Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Writer: Mark Russell
Artwork: Richard Pace
Finisher (Earth Pages): Leonard Kirk
Colourist (Earth Pages): Andy Troy
Lettering: Rob Steen
Release Date: 10th July 2019
Originally scheduled to be released by DC Vertigo in March of this year, Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s Second Coming fell foul to a widespread online controversy, with a sizeable petition by CitizenGo forcing DC to pull it from their slate. Wisely, Mark and Richard managed to arrange for the publishing rights to revert back to them, and passed the book onto flourishing publisher Ahoy Comics, who jumped at the chance to release the series in all its glory.
So, after all the online rage and hysteria about how “inappropriate” and “blasphemous” Second Coming is, it finally goes on sale this week, and… well… it’s actually all rather tame, to be honest.
Firstly, it’s purely satirical, as well as being fairly tongue-in-cheek for the most part, making the overblown, manufactured online outrage seem all the more ludicrous. There’s also nothing particularly over the line here that I can see, aside from some fairly understandable questions being asked about the whole ‘Garden of Eden’ thing, and some mildly fruity language from God himself. If anything, Jesus actually comes across as fairly true to the source material, serving as a well-reasoned and caring counterbalance to his somewhat gung-ho superhero partner.
The gist of the story sees God sending Jesus back to modern day Earth, but pairing him with larger-than-life superhero Sunstar (a thinly-veiled Superman analogue) to be taught him how to be a real hero and inspiration. However, as becomes obvious fairly quickly, the way the Sunstar does things (and indeed the way a lot of modern day superheroes do things) ain’t really all that Christian, and it’s Jesus himself who’s going to end up doing the bulk of the teaching.
On the visual side of things, Richard Pace does a great job with the epic, sweeping moments of the story, particularly the scenes set in Heaven. Just as vitally however, they also do a solid job of nailing the comedic and the more personal beats of this first issue, particularly during the section where Jesus explains his reasons for suffering with the human race for so long before allowing himself to be crucified (which, again, are pretty much Bible accurate.)
At the end of the day, while I was expecting something soul-damningly blasphemous or a mean-spirited affront to Christianity, what I got instead was a fairly humorous look at the return of Jesus Christ and the way his teachings and ethos have been woefully misinterpreted by the majority of the modern world. It’s a great first issue which sets out its stall impressively, and honestly, if the worst thing about a religious-themed comic is Jesus healing bad guys “because they’re in pain” as an overzealous superhero punches them through windows , I think our eternal souls are gonna be just fine.