The GC616 logo flashes across the screen and fades into a shot of Reagan seated at the news desk.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616. Our top story tonight concerns the takeover of Stanworth Prison by the inmate Daredevil. According to sources, Detective Cole North has entered the prison per Daredevil’s request. As usual, we will keep you updated on this story as it develops.
Meanwhile, law enforcement is still asking everyone who lives in New York City to continue to stay inside and to cover any windows until Bullseye is caught. We will keep you updated on this story as well.
Now onto our next story from Katie. Katie?
Somber music plays in the background of a picture montage video scrolling by on the screen. Images of Reed Richards — the heroic Mr. Fantastic — show him stretching his body in the shape of a parachute bringing children safely to the ground, and Reed slings his arm over his wife, Sue Storm, in a group photo of the Fantastic 4. The montage fades out, replaced by the words, Reed Richards. In loving memory of our elastic, genius, leader. The camera cuts to Katie looking sorrowful, while her cat, Felicia licks her paws absentmindedly.
Katie: Unfortunately, I have to share sad news today. It’s easy to pose questions in life. What if we lived in a world without superheroes? What if I didn’t have to go to work every day? What if I had a cat who could traverse the multiverse? What if? No one ever wants to think about the harrowing aspects of losing a loved one, though. What if my sister or brother died today? Sadly, for Fantastic 4 members Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm, a venomous scenario came true.
Katie: The symbiote that infested Spider-Man, turning him into a ghastly killing machine the last few weeks transferred to Fantastic 4 leader and ingenious scientist, Reed Richards. Somehow, the symbiote violated Richards’ superior intellect, combining forces to infect several Avengers members and other superheroes with the invasive symbiote. A partially-clothed Spider-Man entered the Baxter Building by climbing up its walls with his sticky-fingers. No one was able to identify him while he was unmasked. Human Torch Johnny Storm and his sister Sue Storm battled an alien-esque Reed to keep Daily Bugle reporter Mary Jane Watson safe from the symbiotes. Why Miss Watson was at the scene at all remains unclear.
Katie: Richards, with a sickly elongated body and a crimson-colored head like that of Red Skull, used a possessed Thor to break Sue Storm’s force field with Mjölner. She almost plummeted to her death and died at the hands of her own husband — a devastating image for spectators and fans of their tight-knit relationship to witness. Spider-Man interrupted the rooftop fight by offering himself up as a sacrifice. Later, we learned Johnny Storm was masquerading as Spider-Man through an image inducer created by Richards for the purpose of masquerading Ben Grimm.
Katie: Although the distraction worked, it came at the cost of Mr. Fantastic’s life. The venom symbiote separated from Richards’s body, tearing through his torso and ultimately rendering him dead. Thankfully, the Human Torch engulfed the symbiote in flames under the guise of Spider-Man. Eradicating an alien evil came at the cost of Reed Richards’s life. Sources indicate how the symbiote feared Mr. Richards’s superior intellect. Well, we need to fear no more. Death is no stranger here in a universe where heroes don spandex and masks, protecting the public while risking their own lives. We remember Reed Richards and his ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps it would bode well to contemplate this: What if there was a universe where Mr. Fantastic was still alive?
She hugs Felicia tightly, tears escaping her eyes as the camera cuts away
Reagan: Umm. Katie. Mr. Fantastic is still very much alive. I’m pretty sure I saw him in Starbucks two hours ago. Are you sure you’ve been reporting news from this universe?
She pauses before moving on to the next story.
Reagan: Anyways, here’s Kevin with some news from Krakoa.
The camera cuts to Kevin in his trenchcoat and fedora; his head is bowed so that his face is in shadow. He stands that way for about 30 seconds, just long enough to be awkward, before suddenly snapping up.
Kevin: Weapon X! Weapon Plus. These are powerful names. Frightening names. Names to conjure by.
He mimes lighting a cigarette, though he does not actually have one, and points to his definitely-not-crazy wall of photographs. Front and centre is a grainy, out of focus image of Wolverine, and an even poorer image of the monstrous Man-Slaughter.
