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Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November,
V for Vendetta is a comic by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Starting in March, 1982, it ran for 10 issues, originally in a British anthology comic called Warrior, and later in its own comic published by DC. It features several of Alan Moore's trademarks: Anarchy portrayed as a positive force, mixing fiction and historical fact and large amounts of cynicism.
The title character is V, a government experiment Gone Horribly Wrong. Armed with extraordinary strength, intellect and reflexes, along with some home-made high explosives, he escapes from the facility that created him and sets about committing terrorist attacks against the fascist government of Britain. He is The Faceless throughout the comic, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask in order to conceal his true identity. The fact that Guy Fawkes was arrested for trying to blow up the king has something to do with it, of course.
Evey Hammond is rescued from rapist policemen by V, and this act of kindness starts the comic. She is taken to his Elaborate Underground Base, and, although scared by V at first, she decides to join his campaign to bring down the Government, replacing it with an anarchist society.
It was adapted into a film in 2006 with Hugo Weaving as V and Natalie Portman as Evey. Where the original comic was influenced by Alan Moore's fears of Thatcherite Britain becoming a repressive dictatorship, the film owes more to critics of the second Bush administration.
This comic and its film adaptation provide examples of:
- Actor Allusion:
- Stephen Fry plays an erudite gay man in the entertainment industry, which he is.
- John Hurt in a movie about a totalitarian London?
- Notably, Hurt's presence is a sort of inversion. In the 1984 version of...well, 1984, John was portraying the protagonist, Winston Smith, and thus was a victim of the totalitarian government. In the film version of V For Vendetta, meanwhile, he portrays High Chancellor Adam Sutler, and thus became the leader of such a government.
- Actual Pacifist: Evey refuses to help V when she realises he's murdering people, and at the end she says of the rioting Londoners "I won't help them kill. But I will help them build."
- Added Alliterative Appeal: In the film, V's opening monologue to Evey involves 50 words that begin with V.
- "Voilà! In View, a humble Vaudevillian Veteran, cast Vicariously as both Victim and Villain by the Vicissitudes of fate. This Visage, no mere Veneer of Vanity, is a Vestige of the Vox populi, now Vacant, Vanished. However, this Valorous Visitation of a bygone Vexation stands Vivified, and has Vowed to Vanquish these Venal and Virulent Vermin Vanguarding Vice and Vouchsafing the Violently Vicious and Voracious Violation of Volition! The only Verdict is Vengeance; a Vendetta held as a Votive, not in Vain, for the Value and Veracity of such shall one day Vindicate the Vigilant and the Virtuous. Verily, this Vichyssoise of Verbiage Veers most Verbose, so let me simply add that it's my Very good honour to meet you and you may call me V."
- In the comic, after Finch takes acid he comes up with:
- Vaulting, veering, vomiting up the values that victimized me, feeling vast, feeling virginal... was this how he felt? This verve, this vitality... this vision... La voie... la vérité... la vie.
- "Vi veri veniversum vivus vici".
- After the End: At least according to the Government.
- In the graphic novel, this is actually the case as nuclear war has destroyed everything but the British Isles.
- Age-Inappropriate Dress: Evey's prostitute outfit.
- All There in the Manual: The musical interlude, This Vicious Cabaret, pretty much outlines all of V's plans, but the initial reading makes it look like a summary of the preceding chapters.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Some contemporary reviewers find the idea of "concentration camps" for homosexuals etc. to be sort of an invocation of Godwin's Law by comparing Thatcher's England to Nazi Germany. However, in the early 1980s Margaret Thatcher did indeed make the suggestion, as a public health policy, that all gay men should be put into quarantine in closed institutions as a strategy to stop the spread of HIV infections. Alan Moore's Word of God says this aspect of the dystopia was a direct commentary on the implications of such proposals. It should also be noted it was Christopher Monckton, one of Thatcher's advisors, who was really proposing the AIDS quarantine, not so much Thatcher herself. The idea never took off.
- Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted.
- Anti-Hero: V.
- Anti-Villain: Again, V.
- And Finch.
- Adam Susan has some of this, as well, but not his movie counterpart, Adam Sutler.
