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X OF THE UNDERGROUND

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Full Name: Unknown
Series Name: X Of The Underground
Codename: X
Nationality: French
Organization: Resistance
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Vernon Henkel
Time Span: 1942 - 1942

ABOUT THE SERIES

       X of the Underground is a spymaster.
       She earns that distinction as her role as the leader of a Resistance group.
       The time period of her activity is the early 1940s. The location is France, mostly the Paris region. The circumstance is the occupation of most of France by the invading Germans and her fight against the Nazi control.
       She is almost certainly of French nationality as I indicate in the fact sheet but that is an educated guess based on her area of operation and the fact that she heads a group of women who also seem to be French citizens.
       Her belonging in this compendium does not come from her leadership in this Resistance squad, admirable as that is, but in the fact that she takes her defiance to levels far outside the 'normal'. She does not limit her activities to just attacking the enemy when able but also goes to great length to infiltrate their command centers as needed to accomplish her goals. This includes assuming disguises and taking the identity of the enemy, actions which are clearly denoted as those of a spy and punishable by imprisonment or death.
       The identity of X, or Madame X as she is sometimes addressed in a more formal manner, is unknown. She is likely someone in her late 20s or early 30s but that, as before, is speculation. Certainly her penchant for appearing in one disguise or another makes it very difficult to gauge. She wears what we could consider her natural dark hair cut very short, almost certainly to make it far easier to don those disguises.
       Speaking of which, we first meet her when she is in the role a German major interrupting the firing squad execution of several Frenchmen. While she appears in the pictures we have of her doing this to be female, the response of the soldiers she forces her will and her rank on do not seem to suspect either her impersonation or her gender. A German officer she accosted before stealing his clothes definitely referred to her as "he". This shows her ability to hide her gender both physically and audibly as well as to speak German like a native.
       X shows herself to be every bit as gutsy and ruthless as her position demands. In the first adventure she not only dressed as a German soldier, she also donned a suit and tie and showed up at Gestapo headquarters as a male reporter. In the second adventure, after evading capture as an old woman, she is later betrayed by a jealous team member and nearly arrested by two German officers. Both men and the traitorous woman were found hanged at her command and likely assistance.


     Also a part of the recorded adventures we have of X is the 'meddling idiot', her words, known as Bob Gray. That man is an American reported operating in Europe looking for a good story to interest the readers of his employer, the New York Globe. While he is enchanted with her as well as wanting a great story, she is more likely to be vexed to see him ("You, again!) than pleased. Also she seems to have trouble remembering his first name - a couple of times the narrator will refer to him as Bob and he introduces himself as Bob but in at least two adventures, she calls him Jimmy. It does not seem like a romance destined to be. He is not even in the last adventure.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:6
First Appearance:1942
Last Appearance:1942

     Quality Comics was a publishing company that lasted nearly 20 years, 1937 to 1956. It had an impressive set of titles including famous Blackhawk, Plastic Man, and The Spirit. Eventually the firm would sell its titles to DC.

     One of those titles was Military Comics which lasted 43 issues from 1941 to 1945. This publication was the best known for being the original home of Blackhawk and had stories about him and his team for some time before that individual moved to its own magazine.
     Inside those pages were also the far too few adventures of X of the Underground, starting with issue 8.

1 The Woman Called X The Woman Called X
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #8, March 1942, with 5 color pages.
Posing as a German officer, X frees some Frenchmen that are sentenced to die. Then she gets the plans for the Spring Offensive, but is discovered by an American reporter who she must get rid of. But will she?
Click here to read the story.

2 Gray To The Rescue Gray To The Rescue
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #9, April 1942, with 5 color pages.
The American reporter (Gray) finds X at the train station in Paris and rides the train to Berlin with her. He wishes to join her group which is all women. Will they let him after he saves them from the Gestapo and what about the woman that becomes a traitor for a 100,000 Marks?
Click here to read the story.

3 Betrayal & Rescue Betrayal & Rescue
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #10, June 1942, with 5 color pages.
In Norway, X and Gray help Elsa Larson liberate her father from a concentration camp where his brother assisted in putting him. [Note that Bob Gray's name is now Jimmy Gray, no explanation given.]
Click here to read the story.

4 The Cholera Serum The Cholera Serum
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #11, August 1942, with 5 color pages.
In Poland, X disguises herself as a Gestapo officer to free a scientist who has developed a cholera serum. Has Gray stepped in again where he should not be?
Click here to read the story.

5 The Gestapo's Costume Ball The Gestapo's Costume Ball
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #12, October 1942, with 5 color pages.
In Yugoslavia, X and her underground female agents infiltrate a costume ball to hamper a Nazi plan.
Click here to read the story.

6 There Are More Ways Than One To Skin A Cat There Are More Ways Than One To Skin A Cat
Published by Quality Comic
Contributors: Vernon Henkel (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

Published in Military Comics #13, November 1942, with 5 color pages.
Back in France, X is disguised as a doctor and her associate Sonya as a nurse. Their plan is to get rid of a Nazi named Stunkenbuam who is a cruel torturer.

Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

     I did not grade this series very high because it did not deserve it. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the stories for their unique approach to the concept of of a Resistance group comprised totally of females.
     I also like their leader, X, being more than capable of being able to take care of herself in the face of so many opponents. This was written in 1942 and there were not many non-superhero females who did not get much needed help by male characters. There is only one male non-bad-guy having anything of a major role, that of the reporter Bob/Jimmy Gray, and except for a couple of punches thrown here and there, Gray was mostly a romantic additive.
     It is possible that if the writer had gone one extra page here or there to give a bit of a backstory on X, she might have stuck around longer but alas, after 6 adventures, she was gone.

GRADE

My Grade: C+

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