As you might remember, we were left with a cliffhanger last issue [see last issue - Ed.] that involved a mysterious letter of mystery with mysterious contents that so socked Jean that she was going to leave the X-Group ... forever! (musical stinger; wide eyes; gasps all around; "To Be Continued...")
TODAY ON THE X-MEN:
The letter was from Jean's parents - mystery solved! They wrote to say that their phone was broken, so they sent a letter. ("Formality in all things." --Mr. and Mrs. Grey). The letter's contents may contain: Peanuts; telling her that she is being withdrawn from Xavier's fancy-yet-weird academy and being enrolled in a more "conventional" college. (Where she will learn how to shotgun a beer, shout "WOO!", smash her face next to her friend's while taking a picture with her camera held at arm's length, and land a man by getting telling him she's pregnant. [What? Was that not your college experience? Guess YOU didn't go to one of US News and World Report's "Top 10 Party Schools! WOO!]
As a sign of gratitude for defending the world against evil mutants, the X-Men give her a parting gift:
|"Its slow, wilting death will remind you that|
your own beauty will fade, too. Love, The X-Men"
On the ride there, there's lots of belly aching and heart breaking by Warren, Scott, and Jean.
|The Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm?! SQUEE!|
*ahem* I mean ... SQUEEEEEE!
But love is lorn for only a short while, because some hunky co-ed immediately hits on Jean by asking her to share a "big orange drink" with him. My mind immediately went to all of my public school special social functions, where the administration would buy a huge tub of something orange from McDonald's. It wasn't exactly sweet ... and it was orange, for sure ... but no one would ever - could ever! - have drank a quantity of it that could labeled as "big". It was more like medicine. Anyone else remember this stuff? Or is it strictly a Staten Island thing? [Partial origin story of your dear writer revealed: Staten Island residence!]
But enough about drinks of the large orange kind, there is a man who calls himself "The Locust" running around, spreading "ionically treated insect eggs" all over the place.
|Pseudoscience: Using "ionic" as a |
buzz-word since 1966!
Thanks to "ions" these bugs grow to b-movie proportion within minutes, and Peter Graves is nowhere to be found.
But The Locust is actually ... Dr. Hopper (teeheehee, seriously?! Yes! That makes up for all the soap opera crud at the start of this ish!). Dr. H is, of course, an etymologist, who was fired from Metro College (where Jean now matriculates [this word on loan from The Beast]). To "get back" at those who "wronged him", he is going to unleash giant insects upon the world ... then save the world from them to become a hero. This is one of my favorite twists in Evil/Mad Scientists. It's so much more classy than just wanting to rule the world. They don't want world domination, just respect ... and they'll kill to get it. I find this way more compelling than a loon ransoming a city! [Peering over my glasses at you, Nefaria! (see last issue, again!)]
The X-Men come to battle The Locust, but get tangled up fighting the giant insects. And though they are easy to beat, there are so many that they get in the way enough to allow The Locust to escape.
But The Locust isn't done sowing his seeds of insects and he heads out the next night to do it all again. This time, however, a crazy old hermit approaches the villain and appeals to Doc Hopper to give up his evil ways and work for the good of all mankind. (Apparently, somehow, giant bugs can be used for the good of man? If it's to solve world hunger, I'm out. I'd rather starve.)
|Hermits: Always getting up in |
other people's business.
"Nah!", says The Locust and flies off, leaving the hermit to reveal that he is none other than ... Professor X! You know, wearing his CLASSIC "hermit garb" and using his trademark "mechanical legs"! Right? You all remember this? Oh, yeah, didn't we tell you? Xavier has "a thing" for hermit cosplay.
Added to my auto correct dictionary: Cosplay.
Anyway, The Locust is not swayed by Xavier-in-disguise and he leaps off to continue his plan of terrorizing the corn belt with giant insects. He lands, only to find himself surrounded by X-Men. In a daring move to get away, he creates two super giant bugs ... but loses control of them when Marvel Girl twists his costume's antenna up. (They do not mention that she learned this trick in college, in her "Advanced Bug Confusing 102" class, so it's a good thing the Greys pulled her from Xavier's School.)
|It's a weird kinda preying. One that is done |
with their swimsuit areas.
So these giant bugs are now attacking The Locust (heal thyself etymologist!) who - did I forget to mention - lives in a double-wide trailer? Yeah. Evil Scientist budgets were WAY tighter back then. So, the all-too-kind X-Men save his exoskeletal ass from being an innocent victim of some bug-on-Airstream lovin' and in return, the bug-man repents and says that he is going to go turn himself in, which the X-Men allow him to do. [Not shown: Dr. Hopper jumping into a Lamborghini and flipping them off, as he rides away Scott-free.]
Wow. Escaping the X-Men is super easy! Once you realize you're about to be defeated just tell that you're going straight, and they'll let you go. See, the mistake The Vanisher made was in not appealing to their misplaced and misguided faith in humanity. Had he done that, he might still know his own mailing address.
Want to read along? These stories are contained in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Volume 3