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Nemesis (Alpha Flight character) (Marvel Comics) with monomolecular sword

Nemesis

(Merged, older take)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Nemesis is a mysterious Marvel Comics character. She first appeared in the 1980s run of Alpha Flight, and continued to operate in Canada.

When this profile was done Marvel’s stance (Women of Marvel 2005 sourcebook ) was that a single person was Nemesis across her different appearances. Though it clearly felt like three different persons had used the Nemesis identity, we used this official take. This profile thus tries to reconcile that with the stories, leaving a lot of speculation.

Later on with the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover the stance is revised to three persons having used the Nemesis identity. Which is good. But we’ve yet to redo everything to reflect that.

Our character profile about the original version of Nemesis is done, though.


Background

  • Real Name: Apparently Amelia Weatherly, née St Ives.
  • Marital Status: Likely married to a Mr. Weatherly at some point.
  • Known Relatives: Father (deceased ? Apparently Ernest St Ives aka Deadly Ernest), unnamed mother (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Alpha Flight, Gamma Flight.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 115 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Blondish red (sometimes ash-gray).


Powers and Abilities

Nemesis seems to be an undead being who can pass as human through an effort of will. She has some occult knowledge, including the ability to cast rituals.

Many of her abilities seem to revolve around her special sword. The edge of this blade is about the thickness of an atom. Thus, it can slice through pretty much anything with very little effort. It also enables the wielder to fly, and proved tough enough to parry plasma blasts from the Scorpion’s tail.

Langkowski, when he equipped her with an implant controlling her, confirmed that Nemesis was “technically dead”. He also established that her body only continued to function because she held her “soul sword”. He further described the sword as being made of the “living metal” prometheum.


Nemesises

In Alpha Flight v1 #76 and subsequent issues, it seems that another person, Jane (later identified as “Jane Doe”), is the new Nemesis. The implication is that this woman had been given the recovered Nemesis costume and sword to serve as a government agent.

“Jane” sounds like an authoritarian government loyalist and law-and-order type. This is a far cry from the quasi-undead spirit of retribution seen previously. Or the cynical misanthrope seen later. However, officially, “Jane” was actually St. Ives.

The simplest hypothesis is that St. Ives infiltrated Department H. all the way, eventually becoming the field leader of the main intervention team. How she did it is unknown. Presumably it involved her ability to revert to her fresh-faced Amelia Weatherly appearance, and some sort of powerful subterfuge magic.

The Artist (Actress) score has been set high in her RPG stats to help explain this hazy part of her background.

Garrison Kane (aka Weapon X) once mentioned Nemesis having abandoned a team mate in the past. Either he was making a reference to something that happened behind the scenes when Gamma Flight was put together, or things are more complicated and Nemesis as “Jane Doe” has some sort of association with the Weapon X project. Which is getting awfully complicated, really.


History

Nemesis’s first documented appearance was in Montréal, where she came to kill the death-dealing immortal Ernest St Ives, also known as Deadly Ernest.

Nemesis found him some time after St Ives had killed Raymond Belmonde, then the mentor of Northstar, as part of a criminal scheme run in association with Belmonde’s daughter. The murder had attracted the attention of the Beaubier twins, Aurora and Northstar. Thus, they saw Nemesis carve her way through the guards before confronting St Ives.

Although the deadly man easily dodged her first strike and touched her with his toxic hands, Nemesis was unfazed and cut him into bits.

Return of the man of death

St Ives’s unbleeding corpse was taken for study to the Montreal General Hospital’s morgue, where it laid for several months. Lionel Jeffries, the superhuman called Scramble, later animated many corpses there. This allowed Deadly Ernest to reassemble himself. Nemesis almost immediately sensed his return.

Alpha Flight confronted Ernest just before Nemesis could, but completely failed – and Nemesis found herself trapped under the weight of the inert Box robot. When she managed to wiggle free, most of Alpha had been touched by Ernest and was left dying on the floor.

