When I first read about Nemesis months before it’s release I have to be honest and say that I was very excited and I looked forward to seeing how Millar unleashed his brand new character upon the world. Yet it feels as though this first issue has fallen short at the first hurdle. I expected a subtle, intelligent, lone character avoiding the normal clichés of villainy to be something comic book readers aren’t used to – a realistic villain. If Kick-Ass was Millar’s attempt at bringing superheroes into the real world this should have been his attempt at real world supervillains. What we get in this introductory issue is something quite the opposite of that.
Nemesis the character is very over the top and behaves more like another over the top Bond villain rather than the Batman of villainy we were promised; boasting of his conquests, mocking his victim and having his henchmen refer to him as master. And not only is Nemesis a cliché-ridden character but so is his new victim; the hero cop from Washington D.C. – Chief Morrow.
Morrow’s way too cocky for his own good and completely unrealistic, going from being undercover and gunning down a room full of hostage takers to wearing his tuxedo and talking about having dinner in two frames. It’s difficult to believe in either of the main characters of Nemesis, and even harder to like them.
One of the things Millar does to hide the fact the lack of originality of Nemesis is to fill the book with over the top swearing and violence. He mistakes this as something to make a book appeal to an older audience rather than another tool, which should be used to tell a good story.
The best thing about Nemesis as both a character and a book is that while he may act like any other villain his intentions are a bit more unusual. Instead of a megalomaniac hell-bent on world domination or destruction, all he wants is to kill famous cops to prove he is better than them. This is the one part of the story that you can actually engage with, as you want to see if Nemesis can take down Morrow and exactly how he is going to do it.
Steve McNiven’s artwork is not what we have become accustomed too. The fantastic stuff he did in both Civil War and Wolverine: Old Man Logan had the brilliant Dexter Vines doing the inking. In Nemesis McNiven has no inker and the colours are laid on straight over his pencils. This is much like Ron Garney’s style yet it does not feel as good as that, it just looks like McNiven isn’t putting as much detail into Nemesis as he could be and the colour palette seems too washed out.
Nemesis is another fantastic concept from Millar. It’s just a shame the execution in this first issue just isn’t as original as he wants to be. It’s certainly a book worth picking up to give a try but everything relies on the second issue and the direction it takes. Introductory issues are always tough especially for creator owned comics and if Millar can step it up a notch with issue number two then I’m sure this middle of the road book can be turned into something fantastic.