- Anti-Villainous Willpower: V manages to hold off on any penalty to attack or agility for what looks like several minutes after being pumped full of bullets that penetrated a metal chestplate in at least two dozen places (movie only). Since the entire scene is in slow-motion, it's probably only about thirty seconds, but that's still more than most people would be likely to manage.
- Ten fingermen, all armed with Beretta Inoxes with 15 round magazines, and Creedy with his magnum, emptied their magazines into him... he took at least a hundred-fifty bullets and still managed to kill them all.
- Apocalypse How: Type 1 in the book, Type 0 in the movie.
- Arc Words: The repeated V/Five motif. The roses. The poem.
- Attempted Rape: In both versions, V meets Evey when he saves her from a police gang-rape.
- Audible Sharpness: whenever V breaks out his knives expect lots of "cutting the air" noises. In V's grand battle they even have visible sharpness.
- Averted in the graphic novel due to lack of sound effects entirely.
- Author Filibuster: The reality is a bit more complicated. As Alan Moore himself says: "The central question is, is this guy right or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this?" Given that V's terrorist actions are hardly whitewashed or excused, one can easily make the argument that the true hero of the piece is Evey who looks to be forging a middle ground between Norsefire's order and V's chaos.
- The film version is complicated in a different way. There's still technically the question of is this right or is this mad, but the film really really wants you to cheer on the anarchists. In the montage, as narrated by Mr. Finch, where V's plan involving the masks and the train cars is coming to fruition, a quick exchange takes place as such:
Mr. Finch: This is what he wants.
- Badass Long Hair: V. Although it's hard to tell if it's a wig.
- Badass Long Robe
- Badass Boast: "My turn."
- Batman Gambit: V's entire plan.
- Beard of Evil: Invoked by V's mask.
- Becoming the Mask
- Big Bad: Adam Susan.
- Bittersweet Ending: Britain is free of the Dictatorship that had been ruling the country, but V lost his life in the process, and we don't know how well Britain will be able to take care of itself without a government in charge..
- Black Market Produce: In the film, on Evey's first morning in the Shadow Gallery, she is given toast with her breakfast and is astonished to find real butter. V explains that he stole it from the Chancellor's supplies.
- Blown Across the Room: V does this to two of Creedy's guards with thrown knives in the film's climax.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: V, though he certainly has some goals beyond simply blowing stuff up. The comic could in some ways be considered a Deconstruction of this trope.
- Body Horror: The descriptions of what happened to the people tested are enough to make you want to smack the lead scientist, Delia Surridge, but MAYBE not kill her.
- Book Ends: V kidnaps someone.
- In the movie, The 1812 Overture.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted. V even mentions he'll kill all the guards before they have time to reload.
- Break the Cutie: V does this to Evey. It leads her to a Heroic Blue Screen of Death and after she reboots she Took a Level In Badass.
- Break Them by Talking: V to Lewis Prothero, though the coup de grace that really breaks him involves more than talking.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: V uses this tactic to outmaneuver the constables in Jordan Tower.
- Bullet Time: Well, Throwing Knife Time in this case.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Finch has said, to Adam Susan's face, that he disapproves of the Norsefire party. While most people would probably be locked up for this, Finch is so damn good at his job that Susan lets it slide.
- Bury Your Gays:
- Gordon Dietrich, who in the comic is a petty criminal who flirts with Evey, is in the movie a closeted gay television host and comedian. He ends up being arrested for making fun of the Big Bad on TV, then executed when they find out he's gay and has a Koran.
- Among the people who were tested alongside V there was a lesbian called Rita, who due to hormone injections not only died, but also developed vestigial fingers on her calf. Also Valerie, her lover, and most of Britain's LGBT people.
- Byronic Hero
- Captain Obvious: in the film:
Evey: "I don't see any instruments".
- Casting Gag: John Hurt as the Leader.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: Uhhh... is the Head masturbating to his computer?
- Physically, yes, but he really is masturbating to England herself
- So he's lying back and thinking of England?
- Physically, yes, but he really is masturbating to England herself
- Celibate Hero
- Coat, Hat, Mask
- Cold-Blooded Torture: From both sides, although opinion's vary on whether V was justified with his.
