Sunday, December 19, 2010

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills Premiere Hardcover Review

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
Marvel Comics
Premiere Hardcover
120 pages
ISBN 9780785127611

Contributors: Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson, Steve Oliff, and Tom Orzechowski

Reprints: Marvel Graphic Novel #5: X-Men - God Loves, Man Kills

Synopsis: A new evangelical anti-mutant fervor is gripping the country spear-headed by Reverend William Stryker.  Across the nation mutants are hated, feared, and turning up dead.  Magneto investigates the brutal slaying of two young mutants, while Professor Xavier faces Stryker in a television debate on the mutant problem.  After the broadcast Xavier is kidnapped by a clandestine group of armored individuals, springing the X-Men into action.  They form an uneasy alliance with Magneto when it becomes clear Stryker is behind the abduction and the mutant slayings, but Stryker has a secret weapon which could potentially defeat even the mightiest mutants. 

Pros: Beautiful hardcover edition, classic story/art, introduction by Claremont (from 2003), unused Neal Adams pages, covers from previous reprinted editions, and interviews with Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson, and Neal Adams

Cons: Smaller than original graphic novel size dimensions

Mike Tells It Straight: The X-Men boiled down to their most pure message of outcasts facing bigotry and oppression. This story was originally published in 1982 as one of the over-sized and less strictly regulated Marvel graphic novel editions.  It garnered critical acclaim and remains to this day one of the best, most well-executed X-Men stories of all time.  Claremont redefined the X-Men with his emotionally mature writing on the 'All-New, All-Different' relaunched team in the '70s and was allowed greater creative freedom (no comics code authority) in the graphic novel format.  Neal Adams was the original artist and drew six pages before being pulled onto another project. Replacement Brent Anderson was lesser-known, but allowed Claremont more influence over the visual storytelling where Adams' greater name and strong artistic style would likely have drastically changed the finished product (as one can see from his pages).  This story truly defines the X-Men as written by Claremont and explains their tremendous appeal across the decades.

TO BUY and Recommendations: