July 2009 graphic

X-Men: God Loves Man Kills

X-Men: God Loves Man Kills

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

This book was originally published in 1982. I got it as a Christmas present. As I excitedly tore off the wrapping paper, my concerned mother said the guy at the store told her the book wasn’t really intended for kids. I likely answered that she needn’t worry, in that special way 10-year-olds are prone to do. I couldn’t wait to dig in. What exactly was the inappropriate content my mom had been warned of? The world of adults was about to be laid bare for me.

This is one of the first X-Men books I owned. At the time, I was a reader of New Mutants. I hadn’t yet graduated to the world of X-Men; I’d only seen a handful of issues here and there.

I read this book probably a dozen times during that holiday break, soaking in every panel of art and dialogue bubble. It was dark and a little frightening. I remember the themes of racism and segregation having a profound impact on me. And it was one of the first comics I’d seen to show actual violence – the cop getting shot in the subway with the bullet hole through his chest and back. Plus there was the allure of the graphic novel prestige format that gave it an added sense of gravitas

Writer Chris Claremont was at the top of his game when this came out. Uncanny X-Men was in the throes of the Brood arc, which has turned out to be one of my favourite X-Men stories many years after it originally appeared.

The panel selected for the header graphic I find particularly gripping. Artist Brent Eric Anderson builds a sense of urgency as Kitty Pryde, on the run from Stryker’s men, tries to get in touch with her teammates. I remember thinking she had been killed by the bomb blast in the next panel before turning the page to discover she’d phased at the last second to survive the pieces shrapnel sent through the air.

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