This essay is going to focus on the Ixll, a being that I have concluded is the single worst alien in the entirety of human fiction. There are a ton of reasons why these creatures are badly written, badly drawn, and just a horrible pathetic excuse for an extra terrestrial.
But the bottom line of it is lazyness… pure unadulterated lazy. They are basically balloon hamsters with no hands or feet, yet somehow they are able to create pouches, hoods, and grenades for themselves. It is ridiculous in every way shape and form.
At least that is what I thought at first, upon closer inspection of the image above (from Star Wars: Essential guide to Alien Species) in comparison too the images of the creature from the comic that they originated from, it turns out the artist who made the updated “realistic” image was just being incredibly lazy (do not worry the original is still terrible).
First appearing in Dark Empire Issue 2, the Ixll begins its awfulness by always being in flight in such a way as to obscure its actual size. The Ixll could be anywhere from bigger than the Millennium Falcon, to smaller than an x-wing. Yet the text in the Essential Guide to Alien Species indicates they are a diminutive species capable of pulling small pranks on people without them noticing.
Even from their very first appearance it is terrifyingly obvious what the artist for the Essential Guide got wrong, the Ixll does have hands that holds its fat inflated belly, and it it wears a hood that the artist for the Essential Guide for some reason fused with its skin.
The Essential Guides art flubs do not make up for the fact that the alien is ugly though, just a round fat hamster space lump that flies around and contributes nothing too the story. It isnt even cute or useful, it is simply there providing a visual distraction… and looking exactly the same every time it appears. Given the technology of the time the comic was drawn it is hard to see how the artist copy+pasted the Ixll so darned well for every single appearance it has.
And of course… there is the name, the terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible name of this pathetic creature. It is loaded with all the worst “alien name” tropes, for starters it has an “X” in it, which is a letter only used to make its name sound more “alien”, the letter has no unique phonetic sound, and cannot possibly be part of the native species name thus it shouldnt be part of how whoever wrote it down wrote down their name.
There is two “L” which is redundant, and would not make a distinct neough sound to be recorded by other races studying them. And there is no vowel between the LLs and the X, why did whoever was studying this alien not put whatever vowel would have sounded most appropriate there? And if it was a hard stop why not use an Apostrophe?
Near as I can tell the races name should be “Iksel” when written in english (or galactic basic as it is called in star wars) or Ik’ll, or Iksul, or even Iksil. NOT IXLL, NOT A PILE OF ALIEN NAMING TROPES LAZILY SMASHED TOGETHER.
Of course this isnt the worst part about the Ixll… the worst part is that they can breathe in space.In their final comic appearance, the Ixlls home world, a moon of the planet Da Soocha, is targeted by a planet destroying weapon. Somehow the Ixlls magically learn about this despite having no apparent technology outside of stomach pouches, learns of this before the republic forces on the moon, and flees the moon without telling them.
Apparently the Ixlls are flying too the planet below to flee their doomed moon, otherwise they are flying off into the depths of space. Both of these things are insane, but the first option is the slightly-less-insane of the two. And while it is true that they are aliens and can have different biological rules, this is a species that appears to fly with the aid of belly inflation gasses so this whole thing seems dangerous too me.
This scene was so stupid, that later writers and pretty much everyone would ignore it. It was just written away and said “yeah the Ixlls were saved by the republic forces and taken too a new planet to colonize”, but it was never specifically retconned out of exsistence so it still “technically” happened.
The problem with the Ixlls is that they are a perfect storm of little things that accumulate in one big stupid thing, they can easily be fixed too. All that needs to be done is for the idea of them to be cemented a little better, for example having a design sheet for the species would have helped prevented the weird art flubs from later works. Half the work is already done with the whole “flying in space” thing being ignored.
Professional character design artist, ScottAhemi made his own rendition of this terrible alien species. Through his artwork the full potential of their idea has been realized for the first time. What the Ixll were meant to be is cute little flying mammal mantas, and dang did he do a good job of making that work without breaking continuity.