Second Coming #5 is another fun-size filling of theology that’ll have you reflecting on religion, good and evil and even that old philosophical conundrum of nature versus nurture too by the end of this issue. Mark Russell continues to explore the teachings of the Bible and humanity’s own contradictions of those life lessons, when we’re not downright ignoring them altogether.
In an issue with many voices, we get to hear from all comers, and in particular Satan, who does his best to ask for God’s forgiveness and making a mighty fine argument for why he should be given another chance. After all, wasn’t he simply a convenient scape goat once we cast the first stone? Or, rather, stabbed the first knife. He continues to come across as a spurned lover, but one with a decent argument, really, when you look at us and what we’ve done to this Earth; the countless sins we’ve committed. After all, we have certainly made a mess of this world, and taken the teachings of God and reinterpreted it time and time again to suit our own vanities and prejudices. Looking at our history – the countless wars done in the name of God – as well as the world today, I don’t see that changing very soon, do you?
And, while my interest lies with the mixed up relationship God is having with both his son and Satan, Sunstar certainly grabs the attention this issue too as he takes drastic steps to try and ensure his and Sheila’s happiness with an attempt at adoption overseas. It just so happens, however, that to do this he must make his own deal with the devil in the form of an Eastern European dictator with a rather Balkan twang to his accent. Once again, Leonard Kirk is in charge of the Sunstar scene in this issue, and once agony his cleaner, crisper artwork suits these scenes of super heroism mores than Pace’s grittier style which, equally, suits the scenes with Christ, Satan and God.
The humour continues to drive the debate in this issue and makes it a very palatable look at Christ’s teachings as a result. The depiction of God as something fo a rough and ready kinda guy only endears me more to this book but there’s also some sobriety to proceedings too as we see Satan – briefly, but powerfully, thanks to Pace’s art – become the Prince of Darkness we have known him to be, albeit for the duration of this series he’s seemed more of a sap than a ruler of Hell. Just as you begin to possibly see his side in all of this, he goes and reverts to type, with a great visual gag, that was centuries in the making, nearer the end of the issue, when he gathers together his own disciples, of sorts, for one last grand plan. It’s a sly but clever reference to one of Art history’s most memorable depictions of Christ and his own disciples. Seems Satan ain’t over God yet.
Another finely balanced issue, what with Russell’s trademark brand of social satire that dresses up heavy theological thinking in a palatable form. With only one issue left of this initial run, I do hope this isn’t the last we see of Christ and Sunstar. Here’s hoping for a Third Coming too.
Second Coming #5 is out now from AHOY Comics