Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Writer: Mark Russell
Artwork: Richard Pace
Finisher: Leonard Kirk
Colours: Andy Troy
Letters: Rob Steen
Release Date: 16th December 2020
I was super late to the party with Second Coming (but joyous that it found a home with Ahoy) so was stoked to get my hands on the start of volume 2 this week. If you haven’t already read volume then I strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible. The writing and art are fantastic, and it feels very much at home within the stable of other classic, and controversial, modern parables. The long and short of it is that in an effort to get his son to wield his power with greater force, the big guy upstairs has sent Jesus to get some work experience with the world’s greatest superhero, Sunstar. Did I recommend you go and pick up volume one if you haven’t done so already!?
Beware of minor spoilers from the first arc throughout the rest of this review.
Following Jesus’ actions and the resultant good news for Sunstar, we take a leap back in time (and indeed space) to peer into the origins of the mighty hero. Forty years ago, on the crystalline planet Zirconia, within the capital city of Crystallus, an ominous threat looms. Following centuries of plundering their planet’s resources, a scientist has uncovered that their people’s actions have led to the imminent destruction of their world. Yeah, so the similarities with another costumed hero continue with gusto here, but stoic Jor-El and the fall of Krypton this most definitely is not. Well, not unless their last night was filled with boorish condo salesmen and vapid materialism.
Mark Russell’s dialogue, delivered to the page by letterer Rob Steen, continues in the same witty, pointed, and often insightful way. One looking for fault might consider the allegory a tad heavy-handed and the parody layered a bit thick, but for me the combination really shines. No doubt some will be up in arms about the subject matter despite not even giving this a read, but the laughs are always about punching up, or at the very least punching across.
The artwork from Richard Pace feels fresh and breezy, albeit in a stylised manner. The bright, popping colours of Andy Troy and Pace’s clean lines are perhaps a little safe, but given the content, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d much rather a consistently good look than experimenting and missing the tone or detracting too heavily from the overall effect.
For a new reader, this should be a good jumping on point. There’s little investment required to get up to speed with what’s happening, but I can’t help feel that this issue might not grab a reader in the same way as the debut did. The pacing seems a little slower and more deliberate to allow the anger and desperation to take root and grow. There’s still a lot of humour in these pages though, and the tragic fall of Zirconia leads elegantly up to a closing panel which promises more of the kind of development I expected. With a warm tingle of excitement, I wonder if we’ll get a similar origin story for the other hero in this duo?
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster