TITLE: X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills Graphic Novel
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Written by Chris Claremont
Artist: Brent Anderson
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Louise Simonson
Back in 1982, comic book fans wanted to get their hands on a Marvel Graphic Novel.
These issues would feature stories not conforming to the Comic Code Authority and Marvel Comics were no doubt on a role with “The Death of Captain Marvel” and “The New Mutants”.
And back then, approached to create a graphic novel, Chris Claremont who was the main writer of “The Uncanny X-Men” at the time, was supposed to collaborate with artist Neal Adams (who had a disagreement about the “Work for Hire” agreement in the contract, which he did not want to do, so Adams passed) but the responsibility for the artwork went to artist Brent Anderson).
The issue was conceived as a non-canon X-Men story but “God Love, Man Kills” until it inspired the second “X-Men” film in 2003 and would lead to a storyline “God Love Man Kills II” for “X-Treme X-Men” issues #25-#30.
The graphic novel is considered one of the best X-Men stories and the graphic novel no doubt pushes the button as it tries to correlate the world’s hatred towards mutants and also racism. The N-word is used in this issue to drive home that correlation, as young Kitty Pryde is tried of the prejudice towards mutants and she tries to make a point to her dance teacher Stevie Hunter (who is African American), as Stevie tries to tell an angry Kitty that she shouldn’t let words get to her. But Kitty returns what if the person called her a “N-Lover”, would she have been tolerant?
Needless to say, this 1982 story is very relevant today.
William Stryker is a soldier turned preacher with a hate towards Mutants and he has created a mercenary group called the Purifiers that murders mutants.
The issue begins in Connecticut as the Purifiers murders a young African American boy and girl who are mutants (their family were also killed) and hangs them on an elementary school’s swing set for many to see.
Magneto is shocked that now children are being targeted and is determined to make them pay.
As the story goes to Reverend Stryker, he is determined to stop the X-Men and will be debating Professor Charles Xavier on live television.
This is creating hate around the country and at Stevie Hunter’s ballerina school, Kitty is fighting with a guy who supports Stryker’s cause. Meanwhile, a group of Purifiers pass by and want to kill Stevie Hunter for treating mutants like human beings. But they begin tailing Colossus, Illyana and Kitty.
As the X-Men watch the debates between Professor Charles Xavier and Reverend William Stryker on television, Stryker uses the air time for hate and not letting Xavier a chance to speak.
As the X-Men at the mansion go to train, Professor X, Cyclops and Storm are planning to leave the news station to go home. But unbeknown to them is that a Purifier sniper is waiting for them and shoots at them, blowing up the vehicle. The assassin proceeds to shoot them and then uses a RPG to destroy them.
Back at the mansion, Nightcrawler receives a call that Professor Xavier, Scott (Cyclops) and Ororo (Storm) have been killed.
As Kitty and Illyana are trying to deal with their deaths, as the two walk, Illyana tells Kitty she saw something unusual along the ridge and they realize it’s an electronic sensor module and as they go to investigate, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler who are investigating are attacked by the Purifiers and the same with Kitty and Illyana. Kitty manages to escape but Illyana is shot and kept prisoner.
Seeing as they are the hunted, the X-Men join in an alliance with Magneto, meanwhile the Purifiers try to hunt and kill Kitty Pryde and Reverend William Stryker is going to give a massive sermon at Madison Square Garden about his crusade against mutants.
And I’ll leave it at that as this graphic novel is a story that should be read. While the original graphic novel is quite expensive, fortunately the second edition can be found (the 2011 release) online for a great, inexpensive price.
“X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills” has a powerful message but even over 35-years later, it’s a story that unfortunately still holds strong today in our country struggling with race relations and makes us reading this again many years later, has much improved in terms of the weakening of prejudice and racism since 1982 or are people even more divided today?