The woman eventually known as Nemesis was born in the early part of the 20th Century to Ernest St. Ives and his wife. Not much is known about her early life. Indeed, it is not entirely clear what Nemesis’ original given name was, though it was apparently Amelia. When she was still a young girl, Amelia’s father was drafted into the army and sent to fight on the front lines in France during the First World War. While fighting in the trenches, Ernest had nearly been gassed to death. However, as Death came to take him, Ernest refused, determined to survive and return to his beloved family. Evidently, Death decided to allow Ernest to live, as long as he delivered others to her. Though now effectively immortal, any living creature that touched Ernest’s skin would instantly die. Indeed, he saw the results of his bargain when another soldier tried to help him up and was killed. Perhaps believing this incident a fluke, Ernest was eager to rush home and reunite with his wife. Once back home, Ernest's union was horrific, rather than joyous. When Amelia’s father hugged his wife, she instantly and inexplicably died. Amelia, a horrified witness, screamed at her father, who fled from her.
It's not clear how young Amelia was when her mother died. By the time she reached adulthood, however, she was using the name Amelia Weatherly. This was perhaps her mother's maiden name, having cast aside any horrible association with her father.
Before her mind, body and soul were lost to vengeance, Amelia seemed like a normal, beautiful young woman. It was in the late 1920s or early 1930s that she met Rutherford Princeton. Despite being black in a society that was much less tolerant than in decades to come, Rutherford’s family was quite wealthy. Rutherford was also a police officer and was on loan to the city of Chicago to help with enforcement of Prohibition for a time. Although he had a wife living in Chicago, Rudy also met and fell in love with Amelia back home, and the young lovers had an affair. What happened next is unclear, but it seems Rutherford’s wife, Agnes, learned of her husband’s infidelity. Apparently as a result, Amelia's home was burned to the ground and she was killed and buried in an unmarked grave. Rutherford firmly believed that Amelia had been killed but lamented that her body was never found. Nevertheless, he had a burial for her, having the phrase “Love, like vengeance, is eternal” inscribed on the tombstone marking her empty grave. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #4, 10, 12]
Still, Amelia had never forgotten her father's evil and had not been idle in the years since his disappearance. Turning to both to science and magic, before her passing Amelia seemingly forged the Onyx Blade, a soulsword made of the mystical metal called promethium. It was presumably because of her connection to this blade that she rose from her grave as the “living embodiment of the spirit of retribution”. Amelia's body was magically preserved in an unliving but animated state, while her soul itself resided in the Onyx Blade from that point forward. Unable to separate from the sword for any length of time without reverting to her natural state of death, Amelia kept the blade as her most treasured possession and named it "Scell." Amelia’s prime drive of retribution was against her own father, whom she would hunt for well over half a century. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #31]
As the spirit of retribution, Amelia's actions over the next several decades are unclear. It's uncertain whether she myopically pursued her father this entire time, or if she busied herself with other acts of retribution in the meanwhile. However, shortly after the appearance of Canada’s Alpha Flight, Amelia was inspired and began wearing a striking red and black masked costume. Like other costumed adventurers, she took a codename and officially began calling herself Nemesis, after the Greek goddess of retribution. Soon thereafter, she finally located her father, living in Montreal, Quebec. Still appearing as a middle-aged man despite his age, to the public Ernest St. Ives was apparently a legitimate (if shady) businessman but in truth was secretly running an underworld, criminal organization. Having built his criminal empire thanks to the same death-touch that had killed Amelia’s mother so long ago, Ernest St. Ives was known in the underworld as “Deadly Ernest.”
Drawn to his location through her Scell sword, Nemesis secreted herself into Ernest’s mansion and had silently carved a path of carnage through her father’s guards when she happened across Northstar, who was also seeking Deadly Ernest. As part of his criminal activities, Ernest had murdered an old friend of Northstar’s and had then kidnapped Northstar’s sister, Aurora, mistakenly believing that she was the friend’s daughter. Together, they confronted Deadly Ernest, who quickly attempted to use his deadly touch on Nemesis. To his surprise, the touch did not affect Nemesis, who replied that he could not steal the life of one who has none to take. To the shock and horror of Northstar, Nemesis used her blade to cut her father in half three times in the span of a second. Ernest St. Ives died instantly, never learning that the costumed woman had been his daughter.
Believing a reference made by Nemesis to her father meant that she was Danielle, the daughter of his slain friend, Northstar tore off Nemesis’ mask. The shock of what he saw beneath the mask paralyzed the Alphan for a moment, giving Nemesis the opportunity to knock him out with the handle of her sword. Feeling no personal opposition herself to this assassin, Aurora allowed Nemesis to depart unmolested before she summoned the police. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #8]
With her holy quest completed, Nemesis firmly believed that her own curse would be lifted and that she would be allowed to rest. This was not to be the case and Nemesis lived on, now in confusion. However, months later, her answer came when her blade howled to her, sensing the resurrection of her father. In his madness, a foe of Alpha Flight named Scramble had used his power transmutation of flesh to reassemble and reanimate the corpse of Ernest St. Ives. Led by her sword, Nemesis tracked Deadly Ernest to the subway system beneath Montreal, where she found Alpha Flight had already engaged Ernest in combat with him. Despite Nemesis’ warnings, Ernest killed several Alphans with his touch, after which he kidnapped Heather Hudson and took off into the tunnels.
Although she had only been driven by vengeance before, Nemesis now looked with pity on the slain heroes and came to a decision. Knowing that she could keep them in a semi-living state, she gave her sword, the tool for her vengeance, to Puck. If he could slay Ernest with the sword, Puck could reabsorb his teammates’ souls, which Nemesis could return to their bodies. For the first time in decade upon decade, Nemesis was choosing the lives of others over her mission of vengeance.
Nemesis was good to her word. When Puck returned to her after slaying her foe (with the help of a speeding subway train), Nemesis took her sword back and used it to restore the lives of the slain Alphans. Unfortunately, Ernest's other victims were not so lucky, as it had been too long since his touch took their lives.
Sensing her sword drained, Nemesis declared her time on Earth done and her misery over. She removed her mask, startling the Alphans with her appearance. Even more to their surprise, she spoke well of Ernest St. Ives, explaining her connection to him and that he had been a good man who had come to love and serve death, eventually turning into the monster he had become. Now declaring her mission done, Nemesis appeared to crumble to dust, leaving behind only her costume and mysterious blade. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #31]
Nemesis eventually returned to the mortal plane through unknown means. She once remarked that she had been to Hell (twice), likely referring to her first mortal death and this dissolution after fulfilling her original need for retribution. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #1] Looking for a new purpose in life, Nemesis formed a group she called the Children of the Night. Composed of numerous orphans and homeless children and headquartered below an abandoned building, it was Nemesis’ intention to turn them into warriors to fight in a divine war. The nature of this war or anything she might have accomplished with the Children of the Night is unknown, as Nemesis was soon recruited into Department H’s new team of government-sponsored heroes, Gamma Flight. Nevertheless, it seems Nemesis maintained her status as the group’s leader and responded harshly to any who attempted to take control. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #116]
The new Gamma Flight was composed of Wild Child, Witchfire and the twins Silver and Auric, with Nemesis as its leader. It was the intention of Department H for Gamma Flight to arrest Alpha Flight for operating as heroes without government sanction. However, by the time Gamma Flight was ready, Alpha Flight had disappeared. Unknown to those in Department H, the Alphans had been traveling through alternate dimensions, trying to find their way home after being exiled by the ancient and malevolent Llan the Sorcerer. During the Alphans’ absence, Llan had grown in power and intended to spread his evil across the land. In fact, one of Gamma Flight’s first mission was to deal with one of his attempts to sow death and chaos.
When authorities learned of a mass slaughter of an unknown and seemingly supernatural nature in a suburb of Montreal, they first called the military and then Gamma Flight. Nemesis immediately look control, her confidence bordering on arrogance and she just as easily dealt with military officials as her own teammates. She also was not phased when the team learned that the cause of the slaughter was a young girl, who had been demonically possessed by Llan. Before Nemesis could slay the little girl, she and the rest of Gamma Flight were attacked by other, possessed civilians and would have been overwhelmed, had not the newly returned Alpha Flight arrived on scene at that moment.
Fortunately, the combined efforts of Gamma and Alpha Flights were enough to keep Llan's influence at bay and Alpha Flight's Talisman was able to purge the demonic force from the little girl, who subsequently died in her arms. With the crisis passed, Nemesis addressed the returned Alpha Flight, informing the surprised Alphans that Gamma Flight was under orders to arrest them. It seemed that this was their only warning. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #76]
[Note: During the battle, Diamond Lil referred to Nemesis as “Jane,” which is the only time this name was used.]
