I consider Chris Claremont’s God Loves, Man Kills an outstanding and definitive X-Men story, but had never picked up another classic by the same author, Days of Future Past, despite a 2014 movie being based off it. Reading through this 1980 story was both wonderful and a bit cringy as it was so very dated, as it is now considered part of the Bronze Era of comics, before a more modern way of storytelling began in the mid 80s.
There are actually five stories found in the graphic novel- stories are added at the beginning and end to pad the book. The first story is narrated by Cyclops after Jean’s death, and he gives a very thorough retelling of the X-Men’s story as he prepares to leave the team. The second story has Storm take over as team leader and features Dr. Strange who helps when an enemy wants revenge against Nightcrawler. We are introduced to Kitty Pryde at this time, only thirteen, and brand new to Professor X’s school. The third story has Wolverine heading to Canada and helping the Alpha Flight team battle Wendigo. The last story is a strange little tale about Kitty fighting some demons the night before Christmas when she is alone at the school.
And now back to the main attraction-Days of Future Past! The story opens in a devastated NYC in 2013 (I love when we pass the future imagined years ago, such as in the book 1984 or even the movie Back to the Future) and Kitty is now a woman in her 40s secretly meeting Wolverine for a power jammer, to combat the power-dampening collar she and other mutants are forced to wear. We find out most mutants and Avengers are long dead because of a political assassination years ago that led to anti-mutant sentiment and the Sentinels being activated. The plan is to send Kitty’s soul back in time to 1980 to her young body to warn the X-Men and prevent the sequence of events that led to the current apocalypse. Of course it works, and without too much trouble she convinces her team to fight the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Mystique. An all-out war entails but Senator Kelly is saved, whose new fate should pivot the timeline, although a new threat is hinted at. Going back in time to right a wrong is a popular plot device, but it works here. The 2014 movie changed the person going back in time to Wolverine, but in this comic Kitty was a good choice, and she was incorporated into all the stories in some way in this novel so I enjoyed a more in-depth look at a character I wasn’t as familiar with.
The artwork by John Byrne was classic Marvel of that era, with great costumes and fight scenes. The modern day clothing and hairdos that the X-Men wear around town are so deliciously dated, but hey, it was high fashion then. Kitty’s eyes were extremely large and odd looking to me. Kitty crushs hard on Peter/Colossus at way too young of an age and it came off as quite creepy, although there is mention that they marry in the future in the chapters of DOFP. (Aside- why then did they call off their wedding at the very last moment in a recent storyline, when they have been established for years as a couple??) This was a fun blast from the past, as this and God Loves, Man Kills are must reads for Marvel fans!