|“||The only verdict is vengeance.||„|
V is the titular main character of the comic and film V For Vendetta - unlike most characters in fiction V was deliberately created to be a character that could be viewed either as a hero or villain depending on the personal feelings of the reader/viewer: which Moore believed was an important aspect of the story he was trying to tell.
To many V is an incredibly dangerous but ultimately heroic freedom-fighter and protagonist, fighting to free the world from the oppression of the unquestionably vile Norsefire organization (who parallel in many ways the Nazi Party at the height of their power): yet V, in the original comic, was more of a terrorist and an anarchist than he was portrayed in the subsequent live-action film.
At the beginning of the graphic novel, V comes to save Evey Hammond after she is nearly beaten and raped by three of Norsefire's "fingermen". Taking her into his care in The Shadow Gallery, V then goes after and captures Lewis Prothero, the voice for Norsefire's computer FATE, and drives him to insanity in revenge for the torment Prothero put subjects through at Larkhill, which also made him physically superhuman. He later seeks out the sadistic and pedophilic Bishop Lilliman and, with Evey's help, entraps the man and forces him to consume a cyanide-laced communion wafer. Finally, he seeks out Delia Surridge and, because she showed remorse for her actions, gives her a peaceful death via lethal injection.
It is shown that he has been systematically killing all those involved at Larkhill with the exception of Prothero who remains incurably insane. He also broadcasts a message over the nation's communications with the declaration that every citizen is at fault for permitting the Norsefire government to step in.
Over time, he begins to groom Evey into becoming a successor after initially throwing her out for questioning him if he could be her father or not. However, his method of doing so entails kidnapping her while disguised as Norsefire agents and torturing her for information on the threat of death. When Evey chooses to die over revealing anything or pledging loyalty to Norsefire, V reveals himself and declares her to now be closer to understanding true freedom. Despite her initial hesitation, Evey ultimately dons a Guy Fawkes mask and cloak as his ally.
In the underground tunnel, V prepares a subway train full of explosives to crash upon his future command. This train is discovered by Detective Finch who manages to shoot and fatally wound V. In his final words, V requests that Evey continue on and that she give him a "Viking funeral". Understanding, Evey places V's still masked and cloaked body in a glass coffin aboard the train and sends it forth, crashing and exploding at its designated point. As the new V, Evey then takes in a young Norsefire agent with the intent of training him.
V also is shown singing a song called "This Vicious Cabaret" which details his intents as the story develops. This fits rather well with his theatrical nature.
Live Action Film
V is portrayed far more as an anti-hero within the film adaptation with many of the same events occurring and a greater emphasis on the villainous nature of Norsefire (such as turning the leader Adam Susan into more a Hitler analogue with the surname Sutler). Nevertheless, he still commits rather questionable acts like the torture of Evey.
V is an enigmatic figure who speaks eloquently. He is impeccably sophisticated, with an exceptionally wide vocabulary, and particularly showing a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of old English literature. Also, V loves to act with a flair of theatrics. For example, as he abducts Prothero, he ushers the man through a stage-like setup of Larkhill while dressed in a clownish Vaudeville attire. In another particularly poignant scene, he stands before the statue of Lady Justice and enacts a pseudo-rendezvous between ex-lovers, declaring that he has found a new mistress in Anarchy after she "whored herself" to Norsefire and leaving Lady Justice a "farewell present" of an explosive.
He is completely calm and reserved in nature, and never loses his temper once throughout his appearance, and even when in intense pain he speaks softly and calmly. V was also pathologically obsessive, and his one and true goal throughout the story is to avenge himself upon key members of Norsefire. However, he has an incredible ability for justifying his actions. He is capable of love, despite his ruthless and almost emotionless character.
His favorite film is the Count of Monte Cristo.
V demonstrates an intelligence in varied subjects. In his time as The Man in Room V, he was able to escape by combining common garden chemicals to explode his cell. Since his time in Larkhill, V has developed an incredible athleticism in addition to furthering his intellect with knowledge and written materials banned by the Norsefire government. He is incredibly skilled in all forms of ranged and close-quarters combat, ranging from knives to swords, as well as blade throwing.
In the film, he is physically superhuman due to experiments at Larkhill, allowing him easily overpower people or send them flying through the air with his attacks. He is also highly resilient, as he was barely slowed down by being shot multiple times, allowing him to kill multiple men effortlessly before collapsing and succumbing to his wounds minutes later.
In Popular Culture
- V has become the unofficial mascot of Chan culture as well as the wider "Anonymous" movement, which in itself is seen as a controversy.