Last Time

When we last left our story, a villain from Sunstar’s past had created an intense Earthquake in Urban City that had left the city in shambles. Among the fatalities were the the bus load of senior citizens that had been on a road trip from the Assisted Living facility Sunstar’s Mother Agnes lived in. All except for Agnes who had wandered off from the bus at the last stop. Also among those that died was Phil, one of Jesus disciples. He had sacrificed himself to save Jesus from a falling light pole. It was a hard thing for Jesus to get over. People generally didn’t do that for him. It was always the other way around. But…it was exactly what he had been trying to teach his disciples to do.

Sunstar Construction

With the city in disarray, Sunstar was doing his part to help put the city back together. Using his powers to rebuild and try to put things back to a semblance of normal. In fact, with his help, the city was ahead of schedule. To thank him for his community service, the city had a ceremony to give him the “Key to the City.” Actually, “GIVE” was kind of a misnomer. They would need the key back after the ceremony. They only had one after all. Regardless, Sunstar was touched. He liked how it felt being useful. Perhaps, he would ask for other suggestions on how he could help others. But only of it was for the good of the human race overall and not just for an individual. Well, good luck with that.

What is Home?

While Sunstar was feeling good about things, Jesus was having a difficult time with his disciple Phil’s death. Especially with Phil’s funeral being that day. After the ceremony, one of his remaining disciples asked him if Phil would go to heaven. He told her he would, but Heaven was a “pretty low bar.” It was nice but it wasn’t a place you earned. You just sort of went there. He then explained that instead of trying so hard to EARN a place in Heaven, just do whatever makes it easiest for you to live with yourself. Because, in the end, Earth will desert you, and Heaven will no doubt disappoint. So really the “only place you will find home, is the place you build in your soul.” He then decided that he needed to go home and talk to his Father. God ALWAYS understands.

Welcome to Heaven

Speaking of Heaven, the bus load of now deceased Senior Citizens had just arrived. Most were scared and confused. Some had realized what had happened and were more afraid if this was their final destination or were they going someplace…lower. All except for George. He always knew that he would end up in heaven. He wasn’t like all the sinners and miscreants he had been watching all these years. George had followed the good book and knew he would be rewarded. At least, that was what he believed. The group was lead to an auditorium to await the presence of God. As they filed in, they were offered hot towels. Nothing but first class treatment in Heaven.

Before long, God came through the curtains. He was always up for a “live” audience…you know what I mean. After this brief introduction, he told the crowd that they would then attend a reception where they could reunite with dead loved ones. God then opened up the floor for questions. Important ones like, did OJ actually kill his wife. George asked if there was indeed a Hell. God confirmed the existence of Hell which made George smile. He KNEW it! Soon a whole bunch of sinners would get theirs. Although, God’s description of where Hell was located was not what he expected. It was in another part of Heaven over by the Landfill. “It was not a place you ever wanted to end up. Seagulls were everywhere.” After the question period was over, the reuniting reception began. This was God and Jesus favorite part of coming to Heaven. Couples reuniting. Parents and children. It “almost” made the human race worthwhile.

Suggestions for a Better Humanity

Back in Urban City, Sunstar was entertaining the suggestions of the public. To say he was underwhelmed would be putting it mildly. So many people, so many who were thinking only of themselves. The only suggestion he had received with a smidgeon of merit was the building of a “Space Elevator.” Talk about setting the bar low. However, just before he was going to close up shop, an elderly man came in with a suggestion that he promised would be for the good of humanity. Sunstar was curious, so he asked him for his idea.

He told Sunstar to leave the Planet Earth and never come back. What??!! The man explained further. He believed Sunstar was a good man. But he knew that humanity was not. Someday, not today, not tomorrow but at some point, the people of this Earth would drive him so crazy that he would lose it and use his powers to devastate the planet. Especially now that he has a child coming. If something were to happen to his child by the fault of a human, it wouldn’t take a few minutes for him to wreak mass destruction. So that was his suggestion. Take from it what you will.

Heaven and Hell

Meanwhile in Heaven, All of the new arrivals were connecting with their families. All except the self-righteous George. He was all alone. His parents were still alive. He had no “wives, girlfriends, or poker buddies.” He had lived a clean life. Since he didn’t have anyone to reunite with, God and Jesus offered to take him to his new residence. Although, they would need to go through Hell to get there. So to speak.

