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Nemesis
Format: HardcoverChange
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2013
***Spoilers in the second paragraph down***

Do you know how in action movies, when they are trying to describe up the evil of the villain, the good guys will summarize a list of his dastardly deeds? "Robbed X, held Y hostage, blew up Z building..." This is what the majority of "Nemesis" by Mark Millar is like, interspersed with outrageous plot twists, splashy violence, and occasional head shaking story decisions. To enjoy "Nemesis" you not only have to suspend disbelief, but you have to take disbelief out into the backyard, strangle it to death, and bury it in a deep grave.

The premise of "Nemesis" is brilliant and unique. What if Batman had the mindset of the Joker? A simple subversion of a classic story, "Nemesis" had so much potential that it made its failure that much more profound. The villain, Nemesis, though born to a billion dollar empire, sets off at a young age to become a criminal mastermind. We read that by twelve he was a gang lord, fourteen he was Asia's largest drug exporter, and by twenty-three he is leading a Zoroastrian death cult. The art that accompanies this text? One panel of a man walking down an alley with a backpack. You know what, I probably didn't want to learn about how one becomes a criminal mastermind, I just want it summarized in three sentences.

This is how "Nemesis" reads. Something ridiculous will happen, with no explanation of how it was actually done. It is beyond frustrating. The plot is an avalanche of escalating absurdity, culminating in the most ridiculous reveal I think in history, at least since "Oedipus Rex" (Which I will discuss in the comments).You will end the story shaking your head, sighing, and putting the book on that shelf of books that don't quite make the cut.

The lasting memory of this book for me is what our policeman hero says after killing a couple of armed robbers holding up a convenience store: "Crackheads don't do head counts." This story is like a convenience store crackhead robbery in a way: great idea, too much energy, not enough follow through, poor execution. You end up with no payout and blood and brains all over Aisle Three.

BP
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2011
If you're expecting something similar to Kickass, then by no means will Nemesis by Millar and McNiven satisfy your craving. However, even though this book does not really seem to be about anything other than showing readers how brutally and graphically human beings can be dismembered by a super-criminal simply because he is "bored and rich" (his own words) I still found myself very much enjoying the twists and turns it takes before the story's big payoff. There's plenty of action, blood, chills and wonderful art by Steve McNiven, though not on the scale of his Old Man Logan Wolverine story. The writing by Millar is sparse and succinct, in other words nothing special. But like I mentioned before, it's a fun book. SADISTIC fun, but fun nevertheless.

The main character in the book, Nemesis, is a supremely capable megalomaniac intent on murdering the best cops in the world in a stylish fashion. Aided by a private financial empire and a host of gadgets and vehicles, Nemesis is Bruce Wayne gone bonkers. So the concept Millar came up with is once again interesting and semi-original, much like his Wanted comic or Superman: Red Son. Even though Nemesis boasts no powers he seems to be capable of near-superhuman feats, much like Batman, and he always takes out his target. Now he's set his sights on Washington Police Chief Blake Morrow, supposedly the best police officer in the world. Madness ensues. Sounds interesting so far? Well, it gets better.

There are some negative things about his hardcover, though. For one, it is way too short, collecting only four whole comic issues. Still, no big deal, since it was a four issue miniseries, but it left me wanting more. Much more. The paper stock is good, though. Next, Mark Millar seems to be falling into the trap of simply writing about violence for violence's sake. This is literally a book that showcases blood and destruction with no deeper meaning other than satisfying a reader's lust for blood on the comic book page. But, like I said, I liked it, so I guess I must be as sadistic as most Millar fans out there. Buy it if you're like me, but if you're looking for something with literary and not just entertainment value, give this one a miss.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
This is a comic about a rich, psychotic, murdering guy that has fun by killing good cops. Its too short (only 4 issues) for a good story and reads kind of like a little kid summarizing in great hyperbole a ridiculous "R" rated movie.

Mark is trying way too hard in this one. This book is completely ridiculous. Blood and gore everywhere, a shocking twist every other page, ridiculous stunts. Nemesis feels like the comic book equivalent of TV's jumping the shark.

Ya know in The Princess Bride when Will and Indigo and Indigo declares that he is not left handed. Gasp! Then Will does the same thing. Gasp! This comic is 4 issues of that over and over again. Oh, and the end is the most ridiculous ending of any comic I've ever read.

On the art; Mcniven's art is gorgeous but not as detailed and interesting as his other works. I gave it 2 stars just for the art.

