Nemesis (Alpha Flight character) (St. Ives) (Marvel Comics)


(Ms. St. Ives)


Nemesis is an eerie, mysterious character who appeared early during the Alpha Flight vol. 1 run, in 1984. She essentially had but one appearance.

For some years, secondary sources  indicated that the three women who bore the Nemesis costume and wielded the blade were actually the same person. This was difficult to fit with the primary sources , requiring convoluted hypotheses as to what was occurring behind the scene.

The official take was revised in 2009 (in the OHOTMU A to Z hardcovers ). The profile you are reading now reflects this welcome change, but our older Nemesis profile hasn’t been re-engineered yet.



  • Real Name: St. Ives (first name unrevealed).
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Ernest St. Ives (aka Deadly Ernest) (father, deceased), mother (name unrevealed, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Montréal.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 115 lbs.
  • Eyes: Unrevealed Hair: Orange-red or ash grey.

Powers and Abilities

Nemesis’s nature was never clear. As far as can be ascertained she is an undead occultist – a corpse animated by an artifact that she built before passing on. She can still cast ritual magic – though all rituals she used were designed to counter her father.

She’s also a solid swordswoman with light, one-handed blades.

Nemesis (St. Ives) being undead is an *interpretation* of three facts :

  • She stated that she had no life to give when Ernest St. Ives’s touch completely failed to affect her.
  • Her face was startling and featured soulless eyes.
  • She crumbled into dust when she died.


Other interpretations are possible, such as her life-force being hosted within her sword.

The Blade

Nemesis’s masterwork is the Sword of Night, a complex meld of science and ritual magic. It was forged or machined out of prometheum (allegedly a “living metal”). The blade is the width of a single atom, allowing it effortlessly slice through most materials.

This deadly weapon allows its wielder to keep walking even in death, and facilitates the casting of certain ritual magic. It is robust enough to block plasma cannon blasts. Later users would become inanimate if separated from the sword, but this was not the case for St. Ives (though our game stats assume that she must remain in range of the Animate Dead Power of the sword).

The sword — also called Scell, the Onyx Sword and a few other names — is said to seek out certain wielders to animate their corpse and allow them to gain retribution. This would imply some sort of sentience – or at least the magical equivalent of a computer script. Maybe it works like with a power ring ?


Ms. St. Ives was presumably born circa 1907, in France. Her father Ernest was drafted in 1914. He died during the war, but somehow rejected Death when it came for him, and resumed living. However, his brief time in Death’s presence cursed him with a lethal touch.

Nemesis (Ms. St Ives) on a white background

When he came back from the front, his young wife ran to embrace him, and touched his flesh before he could react. His wife slain in front of his young daughter’s eyes, Ernest fled. Shocked, the little St. Ives girl swore to avenger her mother and free her father from his curse by slaying him.

Vengeance from beyond the grave

The girl studied magic and science, and built a special sword that could destroy even her father. The sword also allowed her to exist after her own death.

It seems — emphasis on the hypothetical — that Ms. St Ives continued her mission of vengeance beyond the grave, though it was chronologically feasible for her to still be alive when she was encountered in the 1980s. She adopted the Nemesis name after the Ancient Greek goddess of retribution .

With the rise of super-heroes, Nemesis came to adopt a hero-style costume. It helped in hiding her now-startling face, and the cape may have aided with trajectory control whilst flying.

The touch of death

Nemesis pursued Deadly Ernest for decades, but he apparently lost her for a while when he moved to Québec. Ernest St. Ives used his ruthlessness and death touch to set himself up as a crime lord. Though Nemesis’s sword could save the persons he had just killed, she rarely could arrive in time to do that.

In 1984, Nemesis and Ernest were both operating in Montréal. She eventually located him as he was tangling with Northstar and Aurora, and thanks to the diversion they provided she hacked him to pieces.

However, Nemesis apparently sensed that the threat of Deadly Ernest was not over, and after escaping from Northstar she resumed her vigil in Montréal.

Beware that which refuses death

In 1986, the superhuman Scramble reanimated a number of corpses in the Montréal General Hospital  morgue. Ernest seized the occasion to recompose his body and escape. Nemesis soon divined his return and started tracking him down with mystical senses, finally locating him in the metro.

Nemesis (Ms. St Ives) flying with her sword

Nemesis rushed Deadly Ernest at the same time as Alpha Flight did, and was pinned under a Box robot. Most Alphans were killed by Ernest.

Nemesis used her rituals to stall their final death. She then 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.

Life and death

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

Nemesis used the life energies taken by her sword from St. Ives to resuscitate all slain Alphans. Sensing that this time Ernest’s destruction was final, she briefly recounted her origins to the Flight then let herself pass away, immediately crumbling to dust.

Nemesis left behind her costume and her sword. Apparently the sword is able to (and perhaps wishes to) reanimate dead women with a mission of vengeance, to make them the new Nemesis. At least two such successors have emerged — “Jane Doe” and Amelia Weatherly — and both have worked with a version of Alpha Flight.


Nemesis’ face was never actually shown. From what we can infer she doesn’t look zombie-like, but her eyes are completely lifeless and her features are unnaturally drawn and anguished.