Kevin: While some fools and short-sighted news stations have questioned their existence, here at GC616 we know these covert programs exist and have for some time. And this week, I can report that two of their products seem to have made contact; the much-rumored deadly mutant agent known as ‘The Wolverine’ has brought in the long-hypothesized creature called Man-Slaughter.\
Reagan (V/O from Studio): You know Kevin, we uh… definitely know that Wolverine exists. He pops up a lot pretty much everywhere – I mean he was on the Avengers for a while and everything. To be honest I don’t even know where you got that terrible photo, we have a *lot* of very high quality footage-
Kevin: (Cutting her off): That’s right. We know that Wolverine exists… just like we know he is part of a top secret mutant black ops team engaged in an ongoing secret war against a shadowy cabal of human interests calling themselves XENO.
There is an audible sigh over the microphone from the studio. Kevin ignores it.
Kevin: What did the mutants hope to gain from Man-Slaughter? Well, our sources ain’t quite sure, but it might be related to reports that a group of those crazy ‘Order of X’ cultists – (Kevin pauses as though hearing something in an earpiece) – I’m sorry, extremely valid alternative religious believers – were possessed by some sort of plant-creature in New Orleans and then launched an attack on Krakoa. Some mutant sources even report they may have had themselves a battle on the island afterwards, though of course nobody knows nothing when it comes to that place.
Reagan (V/O): Again, this is absolutely not true; GC616 actually has multiple reporters covering all sorts of aspects of life on Krakoa, many of whom actually do their jobs, I might add. In fact, we already know there was a fight and the ‘plant-possessed’ people were fought off by-
Kevin: (Cutting her off again): In this shadowy world of rumors and uncertainty, only one thing is for sure here at X-Force Watch. No conspiracy of mutants or humans will keep us from keeping you in the loop.
Camera cuts back to the studio, where Reagan is massaging her temples.
Reagan: I want to make it very clear that GC616 does not endorse any conspiracy theories of any kind. Now onto Justin with some more X-news. [muttered as the camera cuts to Justin] we really need to have a talk about our hiring practices.
The screen behind Reagan blips and changes to another self-shot vertical portrait of Justin Partridge III. He is dressed in a comically large overcoat with a stupid-ass Tom Brevoort hat complete with his PRESS card. He stands in the shadow of The Treehouse, the newly grown New York headquarters of The Uncanny X-Men. Well-wishers and fans surround Lorna Dane AKA Polaris, as she blesses them with her presence (venti still in-hand).
It also seems like Justin’s right arm in a DIY-sling of some sort, heavy bandages supporting the appendage and holding up his GC616-branded Microphone.
JPIII: Yes, good evening, studio and Citizens. I stand outside of The Treehouse, looking for some kind of comment on the recent scandalous accusations that have come to light, suggesting that the former X-Men sister-team, X-Factor, were complicit in the deaths of four Latverian mutant-nationals by the hands of their regent, Victor Von Doom. I am going to try to get a comment from former Factor-member and current member of the X-Men, Lorna Dane, now.
Justin slightly pushes through the crowd to the shining and smiling face of Lorna, which instantly falls as soon as she sees him, the phone, and the weird sling.
Lorna: Um, hi? D’ya want me to sign the cast-thing or…?
JPIII: Justin Partridge III, GC616 News. I wondered if you might have a comment on the recent allegations that have come to light about your former team’s actions during the Latverian Embassy Crisis of 1986?
Lorna: Eighty-Six? Um…That’s X-Factor biz, dude. I’m on the X ::she fans her hands into an X for emphasis:: MEN now. You might have heard? “I AM the Big Gun”? That sorta stuff? Basically, I rule.
JPIII: No, you absolutely do and I’m a Capital H HUGE fan, but recent reports have alleged that you and your team, specifically Rahne Sinclair, not only failed to quell the mutant aggression in the Latverian Embassy, but also basically SERVED the rebels to Doctor Doom in order for him to execute them personally.
Lorna blinks heavily and purses her lips in thought for a second. She takes an additional beat to take a long, heavy drag from her coffee, draining it completely and then basically crushing it into a dwarf star with her hand.
Lorna: This is about that stupid f&*$in’ “Legends” comic, isn’t it?
JPIII: W-well, I’m not at liberty to reveal a source-
Lorna: No, f%^k that, gimmie yer stupid phone.
She flexes her open hand forward and Justin’s Phone/Camera (But Mostly Phone) flashes to her hand in less than a second (also flinging Justin forward several dozen feet, spilling him onto the grass, and unfurling the arm sling in the background).