Nemesis used her magical rituals to stall their death. Then she gave her sword to Puck so he could hunt Ernest down, kill him and recover his colleagues’s life energy through the sword. In the meanwhile she would remain with the nearly-deceased to keep them from passing away.

Despite his issues with killing people and wielding cursed swords, Puck eventually managed to do the deed. He even rescued Heather Hudson from St Ives.

Origin ?

Nemesis then poetically recounted being the daughter of Ernest St Ives, and how she had been stalking him since the 1920s. She explained how Ernest came back from the Great War in France and accidentally killed her mother with his death-dealing hands. She told how she had forged a sword from science and magic to be able to take him down.

Then Nemesis appeared to crumble into dust.

How much of this story was true is unknown. It would also seem likely that the part where she crumbled into dust and left her sword and costume behind was a magical illusion.

Gamma Flight

Months later, a woman named Jane, wielding the Nemesis sword and wearing the costume (supposedly taken from the dust of the previous Nemesis), appeared as the leader of Gamma Flight. This version of Gamma included Wild Child, Witchfire, Auric and Silver. By that point, Alpha Flight had been ordered to disband by the government, and Gamma Flight was the official team.

However, Alpha Flight members resumed operating anyway. Nemesis became determined to take them down to show them who was the boss.

Both the outlawing of Alpha Flight and the promotion of Gamma Flight had been caused manipulations by Llan the Sorcerer. It was then presumed that “Jane’s” antagonism toward Alpha might also have been magically induced by Llan.

Llan summoned various phenomena to increase violence throughout Canada, such as starting a zombie plague and luring American superhuman criminals to Canada. Both Alpha and Gamma Flight responded to those crises, but ended up working together in the heat of the battle.

The hard-arsed Nemesis nevertheless insisted on having Alpha arrested when the situation seemed under control, though. When Alpha escaped to stop Llan the Sorcerer, further illusions from the evil Llan made it look like they had killed the military officers interrogating them, and once again the Nemesis-led Gamma gave chase.

Against the Sorcerer

Alpha defeated Gamma. However, Heather Hudson and visions sent by Talisman helped convince Nemesis of Alpha’s honesty. She finally accepted that they had told the truth about impending doom that Llan represented.

Alpha and Gamma rushed to the Gate of Night in the Eye of the World, joining Talisman plus Canadian paratroopers and air superiority assets. At this point those troops had already engaged other-dimensional  invaders from the Gate.

The Earth forces managed to take down the first wave after Northstar and Aurora disoriented the invaders with pure light. But the second wave incapacitated many of them, including Nemesis. The heroes and Dr. Strange eventually managed to open the Gate of Day, and Llan was beaten back.

With Llan’s manipulations being over, Alpha was allowed to resume operations. The Nemesis-led Gamma Flight was made into a lowly training division, which Nemesis and Wild Child did not accept.

Wild Child soon went berserk due to unrelated events. Nemesis, the rest of her team and Alpha joined forces to track him down. Nemesis, however, greatly resented being placed under Heather Hudson’s authority. She convinced all other Gamma Flight members to walk away and follow her in freeing Wild Child on heir own, then deserting.

The Children of the Night, part 1

The renegade Gamma Flight was soon confronted and pretty much defeated by Vindicator and Wolverine. Silver and Auric decided to go back to China, and Witchfire accepted becoming an Alpha trainee. This left Nemesis and the unconscious Wild Child. Nemesis refused to surrender. Both she and Wild Child disappeared in a flash of light, leaving dust behind.

They had just teleported away. During the following months Nemesis took care of Wild Child, greatly helping him to reassert his humanity over his animal instincts. She also assembled a troop of children living on the street, arming them with melee weapons and training them to wage a “war against evil”. Apparently Wild Child was one such soldier.

This gang was named the Children of the Night. Most of their activities remain undocumented. At one point they fought an evil superhuman called Rok.

