Less of a character than an idea, he is a romantic, anarchist revolutionary, well-versed in the arts of explosives, subterfuge, computer cracking, and others; also has a vast literary, cultural and philosophical intelligence. V is the only survivor of an experiment in which 48 people were given injections of a pituarin/pinearin compound called "Batch 5". The compound caused vast cellular anomalies that eventually killed all of the subjects except V, on whom it apparently granted enhanced strength (enough to drive his fingers into a man's chest) and reflexes. Although Dr. Surridge believes V was driven insane by the injection, there exists the possibility that feigning insanity to some degree was the first step in V's plan for freedom. Throughout the novel V almost always wears his trademark Guy Fawkes mask, a shoulder-length wig of straight dark-brown hair, and an outfit consisting of black gloves, tunic, trousers and boots. When outside the Shadow Gallery, he completes this ensemble with a circa-1600s peaked hat and floor-length cloak. His weapons of choice are roughly foot-long daggers that he wields and throws expertly, along with explosives and tear gas. He allegedly takes his name both from the Roman numeral "V" from "Batch 5" and the number of the room he was held in during the experiment.