(Uncanny X-men #193, Chris Claremont/John Romita Jr/Dan Green)
This issue is a glorious mess of bad decisions, growing pains, and more bad decisions, (and Warpath!) and that’s what makes it enjoyable.
Even having read Excalibur before I got to the part where Rachel was formally introduced in Uncanny, I still underestimated how unstable she was at first (shame on me for underestimating Claremont, I guess). This was perfectly reasonable and expected considering the years of hell she had just escaped from. However, Xavier needed a telekinetic telepath on his team, so once again, major responsibility got heaped upon a mentally-unwell Summers’ kid under his care. Great job.
With bother Scott and Ororo gone, and in another stroke of PHD-level genius, Xavier put the responsibility of field leader on Nightcrawler, who was, what, only 21ish at the time and lacking both the experience and the confidence to handle the task (not everyone is a 16-year-old tactician here). I like that, as frustrated as he is with himself, Kurt listens to his teammates’ concerns and finds a creative compromise. This is something Kurt will carry over to Excalibur and improve upon as he gains more confidence in himself.
I especially like that Rachel stood up for herself and refused this completely reasonable request. It’s incredibly frustrating when you’re found in a position of having to let someone else down in order to take care of yourself. At the same time, I also don’t hold Rogue’s frustration here against her. It’s a stressful situation and Rachel isn’t making any sense to anyone who can’t read her thought bubbles. Again, she probably shouldn’t have even been there.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite exchanges between Kurt and Rachel and probably an important establishing moment for their friendship in the years to come.