Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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V for Very Close

Among comic book fans V for Vendetta is considered a seminal work. It is a literary comic in the strictest sense of the word, playing out like a Victorian novel with a great number of rich allusions to masterful writers of the past. The story is both serious and complete, with the concrete ending that so many serials elude in pursuit of continued revenue streams. The art is excellent, distinctly of the comic world but with nods to realism and at times almost painterly. The plot could not be more relevant in our day and age, a lone terrorist wages a long war against a totalitarian government in pursuit of freedom. It is not a coincidence that a movie version will soon be released.

I went into V with high interest, if not expectations. It's not that I expected it to be bad, but for some reason it had never struck me as something I particularly wanted to read. The subject matter appealed to me, but in an intellectual rather than visceral way. Likewise I appreciate the art, but I don't think I like it. Something about the expressions on the faces rubs me the wrong way.

In the end I came away from V impressed with the ideas and style of the thing while not particularly liking it. There were too many odd plot holes, the characters lacked organic motivations, instead doing what was required of them to advance the story. The ending was hyperbolic and in many ways silly, with plenty of threads left untied and many tied too neatly. In the end the political aspect is pushed aside to make way for style, and it lacks the coherence and depth required of a masterpiece. Instead it feels immature, not in a comic book fascination with muscles and boobs and explosions way, but in the way of a young master-to-be not yet fully in charge of all his faculties. It is the sort of thing young artists in all media do right before they hit their prime and begin to create the things that really matter.

Is V. worth reading? Yes, especially in this day and age, but it is not an artistic masterpiece. It aims high, and comes close, but in the end its wings cannot sustain it and it falls like Icarus into the sea. Nice ride while it's up there though.
Tags: comics, reviews
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