Adam Susan is the leader of the Norsefire party, and the ruler of the dictatorship that holds Britain in an iron grip. A firm adherent of pure fascism, he values order above all else and sees civil liberties as unneeded luxuries which are ultimately threats to a secure society. He states early in the novel that he believes in "the destiny of the Nordic race", and subsequently despises anyone who is not white, Christian, male and heterosexual. Despite the latter, he disdains all sexual contact as "brutish coupling", and has subsequently remained a virgin his entire life. The graphic novel establishes his backstory. A former police chief constable, upon his entrance into politics he gathers a select few like-minded right-wing extremists and corporate executives into his inner circle, and then exploits the poverty, chaos, and panic that follow a worldwide nuclear war to seize power.
Once in control, he gives himself the title of "Leader," and bans all art and literature that conflict with the views of the party, criminalizes political dissent, and puts Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, Africans, Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Pakistanis, Russians, Chinese people, South Americans, liberals and homosexuals into concentration camps. In order to further monitor the state, Susan takes control of the internal intelligence departments known as the Eye and the Ear, the criminal-investigation department called the Nose, the military police called the Finger, and the propaganda department called the Mouth. These are run by his subordinates, Derek Almond (later Peter Creedy) at The Finger, Conrad Heyer at The Eye, Brian Etheridge at The Ear, Eric Finch at The Nose, and Roger Dascombe at The Mouth. The leaders of these departments run the day-to-day affairs of government with regular oversight from Susan, making the highest council of the Norsefire government—the Head.
From his inner sanctum, he forsakes virtually all human contact, resolving to be feared and respected if he cannot be loved. He reserves the closest thing he can manage to human feeling for Fate, the super-computer which both surveys security and maintains the bureaucracy of his government, loving and worshiping the machine as a goddess; in one scene, it is strongly implied that he masturbates in its presence.
He is not without human qualities, however. His last few moments in the novel reveal him to be a timid, socially inept man who is eager to somehow connect with his people. He recounts his past, including glimpses of his childhood; it is suggested that he was a lonely child who developed an inflated sense of his own power and importance by embracing fascism. He shows signs of solipsism, claiming that he and Fate are the only "real" beings in existence. Finally, his internal monologue of his memories suggests that he is a closeted homosexual—he finds women strange and ugly, but remembers men with an almost erotic tone.
His rule begins to crumble when a masked terrorist calling himself "V" blows up the Houses of Parliament on November 5 (Guy Fawkes Day), and begins to attack public trust in the government with a series of kidnappings, bombings, and disruption of normal television programming for a very public declaration to the people. His defiance gradually inspires the public to rebel against Norsefire's reign. Susan tries desperately to capture and kill the mysterious vigilante, but remains increasingly powerless to stop him. Susan eventually finds out that V has been manipulating the Fate super-computer to express the forbidden emotion of love, driving him further into insanity.
At the end of the series, Susan is shot and killed during a publicity parade by Rosemary Almond, the widow of Derek Almond, Creedy's predecessor. Creedy immediately takes total control of London for a short time before he too is killed by one of his underlings, gangster Alistair Harper, soon resulting in the total collapse of the government.