Mark RussellRichard PaceLeonard Kirk, Andy Troy, and Rob Steen‘s AHOY Comics series Second Coming is back for its third series, the appropriately-titled Second Coming: Trinity. Picking up a year after the events of the last series, Trinity finds roommates Jesus and Sunstar trying to balance their day-to-day lives with the shared task of raising Sunstar’s new superpowered son, Jordan. 

The fine details may be different, but Second Coming is still the same thoughtful, hilarious series it was when it debuted back in 2019. In previous series Russell, Case, Kirk, and co. have offered readers a unique and entertaining perspective on organized religion, cohabitation, and what it really means to save the world, and Trinity adds fatherhood to the mix for what Russell calls the most emotionally resonant installment of the series yet. 

The Beat chatted with Russell about the themes of Second Coming: Trinity, what makes someone a hero or a villain, and more.

Joe Grunenwald: This series picks up a year after the events of Only Begotten Son, which ended with the birth of Sunstar’s son, Jordan. How has fatherhood changed Sunstar?

Mark Russell: It’s made his job much harder. He’s really the only one whose powers can check Jordan’s so he has to be with his son as much as possible while still doing all the normal superhero stuff people expect from him. It’s also made him much more aware of all the needless supervillain beefs he’s generated over his lifetime. He’s forced to wonder what kind of family business he’s created for his son. What his son is going to someday inherit other than a bunch of unsettled grudges and expectations he didn’t agree to.

Grunenwald: How has the addition of Jordan impacted the dynamic between Sunstar and Jesus?

Russell: It affects their relationship negatively. Because, even though both Sunstar and Jesus understand what it’s like to be a child with superpowers, Sunstar is more worried about making the world safe for Jordan, whereas Christ understands that the far bigger challenge is making Jordan safe for the world.

Grunenwald: A big part of Second Coming has been the relationship between Jesus and his father, God. How will that relationship influence Jesus’s helping Sunstar raise Jordan?

Russell: God still feels guilty about what happened to Jesus two thousand years ago. Especially since he was basically murdered by people God created in his own image. So God is now not only worried about the safety of his own son, but how his son might inadvertently lead Jordan into similar trouble.

Grunenwald: The shared history between Sunstar and Cranius is at the center of the series’ first issue. What interests you about exploring the dynamics between ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’?

Russell: Because they seem like such arbitrary distinctions. It’s almost like they showed up at a job fair and some people lined up at the hero booth and others at the villain booth. Most people don’t really operate that way, though. Cranius has done some good things and if allowed to, would continue doing good things. Sunstar has done some dirty work in the past and probably will again.

The thing that places Sunstar on the hero side of the ledger and Cranius with the villains is that when their contests turn violent, Cranius has no problem inflicting pain on Urban City to get at Sunstar. Whereas Sunstar feels the need to defend the city. But really, the source of the problem, the thing that causes the violence to begin with, is the fact that Sunstar has been bullying Cranius since high school. The hero/villain dynamic is an aftershock of some deeply unnecessary pettiness in Sunstar’s past.

Grunenwald: How has your collaborative process with the rest of the creative team evolved as the series has progressed, if at all?

Russell: I think it’s gotten smoother. I know better what to put in art notes and what to leave out. Richard knows which panels to emphasize and which don’t need as much real estate, and Leonard does a great job creating backgrounds and characters that fit with the tone of this world. I feel like we’re getting to the well-oiled machine phase of our collaboration.

Grunenwald: Are you still getting angry letters about this book from people calling you a blasphemer?

Russell: No, not really. Those people kind of petered out a long time ago. They’ve all moved on to being angry about Dr Seuss or Keurig machines or whatever. That sort of artificial outrage is like a cyclone. It seems to come out of nowhere and it can be scary, but it can’t stay in one place. It’s got to dance around and find new things if it’s going to stay potent.

Grunenwald: What are you excited for readers to see in Second Coming: Trinity?

Russell: I think this is perhaps the most emotionally resonant chapter in the Second Coming story yet. Plus, I mean, it’s got a super-powered baby.

Published by AHOY Comics, Second Coming: Trinity #1 is out in stores and digitally today. The Kickstarter for Bunkbed Mishaps is live now and runs until May 4th. You can check out our interview with Russell about Bunkbed Mishaps now.