Writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace return for the third issue of this series, which was released last Wednesday. This story opens with Sunstar taking Jesus out bowling, a game which the Son of God finds quite enjoyable. Then Sunstar takes Jesus with him to track down a young supervillain. This development takes an interesting term, as Jesus tries to preach forgiveness to a disbelieving Sunstar. Jesus points out that Sunstar’s usual method for dealing with supervillains, which is beating them up and then handing them over to the police, must not be working so well so many of the supervillains just keep coming back and new ones are created every day. So, together, Sunstar and Jesus come up with a rather novel approach for rehabilitating this particular supervillain.
Then, Sunstar gets a call from Shiela and finds out that his grandmother has disappeared from the Nursing Home that he had placed her in. Leaving Jesus alone, Sunstar takes Shiela with him to his hometown of Littleton, Colorado, where he’s sure his grandmother has run off too. During this issue, we learn a bit more about Sunstar’s childhood, and we see how sad he is at the various changes in his old town in the years since he’s been gone. They find Sunstar’s grandmother and returns her to the Nursing Home, but Sunstar is still faced with some hard choices to make.
Meanwhile, Jesus goes to a bar where he is visited by SATAN himself, who gives Jesus some bad news about God’s future plans for humanity, but can Jesus really trust the Lord of Lies? Then Jesus is confronted by some far-right Christian bigots, who are picketing the bar that Jesus went to because, unbeknownst to him, it’s a gay bar. So these are the “God Hates Fag” type of Christians. This leads to a funny argument between Jesus and one of the protestors over the fact that Jesus never actually met the apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament. Then a fight breaks out, and Jesus ends up in the back of a police car.
It’s interesting how Mark Russell manages to tie the two subplots of Sunstar and Jesus together here, in a thematic sense, as both of their stories basically involve the power of nostalgia, and the natural desire to return to simpler times in our lives. But neither Sunstar nor Jesus can return to the past.
I have to say that this book is turning out to be something far different than what I expected. I was expecting a subversive anti-religious near-satire, in the vein of THE BOYS, but it’s a lot more nuanced, and has a lot of heart. Whether you’re religious or not, this is a book that I think most superhero fans will enjoy.
Chacebook rating: FOUR STARS