- Nightcrawler had every reason to be bitter, every excuse to become as much of a demon inside and out. But he decided he'd rather learn to laugh instead! I hope I can be half the person he is. And if I have to choose between caring for my friend and believing in your God... then I choose... m-my friend!
Appearing in "God Loves, Man Kills"
- Stryker Crusade
- Unnamed Bronx gang
- Bess (First appearance)
- Danny (First appearance)
- Jill (First appearance) (Death)
- John Cheever
- Marcy Stryker (First appearance) (Only in flashback) (Death)
- Mark (First appearance) (Death)
- Merce (First appearance)
- Jeff (First appearance)
- Ron (First appearance)
- Stevie Hunter
- Unnamed senator
- Carmen Pryde (Mentioned)
- Democratic Party (United States) (Mentioned)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (Mentioned)
- Fred Duncan (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Jason Stryker (Mentioned) (Apparent death)
- Jesus Christ (Invoked)
- Nazis (Mentioned)
- New York Islanders (Mentioned)
- New York Rangers (Mentioned)
- Republican Party (United States) (Mentioned)
- Satan (Lucifer) (Invoked)
- Senator Robert Kelly (Mentioned)
- Theresa Pryde (Mentioned)
- United States Army (Mentioned)
- United States Government (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States
- Nevada (Only in flashback)
- New Mexico (Only in flashback)
- New York
- New York City
- Westchester County
- East Garden City (Mentioned)
- Nassau Coliseum (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Phoenix, Arizona (Mentioned)
- Germany (Mentioned)
- Israel (Mentioned)
- Mount Golgotha (Mentioned)
- United States
- Earth's Moon (Vision)
- Heaven (Invoked)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Adamantium (on Wolverine's claws)
- Cyclops' Visor
- Electronic sensor module
- Psi-scan device (Destroyed)
- Wolverine's Suit
- Psi-screens (Mentioned)
- Star Wars (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
Synopsis for "God Loves, Man Kills"
Two young mutant runaways, Mark and Jill, are fleeing from a religiously motivated anti-mutant group known as the Purifiers. They chase the children into a playground, where they are executed with guns and strung up on a swing set with a sign labeling them "muties". Their bodies are found by the X-Men's long-time foe Magneto, who vows to make the killers pay for their crimes.
In New York City, the leader of the Purifiers, the popular televangelist Reverend William Stryker, finishes reading a Bible passage, Deuteronomy 17:2-5, before getting a call from his operatives. They report to him their findings about the X-Men, providing him information on its members, their powers, and the secret that they operate from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. When his aide enters to get him ready for his evening broadcast on the ABC network, Stryker hints that he is about to destroy the X-Men.
At the dance school of Stevie Hunter in Salem Center, Kitty Pryde gets into a fight with Danny, one of her fellow students, after he makes an anti-mutant comment. The fight takes them into the street, and Piotr "Peter" Rasputin and his sister Illyana try to break it up. When Stevie goes outside to see what the commotion is about, Danny tells them that Kitty attacked him when he was talking about how he and his parents were members of the Stryker Crusade and called Kitty a "mutie-lover". With the situation straightened out, Stevie sends Danny away and tells Kitty to calm down because they are only words. Kitty becomes even more upset that Stevie can be so tolerant of such hatred, asking her if she would be just as tolerant if Danny called her a "n*****-lover" before storming off back to the mansion.
When Peter and Illyana follow after her to make sure she gets home safe, Stevie considers Kitty's words and realizes that Pryde was right. Visibly upset, Stevie goes back into her dance studio, unaware that Purifiers have been watching the confrontation. Further, she is unaware how close they were to killing her; the only thing saving her life being the fact that she is human.
Arriving at the mansion, Kitty tells Logan about the scrap and also tells him that she did not have the heart to win the fight because she was not fighting a super-villain or evil mutant, but a kid like her. Later, the X-Men gather to watch Nightline on ABC where their teacher, Professor Charles Xavier, appears with Reverend Stryker in a debate about the danger of mutants in society. While Xavier maintains his stance that mutants are merely the next step of evolution, Stryker airs his religious belief that mutants are an abomination before God and must be exterminated. When the interview ends, Kitty and the other X-Men are angered by Stryker's words and decide to change into costume and practice in the Danger Room to blow off some steam.
While the X-Men are training, Stryker's aide, Anne, bumps into Scott Summers and Ororo Munroe at the television station, marking them as Cyclops and Storm. Anne approaches her leader and tells him that they will be striking the three X-Men when they approach Central Park. Just as planned, when Xavier's Rolls Royce drives past Central Park, they are attacked by the Purifiers, who shoot all three with tranquilizers and blow up the Rolls. When the police call the mansion later, they inform Kurt that the professor and the others have died in a car accident.
