Comics: Nemesis #1 Review by Optimus Douche

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NEMESIS finally helped me crack the Millar Conundrum; that puzzling ability he has to polarize the comic book community into almost equal sized camps of blind-rage and gushing-adoration for his work. Millar is essentially the Michael Bay of comic writers. And I don’t mean that as an insult. He appeals to the 15 year old in all of us, tickling the same part of our brains with comic panels that Mr. Bay tickles with robots blowing shit up and Megan Fox bending over. Seriously, every panel of NEMESIS made the 15 year old in me that still “rages against the machine” go “Fuck…Yes!!” Now what did the 35 year old Optimous think? Well, he was a little pissed that he just paid $2.99 for a book that is basically a lot of carnage, a whole lot of swearing, and so shallow that I almost snapped my neck diving into it.

For anyone that does not suffer from an undiagnosed multiple personality disorder like yours truly, and expect your comics to tackle weighty social issues while exploring complex characters; stop reading now! Seriously, you will despise this “Batman Gone Bad” tale. However, if you’re a little bit “Cybil” and enjoy the “sizzle” as much as the “steak” read on; because there is some fun shit in here if you’re willing to shift your brain from 5th gear to neutral.

The question I keep asking myself is, “Why didn’t I come to this revelation earlier?” What was it about OLD MAN LOGAN that made me squeal with glee, where KICK-ASS and at first NEMESIS left me wondering “what the hell is the point of all this?” Again, this was a week of true revelations about my comic buying habits because I finally have an answer. With KICK-ASS, it was on Millar’s shoulders to make me care about the characters (which I never did, but I’ll admit I bailed on the book after issue 2). Some really cool scenes and really cool quips, but without the emotional tether to the fate of these characters and the world they inhabit the book simply seemed like an exercise in base instincts and fool hearted heroics. With OLD MAN LOGAN I already cared about the fate of the main character, actually make that the entire dystopian world Millar painted, thanks to the countless number of years I’ve spent reading WOLVERINE and X-MEN. My mind basically picked up the slack, filling in the deep character introspections between the panels. Essentially I was writing a second book as I was reading OLD MAN LOGAN, my gray matter shoehorned in all of the “talky” emotional stuff between Hulk poundings.

Millar simply does not have this luxury of past history with his original titles. So as readers we are left with two choices; shun the books or shut the fuck up and realize what you are getting into.

No I didn’t hate this anti-batman tale like almost every other reviewer on the intertubes, because I didn’t go into the book expecting FABLES or (insert your erudite title here). Millar’s history combined with the 45 point type on the cover exclaiming “Makes Kick-Ass Look Like S#IT!” well-set the expectation for what I was getting into. Once I knew this, sitting back and reveling in the creative moments of this book was easy, in fact, to use a phrase from my youth, “the shit rocked!”

Where this deviates squarely from BATMAN or any other character that relies on wit over brawn, is that we see none of the planning for Nemesis’ fantastic feats. With Batman we see every thought process, we see his planning in action, we “see” that’s he’s smart because we are shown that he’s smart. Nemesis is an international bad-ass whacking Police Chiefs in all of the world’s major cities. Why? Shut-up with all of your stupid adult questions. It doesn’t matter why; he kills a guy with a freaking train in the first few pages. A meticulously timed kill and he does it because he’s Nemesis fuckers! I hope that’s all you need to know, because that’s all you’re going to get. The second main character of this title is a D.C. Police Chief that is a great fucking cop and is next on Nemesis’ list of marks. In this case we actually get to see that he’s a great cop, well OK you caught me, we actually see that he’s a fool-hardy cop that takes it upon himself personally to break-up a hostage situation in a convenience store. Again, think like you’re 15. We all know that in the real world if cops behaved this way it would be a break down of the system as we know it, but this is comic books. If the Chief is the only guy that can do the job, then by God he’s the man to do it. The book concludes with a great hijack of Air Force One and a cliffhanger, that while expected, certainly sets up some palpable danger for issue deux. While we don’t get to see the planning for the hijacking, the event it self is pretty spectacular all thanks to McNiven who seems to be channeling another artist for this title. It’s all good stuff, just different from the norm.

