The most Mark Millar-iest comic since he killed half of the Ultimate Universe, Nemesis essentially asks the question "what if Batman was the Joker?" or, even more aptly, "what if Batman was a total cunt?" That second question must have been asked by someone who's never read All-Star Batman & Robin.
Or heard of Christian Bale.
The eponymous Nemesis is a rich supervillain who has dedicated his life to really pissing people off. To labour the DC point, imagine if Batman decided to work against Commissioner Gordon rather than with him. Nemesis travels around the world blowing stuff up and besting the best of the best authorities he finds there. After destroying half of Tokyo and killing its top cop, he heads away to Washington DC, kidnaps the President and informs Chief Inspector Blake Morrow that's he's next for the cut. All in a day's work for the world's only supervillain.
I first came across Nemesis in the UK publication Clint, a sort-of lads'-mag-come-comic-book-compilation that collects several strips and hurr-hurr, looks a bit like Cunt on the magazine shelves. Which is a good indicator of Nemesis' levels of maturity*. It's easily the most immature of Millar's work since Wanted, and some of his angriest too. Not that this is entirely a bad thing. It's incredibly fun watching Nemesis doing his stuff, and comes loaded with a finale that doesn't disappoint. The art by Steve McNiven is handsome enough, and looks stunning in Clint's A4 format. There are pages upon pages of explosive action, gory bullet ballet and bone-breaking kung-fu. There's at least one big set-piece per issue.
Approach with caution. Lovers of subtlety will not enjoy Nemesis. Your mother won't even allow it in the house. Provided that you're a fan of misanthropy and ultraviolence, Nemesis is a joy. It's like a mix of Garth Ennis' Punisher/The Boys crossed with Frank Miller at his most macho. The script is redundant in most cases, relegated only to explaining the plot. It feels less like a comic book at times than it does a screenplay in waiting. Which, funnily enough, is how Kick-Ass 2 (also published in Clint) is starting to seem.
Talking of which, Nemesis has recently been optioned for a movie. Supposedly to be directed by Tony Scott and due to star Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, I'll believe that when I see it (and see it I will). Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that some of the comic's harsher stuff will remain intact. And dare I say it, Michael Bay would probably suit the comic's style better than Tony Scott.
And I think we all know who should play this See-You-Next-Tuesday Batman...
But I love Nemesis,
in spite because of its more boneheaded moves. The action is amongst the best I've seen in years. Morrow makes for as likeable a hero as Nemesis is loathsome, leading to a great payoff. Needless to say, the comic sets itself up for a sequel.
Whilst I don't think one would be particularly neccessary, consider me thoroughly on board.
* And a good indicator of my own. I have every issue so far.