V for Vendetta by Alan Moore – Comic Book Review

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore - Comic Book Cover

The England of the 1980s wasn’t exactly a cheerful place (hello, Mrs. Thatcher). But Alan Moore anticipated that it will be even less cheerful in the future — although in hindsight, the nightmare vision of complete fascism seems a bit exaggerated. Anyway, the main message of “V for Vendetta,” which essentially says, “Fascism is bad, mmkay?” remains relevant forever. However, the other essential part of the message, which claims, “Anarchy is good, mmkay?” not so much.

V, the vengeance-seeking vigilante with a Guy Fawkes mask, sets out to dismantle the system like a crazy kid smashing a snowball, increasing your satisfaction with the repugnant demise of the dictatorship’s revolting figures in the opening chapters. For a while. Then you start to worry that okay, okay, but this is a bit one-dimensional, when the detective subplot intensifies and the mystery factor briefly elevates the whole thing, and you REALLY start to wonder who this immensely theatrical character behind the mask really is:

A mad genius, a master strategist, a bulletproof martial artist, and the luckiest guy alive, who’s good at EVERYTHING? Untouchable by anyone? Yes. And that’s precisely what diminishes the enjoyment of “V for Vendetta.” The many evil bastards are no match for V. The outcome of the game cannot be in doubt.

In the final third of the comic, as V’s master plan reaches its climax, and you observe the machinations of the insignificant, petty side characters, you might start to grow weary of the whole shebang. Especially when you realize that they’re all chess pieces on V’s board. Sometimes, unfortunately, you can’t even distinguish one from another due to the blurred, faded drawings. These drawings, however, provide an excellent BACKGROUND for the dark, gray, oppressive England, where radioactive ash falls from the sky, and Nazi propaganda blares from the speakers.

Regarding Detective Finch’s case, the grand plan stretches the bounds of credibility, as it’s highly unlikely for a drugged, deranged individual to stumble exactly where you cleverly calculated. Likewise, it’s highly debatable whether the most suitable person for the task is the one you’ve prepared for it.

According to Alan Moore’s philosophy, there are two types of anarchy: destructive, which breaks down the undeserving system, and constructive, which ideally follows afterward — during which people take control of their destiny. Now that’s something you really wouldn’t want to bet heavily on. It is highly likely, however, that these upstanding citizens, in the midst of constructive anarchy, would trample over each other’s heels to rally under the banner of the first nauseating figure promising them a “brighter future”.

6.5/10

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd (Illustrator)
296 pages, Hardcover
Published in 2005 by Vertigo

Attack on Titan – Series Review

You have no idea what anime is? Neither did I, really. (It’s a cartoon, basically.) But Little EM nagged me for a whole year—well, if you can call open and shameless blackmail nagging—until I had to give in. “Attack on Titan is the best anime! Everyone’s watching Attack on Titan!” claimed Little EM. Maybe so, although the real question is how long they’re watching. If you want what’s best for yourself…

How does the series start anyway? It starts off damn well. Humanity has been living behind enormous walls for a hundred years. Outside the walls, there are naked, androgynous, and horribly stupid giants who hunger for human flesh. It’s like zombies, only bigger than apartment buildings. In the first episode, the giants break through the wall. After watching it, you’ll probably just gawk and say, “I’ve never seen a stronger series opener, not even Lost or The Shield, compare to this.”

Attack on Titan - TV Series - Season 1

Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there. It feels like the creators locked a bunch of twelve-year-olds in a room, had them compete to come up with the dumbest idea, and the winner’s idea got passed along. There’s no sense to the story; it’s like they’re always trying to make something big happen, and as quickly as possible. The first two seasons could have easily explored how humanity recovers from the initial shock, how they slowly gear up for an unequal fight against the almost unbeatable enemy. Instead, they throw in two twists, right at the beginning (the first being the protagonist’s, uh, transformation, and the other involving the giant girl), which completely undermine the otherwise strong premise. And don’t even get me started on the Abnormals, special giants with unique abilities. Armor, teleportation, who knows what else. All these elements successfully reduce the series to a stupid fairy tale.

And believe it or not, that’s the lesser issue. The bigger problem is that the creators of Attack on Titan are incapable of writing sensible dialogue. All the conversations are garbled, pompous repetitions. Plus, most of the characters, whether necessary or not, SCREAM AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS. Especially Eren, the protagonist, who can ONLY COMMUNICATE BY SCREAMING. So, if his little buddies in the Scout Regiment disagree with him, they don’t politely ask,

“Hey, what the frakkin’ hell are you doin’, chimmy-chummy?”

Instead, they SHOUT in his face, “You’re preparing for the downfall of humanity with your actions. Admit that you’re an enemy of humanity!” And so on. This compulsive grandiloquence renders every conversation completely unbelievable and ridiculous.

But the childishness and thoughtlessness extend to every other aspect of the series as well. Whenever the characters find themselves in a crisis (which happens quite a few times), with about 10 seconds to avert the crisis, you can bet 500 yen against the armored giant’s left testicle that they’ll spend AT LEAST 10 minutes lamenting, philosophizing, or struggling with themselves over what to do—while you angrily pound the armrest of your chair in front of the TV and start SHOUTING yourself: “Your time’s up, you miserable idiots!”

At least one recruit participating in military training has a HYSTERICAL BREAKDOWN due to the bleak future ahead, and a third of the episode is spent with the others comforting them. Meanwhile, in sharp contrast, and only incidentally, it turns out that due to overcrowding behind the walls, 250,000(!) civilians were driven out to fight against the giants—to reduce the population inside. The brilliant plan was a success. The giants ate them all. Problem solved. It couldn’t have been easy to convince these 250,000 civilians to join the action; they were probably all forcibly pushed out the gate and weapons were thrown after them at the end, to prevent any recklessness inside. Or if not, they all were probably EASILY INFLUENCED retirees.

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