(Spoilers for DC Comics released 07/27/2021)
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. This week he’s wearing a button-up pastel shirt with flamingo printoutlined by the large window behind him looking out over Metropolis. 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!
Tensions are at a PEAK tonight as the US and Atlantis are on the precipice of war. We spoke a few weeks ago about an energy source that the US Government was trying to take from the Atlanteans. The tensions seemed to drop off after Superman stepped in but it seems as if some sort of undercover agents tried to steal the object out from under the Atlantean’s noses. In retaliation for what Atlantis officials describe as “an unprovoked attack on Atlantean Sovereignty,” no ship is being permitted to cross Atlantean Waters… the shipping lanes that are now closed are considered vital. All sides seem to be bracing themselves for the inevitable moment…when the first shots are fired… I will keep you abreast of the situation.
We now move on to another report from ex-GC52 reporter Ethan, who revealed himself to be an agent of the DEO and vanished mid-broadcast. He’s been sending us reports about a bold new frontier our universe is entering. So, let’s take a read…
Dan puts on some reading glasses, grabs a file lying on his desk, and begins reading.
For storage in DEO Archives regarding Operation: Infinite Frontier.
Report compiled by Agent 17.
Bones finally gave me some info about what’s been happening. Not enough, I might add, but something at least. He has some hair-brained idea to save the world involving recruiting, capturing(?) heroes, and some Bleed-ships? Those are some fascinating tech. That’s about as much as I know, but I did at least find out Agent Chase survived the explosion at that military base. We’d have been in a really bad place if she didn’t make it.
It looks like before they were brought on board the mission (Note: Check if this was willing), Green Lantern and Obsidian were wrecking shop, going after all their old enemies in search of Jade. From the footage I’ve seen, those were some impressive beat-ups.
Finally, Bones gave me a direct link to the monitoring systems on one of the Bleed-ships. This one was captained by Hector Hammond of all people. It seems after the last multiversal reset (See Case File: Death Metal) he got normal again. No more big head. Anyway, he picked up someone our records show as dead, Roy Harper (See Case File: Heroes in Crisis). He had a Black Lantern ring but seemed mostly under his own volition. The last bit of info I got before the monitoring systems went dead was the ship entering the Bleed itself. I’m sure nothing bad could happen.
Agent 17 Personal Addendum:
In what spare time I’ve had, I’ve been investigating Bones’ extra-curricular activities with Checkmate. I’m still light on info about what’s going on, but from what I’ve gathered, at least part of Checkmate is composed of Bones, Lois Lane, Green Arrow, and The Question.
Arrow and Question were on guard duty for Lane at her father’s old houseboat. I think this was her first time back since he died (See Case File: Event Leviathan). Anyway, security cam footage showed Lane entered the building while the others remained in overwatch on a nearby rooftop. Then the whole building up and vanished, likely teleported. My guess, it was Leviathan.
Her husband’s gonna be pissed.
Dan removes his reading glasses and looks back at the camera.
Dan: Well I’m definitely not scared about what sort of multiversal business we’re gonna end up in. Now, let’s go over to Katie who joins us from the studio today. Katie?
When the camera cuts to Katie in the studio, she is seen clutching her headset with one hand. She nods vigorously, her pupils dilated from disbelief.
Katie: I’m…receiving a communication signal. I’m not sure where the source is coming from, but I need to warn you all: Our reality is in peril! A…being, called Auteur.io appears to be having a god complex. From what I can decipher, this “Archivist of worlds” claims to be in control of every reality in the multiverse. Versions of Superman, Batman, and Robin are currently attempting to battle this celestial monster. They’re stuck on some Wild West-like planet. What a nightmare!
What’s that? If Auteur.io deems a world imperfect he…oh, god. He wants to erase us all! Our realities are like some big movie to him — and he’s the director and editor.
Can he see us right now? Oh, I do hope he’s catching my good angle…
Diaphanous images of a film strip oscillate on screen. She watches in horror as a constellation of different universes all permeate through the torn veil of her reality in the GC52 newsroom. One film strip focuses, reading “ETRIGAN THE DEMON IN THE FIERY PITS BELOW.”
Katie: Etrigan? Demon? Fiery pits?! Crap, I’ve gotta get out of here.
Before she can flee, a resonant voice thunders aloud.
Etrigan: HARK! HARK! O NOBLE! O DAMNED! HARK THE DEMON ETRIGAN!
Katie bolts upright out of her seat. Her head whips around her, trying to locate the source of the demon’s words.