- Computer Voice: In the graphic novel, it's Lewis Prothero's job to be the radio-broadcast "Voice of Fate", to such a degree that many people believe his voice is the voice of Norsefire's Fate supercomputer. The movie removes Fate altogether and turns Prothero into a provocative, in-your-face television pundit, but does have a cool, even-sounding female voice delivering public announcements.
- Corrupt Politician: Norsefire were brutal opportunists in the comic, corrupt bastards in the film.
- Crapsack World: It's a post-nuclear wasteland, the second coming of the Nazis has taken power over Britain, and the only person who dares to stand up to them is an apparently insane terrorist who wants to replace them with... nothing.
- And, also in the movie, apparently the rest of the world is in chaos (America is now in the middle of a second civil war and is described as "the world's biggest leper colony.").
- Crazy Prepared: V.
- Dark Messiah: V can be interpreted as this
- Defictionalization: Anonymous has adopted the Guy Fawkes motif for its protests, which apparently tickles Moore enough that he doesn't mind that this is inspired by the movie, rather than the book.
- In some ways, the whole movie. It was obviously a commentary on current events when it came out, but watching it in 2011 is a bit...surreal, to say the least.
- Did Not Do the Research: Moore has admitted he knew basically nothing about nuclear weapons when he started the comic, and so it's insanely optimistic about how many people would survive a nuclear war, which of course depends on how widespread the war is, as a limited war might lead to this situation.
Alan Moore: I came up with a character called "Vendetta", who would be set in a realistic thirties world that drew upon my own knowledge of the Gangster era, bolstered by lots of good, solid research. I sent the idea off to Dave. His response was that he was sick to the back teeth of doing good solid research and if he was to draw one more '28 model Duesenberg' he'd eat his arm. This presented a serious problem.
- Dissonant Serenity: In The Movie, V's rampage at the very end can come across as this, probably because of that mask. Also, massive explosions set to gorgeous music.
- Domestic Abuse: Derek Almond towards Rose, and Helen Heyer towards Conrad.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Subverted, when V broadcasts his communiqué over BTN's network.
- Doomed Moral Victor: as a part of the Thanatos Gambit
- The Dragon: Almond functions as this throughout the first chapter.
- Dragon Ascendant: Creedy in the movie; in the graphic novel he ends up just one of numerous factions struggling for power after the Leader is killed.
- Dual-Wielding: V's main weapons are multiple knives.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Shadow Gallery
- Eldritch Abomination: FATE is either a highly sophisticated computer that Susan in his insanity, believes to be alive, or it's this in which case, it's also the Even Bigger Bad.
- Enemy Rising Behind: V does this in the climax of the film.
- Evil Overlord: Both versions of Susan/Sutler, though Susan is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist while Sutler (who admittedly we only see communicating to his inner circle or about to die) just seems power-mad. However, while Susan was arguably a Well-Intentioned Extremist, the ways he went about fulfilling his goal clearly seat him in the 'evil' territory (torture, genocide etc.). And his argument that he needs to be in power to support and bolster England kinda goes into 'Overlord' territory.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Going by the vocal line in "The Vicious Cabaret," V seems to have a relatively low voice. This probably explains why they chose someone like Hugo Weaving to play the part in the film.
- In the graphic novel, the Fate supercomputer is represented to the public by radio broadcasts of the deep, sonorous "voice of Fate", such that many citizens are led to believe that Fate really is talking to them, instead of, say, a deep-voiced man named Lewis. However, the effect for a citizen of Norsefire on the street can be more soothing than intimidating.
- Though the audience doesn't see much of the Storm Saxon propaganda serials in the 1980s graphic novel or in the 2000s movie, the movie changes a Storm Saxon scene of a woman being menaced by Funetik Aksent-ed blacks to a woman being menaced by an Arab with a very deep-voiced Evil Laugh.
- Evil Versus Evil/Grey and Black Morality/A Lighter Shade of Grey: Opinions vary as to how to interpret the Fascism vs Anarchy of the graphic novel. General consensus is that V is probably better than Susan and the majority of Norsefire, but still not exactly a great guy, while some of Norsefire's lower-ranked members (like Finch) may or may not be better people than V himself, if somewhat misled. And we shall not go further into it.
- Executive Meddling: It apparently spawned the title itself.
