Second Coming – Back Story

Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming had a complicated beginning. It was originally scheduled to appear on DC’s Vertigo line. Unfortunately, a comic book that mixed Jesus with a superhero proved to be bridge too far with some. Even before they had even read the books. Because of the possible negative reaction, DC decided to err on the side of caution and cancelled the title, which was their prerogative.

However, showing faith in the project, they allowed creators Russell and Pace to retain control of their creation. This was not a common occurrence and it allowed the creators to shop their story elsewhere. Enter Ahoy Comics Tom Peyer and Hart Seely, who decided to embrace the project. This proved to be a wise move as the first season proved to be funny and most importantly, thought provoking.

Why Read ‘Second Coming’

If you haven’t read the first season, you should. It entertains and explores many of the different perceptions and stories of Christianity in a new and fresh way. Even if it doesn’t exactly match up to your own interpretations, it will give you food for thought. The fact that it was intelligent and funny didn’t hurt. So much so, that we now have a Second Season entitled Second Coming: Only Begotten Son. Will it measure up to the first series? Let’s take a look at the first issue of the new season.

The Origin of Sunstar

So if you have read the first season, you know that Sunstar is just one of many heroes on the Earth. However, he is generally considered the most powerful. But where did he come from? How did he get here? Issue one begins with that narrative.

Come to find out, Sunstar’s story is not an unfamiliar one. In fact, it closely mirrors that of some other all powerful alien who comes to earth to escape his planet’s demise. (I forget his name). In both cases, the impending planetary disaster had been predicted beforehand. Also, like the previous story, those in power chose to ignore the warning. And also, like the story of you know who, it is our hero’s father who is dropping his pearls of wisdom before the swine. Doesn’t ANYONE listen? Too late now. Planet Zirconia is doomed.

The Last Dinner Party

So their world is ending.That leaves the only question of what to do until the end comes…at 9:15pm…or thereabouts. For Voldor, who works at the Ministry of Science and as we have said, had been warning anyone who would listen of this outcome, it was just frustrating. But at least he would spend his last hours at home with his wife Zoldana and their son, Sunstar. That is what he thought. But even in the waning moments of existence, things never go as planned. They have dinner guests. And not just any guests, a time share salesman, and his wife. KABOOM!

Now if there was a way you would NOT want to spend your last hours on the planet, spending time with a pompous Timeshare Salesman and his vain wife has to be in the top two or three. But there they were, sitting at the dinner table eating that gourmet Earth delicacy Soup while Gordo droned on about Timeshares. Zoladana was no better off listening to Vera brag about her crystal Tierra that Gordo had bought her. Before too long, Voldor had pretty much reached his limit. None of what Gordo was saying was going to matter in a few short hours. He told the couple to leave…but not before Zoladana grabbed the Tierra from Vera’s head and smashed it to the floor. No worries though, she promised Vera she would pay her for the damage…tomorrow. Knowing, as Garth Brooks would say, “tomorrow never comes.”

Giving Sunstar a Chance

After the now angry couple left, Voldor marveled at his wife’s actions. He was aroused by her putting Vera in her place. At least until they remembered that little Sunstar was going to perish with them…unless. Voldor lead Zoldana to where he had purchased a small rocket ship. Not one big enough to save them all. Just big enough to save Sunstar. He would live on. But where to send him? Voldor decided to send him to the place where their Soup came from, Earth. So his escape pod was launched just before the end for Planet Zirconia came to fruition. At least Sunstar would be safe.

Which brings us back to the present. If you read the first series, you know that Sunstar and his new bride are expecting their first child. The circumstances of this and how it came about is in Second Coming and for you to read. Needless to say, the birth is coming closer as is the time for Jesus to move out of their house. As they look about the nursery, Sunstar and Jesus discuss the ramifications of a new life and what that might mean, both literally and metaphysically. After listening to what Jesus had to say, he rationalized that he wasn’t sure what his parents hopes for him were. He didn’t remember them, as Issue One ended.

Thoughts

This was a great way to start Season two, especially for those who haven’t read Second Coming. (Did I mention I highly recommend it?) It gives the reader some background information on one of the main characters (Sunstar) while getting to spoof the origins of the more well known guy. (I still can’t place the name). This was a nice introduction into the series but still gave a taste at the end of the more thought provoking and intelligent conversations that happen in the book. What makes the whole thing work is that the humor and more philosophical discussions are intertwined so you are being informed and entertained at the same time. Seems like a tough row to hoe but Russell makes it look pretty easy.

Artwork

Another of the unusual aspects of the book is the tag-team artwork of Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk. On their own they are talented enough to be a force. But when combined in the interwoven stories of past and present, it works extremely well. Pace generally handles the biblical aspects of the story and some of his illustrations reminds me of the ones I’ve seen in different bibles. Kirk generally cleans up in the more present based interludes including Sunstar. This issue was strongly influenced by his work on the origin tale. Considering the tight rope they are walking in theme and story, it is a masterful job. Kudos to them both.

Extras

As always, Ahoy sweetens the pot with some included text stories. This issue includes a spy tale with a more diminutive hero in The Copperhead Affair by Carl Cafareli (Let’s here it for the little man.) and for those of the Christmas spirit, Franklin vs. Krampus by Tyrone Finch. Sometimes the safest thing you can do for your children is lock them up. Another couple of well written stories thanks to the folks at Ahoy.

What’s Next?

While Jesus has returned to Earth, he has seen many examples of how his name is being used in present society, for good or ill. Issue 2 finds Jesus discovering one of these establishments while Sunstar learns some news about his earthly foster-grandmother. All that and more coming January 20th.

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