Katie: He’s here! Etrigan’s here! Auteur.io has sent him to kill us! To kill me! And on a good hair day too.
Chaos ensues. She runs off camera like beasts from hell have arisen to devour her soul.
Etrigan: THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, YOU SAY? I WILL DECIMATE THIS PLACE TODAY!
An ethereal shimmer of purple light cascades from the film strip superimposed image. Reality knits itself back together moments before glimpsing Etrigan, accompanied by a demon horde, descending upon a building reading, “The Daily Planet.” Quiet then replaces the tectonic cacophony of noise. The camera cuts back to Dan, seemingly nonplussed by what just happened.
Dan: Well you know what they say, be gone, be gone the form of man… Let’s see what Violet is up to. Maybe she’ll have a normal report this week.
The camera cuts to Violet sitting at her desk
Violet: Hi all! You won’t believe that I have exclusive footage of Harley Quinn breaking out of the Hugo Strange S.A.F.E. facility! But, don’t ask me how I got it because I’d probably lose my job! And for that exact reason, I am unable to show any of it. However!
Violet clears her throat.
Violet: The story goes as follows; Hugo Strange captured Harley Quinn, who broke in to save her friend Kevin. Now, while Hugo was denying that dressing as Batman is a sexual thing – I think we can all agree it most certainly is – Harley conducts a “carefully, completely calculated and very well thought out master plan” to rescue Kevin and quickly slips away from Hugo and the orderlies.
Once Kevin was recused, they ran into that big meanie Lockwood, but it wasn’t a problem to them. After all, they had Soleman Grundy show up to help, who had him down in a single knock, it was very entertaining. Harley and Hugo also fought it out for a short while as she retrieved her baseball bat and then left with her gang of “rebels.”
As for Hugo, an eyewitness reported that he was speaking to a strange, dark figure going by the name “Keepsake.” They also overheard something about how clowns have been given injections? Sounds like bad news if you ask me!
The camera pulls out to show more of what’s going on around Violet’s desk; her whiteboard has been updated since the last Wonder Woman segment. “Elfhame” is written in italics across the board with a spider-map of the supposed events of this week.
Violet: Now back on Wonder Woman news, do I have an adventure to tell you all! When I say it’s like something from the movie Enchanted, I’m not joking. Wonder Woman and Ratatosk have found themselves in Elfhame, a faerie plane that you wouldn’t want to stay long in… Ratatosk learned that the hard way and had a Pinocchio moment not even three minutes into the damn realm. You’d think he’d know better by now!
Drawing attention to themselves; Diana was accused of regicide immediately upon arrival by King Gwyn and taken prisoner to a tower. There she spoke with Deadman through a puddle! I’ve attached an example to the board to help you envision this better. It really captures the essence, please look!
The camera zooms into the board:
Violet: Anyway! He filled her in on why Elfhame was a no–no square. Janus showed up too, this is where Diana confirmed she had taken her appearance, causing such accusations to come her way.
Siegfried is back! Don’t ask me how, some magik pin? Who cares!? We love him for it anyway! They found several allies who agreed to help them find the King and have him let them go, so the huntfor Janus could continue.Diana is rocking a new purple lasso on Gwyn that made him take them to a magic passage. It appears they’re back on Earth but something is off.. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated! Stay safe byeee!
Dan’s hand is over his face, head down enough that once again the scar on his neck is clear on camera.
Dan: My children tell me that what Violet just showed you is a mee-mee. I guess I have to stay hip with the times. Now onto a report straight out of Gotham City.
The camera cuts to Isabel – dressed all in blue.
Isabel (BLUE): Crazy news in Gotham City tonight! My sources have informed me that Bruce Wayne turned himself into the GCPD on Friday night – and stayed there until early this Monday morning when he was released. We don’t know under what circumstances as of yet, we still only know he is – or was? – a suspect in the murder of Sarah Worth. There’s been no mention of charges or bail.
Suddenly… the second Isabel, dressed all in red, peeks around Isabel’s shoulder, handing over a scrap of paper. Then they disappear again.
Isabel (BLUE): Oh, shit. Well – breaking news everyone – apparently Bruce Wayne has returned to his Midtown townhouse only to find it in flames! There are no clues as to who it could’ve been, but Mr. Freeze is the main sus – wait a minute. Mr. Freeze is NOT a suspect, please ignore that. I’ll update you as this situation develops, Dan!
Blue Isabel turns to glare at someone out of frame, ripping apart the note threateningly, and the camera cuts back to Dan.
