(Spoilers for DC Comics released 07/14/2021)
If you missed last week’s report, check it out here.
(Words in italics signal actions)
The GC52 Logo appears on televisions, computers, and all other types of viewing devices at its normally scheduled time. Lead Anchor Dan McMahon sits at the center of the newsroom behind his desk. Dan runs in, clearly out of breath, almost slamming down into his chair as he smiles. The Daily Planet globe is visible behind him as the setting sun sparkles off the crown jewel of the City of Tomorrow. The GC52 theme music begins to dim as the actual program begins.
Dan: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening to all our wonderful viewers from the docks of Coast City to the furthest reaches of Oa, you are watching the multiverse’s best news show that brings you the news that you need to know! As always, I’m your host, Dan McMahon, doing my part to bring you up to the minute updates on the worlds you live in!
I’m sorry I’m out of breath, I just was running a little late. I was out way too late last night, cannot even remember the last time I partied until the sun came up. The wife wasn’t too happy but it’s not everyday that the WILDCATS return! Grifter texted me last night that his “grand plan” finally came together. Honestly, it didn’t matter to me because we hit the town like lightning. Have you ever had a frozen margarita made by Nora Fries? Absolutely top 5 drinks of all time and the nicest woman! I worked with her hus- nevermind. Anyway, great night. Glad Cole got his life together a little.
Moving on, we’ve received another report from our ex-reporter Ethan about his ongoing activities as an agent of the DEO. Jerry, how did this one show up in the office?
There’s mumbling off-screen as Jerry explains. Dan looks slightly let down by the answer.
Dan: Oh, it just came in the mail? That’s a bit boring, isn’t it? Anyways, let’s have a read shall we…
Dan puts on his reading glasses and starts to read through the report.
For storage in DEO Archives regarding Operation: Infinite Frontier.
Report compiled by Agent 17.
Since my last addition to this report, there’s been a couple of interesting developments in the operation. Firstly, we’ve had verified confirmation of an explosion at the JSA headquarters. Despite eye-witness accounts of green flames, it is unconfirmed whether team member Jade was involved. Though her father and brother, the original Green Lantern and Obsidian respectively, have been on-site conducting their own investigation.
Around the same time as the explosion, the USAF base out in Metropolis radioed in a sighting of a black-clad flying figure jetting off. I’ve not been able to get any confirmation on who this was, though what the security cams did capture stirred something familiar in my mind, one word, death.
This leads me to the most important point of my report update. Cameron Chase, she’s been investigating the multiversal breeches just like Bones asked her to. She even went and interrogated Batman and Superman about it. I heard the recording, it was great. She’s great. Anyway, she was on-site at the Metropolis USAF base at the time of that sighting, speaking with Captain Atom when a massive detonation wiped the base off the face of the Earth.
We’re all scrambling here to get an idea of what happened. I hope Chase is alive somewhere. Bones asked me to monitor the feeds so I’m stuck at HQ for the time being. I’ll update when we have news.
Dan removes his reading glasses and places the report on his desk.
Dan: Hmm, I’m in agreement, I really hope Chase is okay. Every time I’ve seen her in action she’s been a force to be reckoned with. Let’s go over to Vi- oh god she’s yelling at the crew…
Violet is yelling at the crew while flapping her reports around wildly and pointing to a whiteboard behind her; it has each location that Wonder Woman has been reported in from the last few weeks.
Violet: I’m telling you all, she’s within reaching distance, well eh, sorta! I’m working on it!
She quickly notices the camera on her and shoves a crew member out of her shot before composing herself.
Violet: Hi all! Welcome back! I have reports of the ever so wonderful Wonder Woman and deadened Deadman wandering the Graveyard of the God’s in search of the Keeper of Grounds. Ratatosk; Diana’s messenger squirrel, gladly pointed the way. Maybe he ain’t so bad, well… once there are no secrets involved. A furious Diana is determined to return the lost souls of the Olympians to their rightful ralem, therefore, she challenges the Keeper to a game of riddles. How exciting!