A poetic, mysterious avenger worshipping the night and vengeance – perhaps literally. St. Ives was highly attached to her mystique and her great mission of vengeance.

She would unhesitatingly kill those working with Ernest St. Ives, but tried to save innocents.


“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, monsieur. 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.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Nemesis (St. Ives)

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Destroy her father
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Spirit of retribution
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 025 HP: 040

Awareness: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
Awareness is limited to events related to Deadly Ernest.

Artist (Poet): 04, Charisma (Intimidation): 05, Gadgetry: 04, Occultism: 08, Weaponry (Sword): 06

Iron Nerves, Language (French), Stroke of genius (Sword of Night).


CPR (Nemesis is just an inanimate corpse if the Sword of Night is not in close proximity to her), Distinct Appearance (normally covered by her costume).

SWORD OF NIGHT (aka ONYX SWORD, aka SCELL, aka SOUL SWORD) [BODY 15, EV 10, Animate dead: 06, Flight: 05, Sharpness (EV): 05, Limitations: Power Loss (EV drops to 02 against some enchanted materials), Animate Dead is User-Linked (that is, the only corpse that gets animated is the wielder’s). Note that Nemesis can unerringly inflict Bashing Damage by using the flat of the blade – while Sharpness is not available for such attacks, she seems to somehow use the EV of the blade].
The sword is chained to a bracelet worn by Nemesis, but the bracelet is hinged and can be opened quickly if needed.


  • Soul stasis [Suspension : 06, Components: Having absorbed stolen life energy and not having used it up yet, 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. Given the various Limitations it has a base OV/RV of 02/02 to cast].
    ”Stolen life energy” can be provided by wounding an unnatural immortal or other creature stealing life energy, which is then stored inside Scell and can be transferred to the wielder to perform the Ritual.
  • Soul retrieval [Invulnerability: 12, Components: Sword of Night and having absorbed stolen “full” life energy and not having used it up yet, 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. Given the various Limitations it has a base OV/RV of 05/05 to cast].
    ”Full” life energies are managed as in the previous Ritual, but can only be obtained by using the sword to slay the person who used a death power to slay the victims, then transferring the energy to the Ritualist for her to return to the suspended bodies of the victims.
  • Sense those who cheat death [Detect (Unnatural immortals) : 07, Components: unknown, CT 04. This ritual was used by Nemesis to track Deadly Ernest.]

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Nemesis (Ms. St. Ives) — Averaged PL7.8

-1 (01) 01 (03) 01 01 02 02 02 02


We are the dead of night ● 45 points ● Descriptor: Undead
– Enhanced Will 4, Enhanced Intimidation 2, Enhanced Stamina 2, Enhanced Strength 2.
– Enhance Advantage (Second Chance (Fear/intimidation).
– Immunity 30 (Fortitude).
– Feature (Can sense things related to Deadly Ernest, but seems slow and fuzzy).

Soul magic ● 4 points ● Descriptor: Magic, undead
– Feature 1 — Nemesis can prevent people killed by a “death” power from actually passing on, for almost an hour. She can revive them if their life energy is returned – her sword can store such energy. Keeping people hovering a death’s door takes her full concentration, but she can do it even if immobile due to not having her sword.
– Senses 3 (Extended Ranged Mental Detect (Unnatural immortals)).


Sword of night ● 23 points ● Descriptor: Presumably magic, perhaps technology, perhaps both
Array :

  • Flat of the flat blade – Bludgeoning Damage 8.
  • Atom-width edge — Slashing Damage 14, Improved Critical 3, Improved Smash, Weapon Break, Takedown.
  • Feature — can keep its wielder animate even if dead.
  • Flight 4.

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Close attack 3, Defensive Roll 2.

Other Advantages

Language (French), Second Chance (Fear/intimidation).


Athletics 2 (+3), Close combat (Sword) 5 (+10), Deception 4 (+6), Expertise (Occultism) 12 (+14), Expertise (Poetry) 4 (+6), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 1 (+5), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 3 (+5), Technology 6 (+8).


Initiative +1
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 1
Flat of the flat blade +10, Close, Damage 8
Sword strike +10, Close, Damage 14, Critical 16-20


Dodge 05 Fortitude
Parry 05 Toughness 03*/05
Will 05 (09)

* Without Defensive Roll.


  • Dead and gone Nemesis becomes immobile if not touching her sword, though she can move a bit and with great effort if it’s near her. The sword is chained to a bracelet worn by Nemesis, but the bracelet is hinged and can be opened quickly if needed.
  • Appearance She looks dead and ghastly, but her costume normally covers that.
  • Obsession She “lives” to destroy Deadly Ernest.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 12, Dodge/Toughness PL 5, Parry/Toughness PL 5, Fort/Will PL 9.
  • Points total 111. Abilities 20, Defences 9, Skills 23, Powers 49, Devices 23, Advantages 7. Equiv. PL 8.


Let’s say she’s averaged PL 8 with the Fortitude thing, though she’s something of a glass canon.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Alpha Flight vol. 1.

Writeup completed on the 1st of December, 2011.