‘Second Coming: Only Begotten Son’ #1 switches focus away from Jesus and onto Sunstar in a secret origin story that will be all too familiar to readers. But, it doesn’t mean with teh added humour it’s not a fresh and funny take on the story of a lone infant rocketed to Earth on a space ship. A space ship made of finest, classiest Zirconia crystal!
Given Sunstar in Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1 is clearly a stand-in for Superman, it makes sense that his origin would be similar too, albeit with a few more jokes. For Krypton we get the planet Zirconia; a crystal encased planet upon which Starsun’s parents once lived. Like Kal-El, Starsun’s father is still the greatest scientist on the planet even if his flair for the melodramatic would suggest he’d do well on stage too. But then, his behaviour is only fitting given the planet’s peril. All of which is comedically contrasted with the mundanity of a dinner party they’d rather get out of. Y’know, because the world’s about to end.
Zirconia is very much in-step with our own world, and that’s the point. Why go to all that trouble of reimagining an origin story if you’re not going to inject it with some kind of satirical swipe on contemporary society, as is Mark Russell’s way? And, in focusing this debut issue on Sunstar and his origin story, this series would suggest a shift away from Jesus and the theological debates that were at the heart of the first series towards a brighter spotlight on Sunstar and another deconstruction of the superhero. But this time, for laughs.
And so Zirconia is doomed because of the population’s over-mining of their precious natural resources: crystal. Even the space ship that will send Sunstar to planet Earth is explained away in comedic deadpan style.
As for the final message of a dying father to his son? His hopes Earth isn’t as self-obsessed and rapacious as the Zirconians. Whoops.
As this is an issue with favouring Sunstar’s story; his own marital bliss and forthcoming child – thanks to some miraculous intervention by God in the freshman series – we get an all Leonard Kirk illustrated issue – working over layouts proved by fellow artist Richard Pace. His crisp, smooth style definitely suits the subject material, and his ability to depict such a wide range of emotions really helps in the delivery of the dialogue. Especially those knowingly over-the-top melodrama moments.
It’s certainly a curve-ball of an opener, given the complete change of subject matter. But, it’s a welcome change. I can’t be the only one keen to get to know Sunstar a little bit better and one suspects Russell may have said all he needed to say on theological matters for now. Although, given Jesus is going to need to move out, I doubt we’ve heard the last from him, or his dad. Especially as Russell informed us in a recent interview that this series wouldn’t be forgetting about Christ or the longevity of his teachings.
A great start to this new sophomore series and an enjoyable retake of an origin story that’s had its far share of retelling and revisions in previous decades.
Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1 is out Wednesday 16th December from AHOY Comics.