Sunday, September 6, 2009
God Loves, Man Kills (An X-Men Story)
This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. X-Men has been a series that has often addressed the question of prejudice and hate towards minorities (in the case of the X-Men, the minority is the mutant). This was a graphic novel published solely as such; it was never a serial X-Men story and was published as one complete story without trying to be placed into the X-Men continuity. At the same time that it's a stand alone story it also ties what came before it together into one idea while having a big influence on where the X-Men storylines would go to in the future. That being said, you don't have to know the stories that came before this and you don't need to read anything after reading this to get more of the story; it is its own story that someone unfamiliar with the X-Men could pickup and read. It was originally published in 1982 and the issues it addresses and questions it raises are still relevant today.
The story follows the beginning of a genocide of mutants, lead by a fanatical religious leader William Stryker. Stryker is leading a fanatic group of people who kill, without sympathy, anyone who is a mutant because they are not human. After we see a brutal killing in the opening panels, Magneto, leader of a mutant resistance group in the regular comic series, decides it is best to join forces with his nemesis, Charles Xavier and the X-Men, in order to stop the burgeoning holocaust. After Stryker kidnaps two of the X-Men and Xavier for nefarious reasons, the rest of the team follows Magento to stop his bandwagon's momentum in its tracks by any means necessary.
The graphic novel by itself is powerful without the amazing story by Chris Claremont and superb art of Brent Anderson that seems to be the forerunner to an art style of comic-artist Alex Ross. The one series of images that could easily shake anyone is the picture of Xavier being crucified on the roof of one of the World Trade Center towers by his own students, or the murder and lynching of two young children for being mutants.
If anything you will recognize some of the elements of the story as it was the source material used by Bryan Singer for his movie X2.
This graphic novel is not only a read, but a 100% buy and treasure it often type book. It will surely be read again by me.