Turmoil devastates the near future of 2027. A Second Civil War overtakes America and a pandemic of the deadly “St. Mary’s Virus” plagues Europe. Cut off from the rest of Europe, a far-right dictatorship, controlled by the Norsefire Party and its High Chancellor, Adam Sutler, now rule Britain, and imprison and kill political undesirables, such as ethnic minorities; non-Christians; atheists; and members of the LGBT+ community. Martial law and censorship control those that fit the desired criteria of Norsefire. Our main character, Evey, becomes embroiled in the story when she flouts military curfew. This is the premise of the iconic graphic novel (1988) and film (2005) V for Vendetta.
V, an anonymous individual wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, saves Evey as she evades arrest for breaking curfew. Through her introduction with V, Evey becomes increasingly involved in resistance against the Norsefire Party and learns of V’s past. Evey, with a sadly lackluster English accent (courtesy of Natalie Portman), serves as our insert as the story unfolds. The film reveals more about V and what took him to this position of plotting against the fascist government and stoking the flames for a mass uprising. Alongside V, you hear several other stories from those affected by the regime and how those entwine with his tale. I won’t spoil anything in case people haven’t seen the film or read the original (you’re 12 years too late at least).
Upon release, the film polarized audiences. Alan Moore, like all big budget adaptations of his graphic novels, disliked it, and the friction between Moore and DC Comics during the build up for its release led to a lengthy article about the conflicts Moore has faced when selling the film rights. While the film is imperfect and deviates from the source material, one element has become instantly recognizable.
V’s never-removed Guy Fawkes mask has become the symbol of the protest group named Anonymous. Inspired by V for Vendetta, they hold an annual protest on 5th November — the Million Mask March. Its themes vary from year to year, but are themed around government protest. The mask also appeared in the Occupy and in other movements . In an ironic twist, the masks became Time Warner’s highest selling product, surpassing masks of Batman and Harry Potter.
What does Alan Moore think of his creation inspiring hundreds of thousands of people? The short answer, very satisfying. Therefore, I suppose you can excuse a corporation making millions from a few plastic masks if it means influencing a whole generation of people.