In just one issue Mark Russell, Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk deliver a variety of storylines and emotions that are both real and melodramatic and tinged with tragedy. I can’t think of many more emotive comic books than this one that tries to evoke self-reflection in the reader than ‘Second Coming: Only Begotten Son’. One to definitely recommend to the FOX News viewer in your life.
As I read through Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #4 a stray thought suddenly came into my mind. Comic books assume to be one of the few places which the representation of the elderly is often positive. Admittedly it’s usually because heroes created in the Golden Age are now way past their sell by date, but nonetheless, the elderly in comics are often presented as dignified. And while the residents of Shady Acres Retirement Home aren’t superheroes, writer Mark Russell does presents them as characters with a lifetime of living and the highs and lows that come with old age. And a whole lot of humour too. A humour that can also hide the pain. And so, as the old folk enjoy a trip to the casino Sunstar and Sheila are confronted by a sad reality I dare say many have to deal with. Agnes, Sheila’s mother, is something for a handful and so rather than try and deal with it the retirement home would rather have her out of their hair. In many ways the fact that the Western world even have retirement homes in which we can offload our parents is a sad state of affairs in itself. Something many societies around the world balk at.
It’s a scene that allows Jesus to once more allude to his own life and the gift of forgiveness. And it’s not lost on the retirement home manager either. And again, Russell illustrates how the teachings of Christ can still have some weight in the contemporary world. If only people would listen and learn to empathise more. It’s one of many teachings included in the storyline, and acted upon by others.
Mixed in with these quieter, contemplative moments are Sunstar’s super heroics. This time taking on the supervillain, Cranium.
But, unlike previous issues, the humour eventually takes a back seat to more serious and tragic consequences. On one level this is supposed to be a parody of the usual superhero/supervillain conflicts US comics thrive on, but at the heart of this is a more profound message. And if we fail to take this onboard, the outcomes can be dire. All around Christ people are undeniably changing for the better. But, whether that can have a larger effect on the kind of colourful criminals Sunstar has to take on is still up for debate.
Working in unison once more is Richard Pace who delivers the layouts with Leonard Kirk polishing them up with his inks. It’s a winning team, that’s for sure, with the pair providing the emotional highs and lows exhibited in this issue. In a book that is more rhetoric than action you need a pretty darn talented art team to keep the reader engaged and Pace and Kirk do this page on page. And with each issue you can see how Sunstar is trying to live up to the teachings of Jesus even if those teachings sometimes fail him and fisticuffs become the order of the day.
Less hard hitting satirically than other Russell written comic books but maybe more thought-provoking as a result, Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #4 is out now from AHOY Comics