X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

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 film X2.

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
X-Men God Loves Man Kills cover.jpg
Main charactersX-Men
William Stryker
SeriesMarvel Graphic Novel
PublisherMarvel Comics
Creative team
WritersChris Claremont
ArtistsBrent Anderson

Publication historyEdit

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.[1]

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.[citation needed]

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.

Plot summaryEdit

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 and renounce evil. 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.

In other mediaEdit

In filmEdit

The plot of the 2003 film X2 took inspiration from God Loves, Man Kills.[2] Some of the similarities include:

There are also differences in the storyline, however. Some of the main differences are:

  • William Stryker in the movie is a military scientist rather than a minister. The comic's Stryker was involved in the military at one point in his life, but left that to become a preacher long before the events of the novel.
  • Both versions of Stryker have a mutant child, though in the novel, the child had already died prior to the events of the novel. In fact, Stryker himself killed his just-born son who happened to be a mutant (Though this was later retconned in 2013 in the All-New X-Men series[3]). In the movie, his child is still alive.
  • In the film, Stryker is responsible for Wolverine receiving his adamantium bones and claws; in the comic, they had never met prior to the events of the novel.
  • In the novel, Stryker and his men are able to kidnap Professor X, Cyclops, and Storm. In the movie, only the first two are kidnapped.
  • In the movie, Jean Grey is not only prominent, but the film foreshadows Dark Phoenix. In the comics, The Dark Phoenix Saga has already occurred, thus, Jean Grey did not appear in this storyline in the comics.
  • Instead of trying to escape with the X-Men after freeing Professor X as what happened in the comics, in the film Magneto tries to use Dark Cerebro and the hypnotized Professor X for his goal of eliminating humans in which Stryker was horrified that it was used against him, only to be stopped by Storm and Nightcrawler.


  1. ^ Cooke, Jon B. "The Adams Impact: Celebrating Our Featured Artist and his Stint at Marvel Comics", Comic Book Artist Collection (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2000), p. 191.
  2. ^ Scott Brown (2003-05-09). "The NeXt Level". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  3. ^ All-New X-Men #20 (December 2013)

External linksEdit