Dan: I still don’t get how there are two of them. I wonder if that fire has anything to do with reports of Huntress wrecking shop across Gotham, taking down people infected by those parasites that turn them into murderous husks… Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Anyway, let’s check in with Jake, who I’m sure is having an absolutely horrible time on the trail of Robin…
The video feed switches to a drone’s camera as it peers through the open window of a houseboat to see the dashing journalist Jake taking a waffle from its iron. And he goes to put it down on the plate of LADY SHIVA! Next to that plate, there is a full spread of the most delicious breakfast you can imagine.
Lady Shiva: It is good you insisted upon Waffles, had it been pancakes, I’d have had to kill you, as I do not suffer fools.
Jake: Heh thanks…but I gotta ask two questions, why do you have all of these ingredients stocked up?
Shiva: I am Lady Shiva, there is no art I cannot master, cooking is no different.
Jake: Makes sense to me, now for the second question, why did we leave Lazarus Island?
Shiva: To follow Ra’s al Ghul and Robin, of course, I want to see Robin’s skill and how Ra’s has progressed since his fall, both should be the most dangerous of opponents soon enough.
The camera turns to watch Robin and Ra’s train on the beach, and for the purposes of this news channel, we will show them in a timelapse. Robin and Ra’s meditate, they train in stances next to what can only be described as a Red Bat Dragon, but then they stop to chat, the camera moves in closer. They are speaking of the stars and why Ra’s has inflicted tragedy onto mankind time and time again. His simple wish of stopping the destruction of Earth by attacking its polluters. But in the midst of their conversation, Robin grabs something off Ra’s and pulls a Batman, disappearing without a trace. Then a moment later a jet flies off into the distance leaving Ra’s petting the saddened beast he calls Goliath.
Shiva: It is time for us to go.
Shiva starts the boat to follow the path of the jet and when they arrive they see Robin surrounded by Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, and that other Robin! But just then the feed cuts out!
Dan: Is he just having a tropical cruise holiday with Lady Shiva of all people and passing it off as work? Anyway…
The camera cuts from a tranquil landscape with Dan at his desk, and the beautiful sky of Metropolis to a turbulent helicopter above Los Angeles focused on a girl with a starred cape.
Dan: Dear audience, Raleigh here is our new informant regarding anything Mister Miracle. She’s also an escape artist and illusionist who wants to learn every secret Miracle has, and is now aboard a helicopter. Raleigh, could you tell us what you’re seeing?
Raleigh: Hi Dan! We’re just on top of L.A, where Mister Miracle is fighting the mysterious woman who attacked him before, N’vir! She has back-up from some green guys, but Mister Miracle is completely holding his own! OH! He just took her to some uninhabited island not so far away. He’s so smart! I was just thinking about that.
Dan: Right, do you think you can get there in time?
Raleigh: Of course. They’re very fast, but fortunately, it’s close! We’re already reaching the island, and it seems he left her unconscious! But the green men are still alive and confronting him.
Dan: Are you safe there? The helicopter is moving terribly!
Raleigh: What? Oh, no! It’s just your cameraman. He’s scared because there’s no pilot. I left some pedals tied with my socks to keep it running and all, but some people can’t get themselves to trust you! But wait, the woman’s now awake, and she’s made her subjects trap him by the limbs. She seems to have somehow taken control of his suit. He can’t do anything!
Dan: Will this be the end of Los Angeles’ hero, Mister Miracle?
Raleigh: Don’t even say that, Dan! Although she keeps hitting him… She just left like a rocket launched into the sky, but Mister Miracle is still on the ground, and he seems severely injured. He…he lost. My idol was just beaten to a pulp and left in the ground.
Dan: This is a sad day for the city of Los Angeles. Being unaware of the intentions of this mysterious attacker, the whole world may have to be wary of the future. We are vulnerable to the person who just defeated Mister Miracle.
We see how Raleigh is putting chains on herself as the camera keeps shaking.
Raleigh: The only thing that could lift my spirit is a good escapism act, so I guess this is it, for now, Dan. Goodbye, cameraman, there’s a parachute behind you!
As Raleigh jumps from the helicopter, tied up with chains, we hear the cameraman screaming but is suddenly cut to an uncomfortable Dan inside the GC52 offices.
Dan: Well that’s another camera man down. Jerry, can you fill out the report? Thanks.
Dan begins reading a piece of paper passed to him by Jerry off-camera. He looks up from reading a bit concerned.
