uncas007's Marvel Graphic Novel #5 - X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills review

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  • uncas007 has written a total of 257 reviews. The last one was for Volume 4

The House of Ideas

God Loves, Man Kills is a rare, remarkable treasure from the Bronze Age of comics, a time seemingly unfettered by creative restraints and ubiquitous events.  Claremont delivers a powerful story regardless of whatever metaphorical layers audiences and critics want to lay on it - it transcends them all, primarily because it is such a good X-Men story utilizing the characters so well.  Part of the success of the story is Claremont's fairness to religion in general: Stryker does not represent all religions, "the religious view," or even "Christian fundamentalism" - he is just himself and his warped, odious perspective; Claremont uses Stryker to embody the hate and fear the X-Men have been combating since their beginning.  The adult nature of the story can be a bit surprising, primarily the coarse language we are not used to hearing/reading from the X-Men, especially young Kitty Pryde, but it also fits with the purpose and message of this story set outside the main universe/time of the X-Men series.  Xavier's struggle and surrender to Stryker's torture is particularly chilling, playing on Xavier's worst fear, that he is wrong and has only been hurting his X-Men all along.  What it finally does, though, is exactly what Stryker does not want it to do: humanizes him and his mutants even more.  Xavier's sorrow at the end, coupled with Scott's appropriately-harsh remonstrance is a great moment for both of them, in part because it shows how far the X-Men have come - Stan Lee's Cyclops would never have said that to his mentor.  Magneto's role in the story is an impressive element - the story would have been full enough with just the X-Men fighting Stryker and the Purifiers, but adding a former foe as a temporary ally provides another resonance only Chris Claremont's stories provide.  The final panels of the X-Men and Magneto summing up their positions are a great denouement to this story as well as decades of comics, especially since it foreshadows the discontent with Xavier's dream so many X-Men feel in the early '90s stories, but always the X-Men know the dream is worth fighting for, since they are all human.  The masterstroke of the novel comes from Claremont having a regular police offer be the one to put down Stryker: regardless of belief system, physical appearance, nationality, mutation, or anything, everyone is a human being.  Any idea that denigrates or rejects that essential starting point must be combated - by doing so, the human police officer supports Xavier and his dream completely.  This is a powerful story that will stay with you far longer than the convoluted X2 adaptation will.  Everyone should read this graphic novel.

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