What seemed to be a fair game quickly turned out of favor for both Deadman and Diana. The Keeper demanded either the Olympians or her friends stay. Diana of course opted only for chaos to remain and outwitted the Keeper, having them return everyone to their rightful domains. Apparently, the portal back to Olympus was a tomb with Diana’s name on it? That’s super cool and also terrifying.
Reports state that; once Diana returned to Olympus, she immediately sought out Janus the God of all beginnings and disaster brought upon the city. She was strongly advised against but that’s never stopped Diana before! Hermes shares with Diana that Janus left their ralem through a magic well. Apparently, no one ever returns from this well but once again, this doesn’t stop Diana from plummeting her way into oblivion to continue her captivating adventure! You folks have to admit, despite the unfortunate situation, she is going on a sensational journey that has me itching for more! That’s all I have time for, see you soon folks!
Violet turns back to the whiteboard and scribbles “ElFhame?!” to the bottom of her list and the camera cuts back to Dan.
Dan: Well at least she stopped yelling at the crew. Now let’s go over to Isabel who has a report on the latest goings-on with the “Cheer” drug sweeping through Gotham. No, wait, looks like it’s actually a report on the Roland Worth situation. Is it both? I’m confused.
The camera cuts to Isabel. But… there’s two of them. One in all blue, one in all red – and there’s only one mic.
Isabel (BLUE): Hi Dan! It’s been an exciting week here in Gotham and it’s only gotten worse! After the explosions I reported on last time-
Isabel (RED): And the freezing of Batman, which I reported on last time-
Isabel (BLUE): Yes yes, whatever. Anyway, explosions! There have only been more, in various parts of Gotham, all from under the streets, and Nightwing – plus both Batgirls – are helping citizens out of damaged buildings and to safety.
Isabel (RED): While this is obviously unusual activity for Mr. Freeze, this might have something to do with the unknown person seen with him at the time – dressed all in yellow – even facepaint!
Isabel (BLUE): What are you talking about? This was clearly orchestrated by Roland Worth in his vendetta against Batman and Bruce Wayne!
Isabel (RED): The vendetta he’s had since what, a week ago? Get a grip! It’s obviously Mr. Freeze! Who else would do something this extreme?
Isabel (BLUE): Roland Worth! Have you not heard a THING I said?? I can’t believe you – it was all “this’ll be great, it’ll cut down on time” –
Isabel (RED): If you would just let me SPEAK then I could finish up and you can take all the time in the world!
Isabel (BLUE): Fine! Go ahead, what else is there to report on?
Isabel (RED): Mr. Freeze kidnapped Batman.
Isabel (BLUE): And?
Isabel (RED): That’s pretty much it.
Isabel (BLUE): That’s IT?
There’s feedback from the mic as the Isabel in blue drops it, and leaps for the Isabel in red. There’s some yelling behind the camera, and it falls to the ground, lens cracking and going dark. When it cuts back to the studio, Dan’s eyes are wide open.
Dan: Wh-who-how… never mind. Let’s go check in with Adam as I try to figure out if that was real or hangover-induced hallucinating.
As the camera cuts to Adam he sits at his desk as a montage of Gotham’s famous couples flashes past, superheroes, supervillains, and celebrities alike.
Adam: Hi, I’m Adam, and welcome back to the Gotham Gossip corner as we once again investigate the drama and intrigue in the gloomy streets of Gotham! Which set of Gotham starlet twins have been out on the town with Two-Face? Has the Riddler finally found the answer to the question, “What is love”? And has Lord Death Man found himself a Lady Death Man? All this and more in the latest Gotham Gossip corner!
Following on from last month’s hot scoop on Gothams own Tim Drake, adopted son of Bruce Wayne, we’ve been eager to uncover the truth of his friend’s disappearance. Our intrepid reporters found themselves one step behind the Boy Wonder himself in this investigation, which is worrying as usually Robin is at least 10 steps ahead of us while we’re just trying to figure out what game we’re all playing. Has GC52 just upped its journalism game? Or is something holding the caped crusader’s partner back? Either way, after following the clues from the boy’s parents, friends, and a secret GCPD source, the case came down to the same thing it always does in Gotham, a strange cult. As with all cult-related crimes, we began at gothamcults.com, the premier home for all Gotham-based cult and secret societies (memberships half off with the code: GC52), and we sent another member of the Gotham Gossip Corner team to investigate.
