey free from fear, which is da REAL prison that been keepin her down her whole life.
Anyway, while she was gone, V did some next-level hackin- fool busted in to the Fate computer system and been usin it to play mind games with Adam Susan, makin’ him slowly lose his damn mind. After a while, Finch’s boy Dominic figgers out da reason V able to ball so hard is cuz he hooked up to the fate computer.
On the next 5th of November, V goes HAM and blows da hell outta a bunch mo’ government buildings, and shit gettin’ closer to a full on revolution in da streets.
It’s gettin’ real, and Finch gotta find V and put his ass in check. Fast. So how’s he gonna find him? By dropping acid at Larkhill, and trippin BALLZ til he can see inside V’s head. DUH! Well turns out, it works- Finch’s eys open wide and he realize dat da only person or thing that can keep you down in yo’self. Then he finds V’s secret swag pad and fills him full of lead. But V survives for two reasons 1. Cuz ideas are bulletproof and 2. Cuz V’s secret identity is 50 CENT!! Naw, I’m just playin. But he still FUCKED up and eventually dies in Evey’s arms. His last words are: “You must discover whose face lies behind this mask, but you must never know my face.”
V ain’t the only hustla lyin’ in dirt tho. Adam Susan gets one in the dome, and da whole damn city start tearin’ itself apart. Afta’ some deep-ass soul searchin’, Evey figgers out V’s last riddle, and slaps dat mask on her own face. Then she tell dem angry mobs: “Look, y’all. We ain’t done. The world is yours now, and we best rebuild. Don’t fuck it up.” On her way back to the Batcave, she picks up Dominic, who bout to get his ass whooped. After dat, Evey blows up da government’s main crib on Downing Street, and V’s body with it. The graphic novel ends with Finch rollin’ solo outta da city, and da implication that Evey gonna train Dom to be the next V. Can’t kill an idea…. Amirite?
Even though dis graphic novel called V for “Vendetta,” dat V stand fo’ way mo’ than dat. Cept fo’ definite and indefinite articles, erry chapter title start with the letter V. V’s got da name-game on lock too: V, Evey, Velierie, Victoria Station. Plus, da latter V looks like the Roman numeral 5, reppin not only dat V was in Room 5 up at Larkhill, but also gives a lil nod to the FIFTH of November.
This OG is straight gangsta fo’ mo’ than just his alliterative and repetitive flow: V got mad style when he up on dat vengeance grind. When he roll up on the people dat did him dirty back at Larkhill, he don’t jus’ slap em up. He gives em a taste of they own medicine. Dude dehumanizes Prothero drivin’ his ass mad, kills Lilliman all church-style like it’s eucharist time, and uses a syringe to kill surridge, who was slangin one of dem thangs to experiment on peeps.
V’s Vendetta ain’t just ’bout stickin it to da people who fucked his shit up at Larkhill, but also burnin’ down da the ideology dat created such a twisted-ass place, and such a messed up society. In da face of a system dat got so much power dat errybody’s balls pretty much in a vice, V start preachin da opposite of authority: anarchy. Like V say:
“Authority allows two roles. The torturer and the tortured; twists people into joyless mannequins that fear and hate, while culture plunges into the abyss.”
But to V, anarchy don’t mean “no order,” it just means no leaders- instead, ERRYBODY runs da show. It’s bout YOU callin’ yo own shots, showin’ da world love, and refusin’ to give up what nobody cain’t take from ya: yo integrity.
Like Evie learn from Valierie’s letter up in dat cell, even though yo integrity is just a small thing, it’s the difference between being free and bein’ broken.
“It was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us…but within that inch we are free.”
Now one of the tightest thing bout this book is dat da relationship between Evie and V ain’t yo regular damsel in distress bullshit. It’s hella complex, which we peepin’ in da first pages of da text. We got panels juxtaposed showing em doin da same things- like Evie puttin on a dress while V puttin on his OJ gloves, and both of them lookin at they similar reflections in the mirror- cuz not only are they bound by an idea, but it foreshadowin how she gonna eventually take up da mask. V even say:
“Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer. Thus destroyers topple empires, make a canvas of clean rubble where creators then can build a better world.”
But dat ain’t to say V is all good fo’ Evie. If you get all biblical up in this hizzouse, you can peep day Evie’s name similar to Eve, and let’s not forget da dictator’s name is ADAM Susan. And how did Adam and Eve get their shit wrecked and their world turned upside down? By bein tempted by the devil! Mo’ than once, V is actually compared to, or compares himself to, the devil:
“I am the devil, and I come to do the devil’s work.”
So with all this killin and blowin’ shit up, how is V any different from the people he hatin’ on? A lotta people put V in the same crew with other do-gooder “superheros” like Green Lantern (show white one) NO NOT THAT ONE (show black one) MY MAN!
But truth is, callin V good or bad is just too simple. Matta’ fact, V often associated with Adam Susan. We got panels juxtaposing images of Susan talkin to da Fate Computer with V addressing fine-ass Madame Justice. Man, even their deaths play out similarly- both get popped, and pretty much at the same time. If you ain’t convinced yet, check how similar this shit is-
Susan actually give us the lowdown on why he do what he do and says :
“The only freedom left to my people is the freedom to starve. The freedom to die, the freedom to live in a world of chaos. Should I allow them that freedom? I think not. I think not.”
And when Evey tryna figger out why V tortured her and put her in a fake prison, he say: ‘Because I love you. Because I want to set you free.”
Both of deez playa do some HARDCORE shit to protect othas. Sayin dat V was a good dude or a bad dude is just too simplistic. Yeah, V was an idea- but he was also a human being, which means we cain’t just slap a label on him. Like V himself say, we all got somethin’ special goin on inside us:
“Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody…Everybody has their story to tell.” (1.3.26)