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It’s been a long time coming but I’m back! Okay well I never left but I did slack off on this here column, and I owe you guys who actually read it an apology. So, my bad! Now with that out of the way I return you to our regularly scheduled dose of comic book goodness, this time in the form of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s “Nemesis.”
The name Mark Millar brings all kinds of insanity to mind for comic readers. The Scottish scribe broke on the scene and ignited the comic world on fire. Best known for his work on “The Authority” and “Superman: Red Son” for DC and “Civil War” and helping to create the Ultimate Universe for Marvel, he’s also had great success with creator owned works. His “Millarworld” comics, creator owned series he has complete control over, have spawned two movies with “Wanted” and “Kick-Ass”, with “Nemesis” just recently being optioned. An amazing writer Millar crafts stories and writes dialogue for these fully adult comics like the Tarantino of comics, and that analogy is not wasted in the slightest. His work is over the top, and his dialogue is crisp and witty, but always on point, and with Millarworld, he gets to go full throttle. “Nemesis” is no different.
When first mentioning the project Millar had said, “What if Batman was the Joker?” after that he changed it to “What if Batman was a total c*nt?!” (his words not mine). And then the first image appeared of a character very similar looking to Batman except that he had no pointy ears and wore all white with bloody hands, a smile painted over his mouth in blood. I was intrigued at once! The basic premise to the story has an anti-Batman (for lack of a better term) killing off the world’s top cops. When the book starts he is in the middle of taking out the Chief Inspector of the Police in Tokyo, and when that goes according to plan, he states his next target will be in Washington D.C. We then meet Blake Morrow, Chief of Police in Washington, and supercop extraordinaire. This isn’t John McClane, though, what we get is a middle aged man, who is just as badass as he is intelligent and tactical. He’s given a card that reads, “March 12th, Midnight. Flatline counts.” It’s Nemesis’ calling card and Morrow is his next target.
What follows is an extreme game of cat and mouse with some of the most messed up twists I’ve ever read in a comic. Mark Millar you twisted man you. This book is not for kids, as it’s brutally violent, and has some very disturbing moments. That said it’s well worth the read. Nemesis truly comes off as an evil Batman and that makes the story all the more fun. Morrow is of course just as involving as a character. His intelligence is put to the test as are his skills, and yet he doesn’t let himself betray his own morals. To say anymore would give away too much but suffice it to say I didn’t see the ending coming.
But what would a comic story be without great art to draw you in? Steve McNiven’s realistic style works wonders for the book, but it also adds to the brutality when we see gore and violence. His Blake Morrow shows all of his emotions on his face, and the action is rendered beautifully in very cinematic panels. The hijacking of “Air Force One” and the fight in the prison corridor are two of my favorite highlights. McNiven was definitely a great choice for a collaborator on this as he really sells the work with his art. Not many could make Nemesis’ simple all white costume look so cool.
If you’ve read “Wanted,” “Kick-Ass” or any of the Millarworld books, you should not miss “Nemesis.” The book has been optioned for a movie and it would work perfectly. Joe Carnahan (“The A-Team,” “The Grey”) was attached and suggested Liam neeson as Blake Morrow, this has since fallen through but Neeson would rock the part. There are even scenes in the comic where he looks like Neeson. I say bring on “Nemesis 2” and the “Nemesis” movie cause this comic was a lot of fun.