Silencing the little voice in his head, Luke ponies up the dough for the latest repackaging of classic Nemesis. Limited edition, not all Squaxx will have got a copy, but what are they missing out on? Luke checks out what he forked out 30 quid for, in this Rioja fuelled overview.
Nemesis The Early Heresies
By Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Jesus Redondo and Bryan Talbot
Review by Luke Williams
I genuinely had this little voice in my head telling me, “c’mon, how many different versions of that story have you got? Do you really need another version of it?”. That rational little voice seated in my consciousness was bludgeoned to unconsciousness by the spendthrift completist home of the larger voice, then hogtied and gagged for good measure.
That’ll learn him to try and save me money.
Anyway, it was a surprise release, to me at least the only hint I had seen was something about a French edition on Pat Mills’ twitter account / feed or whatever it’s called (Copyright 2019 Luddites Are Us).
The Heresies Edition collects the early shorts the “Comic Rock strips” inspired by music and conceived as a means of Mills and O’Neill of letting their hair down, ”freewheeling” and “jamming” and taking concepts that were first seen in Ro Busters and running with them in “Terror Tube” and “Killer Watt”
Mills and O’Neill felt there was more potential to this world. Consequently Comic Rock was parked and the world was developed as an ongoing strip, starting with the prologue “Sword Sinister” in a Sci Fi Special (presented here out of sequence and after the main strips).Onto Book 1, the “World of Termight”, establishing the conflict between Nemesis and Torquemada and fleshing out the Termight Empire and the Terminators crusade.
For Book 2 the Alien Alliance, O’Neill tapped out, and Redondo came in. Shorter than most other Nemesis books, it features giant alien spiders and the (part) origin of Torquemada, but was curiously omitted by Titan Books in their reprint series.
The art baton gets passed back to O’Neill for Book 3, which apart from featuring a siege, huge robots, including Mek Quake in a new body, also fills in more of Nemesis’ backstory and sets up the direction for the rest of the series (with a few left turns on the way).
Book 4 – the Gothic Empire was going to be the first long form Nemesis story, but Mills and O’Neill decided that they needed to fill in more of the backstory. Bryan Talbot takes over from O’Neill after the first two episodes. Nemesis fights to protect the Goths and alien race that mimic human civilisation from the early 20th Century. Mills & O’Neill start by inventing steampunk, reintroduce Ro -Jaws and then Mills and Talbot resurrect the ABC Warriors and kill Torquemada, in what is probably my favourtist comic story ever – as I wittered on at the Mega City Book Club podcast.
These strips are the high point of Nemesis, fresh, weird, startling with a not too subtle political subtext. Classic British comics. This should be on the curriculum in schools.
It’s a lovely looking and feeling collection. A nice big hardback, good hefty package, pages more to original prog size,not reduced like the ‘phone book collections. And look! It must be classy, it has a ribbon marker
The reproduction work is excellent on the O’Neill and Redondo pages, but suffers occasionally on some of the Talbot pages. Talbot uses more blacks and some of the pages look a little muddy.
The back pages have a selection of lovingly reproduced (colour)covers and Starscans from the runs in the prog’.
Mills and O’Neill provide an introduction and an afterword respectively, both dated 2006 with grey text on black. Those of you, like me, who are middle aged with failing eyesight might struggle, I recommend a strong reading light. It’s disappointing for such a prestigious package that they couldn’t get new commentary from the two of them.
At £30, it’s not cheap, reproduction wise the old Titan collections are still the ones to beat, but I know would have regretted not buying it. It’ll look great next to my “Nemesis The Warlock : Deviant Edition”, the Titan Albums, the Rebellion phone books and the reprints in the 2000AD Ultimate Collection, and of course sparing me the inconvenience of having to rifle through my complete collection of Progs and “Best Of’s”.
If you haven’t got these strips, this is a cracking way to get them. Pity they’ve sold out…..