- While the movie was being made someone thought it would be a good idea to outright lie and say that Alan Moore completely supported the movie. He didn't, and made that fact known by refusing any payment what-so-ever on every movie adaptation of his work afterwards. Good job!
- Expressive Mask: V's mask never moves, but it still manages to convey emotion through shadow and angles.
- The Extremist Was Right
- Fake Brit: Both Portman (Israeli-American) and Weaving (Australian). However, given V's cloudy backstory and the xenophobia of the government, V may not have been a native Brit himself.
- Considering Weaving actually spent a good portion of his childhood and teens living in the UK, his Fake Brit status is debatable.
- Fictional Political Party: Norsefire. In the film, the party came to power after a democratic election. In the graphic novel, they came to power after first Thatcher's government fell, a liberal party replacing Thatcher withdrew from NATO and caused the Cold War to go hot, resulting in the most far right policies being seen as vindicated, but Alan Moore models them as a Fictional Counterpart to the British National Front.
- Fast-Forward Gag: Used in the film, complete with "Yakety Sax."
- Foot Focus
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the movie, you wouldn't know it the first time through, but there's a fraction of a second where you can actually see what seems to be a small part of V's face, scars and all, namely when he re-kidnaps Evey from Gordon's estate to go through the mill at his mockup of Norsefire's "processing" system.
- Gag Dub: My Way Entertainment does this for the first meeting of V and Evey in "V for Vocabulary."
- Randy Hayes did his long-winded version entirely on the fly.
- Gambit Roulette
- Genre Savvy: Evey knows a reporter is lying because she has a habit of blinking when she's reporting a false story.
- Invoked by Finch when he speculates what will happen at Parliament.
Dominic: What do you think will happen?
- Girlish Pigtails: Evey sports them as part of her disguise as an underage prostitute.
- A Good Way to Die: V's death in the film.
Evey: "I don't want you to die!"
- Happiness in Slavery: discussed, deconstructed, then outright defied by V, saying the people's happiness comes from having never compared their lives to freedom.
- Hero Antagonist: Finch spends the entire book tracking down the protagonist and investigates Larkhill's past to discover why V has such a murderous rage for its former staff. When he figures out the truth, he acknowledges the government is wrong and should be changed but also reaffirms his belief that V is still a dangerous murdering terrorists and he needs to be stopped, too.
- Held Gaze: Happens twice between V and Evey in the Live Action Adaptation, at one time verging upon an Almost Kiss. Somewhat subverted in that the film shows that V is always wearing his mask and has no eyes due to the explosion that annihilated Larkhill, which may or may not have happened because of V. but the romantic tension created is still clear.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rosemary.
- V goes through an anti-heroic sacrifice.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: The film did this for Guy Fawkes, even though that was never Moore's intent. In reality, his "hero" status is highly dubious. The Gunpowder Plot wasn't really to strike a blow for freedom, they simply wanted to replace the Protestant king with a Catholic one. Further, they packed in so much gunpowder that hundreds (possibly thousands) of innocent civilians would have been killed, including many children — the only thing the plotters worried about was whether too many Catholics would be taken out. By modern standards they were depraved terrorists.
- Icon of Rebellion: Guy Fawkes masks and the letter V in general.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter begins with the letter V.
- Ironic Echo: "Spare the rod..."
- It Works Better with Bullets: Almond plays a sick game with his wife where he pretends to go crazy and shoot her - but his gun is not loaded. Then he finally catches V, and tries to Just Shoot Him - with the still-not-loaded gun.
- Kick the Dog: Initially, it's made apparent the government makes people disappear for "crimes" such as protesting (e.g. Evey's parents), but it's later done again harder when Gordon is taken simply for mocking Sutler, and is undoubtedly killed for being gay and for owning protester propaganda and a Quran.
- Later taken Up to Eleven with Valarie; while Gordon is bagged for incredibly petty reasons, Valarie and Ruth are taken because they love each other. Valarie is specially notable as her story is shocking enough to make Evey instantly sympathize with V even after he's tortured her simply because Valerie and her story are real.
- V's torture of Evey.
- Kill the Poor: Along with other "undesirables," the homeless are rounded up and placed in death camps.