In the end analysis, I don’t see the need to get so upset over Millar (or any other comic creator for that matter). Seriously you guys are fucking brutal when it comes to big M: I really don’t think I’m a fucktard for enjoying Old Man Logan as one thoughtful reader suggested, nor do I think “I eat the ass of a monkey’s shit after it just ate another monkey’s shit” as one AICN fan kindly told me after I compared KICK-ASS to a lap dance that ends with getting punched in the balls (and yes, their insult is implying that the piece of shit actually has an ass and a mouth – it took me a while). I feel the same way about comics I do about movies. Sometimes I want to watch “Shakespeare in Love” and sometimes I want to watch robots blow some shit up. There’s more than enough room in the world for both kinds of story-telling to flourish – if you’re the right type of reader. Hell, I might even go back and give KICK-ASS another chance when the 15 year old in me wants to come out and play again.

Optimous is lonely and needs friends. Even virtual ones will fill the gaping hole, join him on Facebook or he will cry like a newborn kitten.

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6 Comments to “Comics: Nemesis #1 Review by Optimus Douche”

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  1. Poptards says:

    apparently you came under fire for this review OD? What for? And I didn't realize that people seem to hate Mark Millar..I'm a pretty big fan of most of his work.

  2. Optimous Douche says:

    I went through this with KICK-ASS as well. It’s plain and simple really, the Internet brings out the worst in humanity – well I should say the anonymity the Internet provides is the real demon.

    Things people would never say in real life – things that don’t really bother them – just merely irk them a little – become a case for a verbal WWIII. Personally I think it’s cowardice since I say on-line exactly what I say in real life, but I know I’m an opinionated asshole.

    When it comes to Millar people are totally polarized. There’s very little middle-ground. It’s either the man is a genius or he’s a complete hack. Don’t take my word for it, check the Intertubes. Very rarely will you find “Millar’s title x was OK….”

    As soon as I compared him to Michael Bay I knew the gloves would be off, but I do believe it’s a fair comparison. Yes, Millar has way more inventive twists, but he has that luxury because his production costs are way lower, so the risk and reward ratio is not as great as it is with a movie. Bay appeals to the lowest common denominator constantly, yet his movies make billions. How can this be? If the movie is shit, why doesn’t it fail? Why, because it’s not shit. Encino Man was shit. His movies are base, they are juvenile, they lack any depth or true emotion, but they are also a visual spectacle that man has never seen. Michael Bays movies are simply popcorn turn off your brain fun. That’s where I feel Millar original titles fall. They are simply gratuitous over-the-top fun.

    However, when you tell a 40 year old man, a man that fancies himself as an intellectual as so many of our comic collecting brethren do, that’s when they get torked off. Why though? I’m 35 and I fully admit I enjoy visceral fun as much as I enjoy a deep heartfelt message and deep meaning in every panel.

  3. jd says:

    Hmm. I'm not sure I can find actual FAULT with your theory, but what I can say is that it doesn't feel quite right.
    I myself HATE HATE HATE Michael Bay (though I'll admit to LOVING the Michael Bay produced horror remakes of late)and it's my own personal taste that makes me not want to compare Millar to Bay as that's a negative comparison for me.

    I'm thinking maybe more along the lines of Guy Ritchie. He is VERY good at a certain type of thing (british underworld tales Snatch, and LockStock..) but has done utter shit (Swept Away)..but has also taken some chances with weighty material (Revolver), and hit the mainstream to great success with Sherlock Holmes.

    I think comparing him to the lowest common denominator is a bit unfair, but I'm not gonna start calling you NAMES about it, haha!

  4. Optimous Douche says:

    Name calling is fun though. I understand what you mean…for me I just have to shut off my brain when I read Millar's new line of 45 POINT TYPE SWEAR WORD ON COVER titles…just like I do with a Bay flick.

  5. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!

  6. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game.

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