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Review Group - Nemesis #3

Written by John Martin on Monday, October 04 2010 and posted in Reviews

GLX had the pick for new comics shipping September 22nd and he selected Nemesis #3 by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

Does the Review Group love Mark Millar's controversial new creator owned series as much as Mark Millar does?  Let's find out...

0922-nemesis_coverReview by GLX

"I'm only counting ninety-seven and I'm fine on my own, thank you."

Bloody, violent and depraved. Millar and McNiven deliver the goods with Nemesis #3. If this issue hasn't convinced you that Nemesis a cold-hearted, son of a bitch, then nothing will. By the end of issue, Nemesis' actions make him worthy of a good beatdown from Chief Blake Morrow. Can't wait for the next issue.

8.2* out of 10*

Review by Frag It

I loves me some Millar action. Nice quick read. Tons of action. Fun story.


Review by guitarsmashley

This issue was pretty good and pretty shitty all at once.


Review by starlord

I don't get it. Not in the "Grant Morrison lets throw crap against the wall and see what sticks" I don't get it, but I don't get what the appeal here is. Mindless violence and a lame story. Even the revelation between the kids made me roll my eyes more than be in shock.

This is why I guess I'm not a fan of Millar. He goes for those moments that are supposed to shock you but never tells a good enough story that makes you really care. On the other hand McNiven's art is some of the best on the market. Didn't like the bloody scenes much but man were they drawn really well!

Story: 1
Art: 10
My Score: 4

Review by 48THRiLLS

This shit is rad... it is big, dumb, over the top and I love it. I am not expecting too much substance or thought provocation when I read a Mark Millar penned comic just fun and blood. I don't want all my comics to be like this but there is nothing wrong with an occasional blockbuster style comic in my stack. I will say this... aside from the issues taking forever to come out I am rarely disappointed with Millar (Civil War ending still sucked) because I typically know what I am gonna get and the fact that he gets the best artists to draw his stuff makes it all the better. Steve McNiven is freaking awesome and the page with the baton going through the back of homeboys head and coming out of his mouth was so good ... I would write a longer review but like I said there is not much substance here but that doesn't make it a bad read.

STORY - 8.9
ART - 10

Review by Punchy

Story - I'll say this for Mark Millar, he's not particularly subtle. Nemesis #3 is perhaps one of the most in-your-face boom-tastic comics I've ever read. There's no nuance here, there's not much depth.

But that's not really a problem.

I don't mind a lack of depth and nuance when a comic is as balls-out entertaining as this. Not every comic has to be Neil Gaiman or Jeff Lemire, it's OK to just have explosions. Now this may sound like the kind of defence you often here from idiots about Michael Bay movies, but I feel that even though Nemesis is kind of dumb, it's a good kind of dumb, it's not aggressively dumb. It's got a kind of wit, it's got an edge to it. I may have enjoyed 23 pages of mindlessness, but it was a good kind of mindlessness. If that makes any sense.

This issue is basically made up of two halves, the first is a blistering action sequence where Nemesis busts out prison, taking on nearly a 100 Prison Guards by himself. Millar wisely stays out of this sequence as much as possible and let's McNiven do his ultra-violent thang. There's an audaciousness about the level of violence and the spectacle of the escape here that really made me smile, it's so over-the-top, and it's brilliant. Millar is often accused of just writing comics to be made into movies, but on the basis of this sequence, even if it's true, it shows it's not a bad thing. This was an amazing bunch of pages, and one that will look really amazing if and when Nemesis does become a movie. Millar just writes great action set-pieces, and that's why Hollywood looks to him, he's not adjusting to their whims, they are noticing his.

The second half of the story is shocking in a different way. Nemesis kidnaps the hero's kids, forcing him to reveal 3 shocking secrets about his family. The revelation of the flaws in the heretofore perfect Blake Morrow's family life did well to undercut a character I felt was a little ridiculous in issues 1 and 2, and went some way to adding realism to what is an altogether fantastical story. I'm also prepared to have the rug swept from under me again in issue 4, with a possible reveal that Nemesis is not exactly who he says he is. Millar may actually be playing a more intelligent game here which I've underestimated in the face of kidnapped Presidents, gay kids and forced incest. Yes, I did say forced incest.

The next step Nemesis takes is much more shocking, as he uses science to impregnate Morrow's daughter with genetic material from his Gay son, and rigs it so that if they try an abortion, her womb will collapse.