Really, this comic is just a mess. Kick Ass was great, Civil War was a fun read and I loved Marvel 1985, but this, this is just a mess.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2011
I'd like to get it out there that I can, in fact, appreciate a good story. There doesn't have to be violence, or action, or foul language to make a good story. That being said, Nemesis has all of those things and I ate it up. Mark Millar always has a bit of controversy surrounding him, whether for his violence, language, or sometimes people just dislike his work! As a long-time fan, I think I like Nemesis the most.

You've heard the concept; what if Batman was pure evil and psychotic? You may be completely turned off by that, understandable. But you really should give it a chance. The action scenes make you cringe with the over-the-top amounts of blood and gore. It's like an exploitative super-hero film... In a comic. Honestly I love that sort of cheesy stuff, so maybe that's why I like it. If you don't like simple action, may not be for you. That being said, it's not completely mindless. It's just simple, and it's hard to explain behind this keyboard. The characters are somewhat stereotypical. Crazy villain who's bored, good cop (He doesn't even swear!) and so on. The plot is sort of thrown upside down though.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but if you approve of what I've said then I think you should be adding this to your cart right now. It's a little on the short side, but that's okay I suppose. Really hoping there's some sort of sequel! I'm thinking, "Arch-Nemesis"! Hope my review helped.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2013
I had no expectations that this would be good going into it. I was in the mood for some absolute mind numbing pop & this would do for a quick fix. I immediately was into the story & art. Everything was happening at a pretty frantic pace & the story was unfolding in true action (Millar) film style, and I was ACTUALLY enjoying myself, when there IT was, the "SHOCK" that Millar HAS to throw in to every story. If you have read it already you know that I'm referring to *** SPOILER ALERT*** what happens to the lead characters 2 children***SPOILER ALERT***. First of all I'm no prude, I have a fairly sick sense of humor, & it takes a lot to shock me. Instead of being shocked, it just reminded me how utterly tasteless & tacky Mark Millar really is. It wasn't an "OMG I didn't see that neat plot twist coming", but instead attempted shock in that sickening "Human Centipede" sort of way. It instantly stopped the story dead in its tracks & all I could do is wonder why in the world he would write THAT?!?!?! From that point on it was all down hill, as the rest of his upcoming plot twists unfolded way to fast, in a very predictable, thrown together sort of way. That one "shock" scene killed the momentum of a pretty enjoyable story (and ending is absolutely ridiculous). I finished feeling "bleh" about the story & loathing for the sexist, racist, homophobic guy that wrote it. It's sad really. He used to be a decent writer who was good for, if nothing else, a few minutes of mind numbing, action - pop. Now, after reading this, I just want to take a Silkwood shower & forget about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
If Batman were to disappear it wouldn't be because of old age or sickness, it would be because of bankruptcy. You can hurt the Dark Knight, you can try to kill him, but he'll always survive... provided, of course, he doesn't run out of money. In the same way that Batman exists because of the Wayne fortune, the comic book will exist as long as it's profitable for DC. This is why, in The Dark Knight Rises (+Ultraviolet Digital Copy), Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer brilliantly emphasize the fact that without vast financial resources, Batman can no longer exist.

In a similar venue, when Mark Millar invented the concept of Nemesis he embraced this fundamental fact: if someone has traveled around the globe in search of the best martial masters, if someone has a superfast car and high tech weapons, chances are this person is not working on a fast food joint making minimal wage. Someone like Nemesis -or Batman- can only exist as a result of an abundance of money.

The only difference in Millar's approach, though, is that Nemesis is not a hero. He seems to be as wealthy as Bruce Wayne, but he shares none of his idealistic attributes. Nemesis, then, is like an inverted Batman. Instead of a black costume he dons a white mantle, instead of philanthropic works he spends his money in terrorist acts. Let's imagine someone as bright and as well-trained as Batman turning into the world's greatest villain.

Nemesis goes around the world killing innocent people and destroying everything he can, so far, he has always succeeded in escaping unscathed. Until he sets his eyes on Blake Morrow, Washington's chief of police. Morrow is considered a worthy opponent because of his successful campaigns against crime, because of his intelligence and, above all, because of his decency.

And so begins what it's at first an intellectual war between Nemesis and Blake Morrow and that soon turns into something deadlier for the chief of police. With a clever ruse, Nemesis kidnaps Morrow's children and threatens to torture them unless Morrow's wife reveals the family's secrets. Up until this point, Blake Morrow had been portrayed as the best police officer in the US and as a man admired by the public, however we learn that although very popular in front of the cameras, inside his own home, Morrow is considered a bad husband and a bad father.

Peggy, Morrow's wife, affirms that he is too obsessed with his career and is inattentive as a husband, because of his poor sexual performance, she had cheated on him with another police officer. The second secret is that Blake's son is homosexual and had refused to tell the truth to his conservative and uptight father. Finally, the daughter had been pregnant and had decided to abort without ever informing her father, after all, Morrow is a recalcitrant Catholic. Without laying a finger on the chief of police, Nemesis is already destroying his family.

