A plea for peace from Marvel’s mightiest — and gentlest — mutant, “God’s Country” by Ann Nocenti tells the story of Colossus, desperate to find some peace from his time as an X-Man, stumbling upon a picnicking family, the father of which is an All-American Vietnam vet who opposes Colossus’s “commie ideals.” All are then witness to a CIA hit gone bad, and have to trust each other while on the run from rouge government agents out to tie up loose ends.
This is an example of how to use archetypical characterization correctly. You all know these characters, you’ve seen them before. Colossus plays the peaceful outsider, the father the xenophobe, the grandfather the wise voice of a generation past that’s seen all this before. They play off each other as you’d expect, with Colossus’s heroism eventually endearing even the bigot to him.
Where the story breaks from tradition is in its sombre conclusion. Colossus finds the CIA operative responsible for the hit — and brings him to justice. The man assures Colossus though that the event will not make it to the press… and we’re left with Colossus’s optimism that he’s wrong, but we don’t know at the end of the story which is right.
This ambiguous ending elevates the story. What brings it down? Cyborgs. Why are there cyborgs in this political drama? Marvel and the X-Men were obsessed with cyborgs in the ’80s.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“This is an example of how to use archetypical characterization correctly.”