I mean, what the fuck?

Some readers will probably be offended by this, and it is crass for sure, but it's also very shocking and actually surprising by how mental that is. I can't imagine any other writer (apart from maybe Garth Ennis) putting something like this into a comic. Too many books these days are just not surprising, and Nemesis should be applauded for having the guts to just go where other books won't.

This review may be a bit defensive, a bit intentionally luddite, defending a loud, unsubtle comic book, but I think at times we need more than a breath of fresh air to shake the comics world up a bit, we need a blast of hot, cordite air to rock us and shock us. I'm not a stupid reader, I welcome an intelligent, quiet character study as much as the next person, but sometimes a comic should be a rollicking good time, we need books like Nemesis and Loeb's Hulk, to show us the scope of the comic book page, the level of pure visceral action they can convey, and the shocks they can deliver. Nemesis isn't particularly clever, but it is big, and it's a lot of fun.

Artwork - I mentioned how Millar wisely let McNiven handle the big fight sequence on his own, and it couldn't be more true, the 3 and a bit pages where Nemesis fights the Prison Guards are a pure delight, they are gore-splattered for sure, and that may turn some readers away, but they have a beauty of their own, and the kinetics of those panels is really something. There have been rumblings that McNiven's work here has not been as good as his previous collaborations with Millar, and whether that's down to him inking his own pencils, or to deadline pressues, there is certainly something a little rougher than before, but he can still nail sequences, and he can still deliver top-notch art. Really great.

Best Line - 'Okay. Now you can release the prisoners'


Review by Victorian Squid

Remember when Mark Millar used to write smarter comics? Before he started writing comics for dummies? Because no one's as smart as Mark Millar, or the stand-ins for his juvenile violent daydreams, er I mean protagonists. Nemesis shows you just how smart he is thanks to Millar's making everyone else out to be a moron, not through any genius of his own. Don't worry about the squad of trained mercs, the demolition guy, the disguise expert, or the computer hacker! I mean, what could they do? By all means, don't give the children police protection with them on the loose! Don't scrutinize Nemesis' guards too closely! Or arm the riot squad with anything but sticks. In fact, don't take any other measures while you've got this super-smart killer in the slammer. Whatever happens, don't notice the thousands of identical white cars being driven onto the prison compound, or wonder where the people who drove them there went or who they were!

Don't notice the emperor is butt-naked either.

Special thanks to GLX for saving the money I might have spent on this in trade.


Review by BlueStreak

Having not read the first two issues of Nemesis, I don't really feel that I can give this a full review, but I'll do what I can.

Nemesis is like many of Millar's recent comic work. It's action-packed and is basically a movie pitch in comic form, just waiting for a Hollywood studio to turn it into a hyper-violent movie that appeals to teenage boys and action aficionados.

The pros to issue 3 of Nemesis is that it's highly accessible to new readers. Both me and a friend were able to read through it with little issue as to what had come before. Also the art is top notch.

The cons is that, much like Millar's other recent work, it relies on heavy doses of violence and the gross out factor to make the story work. Millar's not going for a deep story here, he's going for "OH MY GOD, SO HARDCORE" moments, and it shows. There's no real originality here, just a plethora of shocking moments designed to show just how big of a prick Nemesis is.

At the end of the day, Nemesis is Millar's latest cash cow. While I applaud him for using comics as a way to score easy cash off of Hollywood and bringing more interest to comics, I can't say I particularly like it. Some people might like cops getting impaled by nightsticks, but I'm not one of them. I'll probably pass on the movie when it comes out.

Story: 5
Art: 9
Overall: 7

Review by Jude Terror

I wanted to hate this. I really did. I'm tired of Millar's comics, tired of the fact that they're so overhyped, tired of them being so focused on concept instead of story, tired of them being so short, and tired of the fact that they're the comic equivalent of a James Cameron movie.

But I didn't hate this. It was... alright. The fight scene in the beginning was well done, with great action and violence depicted by McNiven. The story was easy to follow and the characters easy to pick up on, despite not having read the first issue. The events of the issue actually made me want to find out what happens next. It may not seem like high praise, and it's not, but it's more than I expected, and any comic that succeeds in making me want to read the next issue is a winner.

