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"X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills" is a 1982 Marvel graphic comic written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Brent Anderson. The novel features a war between Marvel's mutants and Reverend William Stryker, a controversial religious figure. Stryker persecutes the mutants because they(mutants) are an embodiment of what is forbidden by God (Ingle). The plot of this novel closely resembled and still resembles the real-world issues of discrimination. The novel uses mutants to represent the real-world prejudices and discriminations against minority groups. Mutants are the minority in the fictional society built in the novel (Ingle). The current community is marred by cases of xenophobia and racial prejudice, as well as other discriminatory practices.
The novel is an uncanny depiction of the current political environment in America since the beginning of the Trump administration. The tenure started with rampant cases of travel bans and immigration restrictions. The majority of victims of such measures are children. Coincidentally, the novel begins with the brutal murder of two mutant children at the school grounds (Lund). The use of the fictional concept of mutants to show the real-world prejudices is inspired by the desire to keep the work artistic and entertaining while simultaneously informing the reader of biases that are prevalent in society. The use of real characters to represent such severe issues as discrimination and prejudice predisposes such characters to real-life backlash from sections of society.
Claremont effectively and successfully uses moral ambiguity to drive the actions of the characters in this novel. The first notable morally ambiguous is when Magneto discovers the bodies of the slain children at the beginning of the novel. The X-men do most of their actions to retaliate against unfair and discriminatory treatment of the mutants. Many of the situations are based on moral ambiguity (Lund). The villains are the most morally ambiguous throughout the novel. Such moral ambiguity instills coldness in the mutants; thus they can retaliate against unfair treatment without any ethical burdens upon their conscience. In killing his mutant child and wife, Reverend Stryker displays moral ambiguity. This shows the depth of his hate for the mutants. Magneto also reveals moral ambiguity when he goes to Madison Square Gardens to disrupt Stryker's broadcast while the X-Men sneak into the arena from the back. The actions of Magneto and the X-Men are primarily motivated by moral ambiguity.
The entire novel is about humanity and the experiences of minority peoples. The mutant and X-men concepts have slowly evolved over the years. Throughout their evolution, the mutants and x-men remain a highly discriminated group of people that needs urgent help to fit into society. This represents the cultural dynamics of our community. The society is increasingly becoming aware of the essence of encouraging diversity and inclusion, yet very little is done by the same society to accommodate the culturally minor groups (Lund). This novel also has a successful mix of superheroes and ordinary characters. This blend brings out the right combination of superheroic fictions and the real world issue of governance, war, religion, and culture (Ingle). The graphic illustrations play a significant part in bringing out the superhero-realism mix. From the simple outlook, Reverend Stryker is just an ordinary staunch believer in the dictates of God's word. However, his ability to boldly challenge the wave of mutants using public opinion qualifies him as a superhero of sorts (Lund). The X-Men and other mutants possess strange skills beyond humans.
For this reason, human society in the novel approaches them with fear. The X-Men are thus superheroes. These superheroes are uniquely endowed with some real-world traits. For example, Nightcrawler, the most demonic-looking X-Man, is a catholic. Wolverine, on the other hand, strategically aligns with any public opinion that affects the welfare of mutants.
Claremont's mix of superheroes and real-world issues in the novel succeeds in provoking thoughts and debates about the subject of prejudice. This mix helps to bring out the severe societal issue of discrimination and bias in a manner that sparks meaningful dialogue towards finding solutions, without taking any clear stance on the moral contention (Lund). Hence, the author's mix of superheroes and real-world issues is very successful.
Stryker and Cyclops lead their groups with a moral conviction that they are doing the right thing. According to Cyclops, the mutants could be the real human race, while humans could be the actual mutants. This is a call for Stryker to stop discriminating against mutants for being different than humans. This is a morally permissible stance (Ingle). The novel is themed on fighting against all forms of discrimination in society, especially racial discrimination. This is a very realistic theme.
Reverend Stryker is the main villain in the novel. He is determined to wipe the mutants from the face of the earth by all means. His hate for the mutants and personal conviction that mutants are evil drives his anti-mutant actions. Stryker runs a vicious public awareness campaign against mutants. His hatred for mutants leads him to kill his newborn mutant son and wife in a rage. Stryker goes ahead to kidnap Xavier to use his(Xavier's) brain to initiate a global mutant apocalypse. However, this plan flops as Stryker is confronted and arrested by Magneto and the X-Men. Despite the arrest and pending conviction, Stryker has a substantial public following through his crusade. Reverend Stryker is primarily motivated by religion and personal hate to commit atrocities against the mutants.
"X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills" portrays an outstanding balance of fiction and realism. This is typical of Marvel Comics. This novel uses mutants to metaphorically depict intolerance and prejudice that is relevant to society today. Various scenes in the graphic novel depict real-life arguments and scenarios. While many graphical comics are laden with fiction, "God Loves, Man Kills" provides a well-balanced blend of fantasy and realism to align the novel with real life (Lund). Stryker's reasons for hating mutants mirror on the societal trends used to justify various forms of discrimination. The story depicted in this novel feels very real and relevant.
The X-Men represents a very diverse cast of characters drawn from different parts of the world, both male and female, black and white. Examples of these characters include Kitty Pryde(Shadowcat), Kurt Wagner(Nightcrawler), and Piotr Rasputin(Colossus), among others. The characters have different abilities owing to their mutant status (Ingle). A diverse cast endears a novel or any other literary work to a broader audience. It also boosts the touch of realism in the story. From the story, the X-Men represent a group of super endowed mutants who are out to fight for the rights of all mutants in the world. They use their special powers to confront those who persecute mutants. Also, the X-Men act as a symbol of inspiration to all the mutants, some who may not possess the special skills. The X-Men translates to the various lobby groups and social activists that constantly agitate for the rights and equal treatment of minority groups in society (Lund). They include, among others, lawyers and business leaders. The unique powers given to the X-Men are essential as a tool of struggle to show that the mutants have special skills that can be harnessed into productive use to benefit the whole society (Ingle). This is a reason to shun discrimination and reap the benefits of a diverse community. Costumes and secret identities are essential to make the X-Men more outstanding from the rest of the characters and assert their role as defenders of minorities.
Lund, Martin. "The mutant problem: X-Men, confirmation bias, and the methodology of comics and identity." European journal of American studies 10.10-2 (2015). https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/10890
Ingle, Zachary. "X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books." The Journal of American Culture 39.2 (2016): 270. search.proquest.com/openview/089bfc85ce25a10140e58561ce791bc4/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=29587
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