- 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)
- Jason Stryker (First appearance) (Only in flashback) (Apparent death)
- Jill (First appearance) (Death)
- John Cheever
- Marcy Stryker (Only appearance; dies) (Only in flashback)
- Mark (First appearance) (Death)
- Merce (First appearance)
- Jeff (First appearance)
- Ron (First appearance)
- Stevie Hunter
- Unnamed senator
- Carmen Pryde (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Senator Robert Kelly (Mentioned)
- Theresa Pryde (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States
- New York
- New York City
- Westchester County
- New York City
- Phoenix, Arizona (Mentioned)
- United States
- Heaven (Invoked)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Cyclops' Visor
- Wolverine's Suit
- Adamantium (on Wolverine's claws)
- Electronic sensor module
- Psi-scan device
- Psi-screens (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "God Loves, Man Kills"
Two young mutant runaways named Mark and Jill are fleeing from a group of religiously motivated anti-mutant group known as the Purifiers. They chase the two children into a playground where they are executed with guns and strung up on a swing set with a sign labeling them as "Muties". Their bodies are found by the X-Men's long time foe Magneto, who vows to make those who have killed these children, and many others, pay for their crimes.
In New York City, the leader of the Purifiers, the popular televangelist Reverend William Stryker finishes reading a Bible passage from Deuteronomy 17:2-5, before getting a call from his operatives. They report to him their findings about the mutant group known as the X-Men, providing him information of their members, powers, and the well guarded secret that they operate from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. When his aid enters his office 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 one of her fellow students after he makes an anti-mutant comment. The fight takes them right out 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, Kitty's fellow dance student Danny tells them that Kitty attacked him when he was talking about how he and his parents were members of the Stryker Crusade and went on an anti-mutant tirade, 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 "Nig***-Lover" before storming off back to the Mansion. Stevie thinks Kitty was right.
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 whole confrontation. Further still, 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 she had, 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 next to Reverend Stryker in a debate about the danger of mutants in their society. While Xavier maintains his long standing 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 aid, Anne, bumps into Scott Summers and Ororo Munroe at the television station, marking them as the X-Men 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 Royals Royce drives past Central Park they are attacked by the Purifiers, who gun all three mutants down with tranquilizer guns and blow up the Royce. When the police call the mansion later, they inform Kurt that the Professor and the others have died in a car accident, much to everyone's sadness.
The next day while the other X-Men are in the city, Kitty spends some time alone outside on the Xavier state when she 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 setup and directed at the Mansion. Wondering who had set it up, Kitty shorts it out with her phasing powers and the two lay 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 the whole time. Wolverine decides that they should get the men and change into costume. Despite the men's attempt to flee, the three X-Men manage to 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 damage. Ariel decides to try and 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 X-Mansion where Wolverine attempts to interrogate them by threatening to use his claws. When this does not work, Magneto tortures them with is magnetic powers and they learn that Stryker intends to use Professor Xavier to achieve his goal of complete eradication of the mutant race.
At Stryker's headquarters, Charles Xavier is being put through brainwashing wherein he lives the illusion of being crucified on a cross 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. He was married and his wife Marcy was pregnant with their first child. When visiting Marcy's parents on the holidays 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 own 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 would find 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 helped boost his popularity with the help of his newly established televangelist career.
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 its 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 mug and rape 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 gun fight in the alley. Kitty manages to slip away with her phasing powers, however 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 passing 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 down in cold blood. 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 officers 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 manage to capture Stryker's head doctor and learn what Stryker is attempting. Sneaking into Stryker's office tower, they collect Storm and Cyclops's body and recover Illyana in disguise. However when they are found out by Anne, she tries to shoot them, but proves 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 physically dead and have just had their brains shut down and vital signs reduced. Magneto manages to jump start and revive their minds 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, as well as 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 knocking 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, falls to the ground and snaps her neck on impact.
While back stage, the X-Men find the Professor and are forced to knock him 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 pipes up and 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 offer 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.
- Alternatively, it could be a What-if? story where they were not captured by the Brood.
- However in 2003, God Loves, Man Kills would be made officially canonical and a sequel titled God Loves, Man Kills II was published.
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