Nemesis’ warnings were not a bluff. When she received word that Diamond Lil and Vindicator were fighting some unknown parahumans in downtown Winnipeg, she assembled Gamma Flight, declaring it was time to shown Alpha Flight who was in charge. Arriving on the scene, Gamma Flight found Alpha Flight in battle with the American villains known as the Scorpion and Nekra, who had been holding their own against the Canadian heroes and seemed able to do the same with Gamma Flight. The tide turned when Vindicator realized that the villains were possessed by Llan, at which point Witchifire cast a spell to sever the connection and knock them out. True to her word, Nemesis promptly placed Alpha Flight under arrest for operating within Canada’s borders without legal clearance. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #79-80]
When Nemesis learned that Alpha Flight had escaped custody, she and Gamma Flight stormed Alpha Flight's headquarters in Edmonton, demanding that Alpha Flight surrender. Although high tensions led to the two teams coming to blows, cooler heads eventually prevailed when Vindicator plead for Nemesis to listen. Nevertheless, Nemesis did not seem to believe Vindicator’s warnings of Llan the Sorcerer until Talisman used her powers to show Gamma Flight just how truly evil the sorcerer was and of the demonic horrors he was preparing to unleash on Earth through the so-called “Eye of the World.” [Alpha Flight (1st series) #84]
Their common enemy revealed, Nemesis and Gamma Flight worked alongside Alpha Flight and their allies as they gathered in the north at the Eye of the World to fight Llan's forces. If they failed, not only would Canada fall but so would the world. When the second wave of demons arrived, it appeared that the heroes would be overwhelmed by them, but they nonetheless fought on. Eventually, the combined forces of Canada's heroes thwarted the evil machinations of Llan the Sorcerer, freeing Canada and the world from his dark schemes. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #85-86]
With the world safe, the Canadian government spent some time considering what to do with its now two groups of heroes. During this time, Alpha Flight and Gamma Flight operated simultaneously. With most of Alpha Flight on assignments, Nemesis and the rest of Gamma Flight accompanied Vindicator and several former Beta Flight members to a Parliamentary hearing. After Vindicator delivered a detailed report to the government, the decision was made by Parliament to reinstate Alpha Flight as its official super team, and that Gamma Flight would be disbanded to serve in a training role under Alpha Flight's supervision. Although this angered Nemesis, it enraged her unstable teammate Wild Child, who went berserk and fled the hearing.
For his outburst, the government demanded that both Alpha and Gamma Flight bring in Wild Child. Nemesis was not happy about their assignment and believed that, if it were necessary, she should lead it. With the help of Wolverine, the two teams located and apprehended Wild Child. When the remaining heroes debated their situation, Nemesis fiercely defended her former teammate, but ultimately Wild Child was taken to a correctional facility in Ottawa. For Nemesis, this was a step too far, so she and Gamma Flight broke out their teammate and fled. When they were eventually tracked down by Vindicator and Wolverine, Nemesis explained that Gamma Flight looked after their own and would continue to protect Wild Child.
To her surprise, Nemesis found that she did not speak for all of her teammates. Silver and Auric voiced their preference to return to China, as they could serve the cause of freedom and democracy better than they could in a Canadian jail. Witchfire, meanwhile, wished to accept the opportunity the serve as a trainee under Alpha’s tutelage. Left alone, Nemesis called Vindicator and Wolverine hypocrites, pointing out the past crimes of Diamond Lil, Puck and even Wolverine, all of whom were given second chances, unlike Wild Child. Voicing again her earlier promise not to be captured, no matter the cost, Nemesis activated a mechanism on her sword, which generated a blinding light and display of energy. When it subsided, she and Wild Child were gone, apparently reduced to ash. Even Wolverine could not say as to whether what they had just witnessed was teleportation or suicide. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #87-90]
In truth, the two had teleported away to safety. It’s not clear how long Nemesis and Wild Child stayed together. However, it was just a few months later that Wild Child was entered into a new Department H program where he was given the treatment needed to curb his violent tendencies, transforming him into the highly competent Weapon Omega. As it is unlikely Nemesis had any influence over the government department, it is more likely that they parted ways and Wild Child was either captured or turned himself in.
At some point during their time together, either while members of Gamma Flight or after their escape from custody, Nemesis had introduced Wild Child to her Children of the Night and their hideout. At the time, Nemesis had needed her friend’s help to stop a slug-like man called Rok from attempting to take leadership of the group. Now, as his treatments allowing him to remain Weapon Omega seemed to be becoming less effective, Wild Child returned to the hideout, hoping to find Nemesis and ask for her help. To his surprise, Wild Child was captured by Rok, who had not only successfully claimed leadership of the Children of the Night at some point, but now had Nemesis hostage. With Wild Child now captured, it seemed there was no hope of escape for Nemesis.
By happenstance, Wild Child’s own past was catching up with him in the form of two mercenaries, Wyre and Garrison Kane (the latest Weapon X), both of whom had converged in the tunnels to find Wild Child. The mercenaries easily defeated Rok, only to turn their attention to Wild Child. Matters were further complicated by the arrival of Alpha Flight. In the end, the conflict was ended not by violence, but when Wild Child, Wyre and Kane each managed to come to terms with their own past. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #115-117]
Rather than being arrested, Vindicator recommended to authorities that Nemesis be allowed to stay with Alpha Flight, keeping the “avenging angel” close by, where they could keep an eye on her. Although not a full member, Nemesis accompanied Alpha Flight on missions, such as a battle against the Wrecking Crew, who were rampaging through Toronto. During the battle, Nemesis learned that her mystic sword was unable to cut through the also mystically-empowered weapons of Thunderball and the Wrecker. Unfortunately for the Wrecker, this was not the case for his body, as Nemesis’ blade sliced him across his chest. In the aftermath, the Canadian government passed legislation forcing all paranormals in Canada to be registered. Alpha Flight were given the option of working within the law to protect paranormals in need, but Nemesis opted not to remain with the team when it came up for a vote. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #118-120]
Nevertheless, Nemesis soon found herself again working alongside Alpha Flight when she attended the funeral of her Gamma Flight teammates Silver and Auric, who had been killed by the villain known as the Sphinx. During the funeral, Wild Child (now known as Wildheart) tore open the coffins to discover that Silver and Auric's bodies were missing. Nemesis told Wildheart that they had to repay their teammates' deaths in blood. Their quest led them to an auction, where the Brass Bishop was auctioning off the bodies of Silver, Auric and a scientist to the criminal community – because within their bodies lay unfathomable power that the Sphinx had tested upon them. Nemesis fought the Brass Bishop's henchmen, meting out her vengeance to each she faced. Bizarrely, in the machine holding their corpses, the remains of Silver and Auric merged with the dead scientist into a new being known as Hedison, who promptly vanished. In the confusion, Nemesis found the Brass Bishop and was about to kill him, until Wildheart prevented her from doing so, explaining that her vengeance would sully the new life that they had witnessed being created. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #121]
Nemesis once again found herself caught up in the affairs of Alpha Flight when Shaman recruited her for an assignment that saw several Alpha Flight associates and former members transported to “the other side” to battle the demon Carcass. Nemesis proved a skilled fighter against the forces of Carcass and found herself having to watch over Wyre as well. Unfortunately, the tides soon turned and, as the heroes were overwhelmed, Nemesis' sword was stolen from her by a demon. When Madison Jeffries was gravely injured, Nemesis used her ability to hold people in a stasis between life and death, saving him from certain doom. Fortunately, Carcass was defeated and the heroes returned to the realm of the living. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #125-126]
In the wake of paranormal hysteria within Canada, Department H was shut down and Alpha Flight disbanded. Nemesis was at Department H when this decision was announced. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #130] While several former members of Alpha Flight eventually resurfaced, Nemesis seemingly vanished as mysteriously as she arrived. Years later, when Sasquatch was assembling an all-new, all-different Alpha Flight team to rescue the captive original members, he located Nemesis being held in Department H custody. Whether she had been there since Alpha Flight first disbanded is unclear. Walter injected her with nano-tech so that he could control her more violent tendencies. This nano-tech prevented Nemesis from harming any member of Alpha Flight, or any innocent person. If she did, the nano-tech would flood her body with “neo-floxins” that would severe Nemesis' connection to her sword and therefore end her life once again. At first, Nemesis accused Sasquatch of bluffing, but ultimately decided he was telling the truth and agreed work with him. Nevertheless, she warned him that, when the opportunity arose, she would kill him and everyone else on the team.
By an amazing coincidence, among the new members recruited by Sasquatch was Nemesis’ former lover, Rutherford Princeton. Despite being nearly a century old, Rutherford still lived, though he had spent the last twenty years in a coma. Even more unlikely, when awoken, Rutherford found that he now had super strength, invulnerability and the ability to fly, with no clue as to their origin. Due to him being nearly 100 years old, Rutherford took the codename “Centennial.” Although she no doubt recognized him right away, Nemesis pretended not to recognize her old lover, who still thought that Amelia Weatherly had died long, long ago.
Once the team was gathered, the new Alpha Flight made its way to the Arctic Circle, where the old Alpha Flight was being held captive by the Plodex aboard a gigantic, crashed space ship. En route, Nemesis found the Centennial attempting to bond with her, though she did her best to keep him at arm’s length.
Although the mission was not without its difficulties, the new Alpha Flight quickly managed to free the original Alphans. The two groups then had another problem – what to do about the ship and its Plodex passengers? Rather than filled with colonists, the ship contained an untold number of embryos. While most of the new Alphans thought it best to destroy them, the original Alphans felt differently, having been plugged into the Plodex ship during their captivity and mentally bonding with the Plodex genetic memory. When several of the original Alphans voiced a desire to escort the Plodex embryos back to the species’ origin homeworld, it was Nemesis who suggested several smaller space ships she had discovered during her infiltration of the ship. With the exception of Sasquatch, all of the origin Alphans soon departed, leaving their former teammate behind in charge of his all-new, all-different Alpha Flight. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #1-6]
Nevertheless, not all of these new Alphans (Sasquatch included) were sure that they wanted to continue with the super-hero life. Before making any life-changing decisions, the group agreed to take a day to consider. While the other members of Alpha Flight departed to sort out personal matters in their lives, Nemesis turned to Sasquatch and tried to convince him to remove the inhibitor he placed on her. She vowed that she would remain with Alpha Flight out of her own free will. She informed Sasquatch that, although she was long-lived, she was not immortal and that her time on earth was coming to a close. Before that happened, she explained, there was a matter to which she must attend. Sasquatch was not quite convinced and voiced his promise to Department H that he would return Nemesis to the appropriate authorities after their mission was over.
Realizing she had no other choice, Nemesis removed her mask, revealing the face of a young Amelia Weatherly and vowed that she would say this only once and never again… “please.” [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #7]
The would-be Alphans reconvened the next morning at Centennial’s home for breakfast. Once again, the elderly hero attempted to draw out Nemesis, who was sulking alone. Despite no longer needing food, she accepted Centennial’s offer of a plate – her own minor attempt at reaching out. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #8]
Years before, Alpha Flight associate (and later foe) Flashback had witnessed the death of his future self. When it became apparent that the day of his future self’s death was fast approaching, he sought out the assistance of Alpha Flight to avoid his fate. It was Nemesis who offered a solution, suggesting that the magic of her Scell sword could trump the scientific certainty of Flashback’s impending death. However, she did warn of possible unforeseen consequences.
The process of Nemesis’ time travel surprised all of the others Alphans, as it basically consisted of stabbing (and temporarily killing) the party in question. After being impaled, each person would find themselves in a metaphysical waystation of sorts, in which the spirit of Nemesis would impart instructions on their mission. Just as strangely, each “traveler” would not remember the experience, as it never would have happened once their mission was finished and their death was “undone.” Nemesis first impaled Flashback and then one by one, her fellow Alphans. Originally, she only intended to impale two, but each traveler inadvertently caused unforeseen and detrimental changes to history, requiring another traveler to fix what the earlier traveler had blundered.
When it came for Centennial's turn to be sent into the past, the metaphysical waystation presented itself to him as the mansion where he lived in the 1920s during the Prohibition Era. Knowing that he would not remember his time here, Nemesis finally revealed to Rutherford that she was his lost love Amelia Weatherly. Realizing this, Centennial plead for Amelia to remind him later, only for her to reply sadly to “her love” that that could never be.
Unfortunately, Nemesis’ continued attempts to send more Alphans back led only to more adverse changes. Ultimately, it was Sasquatch who fixed the mess, impaling himself at the right moment and convincing a Shaman in the past to use magic to correct the situation. The gambit succeeded and, almost as bizarrely as it began, Nemesis and Alpha Flight were returned to the present day with history restored… and Flashback (now simply Gardner Monroe) very much alive. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #9-12]
In the aftermath of the new Alphans’ adventure in time travel, the original Alphans returned and reclaimed their position as Alpha Flight. Most of the new Alphans returned to their civilian lives, with the exception of Centennial and Nemesis.
It’s not clear if Nemesis ever confessed to Centennial their shared history together, but some time thereafter whatever force had kept them living for so long ran its course and they both died. As Shaman had learned of Nemesis' secret at the end of their last adventure, it is most likely he who arranged for the two to be buried next to each other. After nearly a hundred years apart, Rutherford Princeton and Amelia Weatherly were finally – and eternally – reunited. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #12]
[Note: Nemesis passed away in 2005. Four years later, the team behind the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe A-Z #8 decided retroactively that Nemesis was actually three different women named Jane St. Ives (Alpha Flight #8-31), "Jane Doe" (Alpha Flight #76-130), and then Amelia Weatherly (Alpha Flight volume 3). A reprint handbook in 2011 invented the names Isabel St. Ives and Jane Thorne for the first two as well. While not directly contradicted in the comics, it clearly was not the intent of the writers either. We have chosen to present Nemesis as she appeared in the comics, as one character.]