Excalibur #45

“Night-crawler’s Technet”

Writer and pencils: Alan Davis

Colours: Glynis Oliver

Inks: Michael Heisler

Editor: Terry Kavanagh

Original publication date: December 1991

Is Kurt a good leader or is he just an expert in dressing the part? Anna, Mav, and Andrew debate this and other important questions with comics & pop culture scholar Matt Linton, discussing Excalibur #45, “Nightcrawler’s Technet”—a comic book in which most of the characters are dressed like Nightcrawler, but the story might actually be about Brian? But don’t count out Rachel and Meggan, coming in strong with some complex and believable female bonding! We also spend entirely too much time (or just the right amount?) discussing Kurt’s feelings about being the X-Men’s “mascot.”

On Kurt's leadership:

“Watching Kurt get to succeed as a leader is really heartwarming contrasting his first stint as leader in the pages of Uncanny, where he fails spectacularly in the form of a kind of slow-motion panic attack. This is a moment of peace for Kurt.” -Andrew

On Kurt's failed leadership:

“For understandable reasons, Kurt is very invested in being liked. In Uncanny, that made him a bad leader. We see this pattern with him in that storyline, where he keeps trying to basically get himself killed for the sake of the team. Because the only way he can envision helping people is through self-sacrifice.” -Anna

On leadership and difference:

“Kurt is the undisputed leader of the N-Men and part of that has to do with his relationship to difference. In the X-Men, he is the one who’s visually distinct from everyone else. Everyone else can pass; Kurt can’t. He’s got to be constantly aware of that. With the Technet, Kurt’s difference doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to perform for them.” -Matt

On being the mascot:

“I never thought about Kurt being racialized until he talked about being a mascot. He’s the fixer for every team he’s on, both mechanically and emotionally. He’s always asking—what do I need to do for them to accept me and keep me around?” -Matt

On visibility:

“He’s defined by hyper-visibility while at the same time he’s a character who disappears—who teleports and hides in shadows. Or he’ll do things like crouch to be smaller. When he’s visible, he has to be visible in this idealized way of being safe, and caring, and useful. That feels very much a part of being alien, being other, being a part of a minority group.” -Matt

On leadership and performance:

“Kurt’s leadership is effective, but it’s also performative ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ kind of thing. He’s performing as Professor X. He’s authoritative, he’s cold… it’s him performing what he believes is a good leader.” -Matt

On Brian's character growth:

“For me the most significant Brian moment in this issue is where Linda asks him if he wants to leave Otherworld, and he says no. Brian *hates* Otherworld. He hates everything to do with those people. He liked Linda, that’s about it. The fact he doesn’t want to go back to the Lighthouse because he has this tremendous sense of guilt and shame and pain, and will stay in this place that he hates to avoid it… I think that’s an obvious attempt by Davis to make us feel bad for this character who we haven’t been encouraged to sympathize with for a very long time.” -Andrew

On rebuilding Brian:

“For 45 issues, Brian’s essentially been the team’s buffoon. Here, he gets to be majestic. It’s the redemption you need to be able to invest in Brian as a sympathetic protagonist.” -Mav

On Rachel's heroism:

“For this character and everything she’s been through to open herself up and let herself be vulnerable is a tremendous act of heroism.” -Anna

On Saturnyne and Brian:

“This issue re-establishes Saturnyne as an enigmatic character. She’s got all this power but is trapped within a power hierarchy herself. She shows affection for Brian but also says ‘I hate you’ and wanders off.” -Andrew

Want more Matt Linton?

Want more Matt Linton?

For more on what Matt Linton gets up to, you can find him on Twitter (@ABoyCalledMonk) and at The Kino Club 313 Blog.

And be sure to check out his essay “Blood and Fire: Monstrous Women in Carrie and the ‘Dark Phoenix Saga’” appearing in Gender and Contemporary Horror in Comics, Games and Transmedia. 

 

And as usual: 

You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and on her podcast with Andrew and Michael Hancock, Three Panel Contrast (@3PanelContrast). 

You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun).

You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast). 

Enjoy!

-GGW Team