“V For Vendetta Graphic Novel”by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, 1989
This review will end up being as much about the movie as the graphic novel. I saw the movie twice before I ever saw the book.
Comic books and movies are both visual storytelling medium, but a comic book and a movie are nonetheless very different. The biggest difference, in this case, is length.
Knowing this, I expected the book to have more to it than the movie. I've never felt that condensing a book's storyline is necessarily “dumbing it down”. If the book was to be faithfully adapted into a movie, the movie would run something like twelve hours.
That said, I was more than a little surprised at how different the two are. Upon reading the book, I saw whole scenes, whole characters, even entire subplots had been deleted for the adaptation.
I think that was a good thing.
The movie was great. It was compelling, rousing, and it kept its focus on the plot and the characters. It ran like 90 minutes.
The book, running nearly 300 pages, has numerous subplots, and many more characters than are needed to tell the core story. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does cause the character of V to become more diffuse. In the movie, he's the instigator of all the action. In the book, much of what happened was irrelevant to V himself.
One thing I clearly did not like was the rendition of many of the characters. Basically, they all looked the same, and I could not tell who was who. If the colors were bolder, you could have the blonde, the redhead, the brunette. Or the man who's bald, the one with a mustache or a goatee, etc. It's something of a gimmick to do that, but it's a gimmick that works. As it is, we're following two bald-headed characters at the same time, or three female characters, and I couldn't tell who was who.
Other than that, Lloyd's art is fantastic. He has an excellent grasp of angles and shadows to build drama and emotion. Alan Moore is a bona fide genius. I first saw his work on Swamp Thing, and I loved it. Everything else I've seen from him is just jaw-dropping good. V For Vendetta is no exception.
I just liked the movie more.