Before releasing Morrow's children, Nemesis forces them to have sex. As a result, the tabloids go nuts with headlines like "gay boy got his sister pregnant". Finally, in an attempt to rescue the president of the United States, Morrow attacks Nemesis and is lucky enough to defeat him.

Life goes on, and Morrow's family slowly begins to heal. Morrow turns in his resignation and spends more time with his wife; his gay son finally feels comfortable to have a boyfriend; his daughter has triplets -celebrating not only the incestuous relationship but also her Catholic faith- until one day the former chief of police receives a mysterious letter. There he finds that rich and bored men throughout the world pay a fortune to become super villains. One man trains them and provides them with all the advanced technology they need to succeed as criminals.

There will be more villains as more and more people feel tempted to spend their money achieving this peculiar goal. It'll be interesting to see who the next Nemesis is in volume 2 of this series, scheduled for January 2013.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 12, 2011
Mark Millar teams up with his Civil War artist Steve McNiven for possibly the best book he's written so far. The book starts off at a blistering pace, throwing the reader straight into the action as Nemesis blasts a murderous path of vengeance across Asia before turning his attentions to Washington DC.

At every expectation in the story Millar draws the reader in only to pull the rug out and flip the situation on its head. I was hooked from the first page to the last as Millar throws in all the tropes of the superhero story and completely obliterate them. I won't go into them here but let you discover them for yourself because they're that good. Suffice it to say nobody out there is writing superhero books like this. Millar is a true original.

And Steve McNiven - is there another artist drawing superheroes at the top of his game like he is? Gorgeous artwork adorns every page, perfectly complimenting Millar's sharply written scenes. Quite simply the best in the business.

Do you like superhero stories but are bored with what most of DC and Marvel put out? Give this a go. It's a much needed adrenalin shot in the arm for a genre that's, frankly, become stagnant. Millar and McNiven together again, doing what they do best - amazing comics. A wonderful read and one of 2011's best so far.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2011
With amazing books like Old Man Logan and Superman: Red Sun it's clear Mark Millar just doesn't care about good story telling anymore.

When this book was first announced and the first issue released I fell in love. I tracked when the book was being released and picked up every single first printing the day it released. As soon as I read the fourth issue I realized this book was made for one reason, so they could promote the movie being made.

Only being 4 issues long, you don't get a sense of any real characters or pacing. Every line of dialog is just leading the reader to the next ultra violent set piece, without giving you a true sense of what the true motivation behind it all is. When the book reaches it's anti-climactic "WHAT A TWIST!" end, the reader is left wondering what was the point of the previous 3 issues if Millar was just going to restart the entire thing?

If you like mediocre art and lots of violence with absolutely no substance, this is the book for you. Otherwise, pick up something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2013
After reading Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2 (excited for the movie) I decided to check out more of Millar's work. Without much thought, I bought Nemesis hoping it would be good. I loved everything about it and there are twists everywhere throughout the entire comic. I really hope this will be made into a major movie.
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on May 9, 2013
I think someone panned this graphic novel here on amazon, a review to the effect of " big deal what if batman was a psychopath type story- so what? " ... fair enough... for everyone who loves a particular comic book there's going to be someone who hates it , we all have our individual tastes and preferences.. and the last thing I want to do is to start a flame war with that particular reviewer, if that's his opinion of course I totally respect him for it :)

Having said that.. I have to be honest, the idea of a psychotic twisted alternate version of batman who uses that intellect and gagdet-ry in the worst possible ways.. to wreak havoc and destruction in horrid ways... I found it really interesting and a fun read.. no , obviously I don't support this sort of thing happening in "real life" ... but we escape to fiction to let our imagination explore " what if " scenarios, to see as entertainment what we would never want to see happen in real life.. TV shows about say zombies overrunning Earth, especially well written ones, are something that a lot of people can watch for fun but obviously we'd be less than thrilled seeing it happen in real life.. we do, however, enjoy it as a work of fantasy.. same thing here.

To me a "5 star" book would be Neil Gaiman's original Sandman graphic novels, Alan Moore's " Watchmen", Ennis and Dillon's " Preacher " just to give a few examples .... but I gave this book 4 stars because, even after all the negative reviews (there were some professional-type reviewers out there who panned it too according to it's wikipedia entry) I enjoyed reading it. The other big part of the appeal to me was we can sympathize with the chief of police who has to take this SOB down.. which is another really interesting parallel to me... what if Jim Gordon was a kick-ass cop and had to take down a psychotic batman?
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