Appearing in "A Plague of Locasts, Part Two: Gods and Monsters"
- Locust Project
Races and Species:
- Manhattan, New York, New York, United States of Americ (Mentioned)
- Shrink world of Ambrose
- Guards' bees
Synopsis for "A Plague of Locasts, Part Two: Gods and Monsters"
While trying to discover what happened to the missing Locust Project, the Human Torch and his assistant Jian Feeta travelled to the Balkans where Johnny was attacked by a mysterious armored being and taken prisoner.
Johnny awakens from the attack to find himself patched up in a room where strange food and an impossibly large droplet of water has been left out for him. Getting his barrings, Johnny goes looking for Jian. Meanwhile, Jian has given up looking for Johnny since he disappeared and has fled from the castle they were searching. She arrives in town and begins knocking on doors but nobody answers because the town is suddenly abandoned. While this discovery is being made, the Torch discovers that he is locked in this room. Unable to budge the door, Johnny flames on and melts through the door to find three armored goons like the one that attacked him waiting for him outside. When they try to subdue him, Johnny fights back easily fending off their weapons. Out gunned the armored warriors flood the tunnel, snuffing out Johnny's flame in the process. Suddenly a mechanical hand drops down from the ceiling and pulls Johnny out of the water and into another chaimber above. It turn out that a woman saved his life and Johnny thanks her. She tells him to come with him, advising him that the "knights" weren't out to kill him as they hadn't been ordered to do so. She introduces herself as Shyla the daughter of Ambrose the Locust King. Johnny puts two-and-two together and figures out that Ambrose was in charge with the Locust Project. Leading Johnny through a tunnel and past their "guard dogs" -- actually giant spiders -- leads the Torch to believe that they are in some other dimension. Shyla leads him to the other side of the tunnel and Johnny is shocked to discover that he isn't in another dimension at all, he's been shrunk in size.
Meanwhile Jian finds that the only person in town is her old friend Hugo. She demands to know what happened to the locals and he explains that they disappeared, just like she did years earlier. She explains that she had no choice back then as conflicts in the area forced her to leave. Hugo explains that he could never leave his land as he had to look after the people, he then tells her he finally found a way to save them all.
Back at the castle, Johnny meets Ambrose the ruler of this micro-world. He explains that his Knights attacked him only to contain him as the size change process can be unnerving to those who just experienced it. With explanations out of the way, Ambrose shows Johnny the fruitiion of the Locust Project: a tiny city. He explains that the purpose of the project was to solve the problem of overpopulation and food shortages by shrinking the entire population of the world down to one sixth their size. After stating that after some challenges the population of the world will come to embrace this new life. When Johnny asks if he means everyone, Ambrose explains that his intention is to help those who are willing to undergo the transition, pointing out that Hugo refused to do so and was allowed to continue living at his normal size. Johnny discovers that the entire population of Hugo's village willingly shrunk themselves down in size.
At that moment in town, Hugo levels with Jian explains that initially he thought Ambrose's plan was crazy, but after seeing mothers sending their children away and little girls fighting over scraps of food, he suddenly realised that the plan might not be so crazy after all. He decided to let the people of his village try this new life and perhaps if it didn't work out they would come back. While in Ambroses Locust Project, Johnny learns that the process is reversable and that the Captain of the Knights of Locus believed shrinking Johnny down to size was the appropriate way to deal with him due to his unique powers. After Johnny expresses his dislike for the captain of the Knights, Ambrose believes Johnny will get to like the Captain when they get to know each other better. With a large feast to be prepared in Johnny's honor, Ambrose tells Shyla to show Johnny around the city. Johnny notes that Shyla and her father don't get along very well, and she points out that her father is a dreamer while she tends to be more practical. The Torch quickly figures out that Ambrose wants Johnny to return to the world and convince people to sign up for his Locust Project and asks Shyla what would happen if he refuses, and it's implied that he might be a prisoner here for the duration.
Johnny decides to test out just how much a prisoner he is by trying to fly away. As he leaves the interio of the castle he is suddenly surrounded by some Knights of the Locust. They explain that its not safe to leave beacuse it is going to rain again. Johnny brushes this warning off but is forced to return when the knights warn that their wasps -- which they ride like mounts -- are not well trained and could go berserk due to Johnny's flame and could attack innocent people. With no other choice Johnny turns back and returns to the Locust Project.
- Hugo mentions the reign of communism, lawlessness and wars in his region. He is likely referring to living under the communist rule of Yugoslavia until the country the country collapsed in 1991 which led to the various Yugoslav Wars which carried on for a decade thereafter. Although these references are vague these events, particularly that they happened relatively recently, should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale. As of 2016 the modern age did not start until 2001 and continues to move forward in time.
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