The series began in 1980, in issue 167 of 2000AD, with a story called Comic Rock 'The Terror Tube', in which a freedom fighter called Nemesis escaped from Torquemada, the chief of the Tube Police, after a protracted chase through a complex travel-tube system on a planet called Termight, later revealed to be Earth. All that was seen of Nemesis was the outside of his car/spaceship, the Blitzspear. The roots of the story lay in an episode of Ro-Busters (also by Mills and O'Neill) in which the heroes escaped from the police in a car chase through a tube network, which IPC management objected to. In Terror Tube the police were portrayed as a cross between the Spanish Inquisition (Torquemada is named after the notorious inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada) and the Ku Klux Klan, making it easier to position them as the bad guys.
Terror Tube was the first of a planned series of one-offs inspired by popular music, called "Comic Rock" - in this case The Jam's "Going Underground". The series never got going, but did produce a second Nemesis story, a two-parter called Killer Watt, in which Torquemada chased Nemesis through a bizarre teleport system based on telephone lines.
These stories proved popular, prompting Mills and O'Neill to develop a regular series, Nemesis the Warlock, which combined the early high-concept science fiction with fantasy in the "sword and sorcery" mould. Torquemada was promoted from chief of the Tube Police to Grand Master of Termight. Nemesis was revealed as a demonic alien with a face based on the nose of his car, fighting to protect aliens from Torquemada's genocidal tyranny, although his inhuman attitude and anarchic "Khaos" philosophy made his motivations ambiguous. Such as in Book Five; The Vengeance of Thoth; during a chase; Nemesis is forced to highjack a bus full of children, which ends up crashing, killing all onboard as he escapes.
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 condemnation of human nature. Particular targets for Mills's ire were imperialism and religious fanaticism. Book 6 had a comment about South Africa and Apartheid removed, which was reinstated in the Titan Book reprint. The ABC Warriors and Satanus the black tyrannosaur, both Mills creations, were reintroduced as supporting characters, and a time travel element was introduced which left the series' timeline extremely convoluted.
Book 9 concluded in 1989, and the character barely appeared for ten years. Finally, in 1999, Mills and artists Henry Flint and O'Neill wrapped up the series with Book 10: The Final Conflict.
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 installments available, which roughly follow the books as they were originally published. The earlier books were not given individual titles.
In collected form this book also features the first three Nemesis stories - Going Underground, Killer Watt and Olric's Great Quest.
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.
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.
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. Nemesis ends up causing the deaths of Barbarossa de Torquemada and Pandora de Torquemada; offspring of Candida & Tomas.Satanus re-appears.
The introduction of the Monad. This book also gives the explanation for Torquemada's "grandfather" Nostradamus' words in the previous book about Termight ending in "a sea of fire and blood".
A five-part story not run under the Nemesis banner, in 2000 AD progs 520-524. Torquemada consolidates his power on Terra, though is affected by a curious malady, which is eventually revealed to be a plot by Thoth to punish Tomas further, by killing his former incarnations.
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.
During an interlude Purity recalls how she first met Nemesis, remembering details that had previously been blocked from her.
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.
The last series-length Nemesis story, after more than decade of appearing only in shorter episodes, as well as "The Hammer of Warlocks", an 18-page short series intended as a prelude to this book, telling the story so far and Torquemada's intentions of finding this ultimate weapon against the Warlock.