|X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills|
|Series||Marvel Graphic Novel|
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (Marvel Graphic Novel #5) is an original graphic novel published in 1982 by Marvel Comics, starring their popular superhero team the X-Men. It was written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Brent Anderson. The book served as a primary inspiration for the 20th Century Fox film X2, which saw Claremont return to write the novelization.
According to artist Neal Adams, he was originally approached by Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to illustrate an early version of X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (whose plot, according to Adams, was conceived of by Shooter). Since Adams insisted that his contract not be a standard-work-for-hire agreement, Marvel eventually chose Brent Anderson as the illustrator—despite the fact that Adams had already penciled some preliminary pages.
God Loves, Man Kills was initially conceived as a non-canon X-Men story. The original first draft script called for the death of Magneto (which was illustrated by Neal Adams before his departure from the project), which would be the trigger event for the X-Men to begin investigating Stryker. Magneto's death was dropped once Adams left the project and the script rewritten into what became the published version.
Published in 1982, for years the canonical status of God Loves, Man Kills existed in a state of flux. It was not officially considered canon until 2003, when the second X-Men film (which borrowed heavily from the graphic novel) was released in theaters and a sequel series, God Loves Man Kills II was published in X-Treme X-Men #25–30.
For later volumes of the Essential X-Men trade paperback series, the issue is placed between The Uncanny X-Men #167 and #168. This is due to Cyclops' involvement in the story (Cyclops left the team after #167) and for the presence of the time displaced aging of Ilyana Rasputin.
Magneto is investigating the murder of two mutant children who were killed by henchmen of the Reverend William Stryker. Stryker, who murdered his wife and newborn son after his son (a deformed mutant child) was born, seeks the wholesale extermination of mutantkind while presenting himself to the public as a fire and brimstone preacher, spreading a message claiming that mutants are abominations in the eyes of God. After a television debate with Professor Charles Xavier, Stryker (who knows that Xavier is a mutant) kidnaps him, forcing the X-Men to team up with Magneto to find their mentor.
Xavier has been hooked up to a machine that will use his telepathic power to kill all of the world's mutants via cerebral hemorrhage. At a revival meeting, where a popular US Senator (who is a closeted mutant) is in attendance, Magneto and the X-Men confront Stryker and rescue Xavier. In the end, after Shadowcat and Nightcrawler successfully bait Stryker into admitting kidnapping Xavier and his plans for mutant genocide, Stryker is shot in the chest by a security guard when he tries to murder Shadowcat in public.
Magneto and the X-Men part ways, with Magneto politely turning down an offer by Xavier to join the X-Men. However, before he leaves, he reminds the X-Men that Stryker may have the final victory, as already his defenders rally to him as he awaits trial for his crimes.
The plot of the 2003 film X2 took inspiration from God Loves, Man Kills. Some of the similarities include:
There are also differences in the storyline, however. Some of the main differences are: