God Loves, Man Kills
by Chris Claremont,
Back in 1982, Marvel released what was, in the minds of many, the best X-Men story ever to see publication. It stands out, at least partially, because it so well defined the growing mutant hysteria within the fictional world of the Marvel Universe. The specific campaign was a product of the misled, but dangerously-committed "reverend," William Stryker.
For those who have seen the second X-Men movie, the small-but-important influence will be obvious. Although not a military figure, the reverend's crusade proves just as ominous as that of his big-screen counterpart. With a force of high-tech weaponry and loyal soldiers, he pursues the X-Men in one of their most perilous adventures.
From an entertainment standpoint, this is a dream project. Chris Claremont, known for a long and creatively fruitful relationship with Marvel's premier mutants, pens a highly emotional tale that defines the characters to this day -- while providing nail-biting action and suspense. He even manages to teach a bit. I know nothing of Claremont's spiritual life or beliefs. But where the Christian stance of a loving God who never sanctions a crusade of hate and bigotry is concerned, he gets it right, and the reverend gets it in the end.
The icing on the cake is the amazing artwork of Brent Anderson. Dynamic realism is the order of the day. Anderson demonstrates a mastery of the human form, in both anatomy and movement, and manages to elicit the strong emotions of the story through expression and posture. Amazingly augmented by colorist Steve Oliff, this is one of those projects that makes it hard to imagine it could be done any better.
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills is one of those rare works that readers will go back to repeatedly. It is recommended for all but the youngest readers, due to the darkness of the subject matter and some intense violence.