The Phantom of the Opera is perhaps the one and only satisfying French novel I have ever read. The title character, a disfigured genius named Erik, has been ripped off many times, and his tale has been reinvented more often than almost any other literary character in history. Facing off against him is V from the comic book V for Vendetta, who himself is pretty much a Phantom knockoff. Like Erik, V hides his mutilated face behind a mask. He’s a mad genius, also like Erik. However, while Erik primarily devotes himself to controlling the affairs of the Paris Opera House, V busies himself with plotting the downfall of all civilization. Also, V comes from a dark future where the civilized world is under the rule of a totalitarian British government, while Erik exists as a legend in 19th century Paris. Slight difference there.
There are lots of reasons why the Phantom and V might fight, each more convoluted than the last. For the purposes of this fight, I’ll let the reader select one of the following:
A) Good old wacky and unexplainable time travel
B) Parallel universes
C) Kang the Conqueror has been screwing with the space-time continuum again
D) The Phantom of the Opera and V have always been natural enemies, just like Dracula and the Wolf Man. I don’t know what comic books or histories you’ve been reading that say otherwise.
Seeking to blow up the Paris Opera House and strike a blow for sweet, delicious anarchy, V stalks into the cellars with a wheelbarrow full of powder kegs. Unfortunately, he doesn’t heed the warning of a certain Persian and neglects to keep his hand at the level of his eye. Upon entering the cellar, V is quickly ensnared by the Phantom’s punjab lasso. Erik tosses the lasso around his neck, catches V in the noose, and then hangs it from the rafters, seemingly leaving the masked man to die. A very quick Round One goes to the Phantom of the Opera.
Just before V dies, he manages to slip out of the noose. He tumbles down to the floor of the cellar, and falls right through a well-located trap door that Erik had set. When he finally lands, light floods into the room, revealing a chamber of mirrors. Inside this chamber is a large iron tree with a noose hanging from it. The floor itself is covered in sand, giving the feeling that V has fallen into a desert. Erik, ever a sadistic creature, plays up this desert effect, perfectly imitating the sounds of wild animals as he increases the light in the chamber. As the heat increases and the torture goes on for hours, V goes mad…um, I mean, madder. Round Two goes to the Phantom of the Opera.
Just as the Phantom seems about to break V’s body and mind, he stops his torture, darkens the mirror, and walks away. V regains his senses and starts to collect his thoughts. Then another person plummets through the trap door to join the masked anarchist.
In accordance to the laws of the universe, the Phantom of the Opera, being French, is restricted from winning a conflict of arms against V, who is English. Rather than break tradition, Erik tosses down his lame-ass Gerard Butler-played double from the 2004 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera. You know, the one where Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher teamed up to deliver the most boring, crappy rendition of a once-compelling story that they could. The movie version of the Phantom is a pure asshole whose mask hides a slightly sunburned face. Plus, he sucks at singing.
So, my rant about the movie aside, V strangles the confused Gerard Butler version of the Phantom. When he escapes from Erik’s trap, he finds that his explosives are gone. A little more insane than usual, V thinks nothing of his foiled plan, and heads back to England, where he can further his plans to bring the world to a state of anarchy. The movie version of the Phantom continues to rot in Erik’s pit. Round Three and the match go to V.