Journalists

December 19, 2009

Ye Olde School Cafe’: God Loves, Man Kills pt 2

yeoldschool

Prepare yourselves for 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 are or have been persecuted just because they’re viewed as different. Who’s to say what’s “normal” and what’s “different?” Should someone be ostracized, beaten, harassed or just flat out exterminated just because of who they are? Let’s find out how Xavier, Magneto and The X-Men handled this persecution.

We begin with a very disturbing scene, one where Professor X is being attacked and then crucified by demonized versions of his precious X-Men! After each X-Man has his turn torturing him, a white light shines from above Xavier to reveal a figure that comes to save him. Next, we see that Stryker and one of his tech goons have developed a device to try and weaken the Professor’s mind and bend his will to serve their own “righteous cause.”

We then get to see Scott and Ororro, who have been incapacitated and hooked up to a device that constantly keeps them in pain, and therefore unable to use their powers. To make this even worse, the device also causes Xavier pain and makes him think it’s the X-Men that are harming him. Scott then yells to Stryker, demanding to know why he’s doing this. Stryker then tells them, “because you exist.” The story then flashes back to a time when the reverend was in the Army. We see how this once seemingly gentle man returned home from the military to be with his expecting wife. He and his wife were driving to visit his family but never made it due to a car accident. His wife, starts to go into labor and he has to deliver the baby in the middle of the desert. He helps his wife through the delivery but then sees his son is a “monster.” He then says, “faced with that abomination, I did what had to be done.” We see him raise a knife and murder his newborn son. His wife not seeing this asks to see the baby and then he takes her in his arms and proceeds to break her neck. The car was leaking gasoline so he puts his wife and son in the wreckage and the car explodes into flames. He uses the wreck and explosion to cover his evil deeds when the police arrive. After this we see Stryker start drinking heavily and getting into fights, so the military gives him a discharge. Later, he reads a magazine article about Xavier and realizes that his son, the monster, was a mutant. Thus Reverend William Stryker was born.

William_StrykerNext, Strykers goon squad is seen taking Illyanna into the stronghold and thinking that Kitty is still in the trunk, they fire their weapons until the car looks like Swiss cheese. They soon realize that Kitty isn’t in there and then use a tracking device to find her and seemingly blow her to bits while she’s making a phone call to the mansion. She gets away just in time but then after the death squad shoots a cop, they corner her on a train. Just as they’re about to shoot her, Magneto intervenes, and he and the X-Men dispose of Stryker’s Purifiers.

Now, back at Stryker’s base of operations, we see his brainwashing of Xavier almost completed. The final stage is when he commands Xavier to kill Cyclops and Storm. After a little nudging he sends a mental bolt at both X-Men, killing them. Afterwards, Stryker’s accomplice is seen trying to leave but Kitty and the other X-Men have  plans for him. After they make him squeal, they attack Stryker’s building to try and free their friends. In doing so, they find the lifeless bodies of their teammates and are grief-stricken. Wolverine’s acute senses tell him  a different story though; he claims that they are alive but in some kind of stasis or deep sleep. Magneto then awakens with a jolt of electricity and shortly after, they make a plan about how they are going to stop the good reverend.

The X-Men find out that Stryker is going to hold a sermon at Madison Square Garden where he’ll spew more of his disguised hate for anyone not fitting his view of normal. In making preparations for his big night, we see Stryker talking to a brainwashed Xavier; he tells him that the machine he is hooked up to (a Cerebro that will not find mutants, but kill them) will “kill all with the number of the beast.” As he explains all this to the Professor, his top Purifier who narrowly escaped Magneto and the X-Men, bursts into the room and explains that the X-Men rescued Cyke and Storm. Stryker tells her that they are a bunch of children and they can’t stop a servant of God.

The final stage is set, and Stryker starts to deliver his message of hate while the X-Men try to converge on the building. Just as they start to act, Xavier starts his mental assault on all the mutants or – non-believers – as Stryker has led him to believe. Magneto is not affected because of his helmet, so he gets inside to confront Stryker, but he is prepared and has Xavier fire all his enormous power at him. We get a peek at Senator Robert Kelly, who is in the crowd and seemingly very critical of Reverend Stryker. One thing of note here is that the machine that’s only supposed to affect mutants starts to make Kelly and Stryker’s number one Purifier bleed. After she pleads with him, Stryker says that it’s God’s will, not his, that says she should die. He pushes her off of the stage, breaking her neck.  Magneto, lying on the floor almost unconscious from Xavier’s mental assault, asks the righteous reverend, “Is this then the HOLY WORD, Reverend, that any who oppose you must die”?

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The mob of people that are still loyal to Stryker attempt to attack Magnus but are stopped by the police.  The X-Men, then initiate their plan to distract Xavier so Scott can blast him, and knock him out. After they accomplish this feat, Scott blasts the Cerebro-like unit and tells the others that he is going to confront Stryker, man to man. They start to debate with the Reverend about his beliefs and how he came to the conclusion that anyone different should be eradicated. Scott contests that “maybe mutants are the real human race and and the rest of you are the mutants.” Stryker then responds while pointing at Nightcrawler, “You dare call that… thing human?!?” At this point, Kitty can’t help but cry out that Kurt is more human than he is. She goes on to tell the Reverend that she “hopes to grow up and be half the person Kurt is.” Stryker then pulls out a gun and says to let those statements be her epitaph. Just as he is about to shoot Kitty, one of the cops on crowd control shoots Stryker, dropping him in his tracks.

After the confrontation, we see the group of X-men back at the mansion with Magneto and they debate on whether or not this was a victory and where they go from here. Magneto being the pessimist that he is, tells them that this victory is hollow. He explains that Stryker was beaten but not his cause. The X-Men won’t buy what Magneto is selling so he takes off, warning them that someday he’ll do it his way. The Professor then begins to weep, realizing what he has done, all be it against his own will. Scott tells him that he has nothing to be ashamed of, because all that happened just proves he’s human like everybody else. The End!

I can’t stress enough the importance of a book like this. If you haven’t read this story then you need to remedy that now. If you don’t want to or can’t buy it, then try your local library. You will not be disappointed. This is the one Claremont story you must read, period. See you all next week and have a Happy Holiday!

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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5 Comments



  1. Man, that is a f*&%ed up origin for William Stryker.

    This story is such a great commentary on the dangers of organized cult-religions. They’re freakin’ terrifying!

    I really have to re-read this asap.



  2. That is such a classic panel. Poor Kurt.


  3. InfiniteSpeech

    Again this ranks as one of my top favorite X-Men stories ever. I read this when I was about 8 or 9 and there were so many parallels between this story and just crap I had gone through that I read the story again and again. I even used it as a reference for a paper I wrote in school years later. I was also pretty excited to see that elements of this story were being used in X2 and I think it was the BEST of the X-Men movies!

    another volume of this was recently released a couple of years back so it should be an easy find!


  4. Billy

    @Andy-The panels that shwo Strykers origin are definitely difficult to read.
    @Bill-They way Kurt was drawn by Anderson, kind of hunched over, really makes me feel bad for Kurt.
    @IS-Having gone through something that has been told/illustrated in a book makes it all the better for me personally. You can really attach yourself to it.



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