Nemesis the Warlock


Nemesis the Warlock is a fictional character, the terrifying demonic protagonist of the comic strip of the same name, created by writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O'Neill. A fire-breathing alien with a deep contempt for human kind, he began his battle against the fascistic Torquemada's Terran Empire in 1981, in the pages of stalwart British sci-fi comic book 2000 AD.

Twisted and gothic, even by the standards of that blood-soaked publication, subtlety was never the strip's strong point. O'Neill's often staggeringly imaginative illustrations are angular and oppressive, Mills' writing is breathlessly hyperbolic ("You've led the human race into a new dark age! But Nemesis will avenge our deaths!"), and there is an preoccupation with scenes of torture and gruesome death. What saves the strip from being the comic book equivalent of a video nasty, however, is the dark wit and biting satirical intent at work.

Written at the height of Margaret Thatcher's grip on the British public, the fiercely left-wing Mills depicts anarchic anti-heroes violently railing against a bullish, intolerant authority. That the authority in question is the human race thousands of years in the future adds a further dimension; a heavy-handed but effective condemnation of human nature.



Nemesis ran sporadically in the pages of 2000AD into the 21st century, although O'Neill quit the art chores a few years after its inception; he and Mills have since collaborated on the equally gratuitous Marshal Law. Following artists included Bryan Talbot (of Luther Arkwright fame) and John Hicklenton. O'Neill returned to the strip to illustrate its last ever episode.

Supporting characters

  • Purity Brown - human aide to Nemesis.
  • Candida de Torquemada - wife of Tomas de Torquemada and mother of two of his children.
  • Sister Stern - second wife of Tomas de Torquemada and mother of his third child.
  • Grand Dragon Mazarin
  • Grobbendonk - alien pet of Nemesis.
  • Chira - warlock and first wife of Nemesis, mother of his son.
  • Magna - warlock and second wife of Nemesis.
  • Great Uncle Baal
  • ABC Warriors
  • Nostradamus de Torquemada - brother of Tomas de Torquemada.
  • Thoth - warlock and son of Nemesis (named after Nemesis' father).


Most of the saga was told in 'books', with additional stories told in one-offs, which appeared in annuals, specials, or in the weekly comic. There are a number of collections of the original six-page instalments available, which roughly follow the books as they were originally published. The earlier books were not given individual titles.

Book One

The World of Termight

In collected form this book features the first three Nemesis stories - Going Underground, Killer Watt and Olric's Great Quest.

Book Two

Credo - The Alien Resistance

Book Three

The World of Nemesis

Features Chira, Nemesis' mate and the birth of Thoth, son of Nemesis. Chira is killed by imperial assassins and Thoth is adopted by Sir Hargan, his mother's killer.

Book Four

The Gothic Empire

Originally intended to be the first full-length Nemesis story, other stories were written as an introduction to the character and his world(s), ballooning into the preceding three books. Torquemada is killed at the end of this book, Thoth, still in the 'care' of Sir Hargan and his wife is growing in power.

Book Five

The Vengeance of Thoth

Starting ten years after the end of Book Four, an earlier version of Torquemada is brought through time by Thoth, so that he can punish his mother's murderer. Satanus re-appears.

Book Six

Torque Murder / The Time Wastes

The introduction of the Monad.

Torquemada the God

A five-part story not run under the Nemesis banner, from 2000 AD prog 520-524. Torquemada consolidates his power on Terra, though is affected by a curious maladay, which is eventually revealed to be a plot by Thoth to punish Tomas further, by killing his former incarnations.

Book Seven

The Two Torquemadas

Nemesis and Purity go back in time to 15th century Spain to retrieve Thoth. Torquemada goes back in time to kill Thoth and prevent his degradation. Tomas de Torquemada meets his namesake.

Book Eight

Purity's Story

During an interlude Purity recalls how she first met Nemesis, remembering details that had previously been blocked from her.

Book Nine

The Deathbringer

Tomas escapes the time wastes into 1980s Britain, leaking time radiation as he does so. Subsequent side effects of the radiation leak create upheaval, and Tomas seizes on this to become variously a slum landlord and chief of police.

Book Ten

The Hammer of Warlocks

The last Nemesis story, after a protracted absence.

External links

  • Terror Tube ( - 1st appearance of Nemesis and Torquemada
  • 2000AD Profile ( Nemesis the warlock

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