The next day while the other X-Men are in the city, Kitty spends some time alone outside on the Xavier estate and is joined by Illyana. Illyana tends to the grieving Kitty, and the two decide to talk a walk. Along the way they come across some strange scanner device that has been set up and directed at the mansion. Wondering who set it up, Kitty shorts it out with her phasing powers, and the two lie in hiding to see who comes to investigate.
While in the city, Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler investigate the supposed accident site. While Logan and Peter examine the wreck, Kurt surveys the area in secret. When Wolverine identifies that this was no accident, Nightcrawler notifies them that two men in a car have been watching them. Despite the men's attempt to flee, the three X-Men disable their getaway vehicle. However these Purifier members are ready to fight using their special armor. They only get one shot in when they are stopped by Magneto, who uses his magnetic powers to destroy their armor and use it as a containment.
Back at on the mansion property, Kitty and Illyana watch as Anne and other members of Stryker's crusade arrive to repair the device that Kitty damaged. Ariel tries to sneak up on them by phasing through the ground. However as she is working herself through, they activate the device and detect Illyana's proximity to them due to her mutant nature. They knock her out with a tranquilizer dart and take her hostage. When Kitty attempts to sneak into their getaway vehicle by phasing through the trunk, Anne detects it and fills the trunk with gas to knock her out as well.
Shortly thereafter, Magneto and the X-Men take the captured Purifiers back to the mansion, where Wolverine attempts to interrogate them by threatening to use his claws. When this does not work, Magneto tortures them with his magnetic powers, and they learn that Stryker intends to use Professor Xavier to achieve his goal of the eradication of the mutant race.
At Stryker's headquarters, Charles Xavier is being brainwashed wherein he lives the illusion of being crucified and being attacked by the various X-Men, who torture him and maim his body until he is saved by Reverend Stryker. This brainwashing is for the purposes of bending Xavier's will and making him loyal to Stryker, so that the reverend can use Xavier's mental powers to further his goals. Stryker then goes to check on Cyclops and Storm, who are also his prisoners and have been restrained and tortured in deprivation tanks. Releasing them temporarily, Storm asks Stryker why he is doing this. Stryker replies that it is because their existence "is an affront to the Lord."
Stryker explains to the two mutants why he started his crusade to eliminate Homo superior. He says that, thirty years ago, he was a soldier working for the military during nuclear tests. His wife Marcy was pregnant with their first child. When visiting Marcy's parents their car crashed outside of Phoenix. As Anne went into labor, William helped her give birth. When he saw that his son was a mutant, he was horrified and killed his newborn child and then his wife. He put their bodies in the wreck of their family car, which was leaking gasoline, climbed in next to them, lighting it on fire. Miraculously, Stryker survived the explosion while his family was burnt beyond recognition. After the funeral, he turned to the bottle and ultimately got removed from the military because his drinking caused him to lash out on his trainees. After hitting rock bottom, he found new direction when he read about mutants and found God. Believing that mutants were godless abominations, the work of Satan, he began his crusade, which he leveraged for his popularity as a televangelist.
Stryker tells his two captives that he began focusing the first part of his crusade on destroying the X-Men and learned all about them when one of his devoted followers -- a member of the FBI -- provided him with a file on the X-Men that was prepared by one-time government liaison Fred Duncan. He concludes that he does not plan on killing the two captured X-Men yet. When Anne calls in and reports that she has Illyana and Kitty captured, Stryker orders her to bring Illyana to his offices but to kill Kitty, much to Storm's horror. When Ororo pleads that he spare Kitty's life, he recites scripture that justifies his decision and fully imprisons them once again.
Anne and her Purifiers drive to the South Bronx, where they place a "mutie" sign on the car trunk and open fire on it. When they check to make sure that Kitty is dead, they are shocked to find that the trunk is empty. Anne orders her men to go out and track the girl down. Ariel, who had phased as soon as she heard the gas jets, tries to find her way out of the Bronx when she runs into a gang of thugs in a back alley. They are about to attack her when the Purifiers arrive and demand that they turn the girl over to them. When the punks refuse, Anne shoots one of them, leading to a gunfight in the alley. Kitty slips away with her phasing powers, but the Purifiers pursue her. She manages to call the mansion and tell the other X-Men where she is before she has to flee again, this time phasing onto a subway train. When a police officer comes to see if she is okay, the Purifiers smash through the roof of the train. When the cop goes to her aid, they shoot him. Before they can kill Kitty, Magneto arrives and levitates the train, deflecting the Purifiers' bullets and energy blasts with his magnetic powers. The X-Men arrive and make short work of Kitty's attackers. With Magneto's help, the X-Men remove the bullet from the police officer's chest and take him to a hospital.
