The Complete Nemesis The Warlock Volume 2: Books 5-7 by Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Bryan Talbot, John Hicklenton and Tony Luke (graphic novel review)

In some respects, things are getting bad for Nemesis The Warlock in these ‘Complete Volumes’. Ten years down the line, he is slightly enchanted and engaged to Magna, unaware of her involvement in his wife’s death. I think this fact, unless a story was omitted, is as surprise to the reader as well and I suspect we’ll have to wait to discover how. Meanwhile, Nemesis’ son, Thoth, seeking revenge for his mother’s death, has plucked Torquemada from earlier in his time-line and sent him back to the time when he was be burnt at the stake in a continual time-loop. As no one believes Torquemada when he says he’s the real one he is forever burning. Couldn’t happen to a nastier man!

Thing is, Nemesis believes Thoth is out of control and to find him, he needs to free Torquemada to get his attention. To do this, he is aided by Purity and the ABC Warriors.

The Complete Nemesis The Warlock Volume 2: Books 5-7 by Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Bryan Talbot, John Hicklenton and Tony Luke(graphic novel review)
The Complete Nemesis The Warlock Volume 2: Books 5-7 by Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Bryan Talbot, John Hicklenton and Tony Luke (graphic novel review)

Into this mix is the opportunity to see Torquemada without his mask on and meet his wife. If you though he was bad, Candida is far, far worse and dislikes Nemesis as well. Oh and if you thought Torquemada was bad, then meet Nostradamus, the brother or is it his grandfather he thought killed and survived his injuries. This really is bad bloodline.

The second book here or number six if you’re keeping count focuses a lot more on Torquemada and his various incarnations across the generations and how much of a real bastard he really was/is, depending where you are in the time-line. Writer Pat Mills points out in the introduction that he pulled no punches with the violence in this series nor the fact that Nemesis himself is also sidelined in his own strip by the villainous Torquemada. This series isn’t about liking Torquemada but hating him as much as he would hate us heretics.

Probably the best gag is the opening double splash page of this sixth book where artist Bryan Talbot shows the merchandising of Torquemada which is laugh out loud hilarious. It does make me wonder if there is ever any merchandising from this series, if any of it would be done for real. Well and truly, I would probably go for a decent model of Nemesis himself but even so, you would really have to be crazy to want something based off Torquemada.

To the story itself. Candida gets the full insanity treatment here and ultimately Torquemada has to divorce her because he needs a wife who will bear him a child and doesn’t stop him arranging Sturn’s husband’s death to get here. If you thought Candida was mad, then Sister Sturn is even more so.

The seventh book focuses on Torquemada meeting the original Torquemada and hot pokers at no paces. It’s hardly surprising that Nemesis tracking down his son Thoth becomes something of an anti-climax, although the twist on this is spoiler. When it comes to family matters, neither Nemesis nor Torquemada have much luck.

The switch between artists during this story includes Kevin O’Neill and John Hicklenton. The later is especially dark which doesn’t particular help when he’s trying to find different poses for showing off Nemesis’ snout.

There is some material after the main books. A rather bizarre pair of games where you jump across panels playing Torquemada for ‘Diceman’ magazine. Better is a story illustrated/photographed by Tony Luke where Nemesis and Purity have an adventure on Earth present. You’ll never look at a comicbook shop the same way again.

It goes without saying that this is a dark book but as writer Pat Mills and artist Bryan Talbot point out, ‘Nemesis The Warlock’ is very much anti-racist and by showing it at its most extreme and ridiculing it in such a way was a bold move when it was first released, let alone now. In Earth present, we’ve ridiculed previous evil dictators, from Napoleon to Hitler, mostly because it reduces the power they had over people. In some respects, it does make me wonder why we’ve stopped doing it with modern dictators, even before their fall, but I guess it puts their nation’s people at risk. Although I wouldn’t advocate the series for the very young, mostly because I don’t think they would get it and of the extreme violence, anyone from teens up will certainly get it and if anything, wish Nemesis would do more to stop Torquemada.

GF Willmetts

March 2013

(pub: 2000AD. 288 page graphic novel. Price: £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-905437-36-8)

check out website: www.2000adonline.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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