Nemesis: Reloaded Springboards into Millarworld Crossover Event

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Nemesis: Reloaded #5

In 1984, Mike W. Barr and Michael Golden introduced readers to a new villain -- The Wrath. No, not "Wraith" as in "ghost" -- "Wrath" as in "righteous anger." It was in Batman Special #1 in a story called "The Player on the Other Side," and it dared to posit a villain whose origins mirrored Batman's, only with law and crime reversed. The Wrath was an anti-Batman, who was the equal to the Dark Knight in tactics, skill, and physical prowess. Unfortunately for the readers, this was the character's only appearance.

Years later, as Batman became more infallible in the comics, a new anti-Batman appeared. Prometheus, created by Grant Morrison, entered the DC Universe in a one-shot called New Year's Evil: Prometheus in 1998. This character was more ruthless, destroying cities and maiming heroes. But he wasn't quite the same as The Wrath: he cheated. All his skills came from having a chip in his head that he could program on the fly with whatever talents he needed. That just made him an amped-up version of the classic Calculator to me, so I couldn't accept him as the evil Batman.

It took Mark Millar to give us that with Nemesis, and this antagonist-led series, Nemesis: Reloaded. Where Batman is the good guy who wears all black, Nemesis is the bad guy who wears all white. His skills are earned, his schemes several layers of Machievellian plotting, and his drives are... surprisingly relatable. His ruthlessness is unmatched, and he's willing to sacrifice anything and anyone with a shrug if it gets him closer to fulfilling his mission.

This latest issue finds Nemesis holding the city of Los Angeles hostage with a nuclear bomb hooked up to a lie detector. And hooked up to the lie detector? The de facto mayor and former hero cop, Joe Costello. Nemesis has questions for Joe, which are being televised throughout the city. And if Joe lies, the city goes -- even if it takes Nemesis with it (although part of me believes Nemesis had a way out for himself even in a situation like this; he just plans that well).

The story also advances into the next phase of Nemesis' career, with a quest that has even more nods to the classic villains of the past, and their gimmicks, ending with the shocking revelation (to the readers, anyway) of the fabric of Nemesis' world. Things aren't how they used to be -- and nobody realizes it. But to tell you more about that would be to spoil the thrill of getting there, so I'll just leave you with the knowledge that you want to get this book -- this series -- and set aside a block of private time to enjoy it without interruption.

In all the good comic shops everywhere on May 10!

5.0 / 5.0