Comics, Reviews

Nemesis: Reloaded Review: A Supervillain Remade

Step into the bloody story of "Nemesis: Reloaded." Mark Millar's most notorious supervillain is back with big, diabolical plans for Los Angeles.

Nemesis: Reloaded Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

Nemesis: Reloaded TP

Nemesis: Reloaded Full Cover

Writer: Mark Millar

Artist: Jorge Jimenez

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: July 11, 2023

Page Count: 144

Format: Comic

Mark Millar and Jorge Jimenez rebuild Nemesis from the ground up, showing more of the man behind the mask and how he became Millarworld's most notorious killer.

Mark Millar will always be a very polarizing figure for me in comics. For better and for worse, the original “Nemesis” series from 2010 encapsulated everything that draws people to and away from Millar’s work. It was creative in its concept, then extremely edgy and over-the-top in its execution. Nemesis’ character being a blood-thirsty killer allowed Millar to explore some very dark ideas that will either shock you or make you cringe. But as controversial as the original series was, it’s admittedly endearing to read about Millar being so sentimental about his character.

Now here we are in 2023 and Nemesis is back. Millar himself proclaims this new series as a “soft” reboot, as it’s his way of integrating one of his favorite characters into Millarworld, which he has been building up for years. With “Big Game,” his upcoming crossover event, right around the corner, it’s intriguing to see how all these characters he created will fit together under one roof. But before “Big Game” even starts, let’s dive into my review of Nemesis: Reloaded.

Nemesis crashes through a car windshieldImage: Millarworld

Part 1: Remaking the Supervillain

The story boldly opens with the line: “Everything you’ve heard before is a lie.” You can read the line in two ways. One way is it’s Mark Millar making it very clear that this new story starts with a clean slate. The other way could be Nemesis spouting more of his lies. He was never really a trustworthy fellow, to begin with. Whichever way you interpret it, this new series is meant to rebuild the character that first debuted in 2010 for modern audiences. It’s a cheeky way of telling readers there’s no time to dwell on the past when there’s now so much to look forward to in the future.

You can call Reloaded a reboot, but this is still very much the Nemesis character readers love and also hate. The comic’s early issues waste no time in reestablishing Millarworld’s most notorious supervillain as the cocky, foul-mouthed, and demented caped killer that he is. Except this time, the man has his sights set on sending Los Angeles into chaos by terrorizing the police and the city’s newly elected mayor, “Honest” Joe Costello. The story is teeming with violence and bloodshed, and artist Jorge Jimenez brings a more modern style that makes even the most chaotic scenes look incredible.

Young Nemesis learns the truthImage: Millarworld

Part 2: How a Boy Became a Monster

What sets Reloaded far apart from the original series is that it puts a greater spotlight on Nemesis’ true origins. In the 2010 run with artist Steve McNiven, Millar depicted Nemesis as a dangerously psychotic man with too much time and money on his hands. Think Bruce Wayne if he let all his violent and intrusive thoughts win. But as exaggerated as Nemesis was, his motivations as a villain were very skin deep. One of the final twists in the original story was that Nemesis was not a man out for revenge, but simply a madman who got his rocks off from torturing people. While some would argue that’s a case of Millar’s edgy writing, it was brilliant in a way because it made Nemesis a much darker character than he already was. 

In Reloaded, however, Millar finally gives Nemesis a proper origin story. The middle issues heavily explore Nemesis’ childhood, giving greater context to how the man in the pale white mask came to be. As interesting as it is to see different sides to Nemesis, this pulling back of the curtain takes off a bit of the character’s edge. It humanizes what’s supposed to be a ruthless killer that sees human life as just another plaything to him. While I'm by no means the biggest Nemesis fan, it’s jarring to see the character portrayed as something close to an anti-hero instead of the irredeemable monster.

Nemesis gets his revengeImage: Millarworld

Part 3: Being a Part of Something Big

When you consider the bigger picture at play here, the slight changes to the character make some more sense. The original being a self-contained story allowed it to be ambiguous with its details. That is no longer the case this time around, as Nemesis now has a major role to play within the grand scheme of Millarworld. After all the dust settles from Nemesis’ now-canon revenge plot, the series’ final act teases what’s to come for the upcoming “Big Game” comic event. As ambitious as the concept sounds, it’s fully within Millar’s track record of being a creator unafraid of exploring different ideas. Let’s just hope things don’t fall back into the usual pitfalls he is notorious for in his writing.

Nemesis shoots Costello downImage: Millarworld

Final Thoughts

Like many of the works by Mark Millar, “Nemesis: Reloaded” is sure to leave readers divided. For better or worse, Reloaded delivers a more straightforward story than its predecessor. Fans of the original series are in for a different story that’s better in some aspects but can also be considered worse in others. While Reloaded is packed with bloody and bombastic moments, it also spends time developing the Nemesis character more than the original did. It almost feels like night and day if you read the two runs back-to-back to each other. But there’s one thing that rings true across all versions: Nemesis is one messed-up character. Except this time, the villain is here to stay.

Why You Should Read Nemesis: Reloaded

  • Jorge Jimenez delivers stellar art throughout the entire series
  • It sets the stage for the upcoming “Big Game” series
  • This version of Nemesis feels toned down, making it more accessible by today’s standards
TAGGED: Image Comics