Marvel and DC Comics, or “the Big Two” as they’re known in the comic book industry, tend to shy away from actually depicting real religious figures like God and Satan. Usually, they’ll create a loose analogy (for example, there’s a powerful red figure with horns and a pointy tail who rules the land of the unredeemed dead named “Mephisto.”) to steer clear of controversy, but evidently DC is throwing caution to the wind with their newest superhero, someone you might already be familiar with. In fact, you may well have let Him into your heart.
That’s right: Jesus Christ is coming to the rescue in an upcoming series called The Second Coming, from DC imprint Vertigo.
“Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful superhero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex!” says DC Vertigo’s plot summary. “But when Christ returns to Earth, He’s shocked to discover what has become of His gospel — and now, He aims to set the record straight.”
Potentially sacrilegious to be sure, but writer Mark Russell’s interview with BleedingCool.com actually sounds pretty insightful. The story will follow Jesus’ friendship with Sun-Man (who sure sounds like a stand-in for Superman), as the two come to grips with their different approaches to saving the world. Here’s the cover.
SECOND COMING writer Mark Russell, art by Richard Pace. 2019 release.
God sends Jesus to Earth in hopes that he will learn the family trade from Sun-Man, an all-powerful superhero, who is like the varsity quarterback son God never had. pic.twitter.com/5nrPLUAaLB
— Richard Pace (@rpace) June 7, 2018
“The Christian religion doesn’t really base itself on what He taught, particularly in the modern evangelical megachurches,” he told the outlet. “They have Him more as mascot on t-shirts to prove they’re on the winning team. [Second Coming] is about Jesus coming down and being appalled by what He sees has been done in His name by Christianity in the last 2,000 years. He goes by a megachurch, and they have a billboard of this Tom Brady-looking Jesus Christ throwing a football, and He doesn’t even recognize Himself which is a metaphor for Him not recognizing what’s been done with the religion that bears His name.”
Well, that all sounds pretty interesting, and Russell has written some solid books for Vertigo — including a surprisingly sharp comic book adaptation of The Flintstones. Russell was raised in a Christian household and went to a Christian school, so he’s at least got a few background bonafides for this depiction, although the series is apparently going to take a few liberties with the limitations of Jesus’ omniscience. In this series, which is only scheduled to last six issues, Jesus is in for a rude shock when he lands on earth.
“God was so upset with the fact that He got crucified the last time that He wouldn’t even let Him look through the celestial keyhole at Earth to keep up,” Russell continued, explaining the plot. “He still gets to talk to people when they come to Heaven so He has a rough idea of what’s going on down there. He doesn’t know how sideways things have gone until He’s come down to Earth and sees it for Himself.”
This isn’t Russell’s first crack at a spin on biblical stories. He also wrote God Is Disappointed In You, which is sort of a cheeky adaptation, and Apocrypha Now, which explores the Bible’s noncanonical books.