It had it's flaws. Of course, I understand that this is a comic book, but the concept of this still bugs me. "What if Batman was a prick?" or whatever it's supposed to be. Batman pulls off being this unbeatable superhero based on years and years worth of stories. It feels cheap to take this character, Nemesis, and basically just say "He's the ultimate bad ass, dude!" It reeks of gratuitous ninetiesness. All flash, no substance.

Why is Nemesis the ultimate badass? Why can he fight ninety-seven trained prison guards by himself? How is he able to capture the president? I guess this stuff doesn't really matter, because, as mentioned before, Millar comics are all about the concept. Nemesis is a badass. That's all you need to know I guess. I would like more.

The revelations about the Police Chief and his family all appear to be very interesting on the surface, but the fact is it is psuedo-characterization. It's like the Jerry Springer show version of character exposition. "Your daughter had an abortion! Your son is gay! I've been cheating on you with your partner, because you can't perform sexually! And that's not all! He's a midget!" (cue on-stage brawl). To the easily fooled, this may appear deep and interesting, but to me it just seems ho hum.

That being said, the art is good, and the story wasn't bad. It wasn't great, and it's horrendously overrated, but it was servicable. I may read the next issue.


Review by GHERU

This was less a cohesive story and more a collection of moments that would only be interesting to a to some one who had never seen a Kubrick movie. Rather than being a comic about a genius villain, it is a comic about how stupid everyone else is; no, no one notice all the cars in the parking lot, o don't worry about the military trained bad guys still at large, forget about the 100 of other things that point to the break out – no, instead lets pretend that cussing, violence, and shock equal good writing without regard to plot.

On the other hand, I love the art, to bad about the "story"

story - 1
art - 8
over all - 4.5

Review by Zero

"What if Batman was a cunt?"

Apparently the answer is that everyone else's IQ would drop around fifty points. Millar's protagonist eponymous villain* is an evil everyman in a world of thundering morons who loves doing bad things because he's a bad person. We're given no reason to pick a side and watch the carnage play out either, so with no-one to root for it's hard to look at the book without almost complete detachment.

The problem here is that the character is flat and unconvincing and his shenanigans are shocking in a way that lacks depth or wit. When reading an issue of some other books accused of 'shock value' we at least get something to go with it. Societal cause in Stray Bullets, black wit and brotherhood in Preacher and Young Liars stretched the boundaries of what can be considered logic. Nemesis just has career middle work from McNiven. Bad art can ruin good writing, but when an otherwise reliable artist churns out something this choppy and weak you can only assume Millar promised him a healthy sized movie cheque.

A very thin comic lacking in depth, subtlety, wit or charm. If I was thirteen I'd have thought this was cool. For about ten minutes.


*Edited to compensate for Millar's inability to make it clear who the main character of a book is.

Review by John Snow

Of the three issues of Nemesis so far, this was the least sucky but only because Millar is going out of his way to try and shock the reader and that's all Millar's got anymore. Shock. Reading Nemesis it's clear Millar's only reason for doing this is to try and spin it into another Kick Ass. This reads like slightly more elaborate storyboards and it makes for very uninspired comic booking. There's no depth in the characters and I kind of doubt this is anyone's first comic where the villain is the main focus of the series.

I hope Steve McNiven hasn't had a falling out with Dexter Vines and Morry Hollowell because his work becomes a lot less exciting without them. Certainly they couldn't have helped the boring widescreen storytelling but they would have added the depth and texture that Nemesis is lacking.

Having not read this before it got picked for the RG, I would have bought the eventual trade sight unseen. The biggest shock Millar and McNiven have provided with Nemesis is just how underwhelming a comic these two have come up with.

Story: 1
Art: 6
Overall: 3.5

Review by Eli Katz

I agree with Mr. John Snow. McNiven needs an inker. He is a horrible incompetent inker, who uses the same line for every illustration. It looks flat and lifeless and amateurish.

Story: 3
Art: 3
Overall: 3

Review by Royal Nonesuch

Note: This is the only issue of this book I've read.

Beyond some manic fun in seeing the main character scheming and gleefully slaughter an entire squadron of trained prison guards, there really isn't much about this issue that holds much impact. It's all so shallow and pretty meaningless that the comic simply lies there limp. The artwork is similarly uninteresting. It's competent and looks nice, and certainly flashy, but Steve McNiven's pencils have always been pretty weightless, and this is no exception. There are few pencillers in comics who are as dependent on the inker and colorist as he is, and he isn't done any favors here.