A webpage fills the screen showing advertisements for various Gotham-based cults. Several names are visible; Cult of the Golden Batarang, Sons of the Condiment King, and the Cult of Pain.
Adam: Now unfortunately we didn’t think our choice of reporter through very well, since apparently pain cults look for a high pain tolerance, and not someone who cries like a baby the second they look at you funny. Thankfully, when our reporter went up to the roof to cry off his near torture he stumbled on the young Tim Drake lost in thought and multiple creatures matching the descriptions of the “Chaos” creature spotted stealing the youths of Gotham. How will Time Drake survive these terrifying foes? Will Robin finally catch up to the case and save him? Our reporter seems to be hiding for his life at the moment, so check back next time for an update on Gotham’s latest drama. Back to you Dan!
Dan: Thanks for that Adam! I hope that Robin gets to spend more time with his friend Superboy, they seem like nice boys. Let’s check in with Katie to see what’s new with Scooby-Doo!
A raucous festival takes place behind Katie, who wears a mask resembling a certain Alleytown cat hero. She nearly screams into the microphone in order to be heard.
Katie: HELLO ALL YOU COOL CATS AND KITTENS! Behind me, you’ll see masks galore and special guests parading through the streets during today’s annual Gotham City Seaside Spectacle. Eventually, you can spot the Mystery Inc. gang waving from the float by the dancing robotic Sphinx. Beside them are Batman, accompanied by Batgirl and Nightwing. Are they dating? Are they more than friends? That’s a mystery no one can solve!
Speaking of mysteries, Batgirl and Nightwing proved a dynamic duo in helping Mystery Inc. solve the case of monsters…and crooked monster insurance sellers. No crooked real estate developers at this lovely beach town today, gang! It turns out that the monsters — not saints — came marching down in an attempt to foil the parade! Hippogriffs and Sphinxes and Sea-Lions — oh my!
A cheer rings out through the crowd as the Mystery Inc. and Bat-Fam float appears behind Katie. Loud yells questioning the dating status of Batgirl and Nightwing cause the two heroes to grit their teeth in embarrassment. For some reason, Fred and Daphne appear equally sheepish.
Katie: Who let the dogs out? As you can hear, the spectators are wildly excited, since all monster-shenanigans ceased. Or maybe they’re hoping to get a relationship update…perhaps I should interview the Bat-heroes after this segment. They’re not fooling me! I see the way they shake and shiver!
Masks remain a central draw to the Seaside Spectacle celebration. Unfortunately for the crime-solvers, all the men running around in monster masks made it difficult to establish just who was controlling the mayhem-causing monsters! Yes, the mythological creatures terrorizing the crowd were nothing more than robots. Emerging from the ground, water, and from the sky, the creatures drove the crowd into a frenzy. No one was ready for this act except the mastermind behind the plan, mob boss Black Mask. Are we really surprised by this reveal? I mean, a festival where everyone’s wearing a mask, sending his mask-donning False Facers out to sell monster insurance…this event was practically made for Black Mask’s buffoonery!
No one bought that insurance! Who trusts insurance guys anyway? Thankfully, with the help of an undercover Batman, Gotham’s crime-busting family and the teenage gang discovered the identities of the masked Terrible Trio controlling the monster robots and arrested Black Mask. A heroic act from Scooby, er, well, a happy accident, caused Black Mask to trip over Scoob and face-plant! Ironically, those meddling kids from Crystal Cove didn’t realize that you can’t pull off Black Mask’s mask — because it’s his face! Case closed! Now, I wonder if I can bribe Scooby for deets about Nightgirl and Batwing with some Scooby Snacks…Back to you, Dan!
Katie adjusts her Catwoman mask and heads into the crowd as the camera cuts back to Dan.
Dan: In stranger news, we actually have a new face with the GC52 News team. While no one remembers hiring him, we’ve gotten used to alternate universes doing our hiring for us. Joining us with a report on a sighting of a familiar face from Central City is our own (apparently) Brandon. Brandon?
