Write Mark Russell presents a unique question in Second Coming: how would a superhero and Jesus react to one another? We tend to think they have the same goals and values, but the methods are something that can be different in the process. Does might make one right? Do the ends justify the means? How would you be able to forgive someone who has wronged you? This brings a lot of scenarios to the mind — could you imagine if Jesus was there the Night Gwen Stacy Died? How would Peter Parker handle that and what would Norman Osborn think in that situation? Mark Russell brings us quite a tale and set of ideas to explore.
The opening of issue one is very fun and an interesting view on Genesis. I love the interactions between God and Jesus Christ, especially when God asks Jesus if he wants to try the family business of saving people/creation. Even better is God’s reaction and proclamation to Jesus heading to Earth to save — Mark gives these figures some modern lingo in a fun way, like an update of Shakespeare so the reader won’t be bogged down.
As the story continues, we see Jesus growing up and I love that when Jesus decides that it is time to save the world, he turns over his shop to his long-time friend/brother. I enjoy how Jesus explains why the time is now; such a beautiful statement. Of course, after Jesus decides to save humanity, we see what happens and God is not happy about it one bit, as he says, “Cheese and f***ing crackers!”
Then we finally meet our superhero, Sunstar, who we should picture as Superman without the kindness of Clark Kent. I feel like this version would be like Superboy grown into a man, with that edge and carefree attitude but not a total bad guy. God sees this Sunstar in action and realizes that this man could be the way to save humanity — with his powers, instead of how Jesus tried with teaching. Now, we learn that this Sunstar isn’t as confident in himself and carries a lot of guilt and self-doubt that just seems to hold him back. Plus, he and his girlfriend long for a family…enter why Sunstar and Jesus meet.
God appears to Sunstar and asks him take Jesus under his wing and help to give him survival skills and learn how a real hero handles adversity. As the story progresses, we get to see the funny moments of Jesus going out on patrol with Sunstar and how in battle you have to hurt the bad guys, which totally flies against what Jesus is about. So, the two clash, but what is great for us readers is the conversations between God, Jesus, and Sunstar. There is a conversation between God and Sunstar where Sunstar directly asks, “Why then? Why create life if you can’t be bothered to do it right?” Which hits very hard and I’m sure will shock some readers, but it does give for some interesting conversation and insights. I love how Sunstar knows how dangerous he is by being a man with the powers of a god.
I enjoyed reading this story overall and would recommend that you probably read a chapter at a time and let it really soak in. I enjoyed Mark’s views on what these two men have to deal with by being more than just human and also the weight of the responsibility they carry. The art team of Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk bring the pencils together for the visuals and Andy Troy provides colors that blend very nicely and don’t distract the reader from even realizing the book has multiple artists. Amanda Conner and Richard Pace provide covers — Amanda’s are the main covers and Richard’s are the variants.
I would also recommend picking up Mark Russell’s other books on religion’s modern influence,God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. I would stress to not let yourself take them too seriously if you have a firm hold on your views/faith, though.
Second Coming offers amazing insights into religion, superheroes, and the methods of both. There are some human emotions and struggles put on these two larger-than-life figures, which can get you to look at your own emotions and reflect on your actions. A fantastic read that shows great struggle, but also growth and reflection.