December 12, 2009

Ye Olde School Cafe’: God Loves, Man Kills pt. 1


Welcome once again, to a step back in time in the comics world I like to call- Ye Olde School Cafe’. This week, I’ll be continuing with more from Marvel’s merry mutants, The X-Men. In this edition I’ll begin to discuss probably the most critically acclaimed X-Men story of all-time- God Loves, Man Kills. This thought provoking tale was brought to us by Chris Claremont (script) and Brent Anderson (art) in 1982.


Now first, I’ll set the scene for you. The X-Men have just suffered a huge loss with the death of Jean Grey. She took her own life in an attempt to stop The Phoenix Force from totally taking control of her and wreaking havoc on the universe. The X-Men, now comprised of Storm, the African goddess of the weather, Colossus, a Russian farmer who can turn himself into a steel covered one-man wrecking crew, Nightcrawler, a mutant who resembles a demon but has the heart of a saint, Wolverine, a man who’s tortured by a past he can’t remember no matter how hard he tries, Kitty Pryde, a young girl who has just recently joined the X-Men in their fight against the bigots of the world who would do them and other mutants harm, and Cyclops, whose views are very black and white, but whose loyalty is never in question. These people, led by Charles Xavier, are about to be put in the fight of their lives by a man. Not a mutant, nor an alien, but a simple man with very strong beliefs and an even stronger will to carry out those ideals. The name William Stryker will be a name the X-Men will never forget, not now, not ever.

Our story begins with a young boy and his even younger sister running feverishly for their very lives. Who’s chasing these two children you ask? They call themselves The Purifiers. These religious zealots live only to serve who they think is a man with a righteous cause, and to carry out the extermination of anyone deemed unworthy to live. These Purifiers catch up to the two children and murder them in cold blood. Because they’re different, because they’re mutants. They believe as does their leader, Stryker, that all who are born different, however they interpret, are deemed evil and deserve nothing short of death. After the group of Purifiers hangs the corpses in the playground then leaves, none other than the master of magnetism himself, Magneto, appears and takes the two children down from their gallows. He then says a few words and grieves, and then announces that whoever did this will be hunted down and will pay.

We next turn our attention to the offices of Reverend Stryker, who is watching film on the X-Men and trying to find out their weaknesses so he can exploit them for his own fanatical purposes. He’s interrupted by his secretary who tells him it’s time for his debate on T.V. with Professor Xavier. The scene then turns to a dance studio where Kitty and a young man are about to get into a fist fight over a comment he made about Muties and how Reverend Stryker has the right idea about getting rid of them. Colossus shows up just as Kitty is sucker punched by the guy. The punk splits after seeing Colossus come to Kitty’s aid. Kitty herself is rather excited to see her large Russian companion and remarks about how she couldn’t take the insults anymore. At this point, Kitty’s teacher comes out and tries to settle her down by telling her “it’s only words.” Kitty responds with “Suppose He’d called me a nigger-lover Stevie? Would you be so damn tolerant then?” At this point, we see Colossus apologizing for Kitty’s words but Stevie says “she was right.”

Next we see the good Reverend Stryker and Professor Xavier debating on television about mutant rights. Stryker seems to have an advantage when it comes to convincing people that his way is the right way. After the time for debating is over, we see Stryker and his assistant put their plan into motion that will cripple the X-Men. The other X-Men watched the debate on T.V. and then while Xavier and his two escorts, Cyclops and Storm, make their way home, the others try to let off some steam in the Danger Room. The team tries to do the impossible by making an exercise so tough they can’t win unless they change the rules. Meanwhile Xavier, Cyke and Storm, are driving home when they are unexpectedly attacked by Stryker’s Purifiers. They take down the X-Men like a well oiled machine and inform The Reverend that their trap worked perfectly.

The Reverend Stryker wants the public to think that the X-Men died in the explosion from the crash so he has his people doctor the crash site. This fools the police so they call the mansion and give the X-Men the bad news about their mentor and friends. Kitty is overwhelmed by emotion, so she storms out of the mansion with Illyana following closely behind. The two young girls talk about it and then they spot something hidden in the trees pointed at the mansion. It’s a spy-cam, so Kitty and Illyana decide to stay and figure out who it belongs to. While the two girls are playing spy games, Wolverine and the others go to the crash site where Wolvie’s senses tell him this was a set-up. Wolverine tells his partners that they’ll wait and hang around the site for a while because somebody is bound to come looking for them. Someone does indeed, as Stryker’s goons are watching from a distance but Nightcrawler spots them from a rooftop and then teleports to the hood of their car.

A battle ensues with the Purifiers starting to gain the upper hand on the X-Men but from out of nowhere, Magneto himself appears and takes control of the situation. He stops the goons from continuing their assault and then makes a bold offer to the X-Men. He says for this mission he wants to be allies against this threat. Meanwhile, Kitty and Illyana are attacked by the goons that put the camera in the forest behind the mansion. The Purifiers try to capture both of the girls but fail and have to settle for only Illyana. Back to the other X-Men, we have an interrogation going on with Wolvie and the gang, and the two goons that tried to kill the X-Men. Eventually, the Purifiers crack,  and the X-Men start to realize that they are not just up against some ordinary guy.  They come to the realization that this man, Stryker, could be the greatest threat they’ve ever faced!

Well, that’s it for this week. Be sure to tune in next week for the conclusion of God Loves, Man Kills. We will answer the question’s like, “Whatever happened to Stryker to steer him in this direction?” “What has happened to Scott and Storm?” “What evil does Stryker have in store for the Professor?” All will be revealed next week! So long for now.

Go directly to pt 2 and click here!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. Ya know, I have to re-read this story. It’s been years and I don’t remember any of it! I love old school Claremont though.

  2. This has been a fav of mine since it came out and i will say that its one of the best Claremont has ever written and if you havent read it then pick it up!

  3. I read this back in the late 80’s, when I borrowed a friends copy. I couldn’t remember too much of the story anymore, so thanks for the reminder!

  4. billy

    @everybody-this story is one I couldn’t put down until completion. I live in a very rural area so I see racial bigotry on a daily basis (sometimes pretty hardcore). If you do not own this pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

  5. @ Billy-I think thats why i connected with the x men books when i was younger because i recognized it right off the bat and since the number of stories that identified with me were very slim it was good to find a story like this on the shelf when it came out

  6. Billy

    @Speech-The subjects of racism and bigotry are something that I try to understand on a level like that but it’s not easy. I mean when I was a kid I got teased and stuff for being skinny or poor but nothing of this magnitude. What an awesome story this was. Really makes you think about things.

  7. […] the thought provoking conclusion to God Loves, Man Kills, right now in Ye Olde School Cafe’ (click here to read part 1)! This book makes you really think about life in general, but specifically those who […]

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