Dan: Since leaving the comfort and safety of the GC52 Newsroom, our Senior Legal Correspondent Jimmy has had a bit of a rough time. Undaunted by his troubles though, he has once again traveled to a mysterious Gotham with an update.
The camera cuts to Jimmy standing in a sewer. There are police and medical personnel in the background investigating the scene and tending to a few victims. Jimmy has a black eye and his suit is torn and dirty.
Dan: Jimmy! I’m glad to see you made it out of Arkham, but what happened to you?
Jimmy: Oh, just punched in the face and knocked down by one of Freeze’s goons. From what I could tell after, he was knocked unconscious during the attack last night, and when he came to and saw the police activity he panicked. Bobby and I were just getting set up for this report.
Dan: Do you have updates on the conditions of Penguin and Riddler? Do they know what has been attacking Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery?
Jimmy: Reports are sketchy, Dan, but I was able to find out from a contact I made at the hospital that Penguin is alive, but barely. The Riddler is still in a coma and The Mad Hatter and The Scarecrow are in the ICU.
Dan: And the thing that’s attacked them?
Jimmy: No one knows yet. I’m here on the scene of the latest attack where Freeze was left with both of his arms and legs broken and several of his recently acquired henchmen torn apart. Apparently, Freeze teamed up with Poison Ivy and hired as many of the now freelance henchmen as they could to protect themselves. It appears to have been to no avail.
Dan: Was Poison Ivy hurt in the attack?
Jimmy: I’ve been told that Poison Ivy was beaten and possibly scalped. She was taken to the hospital, but there’s been no other word about her condition.
Jimmy has been standing still to deliver his report, but now starts to walk to a large hole in the floor.
Jimmy: Dan, I want to show you the opening to a tunnel in which the GCPD believe the creature escaped after attacking Freeeeeeeee!!!
Jimmy slips walking close to the edge of the hole and begins to slide into the depths of the tunnel.
Dan: Jimmy! Oh no, Bobby, what happened?
The camera turns around to show Jimmy’s cameraman Bobby. We can see Bobby bend down as he holds the camera to pick something up off the floor and he stands up holding what looks like a red wig.
Bobby: I think he slipped on Poison Ivy’s hair. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Back to you, Dan-O!
Dan: Well I sure hope he is alright, we really need to keep a strong legal standing with the team we have. Speaking of legal action, let’s check in with Bree!
The camera cuts to Bree back behind her desk and donning a new power suit.
Bree: As you folks can see, I’m out of the vent- Uh. I mean, I am no longer undercover at a secret location within the tower. For now. Instead, I will be interviewing an anonymous source that claims to have information on a member of the Bat Pack. Their voice has been altered to protect their anonymity. Now, Mr. Smith was it? Can you please share what you know about this unique trio?
Smith: Yes, you see, I was formerly employed as a Janitor at Beaumont Orphanage. It was an…odd place. There were rumors about kids disappearing and for months, I didn’t buy it. Kids and their wild imaginations, right? But it was those three kids that finally cracked it.
Bree: Oh? They uncovered where their peers were disappearing to?
Smith: Sort of. I stayed late one night because I was asked to make sure the place was presentable for an important guest. A Doctor, of some sort. Sure enough, when this guy arrived things started getting shady. I could overhear him talking to the headmaster about secret experiments and transferring money. They didn’t talk long, Diego interrupted them.
Bree: That child now goes by Chupacabra, correct?
Smith: Yep, I’m getting to that detail. The scientist took the kid, and the other two followed. And then I followed them. Arrived at some sort of…lab, would be my best guess. It was dark. Nothing happened for a little while, and then I saw the two other kids sneak into the building. I didn’t have the guts to follow, the place creeped me out. Anyways, the screeching and yelling started a few minutes later-
Smith: That’s…really the only way I could possibly think to describe it. Nightwing came outta nowhere and went in after the kids. The loud noises stopped shortly after.
Bree: Ah, the mentor is present in their exact hour of need yet again.
Smith: I guess. That’s when the kid came out…different. Diego. His skin had gone grey and his teeth looked weird.
Bree: Did any of the children appear hurt?
Smith: No, quite the opposite. Diego seemed…happier. He was hopping around like a kid getting ready to open their presents on Christmas morning.
Bree: And what of Nightwing?
Smith: I heard him say something about being proud of them and having some sort of opportunity for them. I dipped at that point, didn’t want to have to explain myself to that guy.
Bree: Ah, I see. Thank you for your time today Mr. Smith. I know our viewers’ are keenly interested in the true identity of Red X, and I feel I get closer with each rock I turn over at the Academy. Until next week and back to you, Dan!
