Nemesis – issue 4

Mark Millar’s creator owned projects managed a double whammy over the festive period with the final chapter of our introduction to Nemesis, Issue 4, reaching us and the midway point being reached by Superior as Issue 3 hit the stands.

GEEKchocolateers will know that I have had mixed feelings about Millar’s creator owned projects, Nemesis in particular has attracted my ire. I’ve made my feelings about the project clear, feeling that it represents a low point in Millar’s career. Superior, on the other hand, has the potential to be really great. More of that one though in a forthcoming review.

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to be at the opening of the excellent new graphic novel bookstore Plan B in Glasgow and met Mr Millar. Contrary to the some of the press he receives, I found him to be open, friendly and generous with his time. I only spoke with him for a short while, but it’s always nice when someone you meet turns out to be exact opposite of all the negative things you’ve heard  about them. Not only that, but he has graciously agreed to an interview with us here at GEEKchocolate as soon as he can fit us into his schedule.

A chat about comics over a Guinness should always be priority in my opinion, but to be fair, he does have a busy workload.

We chatted about my reservations with Nemesis; in particular, my feeling that it’s actually a pretty boring, one note storyline. Mr Millar took my views on board, but asked me to wait till the final issue promising a killer twist to make it all worthwhile.  Issue 4 delivers that twist.

So was it worth the wait? Did it justify ploughing through the first three issues? Well, yes and no…

I hate to be so non-committal about it all, and would much rather be  delivering either a resounding yes, or a damning no verdict, but I can’t. In some ways that could be seen to be a failure in itself, Mark Millar does like to provoke reaction and whether it’s a love it or hate it reaction, that’s a better response than an indifferent shrug of the shoulders.

So to Issue 4 then, and that ending. A denouement that, in my house, was anticipated nearly as much as the ending of Lost. Thankfully it’s not anywhere near as disappointing as that one.

A quick update for those who don’t know the background. In a world that is without super heroes a super villain appears – the eponymous Nemesis – and proceeds to wreak havoc. It seems a very rich man is pissed of at society and is out to take his revenge.

That pretty much sums up the premise, or if you prefer you can use Mark Miller’s own description; ‘What if Batman was a bad ass?’

The first three issues follow Nemesis as he targets the Police Commissioner for some special treatment and the Commissioner’s attempts to bring the masked man to justice. There’s a few twists and turns on the way but they are fairly humdrum and even Millar’s trademark shock tactics have felt forced.

Issue 4 follows its three predecessors in being distinctly so- so. There’s nothing in here that’s going to make you sit up and take notice, nothing that raises the standard. It’s not bad, it’s just a perfunctory trot towards the twist at the finale. There are explosions, blood, double crosses, everything you have come to expect.

So we get the cops being led up another blind alley to a set up that they only just manage to escape from. In situations like this though the pursuer only needs to get lucky once, the pursued needs to be lucky all the time.

Nemesis’s luck runs out and so the police manage to apprehend the master criminal.

It’s too early to be doing a review with spoilers in it, so you’ll have to buy the comic to find out how all of this plays out.  To be fair though, it’s not the journey we’re interested in here, it’s the destination. The ending. Does he pull it off?

If you wanted the ending to give a stunning new perspective to all that’s gone before and makes you sit back in admiration at its audacity, then no. If all you expected was an ending that would give you a wry smile, but managed to ensure that you will be back for more when Nemesis Volume Two begins, then it’s a resounding yes. The ending doesn’t justify the mediocrity of all that has led up to it, but it is audacious enough to cut the writer some slack and allow him another shot at it all.

That I’ll be back for more may be down to the strength of Millar’s back catalogue and the belief, or hope, that he can deliver more next time around.

The very fact that I will be back at all is a success. Of sorts.{jcomments on}




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