These days, I grab any 2000AD collected editions I can find in the US, as the opportunities appear to be dwindling. Considering the love affair American comics readers have with British writers and artists, you'd think we'd snatch up these books, but unfortunately, that's not the way it goes. In fact, several years ago, DC began reprinting select storylines of various characters, including several I'd never heard of before. These reprints featured work from such big names as Alan Moore, Simon Bisley, Brian Bolland, Frank Quitely, and Chris Weston: creators who are no strangers to American audiences. Unfortunately, the line was cancelled after a year or so. On one hand, I can understand that DC wouldn't want to continue the line if the books aren't selling, but did they honestly expect that they would fly off the shelves without heavy promotion? The unfortunate truth is that most American readers need to be spoon-fed when it comes to British comics, and we few enlightened fans suffer the consequences.
In any case, I am happy that 2000AD/Rebellion is following the black-and-white "phone book" trend of Marvel's Essentials and DC's Showcase by releasing their Complete collections. These are available through US distributors, and my local shops order them regularly, so I can finally read the original adventures of my favorite 2000AD characters - and at this point, I don't care if they're not in color. THE COMPLETE NEMESIS THE WARLOCK BOOK 1 collects the first 4 stories of my favorite horse-faced demon, plus some nice extras. Nemesis leads the fight against the evil Termight Empire and its emperor, Torquemada, whose goal is the elimination of all alien life in the universe. All of the stories are written by Pat Mills, and they kept me on the edge of my seat. The pacing and character development are amazing. What begins as a couple of random stories based on rock songs gradually metamorphoses into an epic of amazing scope. While it could be argued that the stories are formulaic in the repeated confrontations between Nemesis and Torquemada, Mills infuses them with inspired takes on politics, racism, divine right, sociology, and alien biology.
The art is in a class by itself. Nemesis is certainly a uniquely-designed character, and the unsettling grotesqueries established early on by Kevin O'Neill are ably carried onward by Jesus Redondo and Bryan Talbot, before returning to O'Neill towards the end of the book. The art is perfectly suited to the stories, making a combination that is rarely seen elsewhere. I can't wait for Book 2!