A short time later, Reverend Stryker checks on Xavier and is happy to see that the brainwashing has worked and that Charles is now a willing follower of his cause. To prove this, he has Xavier to use his mental powers to seemingly slay Cyclops and Storm, as a Purifier doctor announces that their vitals signs have ceased. With the two senior X-Men seemingly slain, Stryker orders the preparations for his giant rally at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, the X-Men capture Stryker's head doctor and learn what Stryker is attempting. Sneaking into Stryker's office tower, they collect Storm and Cyclops's bodies and recover Illyana in disguise. However when they are found out by Anne, she tries to shoot them, but is unable to stop them. As the elevator bursts through the roof through Magneto's powers, Anne jumps out onto the Stryker Building. On a rooftop, Wolverine confirms that Cyclops and Storm are not dead and have just had their brains shut down and vital signs reduced. Magneto manages to revive them with a jolt of his powers, and they learn of Stryker's full plot.
At the square, Stryker has Xavier hooked up to a machine that will allow him to detect mutants in the audience and kill them with his mental powers. As the rally begins, Stryker begins his harshest sermon yet, verbally calling out for the destruction of mutantkind. This does not sit well with the security guards, nor with a prominent United States senator. Behind the podium, a Purifier activates the psi-scan device connected to Professor X.
Outside on a nearby building, the X-Men start bleeding from the ears and having headaches. They notice similar effects on some of the pedestrians below. Meanwhile, Magneto enters the rally through the roof and confronts Stryker. Stryker compares Magneto to the devil and directs the psi-scan device at him to knock him down. While the X-Men fight the Purifiers, Ariel tries to save Professor X, but he blocks her with a mindblast. As the fight carries on all the mutants -- including the senator and Stryker's loyal minion Anne -- begin to get nose and ear bleeds. When Anne realizes this, she begs the Reverend for mercy. However, he refuses to compromise his beliefs, pushing her off the balcony and, as television cameras roll, she falls to the ground and snaps her neck on impact.
While backstage, the X-Men find the professor and are forced to knock him out using simultaneous attacks. Cyclops then smashes all of Stryker's machines. Rallying his teammates, Cyclops points out that the only way to stop Stryker's organization is to take down Stryker himself -- no matter what it takes, a decision all the X-Men agree upon. They appear on stage and plead their case for mutants, debating their opposing view with Stryker on live television. When Stryker attempts to use Nightcrawler's demonic form to prove his point, Ariel tells the audience that, despite Kurt's physical appearance, he is kind and generous and tells them all that if she had to choose between her friend or Stryker's god, it would be her friend. Stryker then pulls a gun and is about to shoot Kitty when one of the police on security detail shoots Stryker instead. The crowd is soon dispersed, and the X-Men, who in the eyes of the law have done nothing wrong, are allowed to leave.
Later, back at the mansion, the X-Men watch the news and see that public opinion of Stryker has pretty much been destroyed due to the fact that he almost shot a teenaged girl on live television. With Xavier back in his right mind and the threat of Stryker's bigoted campaign over, Xavier and the X-Men ask Magneto to join the X-Men. However, Magneto cannot bring himself to join after everything that has happened. Magneto offers Xavier the chance to join him in his cause, but Xavier refuses, and Magneto departs. Xavier thanks his students for saving him and their work that day. Alone with Storm, Cyclops points out that only through love and acceptance will humanity and mutants be able to live side by side together.
- The character of William Stryker and several aspects of his plan were later used as a basis for the plot of the second X-Men film, X2: X-Men United, minus the religious elements.
- This story did not fit into the continuity of the Uncanny X-Men title published at the time.
- For years afterward, there is no reference to the story in this graphic novel in the Uncanny X-Men title.
- Illyana is a teenager so it happens after issue 160.
- The mansion was destroyed in issue 154, then is seen being rebuilt in issue 163, so the story could not happen before the X-Men's capture by the Brood.
- The X-Men return to Earth in issue 167 and Xavier transfers Kitty from the X-Men to the New Mutants on the last page.
- Issue 168 occurs over several days when Kitty tries to prove herself to Xavier. She is still called "Sprite" by Xavier. Lilandra is his close companion in this issue and the concurrent issues of The New Mutants.
- Meanwhile Cyclops goes first to Florida to visit Lee Forester then to Alaska to meet his grandparents and meets Madelyne Pryor. Wolverine leaves for Canada (then goes to Japan).
- The team shown in the graphic novel does not meet up again at the mansion until after they return from Japan and fight Mastermind in issue 175, whereupon Rogue is now a member of the team. Cyclops marries Madelyne at the end.
- Therefore, the events in this story most likely occur between 167 and 168, before Cyclops departs New York.
- However in 2003, God Loves, Man Kills was made canon and a sequel titled God Loves, Man Kills II was published.
- William Stryker's son Jason is not shown in this issue, though William is shown stabbing him. Jason would appear for the first time in All-New X-Men #20.
- A Dr. Philip Ramsey plays a role in this story and shares a name with the New Mutant Doug Ramsey's father, Philip Ramsey. It seems unlikely that these characters are the same.
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