We cut to a debriefing room in the middle of The Speed Lab. It’s a small room with two wooden chairs on either side of a metal table. We see Brandon sitting in one, with a half-eaten plate of lightning bolt cookies in the middle of the table. His head is in his hands, elbows resting on the table. He is wearing ill-fitting clothes from the nearby Flash Museum – though he has a bow tie around his neck that somehow survived when the rest of his original clothing did not.
Brandon: It’s my first day on the job, and I’ve already been sucked through time and space and shot through the Speed Force like a cannon. I didn’t ask for this. I just wanted health care.
Dan: Ah, Brandon?
Brandon looks up at the surveillance camera. He has apparently heard Dan.
Brandon: Dan?! How did you- you know what? Nevermind.
Brandon takes a moment to adjust his tie and look more presentable. As much as one can while wearing a Flash t-shirt proclaiming “Math is Fun-damental!” and Central City Cougars boxer shorts, anyhow.
Brandon: There was chaos today in Central City, as the former Kid Flash was hurled through the Speed Force itself to try and prevent the total collapse of life as we know it. Another Tuesday for some, the end of the world for others, but the Kid kept his cool. It’s commendable, even as he was forced to relive the worst day of his life. I am…
Brandon pauses, looking around his current room. We can see a handcuff keeping him chained to the table.
Brandon: …not at liberty to say what it was, much less where or when. However, the Kid was able to face his demons and has come out a better person for it. I myself survived the journey alongside him, and can only attest to the fortitude it took to do what happened next.
Savitar, one of the Flash’s strongest villains, erupted from the depths of the Speed Force and began to steal the speed of anyone who relied upon it. However, the Kid stood tall in the Flash’s classic costume and held the megalomaniacal villain to a standstill. It even seems like the Kid received a power-up, but Savitar was sucked into a Boom Tube before the Kid could force him back into the Speed Force.
One of Central City’s favorite sons is back, and representing what this reporter feels is one of the better costumes the Flash has worn. Godspeed, Kid.
Thinking the segment is over, Brandon looks over to the door.
Brandon: …can I please go home now? My mom is making tacos tonight. It’s still Julapril 12th, right?
As the camera cuts back to the studio, Brandon remains looking longingly at the door.
Dan: Well I’m sure that’ll be something we have to deal with down the line. Anyway, fantastic news, viewers, we were able to retrieve Jimmy from the Gotham he found himself in during his last report and he’s here now with a Special Report on the history between former Commissioner Gordon and The Joker. Jimmy.
Jimmy is standing in front of Arkham Asylum. It appears that measures are still being taken to repair the facility and add additional security measures after the recent attack. There are signs of construction work. Jimmy looks unfazed despite being so close to a building with such a terrifying history of horrible things happening there.
Jimmy: Thank you for that warm welcome, Dan. It almost seems genuine after being abandoned in Belize and a parallel Gotham. Perhaps you can put in the GC52 Employee Handbook a section that multiversal travel may make you lose the ability to retain liquids in your body for 48 hours?
The camera cuts back to Dan in the newsroom. He is unflappable in the face of Jimmy’s snarky attitude with a hint of an expression that perhaps he preferred when Jimmy was in the research department running down odd facts about obscure Green Lantern villains like The Javelin and Sportsmaster.
Dan: Oh, it’s in there. Page 192.
The camera cuts back to Jimmy now clearly fazed by Dan’s quick retort.
Jimmy: Well, that’s fantastic. What isn’t fantastic is that former Commissioner Gordon has still not been located since being seen in security footage at the site of The Joker attack in Belize. While the GCPD continue to investigate The Joker’s murder of hundreds here at Arkham Asylum, I decided to take a look back on the first time The Joker came to Arkham Asylum as we tour the facility’s new security measures. Let’s head inside.
Jimmy turns and heads through the main doors of Arkham. There is a lobby with two guards stationed inside near metal detectors. Beyond them is a raised office with the top half of the wall made of plexiglass and two more guards inside. To the right of the raised office are steel doors. The guards come over to escort Jimmy through the metal detector as he begins his report. Bobby, Jimmy’s trusted cameraman, stays ahead of Jimmy and films him as he walks through the steel doors and down the corridors of Arkham. Just as Jimmy begins his report the steel doors can be heard closing with a loud CLICK.
