The Back Issues: Mark Millar’s Nemesis


Back Issues Column by Dedpool

Nemesis Comic Book CoverIt’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.

Nemesis Comic Book

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.

Nemesis Comic Book Cover

Author: Dedpool

Movies, Comics, Anime and toons. I'm all about it. Love to read and write too.
  • justjoe

    I hated this one. That simpleton concept “if Batman was a criminal” was just a lame excuse for over the top violence, gore and profanity. The characters were one dimensional and the plot nonexistent. The only saving grace was the art. Hovewer “Nemesis” once again proved to me that Millar is pretty much hit and miss, at this best he can create strong stories and characters arcs with witty dialogue and dark humor throw in, at his worst his work look all too similar, violent masturbation fantasies from the mind of a 15 year old comicbooknerd.

    • Dedpool

      I can definitely see where you’re coming from with the hit or miss thing, and you’ve made a valid point for the most part about his works at their best and worst. But I never looked at Millar’s work as being thought provoking or anything. At the most they are critiques and send ups of the genre. Much like Watchmen was a critique on the mental and moral stability of heroes in a real world, I see Millar’s works being a modern take on that. Albeit for the MTV generation, but still, the pervaying theme throughout most of his Millarworld pieces (excluding Superior to a point) is that in real life most people are just messed up. It’s a jaded view but it’s true. Look at the news and tell me I’m wrong. It’s great that comics are like the new mythology and that heroes are put up on pedestals for our worship. But in the real world a hero goes unnoticed, and unappreciated unfortunately and its the negative stuff that gets the press. We’d all like to think we’re good people and for the most part we are but we, as a species are selfish and petty. And Millar just parlays that into different comic stories. In Wanted it was Wesley’s need to finaly feel he’s doing something, in Kick-ass it was similar but it came from his need to be able to repsect himself. Sure he was helping people but it wasn’t necearrily cause it was the right thing to do but because he wanted to feel like he mattered in some way as the world was all but ignoring him. In Nemesis it was just rich people get bored and feel entitled to do what they want. Millar takes ideas and social commentary to an extreme. He knows he’s over the top and he runs with it. That said, I will always fall back on to ach their own. I personally really enjoyed Nemesis, and I really would love to know more about this organization but I can see where you could not like it also.

  • LionHeart

    Nemesis was a fun ride, but that’s about it I found, rather than being engrossed in the story, I read it solely to see how far Nemesis would go and how far he had planned ahead. By the end, I was just kind of left empty by it all.

    • Dedpool

      I can see that. Those were the reasons i was so into it cause it was so over the top and stuff. I can see the reveal of Nemesis’ motives being a let down and leaving people empty, but to me that just made it more awesome. Sometimes people are just messed up!

      • LionHeart

        I found Wanted to be a better example of that as a whole myself. It had the over-the-top craziness and violence and general evil aura, but managed to hold together thanks to a much more interesting cast of characters and world as a whole.

        Still a fun enough one though.

        • Dedpool

          I will definitely give you that, characters were definitely not as well developed or interesting, but still a fun read.
          Sent on the go!