Ultimately, Nemesis is a rather unsatisfying, superficial read.


Review by SilverPhoenix

Is Nemesis the smartest bad guy of all time? Is everyone in this book an unlikable asshole? Is Mark Millar already counting his potential millions from the Movie Deal this book already has? Let's see how these 3 all come together to make this a less than satisfying read.

Controversy Creates Cash. This term has become famous, due to the book that Eric Bischoff (former Wrestling Executive) released in 2006, chronicling his career from its humble beginnings to the Monday Night Wars that raged on Cable Television in the 1990's. It is also a term that described his overall strategy during those wars, where it didn't matter to him whether the press was good or bad, all that matter was that you couldn't look away, because you wanted to see what happened next. It was something that worked until his promotion could no longer shrug away the structural problems that would bring it to its ruin. Despite that, however, it is a strategy that is still used to this day in entertainment, and it is one of the techniques that are used to sell many comic books today. However, there is one man that probably stands head and shoulders above in using this tactic, and his name is Mark Millar

As for the man himself, Mark Millar is probably the most controversial and polarizing figure in Comic Books today. In this reviewer's time lurking and posting on many of the comic book forums on the Internet (along with his time on the Convention Scene), he has noticed that very few people have middling opinions on the man. Most of time, he is either greatly loved or savagely reviled. Even those who don't love all of his work, find that the ones they do love or some of the hallmarks of the decade, and the ones they hate to be some of the worst stuff they've ever read, or spent money on. A trend that will probably continue with his latest series, Nemesis which has been published in a joint venture between Marvel's Icon, and Millar's own Millarworld imprint. What did the review think of this issue? It's safe to say that my thoughts will be a lot closer to reviled than loved.

As for the title character himself, Nemesis is driven by a single goal. Revenge against the police officer (Blake Morrow) that ruined his happy little childhood by exposing the criminal activities of his parents. His form of acting out, being this World's only Super Villain, causing untold damage, and killing tons of people. The current issue in question starts with Nemesis being arrested, and taken to a Maximum Security Prison. From there we see....

- Nemesis escaping from his shackles with help from his gang.

- Nemesis killing nearly 100 Prison Guards with his bare hands, freeing all 2,000 Prisoners and blowing up the prison he was to be incarcerated in.

- Nemesis kidnapping Blake Morrow's children, and forcing him and his wife to reveal 3 of the family's darkest secrets.

- Nemesis artificially inseminating Morrow's daughter with his own Son's Semen, and wiring her Womb to collapse if they try to abort the child.

What you see here is what you are getting, ladies and gentlemen. Those 4 points consist of 95% of the story presented here. If you are looking for any nuances, deeper meanings, and compelling storytelling, then you aren't reading the right comic. This isn't to say that this comic has a bad story because of its face value storytelling; it's for reasons beyond that. First of all, Nemesis escapes during a Press Conference where Homeland Security not only brags like a Teenage male who got his first lay with a cheerleader, but ends up discounting his gang at the same time. Seemingly forgetting that Nemesis came into the game with Billions of Dollars that he could've used to train his gang in everything they would need to bust him out of jail. It shatters the belief that Nemesis is really that much smarter than his competition, because that sequence of events exposes them to be so damn stupid, they make the New York Mets ownership look intelligent.

Also, one cannot talk about this story without talking about the relationship that Blake Morrow has with his family. We find out that Blake is so obsessed with his job that not only did his wife cheat on him during the first 18 months of their Marriage; he went without the knowledge that his Son was Gay, and that his daughter had an Abortion. The way this is all portrayed, it doesn't make Blake Morrow a protagonist worth cheering for. It just makes him look like he's thrown away his life in pursuit of a man that continues to undermine the very thing he protects, and if he does catch him, he is left with nothing afterward. It also doesn't help that his wife is actually a nasty person who didn't have the guts to not marry him, or leave him after she realized who he was. If Blake Morrow was modeled after John McLain, Mark Millar forgot to make him likable.

As for the art in this comic book, we have quite a paradox, as the art itself isn't bad, but the colors and the inking is. Steve McNiven does a good job drawing everyone as their own character, and it shows. The Black and White drawings of the covers on the back of the book show how good his work looks without colors, and truly makes the internals looks worse. I don't know what happened during production, but his work suffers because of it.

