Having seen and enjoyed 'V for Vendetta' on Thursday, I decided to re-read the graphic novel, which I had but vague memories of whilst watching the film. It is fairly unambiguously superior to the film, due in no small part to the absence of the bowdlerising Hollywood tropes which the film, despite generally being quite good, suffers from: the obviously tacked-on love story and sub-Matrix final fight scene, for example. Some people have criticised the film as not entirely faithful to the graphic novel, which it is indeed not, but I think that, as it always does, misses the point slightly: the point is that the film, as a film, isn't as successful as the graphic novel is, as a graphic novel. Even though the film would have perhaps been better if it had been more faithful to the graphic novel, it would have been better not because it was more faithful to the graphic novel, but because it would have had the features which it lacked and the graphic novel possessed: a greater degree of sophistication, most obviously.
One of the points where this is most obvious is in the two versions' politics. The film is basically blandly anti-totalitarian whereas the original is explicitly anarchist, perhaps best demonstrated by ambiguity about where the responsibility for the crimes of the imagined fascist state lies which is present in the graphic novel but not in the film. In the book, V clearly lays part of that blame at the feet of the people who did little to resist it, cossetted by the promises of a restored order, whereas in the film, those promises seem like a exculpatory justification for that failure. Thus, the political implication of Evey's forced transformation is lost in the film, becoming the achievement of a privatised Zen-like state of higher consciousness rather than the realisation that freedom has its costs, a realisation which explicitly condemns all those who have thus far been unprepared to bear them.
That said, there's something of a tension in the politics of Moore's version. It is caught between the affirmation of unadulterated people power and the necessity of V's use of both the machinery of the state and supernatural powers to create not only an upswelling of popular discontent but also the conditions in which that discontent can decisively remove the remnants of a state he has already ravaged from within. When V says
[i]t does not do to rely on silent majorities, Evey, for silence is a fragile thing. One loud noise and it is gone
the problem is that without him, the silent majority would have never stirred. Thus, for all the endorsement of the Humean claim that all states rest on the consent of those who live in them and the drawing out from it a set of quite radical implications, the story of the book is one of how only one man, using all the instruments of the state and inhuman power, can remove that consent. Someone else has to make the loud noise, and then questions surely must be asked about agency. So, in a way, in its lack of political sophistication, the film, with the surely hopelessly idealised ending of crowds of masked people pushing through lines of confused soldiers, avoids a problem which the original struggles with.
This is relatively minor quibble with the book though. It's essentially excellent: a political manifesto set in an appropriately seedy, grimy world, perfectly drawn, with an ingeniously subversive hero bringing about the downfall of a realistically portrayed fascism. The film, for all its faults - and it does have them, most obviously the sentimentalism and clumsiness which creep into the plot at times - is not only pretty consistently stylistically impressive, but does about as well as one can expect for a Hollywood adaptation of a anarchist comic book, making its political points reasonably well while avoiding most of the traps of sensationalism.