The Children of the Night, part 2

During her time as the leader of the Children of the Night, Nemesis was back to acting in a way far closer to the “St. Ives” demeanour than the “Jane” persona.

Although he had been badly scarred by the claws of Wild Child, Rok survived. He later counter-attacked by surprise, chaining Nemesis before assuming control of the Children. He turned the kids into assassins for hire, who even attacked Wild Child when he came back.

Eventually, Wild Child and Weapon X defeated Rok. That was a short time before Wyre, who had been hunting down Wild Child for months, came to the scene.

Nemesis crawled to her sword. She then prevented Weapon X from interfering in the confrontation between Wyre and Wild Child. Apparently she knew of the connection between the two, though she had never told Wild Child.

Welcome (back) to the fold

Some time later Wild Child, who after his confrontation with Wyre became known as Wildheart, returned to Alpha Flight. So did Nemesis — although Puck had objections about this, knowing Nemesis was absolutely not a team player.

For some reason, Nemesis did not return to her Jane Doe persona, behaving much more like St. Ives. Puck thought that she was delusional. Maybe the government thought “Jane Doe” was starting to think of herself as St. Ives and that some supernatural influence from the sword was at work. Along with Alpha she fought with the Wrecking Crew in Toronto, duelling with the Wrecker.

Canada was at that point experiencing a political crisis caused by the dispute about the the Hagon Bill project, calling for registration and government control of superhumans. Heather Hudson asked the Alphans to take a clear stand, since remaining with Alpha might mean becoming mutant-hunters in the near future. Nemesis was the only one to opt out, though she needed some time to actually leave.

A time for leaving

Nemesis thus remained with the team for a few days after Silver and Auric were killed in an unrelated battle and their bodies stolen. Swearing to avenge them and telling Wildheart that she expected him to back her up, she tracked the corpses down.

They found the Brass Bishop, who had stolen the corpses to sell them at a supervillains auction. But once the Bishop was at the mercy of Nemesis, Wildheart prevented her from killing him.

Nemesis (Ms. St Ives) flying with her sword

Some time after Nemesis left, Shaman assembled an impromptu team to deal with the supernatural menace known as Carcass. That meant himself, Wyre, Box, a reluctant Diamond Lil and Nemesis.

Shaman, lost in his problems, deceived them. He did not tell them that to accompany him to the land of the dead to confront Carcass they had to die first. Which must have been a complicated proposition in the case of Nemesis. However, once this was done, he and his allies destroyed Carcass and safely made it back into the realm of the living.

Alpha Flight returns

Months later, Sasquatch pressed Nemesis into service with a new version of Alpha Flight intended to rescue the old team. To control her, he fitted her with an implant at the base of her neck. This made her unable to attack Alpha Flight members.

By that point, she seemed to stay in her human-looking form, not her undead form. This cast further doubt as to her nature. Dr. Langkowski also called her an “anarchist” and “nihilist” “rebelling against the world”. This did not fit previous depictions (especially the “Jane” persona) but seemed fully accepted by Nemesis.

Despite her unrelenting hostility, Nemesis played an instrumental role with the new Alpha Flight. This temporary, chaotic version of the team had but a handful of adventures, rescuing the lost original team and even bringing back the classic Alpha Flight after some temporal manipulations.

Centennial

One of Nemesis and Sasquatch’s team-mates on the team was Rutherford Princeton III, aka Centennial, an elderly superhuman.

During those adventures, visions borne from time-travel seemingly revealed that Nemesis was one Amelia. Amelia, a young White woman of Canadian or American origin, had a tragic love story with dashing Black police detective Rutherford Princeton – the future Centennial.

Things did not end well, with Amelia dying in unrevealed violent circumstances and Princeton remaining greatly affected by the tragedy. He eventually married another woman, but Amelia remained the love of his life.

Nobody, however, remembers this revelation. These memories of it were erased by further time travel. Obviously, Nemesis had only allowed those visions to occur because she knew Princeton would soon forget.

