Second Coming #2 // Review
“The greatest temptation in the world isn’t to do evil,” Jesus tells his new roommate, the superhero Sunstar, in the second issue of Ahoy Comics’ Second Coming, “but the need to be seen doing good.” This is the underpinning of the chapter, as Sunstar’s sense of himself is threatened, and he feels that he needs to protect his girlfriend from a stalker, leading to disastrous results.
After spending the first issue setting up the very high concept of the series--a callous and disinterested God sends his Son back to Earth. To live with Earth’s greatest superhero in the present day. To learn how to kick ass--this second issue scales down tremendously, focusing instead on one man’s crisis of self. Early in the chapter, Sunstar learns that he’s accidentally killed a bunch of people. Though they had been dressed as robots at the time. This, combined with his problems at home, lead to feelings of inadequacy and despair. When he finds an opportunity to right a wrong--a wrong directed at the woman he loves, at that--he jumps at the chance, despite Jesus’ protestations.
Writer Mark Russell brings his trademark wit and incisive political and social commentary to the issue. The most delightfully surprising part of Russell’s story is his version of God. Here an irritable and impatient rogue whose annoyance at His own creations is palpable. At times, however, each of Russell’s characters (God included) seem to be slightly more dimwitted than is quite believable. Even in the ridiculous world, he’s built for the series.
Richard Pace’s art is good, if uneven. In sequences set in either Heaven or the past. Pace does triple duty as penciler, inker, and colorist, giving those panels a lush weight and surreal beauty that sets the comic apart from other books on the stands. Pages set on Earth in the present day, however, are penciled by Pace and then inked and colored by Leonard Kirk and Andy Troy, respectively. Those pages are flatter and more mundane, presumably aiming for an approximation of Big Two superhero comics. It’s a compelling concept, but in execution, it just looks rushed. The book is capably lettered by Rob Steen.
The first issue of Second Coming debuted after months of controversy, making its arrival seem more portentous than perhaps it needed to be. This second issue, though, proves that the series has legs. It will be interesting to see how Sunstar and his heavenly roommate continue to affect each other as the series continues.