OK, last book on the list. Just the one today.
Nightcrawler #5, by Chris Claremont (writer), Todd Nauck (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (color artist), Joe Sabino (letterer) - Paul Smith sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of artists Claremont worked with during his first run on Uncanny X-Men, what with Cockrum, Byrne, Romita Jr., Lee, etc., But either Smith is responsible for a lot of classic images, or Nauck is just a big fan of his, between this and that panel of Kurt on the couch in the first issue.
Having accepted he's back among the living, but having lost Amanda for the time being, Kurt's trying to decide what to do now, while reflecting on how things were. As Paul O'Brien noted, it's hard not to see it as Claremont reflecting on how much things have changed in the X-books since the time when he was pretty much the only writer on them. After a bit of baseball with the Bamfs, he and Rachel spend time training some of the kids in the Danger Room. Afterward, Kurt relaxes by working on the old Blackbird, which Storm has kindly left in his care. He and Rico (the kid who basically looks like a scorpion) take it up for a flight, and then get asked to go investigate a new mutant energy signature. Which apparently belongs to a young girl who is super-smart and about to be the target of an abduction by some villains called the Crimson Pirates. I guess they're leftover from one of Claremont's earlier returns to the X-books. I'm always down for Kurt fighting pirates, I guess, though the leader looks far too much like those Trimega guys from the first 4 issues. Be interesting if that's deliberate, Margali pulling the Trimega's design from a threat she saw in Kurt's future.
I was a little disappointed that Kurt's teaching was, for the moment, relegated to combat. Why not teach German? The Jean Grey School doesn't have a foreign language requirement? Or drama? Kurt's a ham, but he has experience wearing another face (all those years with the image inducer), and later on, in making oneself unaware of the people watching him. Either one of which would seem useful for hopeful thespians.
Claremont on the whole is doing a good job working in the margins of the current status quo for mutants at Marvel. He's not trying to regress everything back to how it was, he's trying to play up the fact things are much different than even Kurt remembers (and Kurt hasn't been dead near as long as Claremont's been away from the main X-books), and use that. You come back to a place you used to know after a long absence, and it can be startling, you can feel out of place. I've experienced it, and I usually try to find something familiar and start from there. Use it as a touchstone, so to speak. So maybe that's Kurt running one of his old high adventure programs with Rachel for the students. Find something familiar, go from there. We'll see.
Nauck's still doing well on the whole. His Beast's head seems small for his upper body, but maybe that's just a function of Hank's most recent mutation. It's the sort of thing that's bothered me about Nauck's art in the past, though, so it might just be him. The burlier characters give him trouble. Or put another way, the way he draws them bothers me. Take your pick. Also, kind of surprised at the outfit Rachel was sporting for that swashbuckling program. Kurt's always seemed pretty comfortable showing a little skin in these things, but I figured Rachel would at least want pants. I do like that she mentions it's one of her and Kurt's favorite programs, implying it's one they've had since way back, and so of course Emma is the villain. Frost has never been one of Rachel's favorite people - that whole thing where she helped break up Rachel's mom and dad probably has a bit to do with it, and Kitty's never been fond of Emma, and Rachel's close with her. So if your best friend hates someone's guts, you might not look on them favorably, either.