Dan: Thank you, Bree! As I wait for more details on the stalemate on the seven seas, let’s check in with another member of the Superman family.
Rook stands in front of a smoking, half-burnt forest in California.
Rook: You know, this job is a lot of things. Funny, serious, exhilarating, terrifying. It’s a chance to see everything on this side of our multiverse, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, today, it’s bittersweet.
Ever since Clark Kent revealed the truth of who he was to the world, the world’s eyes have been on him and his family. Not that the dynamic duo of Lois and Clark was ever out of the spotlight, but there’s a difference between being the most famous reporters on the planet and the most important people in the galaxy.
On top of that, their son was forced to grow up overnight, save the 31st century, and step up to his father’s mantle. With Clark’s hands full, Jon Kent is left with a lot of responsibility. Now, based on what I’ve seen today, we’re lucky to have him. But even a Superman has limits.
During the latest rash of fires blazing through California (did the last one ever stop?) Jon saved the lives of dozens of firefighters and helped halt the flames. This wildfire was caused by a new metahuman with out-of-control powers tied to his emotional state.
Our new Superman was able to calm him down and get him to safety, but a pragmatic army official on-site knocked out the meta the second his guard was down, unwilling to risk any future fires. Given the choice between turning the man over and starting a gunfight where the army would absolutely aim for the person who isn’t immune to bullets, well, Superman had to comply.
This isn’t a criticism of Jon — Superman has always helped people in need, and even when the authorities have made that difficult he’s found ways to get around them. I don’t think the younger Kent is any different. I’m sure he’ll find the metahuman and do what needs to be done to keep him safe.
Still, that moment was a reminder of all the battles Superman has to fight that can’t be won with a punch. In some ways, the most powerful man on the planet is still an underdog compared to the people at the top of the status quo.
But that never stopped Clark Kent. It certainly never stopped Lois Lane. It won’t stop Jon, and it can’t stop the rest of us either.
So in that spirit, my next assignment will be embedding myself with another group of journalists. From what my source tells me, they run an underground news stream called The Truth, and they’re dedicated to exposing the stories that the establishment would prefer to keep in the dark. I’ll be back with more on that soon, but for now, this is Rook with GC52 signing off. Back to you, Dan.
The camera cuts back to Dan in the studio.
Dan: That’s all we have for you, so as always… hold on, reports are coming in that both Supermen and Supergirl are now on the scene.
Dan is quiet as he watches the feed from the GC52 Helicopter as he hears Superman say a familiar name, Amanda Waller. Dan nods to himself as his hand, almost like a phantom limb pain, rubs the back of his neck.
Dan: Jerry, I need you to call HR and tell them to book me a plane ticket now.
The program ends as Jerry walks towards the desk to help Dan gather his things. He seems flustered as he shoves his laptop into his bag.
Jerry: Sure can, boss man, but where do you need it to?
Dan: Louisiana, as close to Terrebonne Parish as they can get. Actually, no. I’ll call my government contacts to fly me right to Belle Reve.
Jerry: Wait, like the prison? What do you have to do there, Dan?
Dan: Face my past, Jerry. You’re in charge ‘till I get back.
Books covered this week:
- Action Comics #1033 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe.
- Infinite Frontier #3 by Joshua Williamson, Paul Pelletier. Jesús Merino, Tom Derenick, Xermánico, Norm Rapmund, Raul Fernandez, Romulo Fajardo Jr, and Tom Napolitano.
- Checkmate #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, David Stewart, and Josh Reed.
- Batman/Superman #20 by Gene Luen Yang, Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Sabine Rich, and Saida Temofonte.
- Harley Quinn #5 by Stephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and AndWorld Design.
- Wonder Woman #776 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Jill Thompson, Jordie Bellaire, and Pat Brosseau.
- Detective Comics #1040 by Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora, Jordie Bellaire, and Aditya Bidikar.
- Batman: Secret Files – Huntress #1 by Mariko Tamaki, David Lapham, Trish Mulvihill, and Rob Leigh.
- Robin #4 by Joshua Williamson, Jorge Corona, Luis Guerrero, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
- Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #3 by Brandon Easton, Fico Ossio, Rico Renzi, and Rob Leigh.
- Batman: Reptilian #2 by Garth Ennis, Liam Sharp, Rob Steen.
- Teen Titans Academy #5 by Tim Sheridan, Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart, and Rob Leigh.
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 by Tom Taylor, John Timms, Gabe Eltaeb, and Dave Sharpe.