Title: X-Men: God Loves Man Kills
Author: Chris Claremont
Artist: Brent Anderson
Genre: Superheroes / Action / Adventure / Drama
Year Published: 1982
Year Read: 2011
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Content Rating: Ages 15+ (Violence, Mature Themes and Some Strong Language, including a Racial Slur)
Lately, I have been reading many “X-Men” comics, especially the ones from the 70s and 80s and I have stumbled upon this unique little story. Since I had heard so many good things about this story, I decided to check it out myself and what I got was probably the darkest, most disturbing, most engaging and most brilliant piece of work I have ever read from any comic! This story is called “God Loves Man Kills” and it was an “X-Men” story written by Chris Claremont along with artwork by Brent Anderson, which was created without the constraints of the comic industry. So expect some really shocking moments awaiting you in this volume!
What is the story?
Basically, this story is about Reverend William Stryker, a well respected religious man who has done many televangelists programming around the country. Unfortunately, William Stryker is actually a truly evil man who wants nothing more than to exterminate the mutant race by sending out his assassins, the Purifiers, to eliminate anyone who is a mutant while preaching to the world about how mutants have no place in the world. So, when the X-Men find out about William Stryker’s devious plan in exterminating the mutant race, they have to do everything in their power to stop William Stryker’s plan from succeeding!
What I loved about this comic:
The story itself: Oh my goodness! After I had heard how harsh this story was, I was a little reluctant in reading this story. However, once I had read this story, I was totally blown away by the truly effective storytelling this story had to offer! Chris Claremont has certainly done an excellent job at comparing the X-Men’s situation in being mistreated by the public because they are different from the humans to how the minority community is being treated in society as they are also mistreated because of their skin colors or their different religious affiliations. Even though this idea has always been the norm for the “X-Men,” Chris Claremont had made this story truly memorable as it was one of the few “X-Men” stories to actually capture the realistic and harsh view of racism and prejudice in our society in a very compelling way. I will admit that there were some very harsh and disturbing moments in this book, especially with the opening scene of two mutant children being killed by the Purifiers and being hung by the swing sets to be shown as an example about what would happen to other mutants like them (personally, anything that deals with innocent children being killed for no reason is disturbing to me) and it is moments like that that really makes you think about the disturbing nature of racism and prejudice. I also loved the way that the X-Men not only try to save mutant kind from threats like William Stryker, but how they try to explain to the audience about the importance of being different and how no matter how different you are from other people, you are still human and that message was brought out in a very compelling way that made me root for the X-Men all the way. I also loved the way that Chris Claremont had written the villain William Stryker. William Stryker was not written as your usual “trying to take over the world” villain, but he was written as a villain who had a past that will horrify you and shaped what he has become and uses religion as a way to exterminate a race that he believes is evil. Also, the fact that William Stryker was a normal human being, but was able to cause harm to the X-Men made him a truly formidable villain in the “X-Men” universe.
Brent Anderson’s artwork: I loved Brent Anderson’s artwork because it has that retro 70s/early 80s look that I have always enjoyed looking at when I was small. I loved how Brent Anderson’s artwork has that scratchy look and it really complements the story extremely well and captures the dark scenes in this story, especially with the opening scene of the two mutant children being killed and while this event takes place during the night, you can see the blue colorings giving an eerie feel to this scene.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:
Since this story was written without the advisory of the comic industry and is not really within the X-Men continuity, there are many disturbing and harsh elements throughout this book. There are many deaths throughout this story, especially with the disturbing opening scene of the two mutant children being killed and hung by the swing sets. Also, there is some strong language in this book that might offend some readers, especially since they are used in a way to describe how certain words can hurt people if used in an offensive manner. Also, this story is a bit too dark for younger teens since it deals with racism and prejudice in a very realistic and disturbing manner and because of this, this story is often not really counted as apart of the X-Men stories although it inspired a movie and some stories in the future, however, it is one of the most popular and well-written stories ever created.
All in all, despite the very dark nature of this story, “God Loves Man Kills” will remain to be one of the most inspirational stories ever created! It was one of the few stories that actually shows the true dark side of racism and prejudice and even though there were some harsh moments in this story, those moments clearly show us the true nature of racism and prejudice and I think that this story will always stand the test of time no matter what generation reads it.