Top critical review
A decent, though forgettable read.
on 2 February 2014
Mark Millar is easily one of my favourite writers in comics - if not my all-time favourite. He is of course popular for works with Marvel such as the Ultimates, Wolverine and Civil War, but I have found myself more engrossed in his own original works, such as the Kick-Ass series - a story about a teenager so unsatisfied with his dull existence that he dons a wetsuit and in tradition with his beloved comic book characters, becomes a superhero - and Superior - a touching tale about a boy with multiple sclerosis who is given the chance to become his favourite superhero and make the world a better place, at a cost that would change his life.
In case I'm not making myself clear enough, I love Mark Millar. He's a writer who shows no shame in escaping from the mainstream and cliche, exploring new and innovative ideas, without any remorse for doing shocking things in his comics. But, like with all great writers, you can't be top-notch all the time. In Millar's case, this is something I have become accustomed to. Ultimates 2 was bad enough without it's pointless ending that had no relation to the plot and came completely out of left field, and Kick-Ass 2 had a particularly unnerving scene that was completely unnecessary and left a bad taste in the mouth.
Nemesis is by no means a bad comic, but certainly not one that made me say 'wow'. The premise in an interesting one - an orphaned boy who inherited his family's vast fortune after the untimely demise of his parents, uses his wealth to don a cape and fight for a cause he believes in. Only, unlike Batman, he chooses to use his genius and wealth as a terrorist. The villain Nemesis is truly what a supervillain might be in real life. He has no morality, no guilt, no redeeming features at all. With a crack team of mercenaries at his side, he travels the world committing acts of terror against noble police chiefs simply because he is bored and wants to cause mayhem. Now, he sets his eyes on Washington DC's top cop, Blake Morrow.
Honestly, in this series, there is so much potential for greatness, but it is not fully utilised. In understand Millar occasionally likes to write stories that contain non-stop death and destruction in what is meant to be taken as dark humour, but I can't tell the difference between his comedic stuff and his lazy stuff. Apart from Steve McNiven's art, I can't say there's anything I really enjoyed about this book. Nemesis is a good villain, what with his mind being his most dangerous weapon of all, but he isn't given enough substance. In fact, not even the hero, Chief Morrow is given much substance apart from him being a good cop. We see Nemesis attacking his family and his reputation, but we barely have any scenes where someone isn't being shot or beaten up, or cars and planes aren't exploding. The series simply lives on big things happening without much time for character development.
And in the few instances where there are scenes that could give us insight into the characters, their lives and relationships, we are treated to yet another plot twist. If someone is revealed to be a villain all along, or they've been revealed to be cheating on their spouse, we haven't been given enough time with the character or learned enough about them to really care.
I will continue to love Millar's work, even when he sometimes slips up (for example, I am currently enjoying his new series Jupiter's Legacy, but getting very annoyed at the sheer dullness and stupidity of Kick-Ass 3). Nemesis is certainly a somewhat enjoyable read, but without much substance or appreciation for the material, like myself, it's a book that you'll be done with within an hour. It's good for building up your Millarworld collection, and a nice, somewhat obscure addition to your Graphic Novel collection, and alos good if occasionally you like to read something that is simply dumb and fun, but beyond that, I don't think it's much more than a load of guys killing each other spread over four issues. Give it a read and see for yourself, but don't raise your expectations too high.