V for Vendetta, Part III

The second book in the graphic novel V for Vendetta, entitled “This Vicious Cabaret,” sees the dynamic relationship between V and his vigilante successor, Evey, as the two transition toward a partnership that will leave Evey to continue the masked hero’s work after he is gone.

As Evey begins to take on more of V’s vigilante spirit and mentality, the author shows us that though readers might actually be reflected in the novel through Evey, a character with dynamic potential who starts off as weak and naïve, the main draw for a reader is to see themselves reflected in the hero.

As with most graphic novels, V is a masked hero with a mysterious and complex past. Jordana Greenblatt wrote about this feature across multiple comic book narratives in her article for Image TexT called “I for Integrity: (Inter)Subjectivities in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight.” She specifically uses these two titles as examples because the writers are often credited with popularizing the mainstream comics industry as we know it today.

In both cases, she notes that “the child performs a critical role as the intersubjective partner who enables a hero to come to be.” In V for Vendetta, this agent, of course, is Evey, although her role is as an eventual equal who will take on the role of the hero through peer mentorship. Throughout the text, she is pushed to embody V’s ideas in herself rather than supporting V’s objectives through his actions and his actions only, as is the case with other superhero sidekicks.

In this process, Evey has her own psychological and physical change to become V. Like V’s mask hides is identity and allows the reader to see themselves in his ambiguous features, Evey’s shaved head and “move toward androgyny” allows her to become more of an identifiable character.

Later in the series, the idea that readers would want to see themselves in V is reinforced when he dies. “As Evey determines after V’s death, she cannot remove his mask, because no matter whose face she sees, it could not be equal to the transcendent that he represents,” Greenblatt explains. “The subject must literally be no one in order to be accessible to everyone.”

This is also demonstrated in the film version at the conclusion when the streets of London become filled with citizens in V’s attire. V is reflected in everyone, and readers want to envision that for themselves. And why wouldn’t they? V is strong-willed, independent, mysterious and powerful. He stands for justice against the social pressures of the institutions pushing for ideological hegemony.

The humor website Cracked.com created a video commentary looking into several films  that use the same static main character formula (at least by physical appearances) to draw audiences. A large portion of the discussion relates this idea to The Matrix trilogy, which was also written by the same pair that adapted Moore’s graphic novel into a screenplay.

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