Lorna: I know a lot of you weird-beards out there are crazy obsessed with “continuity”. That, for some ungodly reason, there is an entire market of comics out there explicitly geared towards providing you dinks the “story before the story” or the “stories between the stories” or WHAT-ever. Here’s the thing, though. Stories don’t really need to BE EXPLAINED. Nor does every single “iconic” moment need to be led up to or “fleshed out” in some needless way. Stories are meant to be ENJOYED and the stories you’ve already read? Those “Iconic” ones? They are done. You don’t need to go back to them. In fact, you should actively AVOID it. Why do you wanna hear the same bulls%^t twice? From some “different angle”, no less? Who? The? F$&k? CARES? I certainly don’t. Neither should you. We are doin’ PLENTY of new stuff here. Pay attention or it won’t be new anymore and you will have missed everything cool and died angry.
She takes a beat.
Lorna: Those Simonson issues were pretty cool though…
She drops the phone and walks back toward The Treehouse. The Camera cuts back to the studio.
Reagan:Another elucidating report Justin. Now something a little special. We now bring you a new reporter in the field. They came to us in a letter from our parent station’s lead anchor Dan. He said that this reporter comes highly regarded in the circles of magic… Well, let’s check in with what they’ve got for us.
The framing of Reagan suddenly shifts from the long focal length of a studio camera to the wide-angle lens of an iPhone as it’s clear to the audience they’re seeing on the street footage. The “reporter” is faced away from them, bathed in the neon lights of Lowtown in Madripoor as rain trickles down a dark green half cloak. The cameraman and the reporter’s pace is steady as they push through their ways through the crowded streets of Madripoor, the camera bouncing with the camera person’s footsteps. Despite the streets brimming with lights, sounds, and souls…the only voice that could be heard through the speakers of the viewers displays was their voice.
Stranger: Thank you for joining me tonight, viewers. As you can see, I come to you from the lovely streets of Madripoor. I apologize but I do need to bring you with me for just a moment as I speak to someone.
His hand motions for the camera to follow him into a large and rather rowdy bar with large neon letters above the bar that reads “Princess Bar”. For a moment, the camera catches a glimpse under the hooded cloak. Most of the reporter’s face is covered in a mask other than his mouth. He waves his hand for the cameraperson to sit. The reporter sat across from another suspicious figure who started to speak to him, the voices coming in clear to the audience.
Baron Mordo: Always a pleasure, Taneli. Dr. Strange had a strange visitor, the Masked Raider. There was a quick spat between the two as they measured their manhoods with spells and abilities before taking a chance to speak.
The audience gathers the stranger’s name from the conversation, Taneli.
Taneli: As in Masked Raider from the Enclave? That group has made and broken kings. What does the Raider want from Strange?
Mordo: It seems as if another member, Carlo Zota the true last member of the enclave, was creating some experiment which doesn’t matter. What matters is that Zota was trying to use a book of magic to use a time magic spell.
Taneli: As if regular magic didn’t come at a cost. Did you bring what I needed?
Mordo: A simple water breathing incantation? Yes, I have it. But I want you to know, they’ve reformed the Defenders. A rather hodgepodge team…
Without missing a beat, a small object clanked onto the table and a small pile of tarot cards laid across the table.
Taneli: I have to keep tabs on the magic users, I have to stay three steps ahead. If I’m not, if I falter, I die. Again. There is your payment. The Defenders are somewhere before time, meaning there is no chance for Strange to help me. Thank you for meeting me here. I have to go. Oh, Mordo! One last thing.
Taneli stood up from the table and gestured his hand up and twirled it, light forming around it before the camera was turned away from him. It only took a moment for the audience to realize that there was no camera man. The camera was being held afloat through magic, a weak magic though that caused it to falter.
Taneli: Our meeting was broadcast multiverse wide so if you turned on me, everyone would see. So until next time.
The camera was now held by Taneli as he stepped through a portal as he turned the camera to himself. The mask was now clear to the audience as his cloak sputtered around him as he freefall through the sky downwards.
Taneli: Yes, I’m on the run. This gig is for money to support what needs to be done. So the Defenders are back, that’s news right? That’s what you came for. Right, anyway, see you soon.
As he is about to sign off for his report, his body hits the water hard as the splash swallows him and the phone. The feed fizzles as water ruins the phone and the feed goes black.
The camera cuts back to the studio.
Reagan: Well then. That’s all for tonight, see you all next time.
The logo flashes across the screen and fades out, the feed cut immediately afterwards.