- The Kindnapper: V kidnaps Evey twice, both times motivated by some form of benevolent intentions. The first time, he saves her from being raped by the government's secret police. The second time, he is testing her — albeit in a horrible way — to see if she is worthy of being his successor.
- Kirk Summation: It's scarily reminiscent of the trope-naming Hannibal Lecture, except that the guy he's delivering it to is so much worse.
- Kingpin in His Gym: There's one scene in the movie in which V has some fun fencing with a suit of armour. As he exists somewhere in the fuzzy border between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, he's probably villain enough to count.
- Knife Nut: V, especially in the movie.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Eric Finch
- Lady Macbeth: Helen Hayer. So obsessed with power is she that, as her husband and lover lie dead or dying on her living room floor, she is so incensed their passing would mess with her plan that she hooks up a video camera to their television set just so her dear hubby can watch himself die.
- Landslide Election: In the film, Norsefire came to power with 87% of the vote.
- Laser-Guided Karma: How V kills the last three employees of his old "Resettlement Camp."
- Lewis Prothero ordered V to be part of the experiment that drove V mad and valued his dolls more than the inmates, V dressed his dolls up as prisoners and loaded them into an incinerator, driving him insane.
- Archbishop Anthony Lilliman was a pedophile who stood by while V was administered the serum, so V had Evey dress as a prostitute to get close to him, and killed him with a cyanide laced communion wafer.
- Dr. Delia Surridge injected V with the serum, so V poisoned her in her sleep. However, she got off easy compared to the others, as she actually regretted her actions.
Surridge: "Is it meaningless to apologize?"
- Legacy Character
- Liberty Over Prosperity: One of V's points during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to all England (and/or humanity in general) is that they have accepted trading their freedoms in exchange for security. He does mention that he doesn't mean that they should go back to the Stone Age, but that they need to stop stagnating.
- Life Imitates Art: Oh so very much.
- Lipstick and Load Montage: In the film adaptation, Evey does this while V gets his gear ready to fight.
- Live Action Adaptation
- Living Legend: V deliberately invokes this so that he can inspire people. More so in the film.
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Give the Man In Room Five a garden plot, he'll grow roses. Give the Man In Room Five some gardening chemicals, he'll make napalm and mustard gas...
- Loners Are Freaks: The Head, Adam Susan, is completely obsessed with technology and his own idealization of fascism, and has virtually no interest whatsoever in social or romantic pursuits. At his advanced age, he is a virgin convinced that his own computer system is in love with him. When he finally decides to be a better leader towards the end and actually get to know his people, he's revealed to be quite socially awkward and shy.
- Meaningful Name: Evey, the pronounciation is similar to "IV", being the Roman numeral for "4", and also the number of the room that Valerie was kept in.
- Her name also sounds like the letters "E" "V" — "E" being the fifth letter of the alphabet and "V" being, well, V, and also the roman numeral for 5. As well as V being the fifth letter at the end of the alphabet.
- Also the last character in the name is Y, being the 25th letter which 5 is the square root of. And 2 5 seperated is two five, leading into 2 halves to the whole of 10 completing the cycle.
- Meaningful Echo: Evey's rebirth is meant to echo V's "birth"; the movie makes this abundantly clear by using the footage of V at Larkhill merged into Evey on the roof.
- Mirror Scare: The murder of Lewis Prothero, at least in the movie.
- Morality Pet: Part of the reason Evey is in this graphic novel is so that V can be shown being kind to someone, making him more sympathetic.
- Moral Myopia: Lewis Prothero, as V notes, cares a great deal more for his rare doll collection than he ever did for the people he sent to the ovens at Larkhill.
- Mortal Wound Reveal: A subtle one in the great big showdown, where V appears to survive a No One Could Survive That, but turns out to be only human after all — albeit something of a Determinator.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In the film. It's against a country's best interests to elect a man named Adam Sutler.
- No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: V takes revenge on those involved in the concentration camp and the experiments which created him.
- No Endor Holocaust: At the climax of the movie the Houses of Parliament are destroyed by a massive bomb on a tube train beneath them. An explosion of such size would devastate a wide area around it, but miraculously the thousands of be-masked V supporters watching the show from only a few metres away are completely unharmed, rather than being shredded by flying debris.
