Monday, April 14, 2008

The Legionnaires: XS

XS, aka Jenni Ognats of Aarok. Created by Tom McCraw and Jeff Moy.

XS was the first all-new Legionnaire introduced in the reboot. She's the daughter of Dawn Allen and, I guess, some Aarokian guy named Mr. Ognats, which also makes her Barry Allen's granddaughter and Bart Allen's cousin. She was a prominent Legionnaire all through the reboot and even put in a quick cameo appearance at the end of the animated series, but hasn't appeared in the threeboot. This may be at least partly because DC has some key role in mind for her during the upcoming Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds miniseries.

XS's powers included the standard superspeed portfolio.

She's been one of my favourite Legionnaires. One thing I liked was in her first Legion mission, where the Legion had to fight a spiderlike space monster named Tangleweb. At the start of the fight, she freaked out and ran away. It's a perfectly sensible and natural thing to do, except that you can't do that if you're going to be a superhero. So she got hold of herself and ran back before anyone knew she'd been gone. She was still ashamed of herself, though, and almost quit before Cosmic Boy talked her into staying. What I liked was that she was a normal enough person that she did do the sensible natural thing. How many other superheroes have? Makes me think better of her.

When DnA took over the Legion, they decided to key Jenni's characterization by her powers. In their hands, she was mobile. She was always going.

So, when the Earth was Blighted and Jenni was part of the underground, trying to keep Earth's remaining humans safe:

Or, in Legion Worlds #4, when she was with Star Boy on Xanthu, running messages from the Xanthuan/Khundish resistance against Robotica:

An issue which featured a truly heroic scene, by the way, which would work equally well as Star Boy's signature moment; I'll have to find something else good for him:


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the Archieboot, XS was definitely one of the best things about it. I actually liked pretty much all of the "brand new" Legionnaires introduced into that Legion, but Jenni was at forefront of the pack.

I like, for example, that while she was a part of the Flash legacy, her identity was fairly individual. And all those adventures with Bart were awesome. She was honest and brave in the sense of conquering her fears. I hope to see her again during Final Crisis, but her loss is one of the reasons I wasn't that thrilled with the threeboot -- but you know, always move on.

The Legion Worlds episode was groovy -- I love the sequence where we learn that the Xanthian rebellion depends on Jenni running back and forth as a superspeed courier because electronic communication has been disrupted.

I think I want to go read some comics with XS in them, now.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I wonder what the deal was with her name. 'XS'. eXtra Speed? Or did they just call her that because she was too much?

The other panel I kinda wanted to include in this was the one where the Legion finally shows up on Xanthu looking for Jenni and Thom and she races in at full speed to hug them. Never any hard feelings in the reboot Legion.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very pleased to hear that XS will be playing a prominent role in the Legion of Three Worlds; the reboot Legion is "my" Legion, the one I started on, and XS has always been one of my favorites. She's just such a charming character, and despite the new boot she seems to have remained pretty popular.

As always, I refuse to get excited about L3W unless they bring back Magno - a policy which keeps me pretty safe, I figure - but it'll be nice to see Jenni in action again.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think we're out of luck on Magno... good guy, yeah, but DnA kinda eased him offstage and it's hard to justify bringing him back with so many characters already clamoring for screen time. I think Thunder has a better chance of being brought back than Magno.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it eased offstage, really, but you're unfortunately quite right. At least a number of other postboot-original Legionnaires have been namechecked, along with XS.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I sometimes think that for some people, that's all the reboot was: a source of some new Legionnaires who inexplicably failed to belong to the original Legion. I hope DC doesn't think like that; I like Gates and XS and Shikari a lot, but I'm not so nuts about seeing them cut off from their natural habitat.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, when you think about how much the Legion is defined by its long, long, long history and continuity (even traced between continuities, simply because of the fan-watching you've commented on before), whenever there are significantly new Legionnaires introduced, it *is* kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, they can't all be XS or Gates. Sometimes they have to be Kinetix or Monstress.

Or Giselle. She doesn't really do much of anything for me in the threeboot, but I suspect she won't be a Legionnaire any time soon. Her look is interesting -- it's nice to see more non-human Legionnaires -- but her power is a bit vague.

The reboot Legion was the one I really had a significant stake in -- the preboots faded just as I was getting into them, but I was there for the postbooters, all the way through. That was exciting. Not all of the stories hold up so well now (nor the haircuts -- apparently, that version of the 30th Century is *rife* with mullets -- I'm looking at Jo Nah in particular), but it had some fun moments, introduced a little new blood into the Legion, and was demonstrating real growth and development by the time it was removed (well, I stopped reading a while before it restarted, but I attribute that to the creative team at the time more than any inherent flaw in the Legion itself).

Shikari...Shikari -really- wouldn't work out of context, actually. Which is probably why they never really used her despite her being stranded in the threeboot...

Gates, though, he's got a lot of potential.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I wonder what the deal was with her name. 'XS'. eXtra Speed? Or did they just call her that because she was too much?

I had a friend a few years back who had never twigged that her name was to be pronounced like "excess". He had always mentally pronounced it as "zzzzzzsssss", as though she made a buzzsaw sound when she ran. Very inventive.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

anonymous: Yeah, new Legionnaires can be a big deal, but let's not forget about the actual stories. The accumulated history and lore is just as important as the characters (which is why I'm not an advocate of just spooging all three Legions together).

Jim: and yet, while she's got the shortest codename of any Legionnaire, she doesn't have the codename that would score the lowest in Scrabble. (I think Wildfire does, with his 'NRG' codename. Unless you count '5'.)

9:21 PM  

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