All week on CBR, readers have learned about the brand new steps Mark Millar is taking with his Millarworld Comics label in the new year from the birth of "The Secret Service" with Dave Gibbons to the unveiling of "Jupiter's Children" with Frank Quitely and beyond. But today, the final installment of our special Millarworld Week presents the next phase of the writer's plans for two of his biggest franchises: the villain-centric action of he and Steve McNiven's "Nemesis" and the real world twists coming in the "Kick-Ass" spinoff "Hit-Girl" with John Romita, Jr., both of which are published through Marvel Comics' Icon imprint.
This September, "Nemesis 2" will ship to comic shops, and as Millar tells it, the story both picks right up from the first volume and reinvents the concept. "The sequel is an entirely different beast from the first story," he said. "It opens up the world and expands upon everything we've seen before with new leads and an entirely new set-up. 'Nemesis' was always intended to be a 12-issue story with three four-issue series. Each one is interlinked and builds, but they're also quite self-contained and work as stories in their own right. The only character who returns from the first volume is the old guy on the beach on the last page of the last issue. You realize that the Nemesis idea, this concept of dressing up and being a super-villain, is basically a holiday for rich guys. A few times a year, these guys take a few weeks away from their multi-national companies and spend a bunch of money to feast upon the poor. It's the 1% having fun messing up the lives of the 99%.
"In historical context, we're similar to where we were in the Victorian Age where the masses feared the aristocracy, these men who seemed above the law and who, in some cases, determined how their workers were even going to vote. These fears emerged in pop culture with books like 'Dracula' -- the idea of a count feasting on the poor, a blood-sucker in the most literal way, and this reflected the revolutionary vibe sweeping across Europe and Russia in particular at the time. In a similar way, I think that attitude has returned now with the gap between rich and poor being wider than it has been for generations. After 80 or 90 years of benevolent capitalism where people like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark would be viewed as heroes, we now regard these guys a little more suspiciously. How exactly did they make this money and how do they sleep at night in their massive homes when people are sleeping rough on the other side of their electric fence? Can they justify importing 500 designer cowls from Japan when some people can't feed their families in the neighborhoods they're protecting? In reality, they probably wouldn't be very nice at all. Nemesis is taking that idea to a logical conclusion and just being honest about it. This is about rich men putting on masks and capes and getting a kick out of beating up poor people."
Within the pages of the new comic, the legacy of the very first man to carry the super-villain mantle will be explored as well as its inheritors. "I've alluded to the fact that the first Nemesis was an electronics billionaire, and the opening scene of 'Nemesis 2' is a funeral," Millar said. "The funeral is of a world-famous computer genius. He was one of the world's richest men, he was the original Nemesis. We have a little fun with that, dropping hints on who he really might have been and how his death was covered up. At the service, all these other billionaires are around talking about who's going to be next in the costume. Who gets the next shot at this in their little secret society? We get a new storyline from that about a father and a twenty-something son, but the story of 'Nemesis 2' comes at the concept from a different perspective. The first one was all about people having to deal with a billionaire monster who was terrorizing them. In part two, we flip it around so people can see the inside of this club and how they train for all this to go out and have fun. And part three will be out in 2013, wrapping the whole thing up."
And just as the writer has carried over collaborators through his Millarworld projects, Steve McNiven will continue to draw "Nemesis 2" and the third volume after that. "Marvel has been very accommodating about the Millarworld artists taking a break and doing their own things," Millar noted. "It's actually worked out well for everybody. The guys have it written into their contracts that they can do these books, and once they get made into movies, it brings a certain amount of heat back to the creators when they have a new Marvel book like 'Avengers' or whatever. Johnny Romita, for example is the co-creator and producer of 'Kick-Ass,' so that's a nice headline when they're promoting his next Marvel gig and obviously it was nice for us to be described as the Wolverine team when we were promoting 'Kick-Ass' #1. Ten years ago, we couldn't have imagined that we're doing what we're doing now, but jumping between the comics and the movies has worked out really well for both. It's the same with the Marvel movies, too. It creates a nice synergy. The writer, Joe Carnahan, is coming over here to Scotland in a couple of weeks so we can really get our teeth into the 'Nemesis' movie, which is very exciting as I'm a huge fan of his stuff. There's been misreports online, as Joe tried to say, that the deal got killed at Fox, but this is nonsense as we only finished the paperwork and got paid about 12 weeks ago. Some blogger just saw tweets between Joe and I where Joe was talking about the draft of a treatment he'd done with his brother not being used, but it was more of a miscommunication, the exec who was in charge having moved from the company a few months back. Everything is exactly where it was a few weeks ago."
On the opposite side of the Millarworld spinoff fence comes "Hit-Girl" whose May debut bridges ideas from the two previous volumes of "Kick-Ass." "How does Hit-Girl take center stage? It's very, very simple actually. Dave just breaks a few fingers," Millar said while sharing early pages from the final issue of "Kick-Ass 2." "If you go out and pretend to be a superhero and actually get in a fight, well if you punched someone and broke your hand you'd be useless as a superhero for a while. I had a friends at school who broke his hand with a single punch, so it's a real thing that happens every once in a while. It's not like Batman where you can take a lot of hits and just show up next night and be exactly as cool as you were the night before. So I thought it'd be funny if Kick-Ass punched someone and broke his hand, and he was just out of action for eight weeks. It's as simple as that and what would really happen sometimes.