George didn’t understand. He had always thought that Hell was this terrible place that sinners were sent to be punished. Was just living near a landfill punishment enough? God explained that he didn’t send people to hell to punish them. He did it so that Heaven’s property values didn’t suffer. It was a profit deal. Needless to say, George was somewhat disappointed. (See, George…if you had listened to what Jesus had said earlier, you would have expected that.)

The Rewards of a “Good Life”

God didn’t understand what George’s problem was. He had been given a nice apartment, with TWO bedrooms…for all eternity. And he was just one person. Plus he had been given a Pineapple Welcome Basket. George explained that he had lived his life by the concordance of the good book. He never gambled, or swore or danced. (Dancing is a Sin??) Anyways, he had dedicated his life to those pursuits, mainly out of fear of God. Only to find out all he gets for that devotion is an extra bedroom and a pineapple?!! God could see the problem now and part of it was his fault.

The Fear of God

He explained to George that parts of his words that made it into the bible were written when he was angry. George had read about God’s righteous anger and smiting people and it had scared him. God explained it with a brief example. A person goes outside their home to find a bear rummaging through their trash. Because of this, they get so scared that they never leave their home again. ‘In the end, scared or not, you need to live your life.” But George was not done.

He also questioned why Muslims, Hindus, Aliens and Gamblers all get the same Heaven he does? This time, it was Jesus turn to answer. He explained that George had been a gambler most of his life. He had gambled that his interpretation of Heaven and Hell was the correct one. Anyone who didn’t believe as he did were going to be punished while he was going to be rewarded the “Heavenly” Jackpot. It doesn’t work like that.

God then followed up with a further explanation. He had mistakenly created man with an eternal soul. By doing so, he then needed a place to put them when their mortal bodies failed. Heaven was just a place to keep them when the time came. An attempt to repair a mistake that an old man made. They left George to contemplate these words. He would have plenty of time to think about them. However, if it was any consolation, God left George with two tickets to see the Ramones. Hopefully, he and George are all good now.

The Sunstar Space Elevator

As for Sunstar, he sat on the couch discussing with his wife the events of the day. She asked him what conclusions he had come to. After hearing all of the suggestions he had received. The bad ones, the requests for sponsorships, the idea to send illegal aliens into space, and finally the old man’s suggestion that he leave. He decided that the Earth would be getting… a Space Elevator.

Thoughts

One of the things that I find most enlightening about Ahoy Comics Second Coming is writer Mark Russell’s willingness to openly discuss the different ways the Bible can be interpreted. He does so in a humorous and lighthearted manner, but he still touches upon subjects that are serious in nature. Death, Life and what does it all mean in the grand scheme of things. In this particular issue, Mark reflects on people’s visions of what awaits them after death and the nature of heaven and hell.

These have been topics that haven been debated and argued about between theologians and lay people since the Bible was written. One could only hope that heaven and hell was as simple as it is portrayed in this story. If so, there may be more people than just George who are going to be disappointed in their final outcome. Either way, it was a clever look at the situation we ALL will eventually face at some time or another. Our own mortality.

The Disposition of a Godlike Being

The other story line poses the question that many fans of comic books have asked at one time or another. If you had super powers or knew someone who did, and they asked what should be done with them, what would your answer be. It is not outside the realm of possibility that more people than not would want something to benefit themselves. The final suggestion by the elderly man brings up a hypothesis that has been pondered more than a few times by writers of Superman.

What would happen if a man with extraordinary powers, almost God like, decided that the inhabitants of the planet were beneath them. What would stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do. Perhaps even destroying said World. With that as a possibility, would it not be better for the planet if the threat was removed? One only look at the mistakes that God has admitted to in this series to see that even the most powerful beings can make mistakes. So, if you were to remove Sunstar from the equation, you would lose out on his ability to save people from those who sought to do wrong. But you also might have fewer “evil villains” because his absence doesn’t serve to inspire the creation of them. So many questions, so much ground for Russell to cover. And in this book, no one does it better.

Artwork

I wish I could say something new in the way the team of Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk handle the illustrations for Second Coming. But continued excellence doesn’t need further explanation. They just keep putting out masterful artwork to match the story that Mark Russell puts out every issue. When your dealing with Jesus, God, Heaven, Hell  and Superheroes, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.

Ahoy Comics Second Coming: Only Begotten Son, Issue 5 can be found where ALL great comics are sold.

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