You know what I love most about God Loves, Man Kills?
Yes, it’s a story about hatred and obsession and tragedy; people die, children die, just because of what they are.
But that’s not all there is. Magneto and the X-Men cast aside their history to work together, to protect people. A human policeman saves Kitty’s life, and Erik saves his.
It’s a human man who shoots Stryker, in the end.
It demonstrates exactly what Erik fears most - the people who hate them gaining enough power to exterminate them. That too many people will agree, and not enough will care. It doesn’t justify all he does, but it shows exactly why he’s so determined to rule himself, to rule with other mutants, rather than see his people caged and used and slaughtered.
But it also shows what Charles sees - the potential for all people to work together, regardless of how they were born. The possibility to change peoples’ hearts and minds. To find commonality, solidarity.
And still, he was tempted by Erik’s offer. It’s easy to understand why. But Scott’s decline still rang true.
This speech only works because we’ve seen that it’s real. There will always be people who hate mutants - but there are also people who will fight for them. I think too many X-Men stories forget the second bit, and it makes Charles’ dream seem like a ridiculous fantasy. Meanwhile, Erik is ramped up to cackling supervillain mode, just so we don’t side with him.
God Loves, Man Kills strikes a perfect balance, allowing sympathy for both perspectives. Everyone involved is a human being, even Stryker; there are no caricatures, no pedestals, and no easy answers.
To me, this is everything X-Men should be about. The way hatred can twist you, and love can elevate you. The struggle of choosing how and when to fight. The importance of family, especially in the face of horror and loss. The dangers of obsession and ignorance and apathy.
Ok it’s time for God Loves, Man Kills. I’ve been excited to read this one
for a while and I’m going to try not to think about how this story doesn’t seem
to fit canonically with what’s going on in the main series. Like the annual I
just read, this was published in 1982, prior to issues in the main series I’ve
already read, but it is being presented now because it’s the only place certain
plot elements can make sense, like the presence of time aged Illyana Rasputine even
though her inclusion conflicts with Professor X still being in a wheelchair and
with Kitty’s new Ariel codename and costume. Whatever.
God Loves, Man Kills. This is the story about the fanatic William Stryker and
his God driven mission to destroy mutant kind. It was the basis for the second
X-Men movie, X2 – X-Men United, and it was one of those graphic novels you’d
always see at Walden Books but you never had the money to buy. I think I
probably flipped through it a few times when I was 10 but didn’t understand
what was going on so I didn’t pine after it too hard. Let’s see if having an
adult perspective helps me enjoy this at all. Does anyone have some adult
perspective I could borrow? (Marvel Graphic Novel #5 – God Loves, Man Kills -
This scene is so cute: we have Killian Jones “I spent 300 years persecuting an evil, powerful and inmortal man who killed my love”, “the god of the Underworld just tortured me and I’ll give him my best sass”, “I don’t care if you have magic…”, “I’ll go to whatever and dangerous universe or timeline for my Swan”, “I’ll put my life in danger again and again for my loved ones”… was almost afraid and paralysed with the perspective of taking care of a little girl for 5 minutes.
And Ashley: she barely knows him; surely she know he is a former pirate, but she know also Emma (the woman who helped her in the past) loves him; and that Henry likes him; and this is enough for her to trust Killian with her daughter when she could have just sat Alexandra with her or asked another person.
(But as always Killian controlled the situation and showed how much of a natural he is with children; and maybe he thought “Swan is near, and maybe one day we will have our own little girl, so you get the chance to practice a little, pirate”)