- No Name Given: V. He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V".
- No Place for Me There
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Justified. All the backup died. V was the only survivor. He then burned the facility to the ground, and later kills the scientist and steals her diary.
- Oh Crap: The security guard's reaction to seeing V's rather incendiary undershirt.
- At the close of the first arc, Finch presents an Oh Crap moment to the surviving members of the Head: that the idea of V being a serial killer murdering those who wronged him is, in fact, the optimistic and comforting view. The alternative is that V was killing those who witnessed his transformation, and thus may have been able to stop him from executing his real plan.
- In the comic, the same day V promised to destroy Downing Street, Dominic is controlling the policemen to make sure that Downing Street is not attacked, and hoping that V is actually dead, and then a bell starts to sound. Dominic identifies that bell as the Big Ben... but then he remembers that the Big Ben had been blown up the previous year. And then Evey as V appears.
- One-Letter Name: V.
- Orange-Blue Contrast: A rare non-advertising, non-simultaneous example for cinema, Evey's "awakening" takes place in a very blue rain storm and it is interspersed with images V's "awakening", which took place in a raging inferno.
- Order Versus Chaos: V's objective is to abolish all law. He does not, however, want to abolish all order. As he tells Evey, he doesn't want people rioting in the streets; he desires an orderly society that remains so even without a government. V advocates actual anarchist principles, as opposed to simple mayhem; as noted above, it strictly and consistently averts the Anarchy Is Chaos trope.
- Pair the Spares: Implied with Evey and Finch in the film version, during Finch's monologue about everything being connected.
- Passing the Torch: Evey becomes V.
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: V does this to Prothero, Lilliman and Creedy (in the movie). While his torture is undoubtedly cruel, all three were Complete Monster material and as such their deaths are nothing short of a relief.
- Pet Rat: Alistair Harper and his gang are hired in this capacity by the government when the existing police force isn't enough.
- Pet the Dog: V does this with Evey occasionally - reading to her, dancing with her etc.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: In-universe example: The Norsefire leader for the government computer system, FATE. FATE wasn't in the movie, probably because of a combination of this and the screenplay-writing Wachowski bros having their fill of computers by then. Another possible reason is that FATE was implied to be an absolutely cold AI in the book, when such was the norm in scifi. Fast forward 25 years, and most popular scifi A Is are anything but dispassionate. The idea that FATE could ever return Susan's affections is part of what drives Susan insane.
- Playing with Syringes: V's origin.
- Police Brutality: Norsefire Fingermen, and in the film the regular police gun down an innocent man (admittedly he was disguised as V) when V takes over a news studio. It's played to look like they shot the real V, though judging from the reactions of the various people watching the news it's not very widely believed that they did it.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Norsefire. All of Norsefire.
- Pretty Little Headshots: In the movie Creedy kills Sutler with one.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Evey, in The Movie.
- Punch Clock Villain: Eric Finch, arguably.
- Putting on the Reich / A Nazi by Any Other Name: Norsefire are Neo-Nazis, so it's not too odd. In the graphic novel, the dictator even gets a monologue saying why fascism is a good thing.
- Psycho Serum
- Rage Against the Reflection: Only in the movie.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: V gives one to the entire country by taking over the Norsefire equivalent of The BBC.
- Redemption in the Rain: Evey, nicely juxtaposed with shots of V burning down the lab (and himself with it, nearly).
- Redemption Equals Death: Delia Surridge, who tells V she's sorry for what she's done to him. V shows mercy to her, and gives her a quick, painless death.
- Refuge in Audacity: Gordon's last-minute script-change to his show, assuming that he was too famous to just be disappeared. He was wrong.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: In the film, the revolution against the government is seen as completely positive. The graphic novel presents both the government and V's ambitions as being extreme.
- In the film they kinda handwaved the fact that depending on your position a 'revolutionist' is either a 'freedom fighter' or a 'terrorist.'
- Samus Is a Girl: While the original V isn't a girl, Evey finds (to her benefit) that with the cloak and mask and everything, he easily can be.
- Secret Test of Character: V puts Evey through a fake dungeon, starving her and shaving her hair to test her loyalty to the cause and her moral fiber. She passes.
