NEMESIS (Icon/ Marvel; Hardcover)
Collects Nemesis Nos. 1-4 (cover dates May, 2010- February, 2011)
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
Nemesis is a creator owned property published under Marvel's Icon imprint. The Icon books are devoid of the Marvel logo, likely to appeal to people who wouldn't be caught dead reading a Marvel comic. Like Irredeemable, this is about a villain running the show. Unlike that title, this villain doesn't have any super powers, only a super fat bankroll. I won't go into the villain's background for fear of spoilers. Suffice it to say, the ending was clever, even if I have a hard time believing someone could plan that well that far in advance. There are too many variables in the world for things to work that way. I guess this is where the comic book suspension of disbelief comes into play.
Mark Millar seems to be a love/hate writer for fandom at large. I enjoy his work, but have not made it a point to follow him from title to title like some comic book groupie. If something appeals to me, I buy it. Millar doesn't make or break it for me. Steve McNiven is a great artist. I discovered him during his now legendary run on Captain America. I will give something a second look if his name is attached to it because his action sequences are always a joy to behold.
This is definitely a “mature readers only” book, with tons of violence and bloodshed throughout. Lots of carnage for the Millennial/ Gen Y/ video game crowd. One could turn this book into a drinking game by doing a shot every time someone gets killed. I can guarantee that you wouldn't finish the book.
While I love the rich tapestry of continuity that is the Marvel Universe, it is easy to see the allure of creator owned ventures like this. While the paycheck might not be as big as working on a mainstream comic book, the benefit and freedom of not having to conform to any rules, as well as the joy of building something from the ground up, would far outweigh the drawbacks. I'm still not convinced that creator owned titles are the only way to go for artists, but as a fan it is great to have so many options and flavors available on the shelves at comic shops.
Writing: 3.75 out of 5. Despite a slight difficulty in my suspension of disbelief, this was slick and seamless.
Artwork: 4.5 out of 5. McNiven is great for all of the reasons listed above.
The OCD zone- This has the same nice paper stock and glued binding as any standard Marvel Premiere Hardcover. The MSRP of $19.99 is pretty steep for a 4 issue hardcover, in my opinion.
Paper grade quality: 5 out of 5. This thick coated stock works perfectly for modern color palettes.
Binding: 3.5 out of 5. Sure, it's glued, but the book is so thin that it's hardly a deal breaker. That said, it didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy the way that books with sewn binding do.
Note: Collections of modern material (2002-on) do not get restoration ratings on linework or color, since they are all straight from digital files.
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