Batch 5 is a particular formulation in a series of mixtures of Pituarin and Pinearin. A potent and unpredictable mutagen, it was administered to several inmates at the Larkhill Resettlement Camp during 1993. It frequently caused the development of supernumary organs in those it was administered to, often accompanied by the atrophy of other organs.
In at least once case, that of the individual known only as “codename V”, Batch 5 caused no deleterious physical effects, instead apparently enhancing strength and agility, although it is possible that the drug did drive “V” mad. No known samples of Batch 5 survived the destruction of the Larkhill camp.
Just to get one thing straight from the front: I am not talking here about the toned down movie version of this story here. I am talking about the original graphic novel, in all its glory and with all its warts.
V for Vendetta may not be Alan Moore’s greatest work, but it would certainly be one of the best of them. It’s worthy to stand alongside Watchmen and Promethea, which damned few things are. And it’s not just the quality of the writing, although as usual, Moore’s dense yet light prose startles with humour, horror and an underpinning of cultural allusions (here perhaps more integral to the tale than in anything else he’s written). Nor it it the plotting, with its peculiar pacing that somehow always feels right.
No, it’s the sheer iconoclasm of the work.