Plague of The Locust
Issue 24 gives us yet another new villain for the X-Men to face, The Locust. The X-Men will have to battle giant, carnivorous insects! Like most of our last group of evil doers, The Locust is merely a normal human, a masked weirdo who uses gadgets and science to do incredible things. He has no actual power. I hope cerebro turns up a few new mutants soon because these guys have been a little dopey. Anyway, lets see what this one has to offer us.
The Locust is a man named Dr. August Hopper, and he is a doctor of entomology. He was a professor at the local college, Jean’s new college* as a matter of fact, which is quite convenient. Dr. Hopper was fired when he began aggressively pushing his bizarre insect theories. He had to get a job in the private sector, at Ryan Chemicals, which I’m sure he doesn’t enjoy. What’s worse is his employers have both taken credit for several scientific breakthroughs that he was responsible for. In an act of revenge, he has created the alterego The Locust. He plans to finally achieve recognition for his work, and make his name famous. He also reminds me of more than one Spiderman villain.
While Dr. Hopper is scheming, the gang is up to several of their usual activities. Scott and Jean are fawning over each other, they all have dinner together, and one of them is leaving for forever and ever and is never going to return. Ever. All daily routine X-Men stuff. Then the team has a run-in with some giant grasshoppers, which raises their suspicions that there may be something unusual going on.
Before long, they are confronted by the Locust himself.
The X-Men are taken completely by surprise by the dumb things that the Locust can do. It’s effective, even if he looks like a complete asshole doing it. He can create giant insects and order them to attack whoever he chooses, so of course he chooses beetles. He uses the antenna on his helmet to communicate with them. Then he shines a flashlight on the ground and it causes ordinary wasps to grow to gigantic proportions and do his bidding. Yup, that’s right. He has an insect growing flashlight.
The military shows up and wipes out the remaining segmented horrors. The Locust is able to escape by use of his jetpack.
The X-Men have a good feeling that the Locust is actually Dr. Hooper. Since all the kids on campus know his creepy reputation, Jean shared this information with the group. As the Locust orchestrates the next phase of his plan, a visitor shows up at his door. It is an old man, with a beard, a cape, a staff, and a fedora. He tries to warn Dr. Hooper of his evil ways, to which he simply laughs. It’s odd that Dr. Hooper wasn’t more concerned with this random old man knowing that he was up to no good, but whatever. We’ve got giant insects to make.
And make them he does! He causes two huge beetles to grow into man eating monsters, but the X-Men outsmart him. Jean notices the antenna on his head and she ties them together, rendering them useless. Without his control over the beetles, they turn on The Locust himself.
Hiding in a trailer, the Locust almost goes over a cliff. It is the X-Men that save his life at the last moment.
He reconsiders the old man’s warning and walks away from his life of crime. This brush with death was enough that he lose the stomach for it. Of course the X-Men just let him walk away with the promise that he’ll never do anything bad ever again for as long as he lives. This has worked in the past right? I mean it’s not as if Unus came back to frame the X-Men for vulgar crimes and put their lives in jeopardy. I’m sure Dr. Hopper just needed to be taught a little lesson. If only we knew who that old man was, so that we could thank him for those life-changing motivational words.
*I haven’t mentioned yet that Jean left the X-Men. Her parents made her switch schools. They finally thought it was suspicious that she was still going there years after she graduated. I have to agree with them. However I also have to say that it’s rather suspicious that her parents immediately put her in another school, being that she graduated. I didn’t bother mentioning it because X-Men quitting the team is getting to be a very casual occurrence, and is quickly resolved within a few issues.