How this past goes together with her possible origin as Ernest St Ives’ daughter and later becoming Nemesis is unknown. But there are no gross incompatibilities between the two stories – or with an offhand remark she once made about having been around for a century.

A time for dying

During Alpha Flight’s last adventure, Nemesis asked for the implant to be removed. She explained that she was nearing the end of her unnatural existence, and that she wanted to put things in order in her life before going. She eventually convinced Langkowski, and pledged not to take any life as long as she was part of the team.

A later scene showed Centennial reaching the end of his natural lifespan, pretty much at the same time the undead Nemesis reached the end of her unnatural one. Rutherford and Amelia were buried together. Though secondary sources state that this scene did occur as depicted, it seemed closer to being a vision of a possible future in the primary source.

As a result, things remain uncertain.


Description

Nemesis can apparently change her appearance between at least two forms. She normally appeared as, in Northstar’s words, “a haunted horror of a being whose humanity had been crushed by ages of untold anguish”. Howbeit, her face in that state was never seen by the readers. She can, however, switch back with some effort to the pretty face she had when she was about 25.

Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe she’s in fact not visibly undead and just wore a mask or cast an illusion during her first appearance.


Personality

In her original appearances Nemesis was an eloquent, poetic person worshipping the night – and justice. She had something supernatural about her, in an angel of vengeance sort of way. Though she was a killer, she did not seem to be particularly evil. She could even have been considered as being benign.

Jane Doe

As Jane Doe, the apparent Nemesis IV, she was a very different person. She was a government agent who came across as aggressive, ambitious, enamoured with power and authority and unwilling to be a follower. As Gamma Flight was the superhuman arm of the government at that point, she felt she had great authority and that lawbreakers such as Alpha Flight were scum that had to be thrown in jail.

The Jane Doe Nemesis hated it when she was relegated to the little league, under Hudson’s authority.

However, after Jane Doe teamed up with Wild Child and formed the Children of the Night, she more or less reverted to her previous Nemesis III personality. Thus, she saw herself as a supernatural spirit of retribution and justice.

She presumably dropped out of her Jane Doe cover character. She was not operating within the governement anymore and did not have to pretend not to be the original Nemesis. At this point she was mostly concerned about meting out final justice, and refused to be a team player.

Anarchy in Canada

In more recent appearances, Nemesis seemed to be a mysterious anarchist and terrorist. She had a bitter and cynical manner and seemed burnt out on humanity. She appeared ed to have some sort of nihilist streak, or at least to consider that society and life in general did not make much sense. She even professed to admire the “more honest” bloodbath that was the Plodex empire.

This Nemesis was obviously holding many secrets. While knocked out and dreaming, she twice mumbled incoherent sentences about “fluffy bunnies” and “all other girls having bunnies”.

In this version she was also a cold and dismissive assassin. However, it seemed that all her harshness was caused by some king of past trauma and profound disillusionment with the world. Plus, apparently, being too smart and understanding the world too well.

Nemesis came across as somebody smart and deductive, highly experienced, confident and forceful, who knew a lot. Except in the “Jane” persona, which was just authoritarian and petty.


Quotes

“Sanctify my blade, o mother night, that I may seek out evil in your dark places. Grant to me the strength and wisdom necessary to my calling. Guide my hand and eye, that retribution may prevail. Count upon your fingers the precious minutes of your life, Ernest St. Ives. Your reign of death and terror is over. So speaks NEMESIS !”

“A word of caution, m’sieur. Do not move or you may lose more blood than you can afford.”

“Not this time, St. Ives. You cannot steal the life of one who has no life to take.”

“If there is justice to be meted out, it will be by the sword of Nemesis.”

“Twilight gathers, eternal night beckons, surrender to its sweet oblivion.”

“I’m fate’s angel. My path is already set.”

(2004) “This is bad. Without my sword… within my grasp… I am all but… paralyzed. No ! I have not struggled… endured… one hundred years of pain… to die here… so ignoble a death.”