- Shout-Out: At one point in the comic V is depicted reading the novel V. by Thomas Pynchon, one of Moore's acknowledged influences.
- The chapter titled "The Land of Do-As-You-Please is a shoutout to Enid Blyton, of all things. Specifically her Faraway Tree books.
- As noted above, when a man robs a store while wearing a V mask, he yells "Anarchy in the U.K.!" before fleeing.
- Show Within a Show: The Storm Saxon Show
- Sinister Minister: Lilliman. Accessory to murder and torture, promoter of Fascism, explicitly a paedophile, and gives creepy sermons.
- Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: V is , amusingly enough, a Type V. Unless you agree with his pro-anarchy rant, in which case he's Type IV. The film softened him to a Type III.
- Sociopathic Hero: V. Literally. Finch describes him as being a clinical psychopath.
- Synthetic Plague: The St. Mary's Virus in the film version.
- The Starscream: Creedy in both versions — the graphic novel has a couple of others as well.
- Subtext: In the movie, during Finch's monologue about everything being connected, there is a brief shot of future-Evey with her hair grown back, next to a vase of Scarlet Carsons. The mirror on the wall shows a reflection of a relaxed-looking Finch drinking some wine.
- Super Reflexes
- Sympathy for the Devil: V. Yes he is a murderer and terrorist, but his cause is a worthy cause, and the people he fought were mostly Complete Monsters.
- The Dog Bites Back: Rose.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Evey.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Head's name was changed from Adam Susan in the book to Adam Sutler in the film. Truly, there never was a subtler pun on Hitler...
- Tranquil Fury: Vengeance with a smile.
- Traumatic Haircut: Evey's torture.
- Trophy Room: The Shadow Gallery.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The comic is made in 1980s and is set in 1990s, while the film is made in 2006 and is set in 2030s.
- The Un-Reveal: The identity of V is now simply "V".
- He removes his mask a couple of times in the graphic novel - but he's always angled so that his face is never shown.
- Under Crank: In the movie Gordon uses this in his comedy show when he throws out the approved script, right down to playing "Yakety Sax".
- Unexpected Successor: "Queen Zara": in order for Zara to become queen over half the British Royal Family has to be killed off, forced to abdicate or pass up the throne.
- Viking Funeral: V gets a modern take on one; laid to rest on the train that delivers his bomb to Parliament.
- Villain Protagonist: The only reason V skates by as a "hero" is because he's going after people much worse than he is.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Head's computer is hacked and he is sent an anonymous love letter (from V obviously). He is affected so heavily he is turned into a Woobie for some people.
- Creedy suffers a nasty one in the movie after V rips his henchmen to shreds and is still strong enough to send Creedy to hell before expiring.
- Voice of the Legion
- Wall Slump
- Water Source Tampering: The British government is implied to have done this in the film.
- We All Live in America: Mostly averted in the movie (like V saying "lift" instead of "elevator") but not always — several uses of "cop" which is generally an Americanism (Brits prefer "copper"), Finch pronouncing lever as leh-ver instead of lee-ver, Portman's accent (although YMMV on that last one.)
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: V
- Also, Adam Susan — he's killed more people than V, by far, and for reasons just as if not more extreme, and he's completely dumbfounded when he gets shot.
- Western Terrorists: Deconstructed.
- Wham! Episode: It's implied that the key formative event in the Man in Room Five's transformation into V isn't the experiments upon him, or the cruel and indifferent treatment he received from the prison camp's staff. It's the note from Valerie, which he delivers to Evey exactly as he received it himself. It has a similar effect upon her.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Evey's initial reaction to V's torture of her and when he kills the Bishop. She forgives him for both times, though.
- Why Won't V Die?: Because beneath his mask is more than flesh, beneath his mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.
- Also: metal sheets. Which are not entirely bulletproof, but do stop V from dying where he stands, instead allowing him to slowly bleed out as he stumbles his way back to his lair. What, you thought they'd pull the Only a Flesh Wound card?
- You Are Number Six: Played straight. The camp dehumanized V to the point where nobody knew him as anything but the Man in Room Five, so he took it as his new identity.
- Zerg Rush: In the film, V sends everyone in London Guy Fawkes costumes so they could overwhelm Norsefire troops by sheer numbers.