V is a fictional character from the comic book series V for Vendetta, created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. He is a mysterious anarchist vigilante and freedom fighter, easily recognizable by his Guy Fawkes mask and dark clothing. According to Moore, he was designed to be both a protagonist and antagonist, so that readers could decide for themselves whether he was a hero fighting for a cause, or simply insane.
The background and identity of V is largely unknown. He is at one point an inmate at "Larkhill Resettlement Camp" - one of many concentration camp where political prisoner, homosexuals, Jew, Pakistan, Muslim and black people are exterminated by Britain's new fascist regime, Norsefire. While there, he is part of a group of prisoners who are subjected to horrific medical experimentation, conducted by Dr. Delia Surridge, involving artificially-designed hormone injection. Lewis Prothero is the camp's commandant, and a paedophile priest, Father Lilliman, is at the camp to lend "spiritual support". All prisoners so injected soon die under gruesome circumstances, with the sole exception of "the man in room five" ("V" in Roman numeral). During that time, the man had some level of communication with Valerie Page, a lesbian former actress, kept in "room four", who wrote her autobiography on toilet paper and then pushed it through a hole on the wall.
Although there is nothing physically wrong with him, Surridge theorizes that his mind had been warped by the experimentation. Still, his actions seem to maintain a twisted logic. The experiments actually yield some beneficial results: he develops Olympic-level reflex, increased strength, and incredibly expanded mental capacity (as demonstrated consistently throughout the novel, V is a genius in the fields of explosives, martial arts, philosophy, literature, politics, hacking, music, chemistry, and gardening (as stated in the graphic novel by Dr. Surridge)).
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Official Site: DC Comics - Vertigo Imprint
Links: Wikipedia Entry - V V For Vendetta Annotations Who is V?