(In 2004)
Sasquatch: “Do I look stupid to you, Nemesis ?”
Nemesis: “Yes. But I am the living embodiment of retribution. Everyone looks stupid to me.”

(2004) “Three words – ’told you so’.”

(2004) “By the ebon goddess of purgatory…”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Nemesis

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Justice (sort of)
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Spirit of retribution
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 018 HP: 030

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 07, Artist (Actress): 06, Occultism: 04, Weaponry (Swords)*: 05

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Strange Appearance (which can be switched on and of – and is thus an Advantage), Slowed Aging, Misc.: Nemesis is sort of, kind of “dead” and thus immune to some “death” effects such as Deadly Ernest’s touch and presumably other (such as accelerated ageing).

Connections:
Wild Child (Low).

Drawbacks:
Serious Rage, Power Loss (DEX, STR and all Skills drop to 0 if she is not wielding or carrying her sword), Secret ID (and it’s a pretty tangled mess, dagnabit).

Equipment:

  • SWORD OF NIGHT (aka ONYX SWORD, aka SCELL, aka SOUL SWORD) [BODY 15, EV 10, Flight : 05, Sharpness (EV) : 05, Power Loss : EV drops to 02 against some enchanted materials. Note that Nemesis can inflict Bashing Damage by using the flat of the blade. She does not get to use Sharpness when inflicting Bashing damage, though.].
  • The IMPLANT that Dr. Langkowski installed on her gave Nemesis the equivalent of a CIA not to attack Alpha Flight members or innocent people – the implant also triggered her Power Loss, even if she was holding her sword, until she relented from trying to break the CIA.

Rituals:

  • Soul stasis [Suspension : 06, No Components, CT 01. This Ritual allows Nemesis to prevent those who have been killed by a “death” power (such as the hands of Deadly Ernest) from actually dying, if their ’souls’ are returned within the hour. She must stay close to the Suspended soon-to-be-corpses to keep them from fully dying, however.].
  • Soul retrieval [Invulnerability: 12, Components: Sword of night, recent death of the killer, CT 01. This Ritual allows Nemesis to return those have been killed by a “death” power (such as the hands of Deadly Ernest) to life, provided their murderer has been recently slain by the Sword of Night when she does.].
  • Sense those who cheat death [Detect (Unnatural immortals) : 09, Components : unknown, CT 04. This ritual was used by Nemesis to track Deadly Ernest.].
  • Fake death [Teleport : 06, Fabricate: 08, Components : Sword of night, CT 00, Bonus: Fabricate can be Combined with Teleport, but can only be used along with Teleport and only in the way described below. This ritual teleports Nemesis away, along with what (or whom) she is holding. The optional Fabricate component is used to create replicas of Nemesis’s costume, weapons and body, the later of which crumble to dust. The replica sword and costume (which are Doodads without abilities) will too crumble into dust after a few days have elapsed.].
  • Blood on the timestream [Time Travel: 28, Teleportation: 28, Components: Sword of night, CT 01, Limitation: Only work on a subject she kills with Scell, subject can only operate in areas he lived in during that era. The Ritual works as follow – she kills a person with her sword, and that person finds themselves alive in the past, in any area of their choice as long as they are personally familiar with the area as it was back then.
    The person does not appear to chronoport to a parallel timeline, but in the actual past. Changing the past means there never was a reason to go into the past in the first place, and thus that Nemesis never killed the traveller, who ends up paradoxically alive. She will usually use the Ritual below to make sure that the spirit of the recently departed gets properly sucked into the timestream.].
  • I am this land and it is me [Dimension Travel (Travel Only): 01, Components: Sword of night, CT 01, Limitations: Dimensional travel only to the threshold between life and death. Nemesis can shift into another dimension to interact with the spirits of people she just killed with her soul sword. She has commented that this place was herself and vice-versa, so it might exist inside the sword or even inside her.].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Alpha Flight v1 and v3.

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