What is most interesting about this whole entire thing is that the Movie rights have already been optioned off by 20th Century Fox, where it stands to become the fastest a comic book property has been converted into a movie. When you take that into consideration, you can see where the lack of effort in the overall product comes from. Why put any into this when you already counting the money you stand to make from this. Even if the movie is a flop, the book will still make a pretty penny due to the Creator's name alone. I'm sure the creative team took that into consideration when they made this comic, and I'm going to take that into consideration when rating this book.

The Verdict
Story: * (2): Nemesis continues to win over opponents that would insult most videogame AI on Retarded Easy. It wasn't fun in the first issue, and it hasn't gotten fun now

Art: **1/2 (5): The pencils are done really well. Too bad the colors fail in showing that.

Accessibility: *** (6): On its own, there isn't much you need to know, but you need to read the other 2 issues to fully understand where we are now. Otherwise, this will be just a mindless action film in comic book form.

Final Judgment: *3/4 (3.5)

Review by thefourthman

I have no aspirations that this is a great comic. It's not.

It is entertaining as hell though. Even when it does something completely silly like have Blake pronounce that he knew who Nemesis was the whole time (and keep the reader in the dark till next issue – well played on the serialization Millar, well played).

There is a lot of talk about Millar writing story boards for movies and whatever. Hog wash. The man writes big popcorn action filled comics. Sometimes - they are keen satire (see Kick-Ass), sometimes - they are brilliant reflections on an icon (Red Son), sometimes – they are mindless fun. That's what this one is. What if Batman weren't just a dick? What if he were a bad guy? What if he could kill anyone given enough time?

Blake couldn't have thought it would be that easy. (And as to aspirations that background checks on security guards would solve the problem presented here, did you miss the part where one of his crew is a master identity thief? They did do a background check and it cleared. DUM DUM DUM... see that is the genius of Millar, he knows your objection even before you do.) So now Nemesis is set free and he's brought two thousand of his best inmate buddies to create further chaos for Blake. Awesome.

Of course, Nemesis is really after the kids. And in this comes the SHOCK factor. The difference between Millar in shock mode and Ennis, is that Millar knows how to straddle the line. The kids aren't murdered, the kids don't commit incest – but Millar uses all that taboo to create a false shock. Nothing is really as shocking as it appears, he has merely twisted standard soap opera mechanics a little. I love him for it.

As to character work - Blake is the only guy getting any in this series and it's deft and subtle. Blake has been taken from super cop to prick with a family he can barely maintain – he's a politician, imagine that. He has actually almost become the bad guy and you almost start to route for Nemesis in this issue – that's a neat trick, if you ask me.

McNiven is not turning in the trademark clean work that he is known for. If you ask me, that is a good thing, this is a dirty book, clean lines would be out of place. Come on the cars racing from the prison, awesome! Splatter of blood everywhere, he's having fun.

Millar is a master manipulator. It's what he does best. He appears to have manipulated a bunch of people into a frothy mess of complaint. He's written a comic book equivalent of The Expendables to me. It's not high art. It's not the acme of its genre. What it is is a big bold action romp befitting of Michael Bay and while the rest of you haters cry foul, I just like to see some blood splatter every once in a while.

Story 3
Art 4
Overall 7

That gives Nemesis #3 a group score of 5.16.  Love it or hate it responses for a Mark Millar comic?!  Who could have possibly seen that coming?

For what McKegan calls "beyond dumb", check out our Nemesis thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.

Our Franken-Castle #21 week is well underway.  Join us in our current thread in The News Stand forum to join in on the fun!

This Wednesday we will be resuming the great Jonathan Hickman debate as we review Ultimate Comics Thor #1 from Marvel Comics.

1006-ucthor_coverUltimate Comics Thor #1

WRITER: Jonathan Hickman
PENCILS: Carlos Pacheco

Exploding from the pages of the Ultimates, comes Ultimate Thor! Don't miss the superstar team-up of JONATHAN HICKMAN and CARLOS PACHECO as they go back to the beginning and tell the origin of Thor, Loki and the rest of Asgard! Ragnorak has descended and Asgard sits at the edge of the end. What will become of Thor and the Warriors Three? And what exactly does Baron Zemo, mysterious commander for the Nazis, have to do with it all? Ultimate Comics Thor brings you the untold story of Thor's thunderous debut! Rated T  $3.99

Written or Contributed by: John Martin

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