Review: Marvel Graphic Novel #5

Marvel Graphic Novel #5 cover
Cover by Brent Anderson

Marvel Graphic Novel #5
Published and © by Marvel, 1982

Title: “God Loves, Man Kills”
Synopsis: The Rev. William Stryker escalates his evangelical, anti-mutant crusade to a mass-murderous level with a plot involving Professor X.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Brent Anderson

Review: This early Marvel graphic novel is many things: A targeted product for the then-fledgling direct market. A powerful-but-unsubtle commentary on the growing political clout of the 1980’s evangelical movement. And the purest distillation yet of the X-Men’s foundational racial themes. Not everything works: Chris Claremont’s script practically screams “THIS IS IMPORTANT!” And, viewed in hindsight, Brett Anderson’s art here is so reminiscent of his later Astro City work that it can pull today’s readers right out of the Marvel U. But, whatever its shortcomings, “God Loves, Man Kills” is a powerful, emotive addition to the X-Men’s canon.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “This will be a difficult X-Men story to top. … No grey villains here; the villainy is so black that Magneto is one of the good guys.” – John Hay, Fantasy Advertiser #78, April 1983 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: This graphic novel offers a powerful sneak peak as to where the X-Men were headed thematically in the years ahead.
Not-so-cool factor: The Twin Towers use as a backdrop for religious-based hatred and suffering has an even-more-unsettling impact post-9/11.

Notable: First appearance of William Stryker.

Character quotable: “We are as God made us! Any deviation from that sacred template – any mutation – comes not from heaven, but hell!” – The Rev. William Stryker, hater

A word from the editor: “Chris’ very compressed comics delivered story – lots of story. They told you clearly and dramatically what you needed to know to understand what was happening. And if they use more words than is currently fashionable, your 60¢ – or in the case of the graphic novels, six bucks – bought you a whole lot of exciting entertainment.” – Louise Simonson (né Jones), in “Not To Be Missed,” a 2014 essay collected in “Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 3,” 2015

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 4, 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.