Tom Tresser and his brother Craig were inspired by family friend Ben Marshall to serve their country and become a part of law enforcement, joining a unnamed government agency. Craig was considered more talented of the two and became a field agent, whereas Tom having shown an aptitude for inventiveness, was directed towards the Special Equipment division and was employed as an inventor. He was praised for his inventions and creativity. It was there that he developed his trademark disguise device, his wireless transmitter bug and his 'Mercy Bullets.'
Craig became enraged that Ben was getting a promotion as head of The Bureau over him, and murdered Ben during the ceremony. Craig is then gunned down publicly. Tom became the sole survivor of the Tresser clan and was scorned upon and treated like a non person by fellow agents and everyone in particular. The name Tresser was truly disgraced. Tom knew he had to bury his past, making it seem as if Thomas Tresser never existed. He chose the name Nemesis because it means one who delivers just punishment for crimes, a name of justice and retribution. He became the vigilante Nemesis in order to honor his friend Ben and carrying on his work and preserving his ideal of justice. He wore a black turtle neck with a chest holster and a symbol of the scales of justice to constantly remind him of his mission.
Nemesis' first appearance was in Brave and the Bold #166 in 1980. He was created at a time when spy characters were relatively popular and when DC had relatively fewer of these kind of characters.
As a secondary character in the DC Universe, Nemesis' character development has traditionally been in a series where he serves as a backup member. A significant amount of his character development occurred in the Suicide Squad series where he developed a strong respect for Rick Flag, a romantic interest in Nightshade and a dislike of Amanda Waller. Some time later Nemesis was paired with agent Diana Prince when she had given up her Wonder Woman persona. The two became romantically engaged for a time. Nemesis is also known for his tendency to apparently die (as he did on a mission with Catwoman) only to later turn up alive.
Major Story Arcs
Nemesis' first major story arc ties closely into his origin as Nemesis discovered that a organized crime syndicate known as The Council found out that Craig was a undercover agent and brainwashed him into murdering Ben Marshall. Tresser's' quest to track down and end The Council led him to Gotham City, where he teamed up with Batman for the first time. Ben Marshall's widow was kidnapped to encourage Nemesis to surrender. Then the Council attempted to brainwash Nemesis to deal with Batman, a fate eerily similar to his brother's. Nemesis managed to resist and escape, and was about to kill The Head, before Batman intervened and The Head was killed by his own henchman, a evil ex-Nazi scientist.
After eliminating the council, Nemesis enters a remote controlled helicopter and is trapped inside. The helicopter is filled with explosives and is being controlled to crash into a Senator's building. Tresser realizes he is trapped and attempts to blow a hole through the propeller using a air charged concussion gun and the chopper explodes into the remaining Council Head's headquarters.
Nemesis is revealed to have survived the helicopter crash by sheer luck. After being nearly fatally impaled by a metal shard from the hole in the chopper, he was knocked off, and floated unconscious until he was washed ashore and found by government agents that knew him as Thomas Tresser. A man of honor and gratitude, Nemesis felt obligated to join the Suicide Squad, becoming one of the few non-criminal members. With The Suicide Squad, Nemesis' covert skills and mastery of disguise proved essential to many missions. The Jihad proved to be one of Tom's major adversaries during his time with the Squad as he was one of few members to last long enough to face them twice. Despite his commitment to the team, he had reservations about participation. He soon thereafter was involved in a mission to rescue political prisoner Zoya Trigorin in Moscow. As it turned out, this was against her will for she wanted to be a political martyr. The mission was a failure and even though Nemesis won Trigorin's respect and gratitude, she was gunned down and died in his arms. Sacrificing himself in a attempt to save her, he ended up being captured by the Russians. This led to a rescue attempt led by the Squad in which they were confronted by the Justice League International. Batman's previous relationship with Nemesis lead to complications. Tom left the Squad soon after.
During the events of his tenure in the Electric City, Tom undergoes an advanced type of mind control test to see if he is a viable agent for the Global Peace Agency.
He becomes partially unhinged after this experience and becomes paranoid and prone to believe in conspiracies. This leads his into a bizarre disillusioned mission against the Council. Eventually it is revealed to him that this was all a setup, with Tom having pulled the strings.
Some time later Tom is paired with Diana Prince at the Department of Metahuman Affairs. He does not immediately make the connection that she is also Wonder Woman, but after some time the two become romantically involved. This ends up not being exactly as he had imagined though as Diana told him she does not in fact love him, rather she was seeking children with him in order to repopulate Themyscira. Diana however did in fact love Tom and wished to marry and have children with him, but somewhere along the line she convinced herself she only wanted to repopulate Themyscira and nothing more. During this courtship however Tom is made an honorary Amazon and meets with Diana's mother.
Powers and Abilities
Nemesis has no innate powers. But with preparation and the right gadgets he is able to change his appearance to almost anyone. He is also a great actor, mimicking his mark's personality and mannerisms. He has a uncanny ability to cheat death in the narrowest of margins. He is a master of invention and creates many gadgets and weapons to aid him.
He is a excellent hand to hand combatant and a marksman.
- His signature gadget was a skin-adhering face mask that could be dissolved by a chemical spray affixed to his collar. (A new variation of the gadget dissolves clothing as well and isn't a gas)
- A .45 caliber handgun loaded with a paralyzing agent, also known as 'Mercy bullets.'
- A concealed razor-knife hidden under a false patch of skin on his forearm.
- A grenade that fires a paralyzing agent .
- A pocket sized EMP.
- A taser-like device that emits electricity waves that spreads.
- A device that emits a fireproof, impact resistant, bubble gum-like foam that prevents a helicopter from crashing.
- The 'Re-breather'- a device that lets him breathe underwater.
- A air-charged concussion gun.
- A helicopter silencer.
- A weapon that causes his entire apartment building to disintegrate, getting rid of any evidence, in case of anyone is on his tail.
- A jet pack
- Electronic overriding cufflinks
- Retracting wrist bound razor-knife
- Echo bouncer (a device that emits bounding sound waves in order to locate hidden areas)
- Wireless transmitter bug (doubles as a tracking device and a bug for listening to conversations)
- Compact parachute that is hidden in belt buckle.
- A device that cancels out burglar alarms.
- An assault rifle loaded with toxin bullets.
- His own gun silencer.
Nemesis has a few cameos in the Justice League Unlimited series, but is shown more in detail in the episode "Dark Heart", where he can be seen fighting off the Black Hearts' spider drones, with his trademark pistol, showing excellent marksmanship and fighting skills.
It is implied that Nemesis was Task Force X's mole in the episode 'Task Force X.'