From writer Mark Russell, artist Richard Pace, finisher (Sunstar pages) Leonard Kirk, color (Sunstar Pages) Andy Troy, letters Rob Steen. Published by Ahoy Comics.
I put off reading this for way too long. Second Coming is the story of Jesus’s return to Earth. But it’s not that simple. God has enlisted the world’s greatest super hero, Sunstar, to guide and mentor Jesus so the same thing doesn’t happen again. Sunstar is of course a Superman analogy, and Superman has very often been seen as a Christ analogy. Philosophies are challenged, adventure happens, tough decisions are made.
As one can imagine, there were some people very upset about this comic when it came out. In fact, Second Coming was originally going to be published as a Vertigo book but DC Comics backed away instead of facing controversy.
Not since Dogma have I enjoyed a rethinking of Jesus Christ and his message so much. Enjoyed and also taking the time to think about what is being said within the work. This is not offensive at all. Christ’s message rings true even in this fantasy reimagining. What is written, what was actually said, and how that has been interpreted and misinterpreted over 2000 years.
Sunstar as an all powerful alien from another world leaps into the fray with a might equals right mentality. Which works most of the time, and can work in the normal rules of super heroes. None of this is normal though. While Sunstar views Jesus’s methods as naïve and antiquated as the story progresses it’s tough to argue with Him or the results. Especially when Sunstar’s impulsive behavior creates more problems. However, towards the end even Jesus is put in a position to agree that sometimes there are no good options, only the best of the bad options.
I’m avoiding spoilers but there’s super villains, God, the Devil, and so much more. Iconic religious imagery in new settings. New angles on super hero tropes. And a Jesus that’s pretty in league with the one from the Bible. Instead of tax collectors and prostitutes, Jesus is thrown in jail for being crazy and befriends another prisoner. He stops into the local LBGT bar because it looks nice. All of these decisions could harm him but his words and actions allow others to be better. To find a strength within themselves.
That strength is what makes this book a repeat read. To open up what has been ingrained since childhood about religion and take a fresh look at it. Examining why empires and hate groups adopt the cross, when their actions are against all of Christ’s teachings. There’s a quote in here that’s really making me think. Jesus says, “I am here to tell you that the world doesn’t need your faith. It needs your conviction. If you only believe something because you think God wants you to, then you don’t really believe it. In a way, faith is the opposite of belief.”
It’s just words, but it is what weight those words carry that make the difference. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in UFOs? Those are questions that allow people to answer with their own examples from life for or against. Do you have faith? Do you have faith in God? For many that’s a yes. But why? If that yes answer is even questioned. But to reword it. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe in the church. The word believe versus the word faith. Saying you have faith is easy. Saying you believe and here is why and giving those words some meaning – that’s the conviction. That’s the strength that is harder to shake and an example that yields more respect.