Second Coming discusses the nature of Jesus’ teachings
Review: Second Coming Issue four
Written by Mark Russell
Pencils by Richard Pace, Breakdowns by Leonard Kirk, Colour Art by Andy Troy
Cover by Amanda Conner
Following on from a strong third issue, Second Coming continues to raise the bar with its most in-depth, and perhaps funniest, issue yet. Issue four features a discussion about the true nature and history of Christianity that hopefully serves as a springboard to wider discussion amongst its readers.
The issue has Sunstar looking for Jesus (“literally”, as one of the character’s lines points out) after He has wound up in jail. To help track his new friend down, Sunstar enlists the aid of a few of his friends. Meanwhile, Jesus finds himself in conversation with one of his fellow prisoners about the meaning of his ministry.
The story provides a further look into Sunstar’s world, and perhaps the best superhero content of the series so far. The reader is introduced to this world’s version of the Justice League, including the funniest parody of Batman that Insights that seen.
More importantly, issue four sees Second Coming go furthest into discussion about faith and theology so far, as Jesus’ conversation with a fellow prisoner delves into much about his teachings and where contemporary Christianity manages to so often get them wrong. A number of heady topics are addressed, from the nature of his teachings, to the role of Constantine making Christianity the state religion of Rome.
As is the case with Second Coming prior issues, the fourth chapter is a quick read, and the issue’s story flies by despite some heavier elements.
The way that Mark Russell’s script balances this with levity is perhaps the most impressive part of Second Coming’s writing, and here there are a number of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.
Of course, no work is perfect, and Second Coming’s few flaws include a tendency to insist on a rigid dichotomy between Paul and Jesus’ teachings, a dichotomy that is altogether too dismissive of the Apostle’s contributions to scripture. Of course, this has long been a point for theologians to grapple with, and the fact that Second Coming broaches these topics at all in its accessible way remains impressive in itself.
The issue finishes with a cliffhanger ending that makes it clear that issue five will be a significant one for Second Coming’s narrative. The book also continues to make a case for why its worth buying single issue comics (rather than waiting for the inevitable collection), with some interesting lettercol discussions about the story.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor
Second Coming Issue Four is available at comic book stores and online at Comixology on 23 October 2019.