Jimmy: There aren’t many here who have survived to remember the first time The Joker came to Arkham, but I managed to track down a few former employees who spoke with me on condition of anonymity. The most surprising thing I learned is that on The Joker’s first day in Arkham he was not held in the most secure wing, which was reserved for one resident, Billy Sampson, funded by Billy’s brother Sawyer Sampson. Although not much is known now about Billy Sampson, he was accused of cannibalizing his family. Former Commissioner Gordon was so distraught that The Joker would not be in a secure facility he stayed outside his cell the entire first night being subjected to The Joker’s ramblings. Former Commissioner Gordon was described as “obsessed”, “totally fixated”, and “preoccupied to the point of paranoia”. I was also able to speak with a current member of the GCPD that recalled former Commissioner Gordon, then-Captain Gordon, failed to accompany then-District Attorney Dent on a raid of Carmine Falcone in the old Mazzucchelli Towers, which resulted in the deaths of several members from the one-three.
Jimmy stops in front of a large cell with a thick glass wall. The door to the cell is open. Jimmy walks in followed by Bobby. As Jimmy turns back to address the camera the door to the cell closes.
Jimmy: These new cells are made of an impenetrable glass, impervious to bullets and bombs. The doors are operated from a main control room and a secondary location with built-in redundancies in the event of power outage or infiltration. These units now have individual air recyclers to thwart a future gas attack. Back to you, Dan.
The camera cuts to Dan in the newsroom.
Dan: Jimmy, they’re not going to keep you there, are they?
The camera is trained on Jimmy as he taps on the glass of the cell. The tapping turns to banging and quickly becomes frantic as Jimmy begins screaming “Let me out” seemingly unaware that the footage is broadcasting. The camera then cuts back to Dan in the newsroom.
Dan: I’m sure he’ll be fine, but that’s all we have for you, so as always… be it the Bat Symbol in Gotham, a red streak through Central City, or a golden lasso on Themyscira… GC52 has you covered with the news you need to know. Till next week, I’m your host Dan McMahon. Be strong in all your convictions.
A few hours after the studio closes for the night, Jerry sits alone at his desk with his laptop open. His hands are pressed to his face as he tries to keep things straight.
Jerry: It’s so hard to keep it all straight. The Spectre cursed me, you know that? Keeping me outside of the timeline as everything started fresh was a god damn curse. I see so much. I see the future that is slowly becoming our now. The Fear State is coming and they aren’t aware but I can’t speak up. It would change so much. What if I made it worse? I woke up screaming the other night. I dreamed of a wedding. A wedding for House El of Alura Van-El and Khan. They were…are…may still be in love. He is a champion of Warworld and earned the family name of El but it was all interrupted by Pyrrhos. An evil magic imbued Kryptonian that tossed them all into the Phantom Zone. But it was warped… almost falling in on itself… I don’t want to see all of this anymore, Spectre. Please…help me.
Books covered this week:
- Grifter: The Long Con #5 by Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, Antonio Fabela, and Saida Temofonte.
- Infinite Frontier #2 by Joshua Williamson, Paul Pelletier, Jesús Merino, Xermánico, Norm Rapmund, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano.
- Wonder Woman #775 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Andy MacDonald, Nick Filardi, and Pat Brosseau.
- Red Hood/Batman: Cheer #5 by Chip Zdarsky, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Diogenes Neves, Marcus To, Adriano Lucas, and Becca Carey.
- Detective Comics #1039 by Mariko Tamaki, Viktor Bogdanovic, Daniel Henriques, Norm Rapmund, Jordie Bellaire, and Aditya Bidikar.
- Tim Drake: Sum of our Parts #2 by Meghan Fitzmartin, Belén Ortega, Alejandro Sánchez, and Pat Brosseau.
- The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #4 by Sholly Fisch, Dario Brizuela, Franco Riesco, and Saida Temofonte.
- The Flash Annual #1 by Jeremy Adams, Fernando Pasarin, Brandon Peterson, Hi-Fi, Michael Atiyeh, and Steve Wands.
- The Joker #5 by Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, Francesco Francavilla, and Tom Napolitano.
- Action Comics Annual #1 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Siya Oum, Scott Godlewski, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe.