And now I've read the comic, also. It's pretty long. At least, it took me nearly five hours to read it.
And I'm not really sure what I think about it. At all.
On one hand, the movie seems rather superficial in comparison to the comic; but on the other hand, the comic seems rather irrelevantly convoluted in comparison to the movie. The character of V is much more sharply defined in the movie, and strangely he actually comes across as a much darker character, in my opinion, in the movie. That's probably because Hugo Weaving's intonation and body language lend so much to one's perception of the character, whereas in the comic he's just always this ridiculously smiling visage, and his tall pilgrim's hat looks just silly.
Also, though, his relationship with Evey was much more... dynamic, in the movie. In the comic he actually plays the hero with her, and she's this sheepish, frail little weepy child, and he seems to really want to keep and protect her, from the very beginning. In the movie, he has no place in his plans for affection. He's a busy man. And even when he begins to love her, his method of saving her is to make her strong enough that she will not need him anymore. His method is similar in the comic... but his reasons are not as clear. I don't really understand why he bothered.
Mainly, though, the comic was just incredibly hard to follow. I often wondered whether I would even understand what was going on if I hadn't seen the movie first. To begin with, the characters are very hard to tell apart. A comic should be the perfect medium for making recognition of various characters easy, because you have not just a name, as in your usual literature, but a physical image of a face. But the art in V for Vendetta is practically useless for this. The characters all look the bloody same. Even Finch I could only tell apart from the rest because he was always wearing that coat...
On the whole, I didn't like the art. My experience with comics is that the best writers always seem to get the worst artists; there's some kind of inverse law attached to them. It's not that the art was bad. It just didn't augment the story in any way. There was no special vitality to it; it didn't grip you at the action scenes or hush you in the quiet pauses; it just sort of carried the story along in its hazy way, telling you enough to get you through, but nothing more. I thought it fell far short of what it could have been, and should have been, to do justice to the writing.
When I was looking around for V for Vendetta icons (I finally ended up making my own, because although there were plenty, most of them weren't what I was looking for), I was surprised that none of them featured art from the comics. I'm less surprised now. There's just no mood in the comic drawings; it would take a lot of Photoshopping to bring it up to the level of art that the movie screencaps possess all by themselves.
And, hell, maybe that's the problem. It's really not bad art. It's just nothing to compare to the film -- which isn't really a fair comparison to make. Of course there's more mood in an actor's inflection, professional lighting, voice-overs, panning cameras, soundtack music, etc. than in a page of four-color printed panels. So you may take my judgmental comments with a grain of salt, here.
In any case. There were some neat moments in the comic which were all its own. For instance, the prelude to Part II was pretty awesome. Of course, my favorite parts tended to always be the parts where V was talking, and particularly the parts where he was waxing eloquent in metered, and occasionally rhymed, stanzas. So him at the piano was perfect.
Though speaking of Part II, I was surprised that it was written in three parts. A tragedy ought to be five parts, and five (V) would certainly have fit with the theme. Maybe it wasn't a tragedy, exactly. But three parts is a comedy. I didn't notice any weddings at the end.
I'm not sure why they changed "violet carsons" to "scarlet carsons" for the movie -- that seemed rather pointless, and since the V was important... I guess the scarlet just looked bloodier: a better visual? Maybe.
Anyway, I think I'm really going to have to consider the movie and the comic as two completely separate, almost unrelated entities, which both happen to feature a man in a Guy Fawkes mask fucking with a dystopian society, but which otherwise have very little in common. A lot of the same things happen... but in such different ways, with such different pacing, such different design, such different imagery, that they don't seem the same at all. The movie was not so much an adaptation as, like, an independent but derivative work. Everything sharpened up into keen focus, the characters, the visuals, the dialogue, the themes. The comic feels sprawling and disorganized by comparison. All these extra people, extra storylines that can scarcely be followed, and it comes to basically the same thing in the end... only much less dramatically.
I did like the comic, and I'm not even sure I could choose which was better, between it and the movie. Objectively, I almost think I can see that the comic was better. But nevertheless, it's Weaving and Portman and Rea and Fry who bring the people and the place and the story alive to me, and whom I'll want to go back and see in their roles again and again.
And, er, again.