(Spoilers for DC Comics released 08/31/2021)
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 is pacing behind his desk as his outline moves back and forth in front of the large window that looks 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 Evening 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 that I will be a bit distracted during tonight’s broadcast…
You see, Gotham is in trouble. Yes, yes, it’s a day that ends in Y but this feels different. Who knows? Maybe it will be resolved like every time a mad man takes control of the city, but this state of fear is different. This time there is corporate meddling and an incompetent Mayor giving full control to a power-hungry businessman. Have you seen how other News Stations have been reporting on the chaos in Gotham?
Dan: We are a self-owned station, so our agenda cannot be bought like those other stations. They’re trying to push blame of the City Hall bombing on the Unsanity Collective. A GROUP OF PEACEFUL &*#$ing PEOPLE trying to help Gotham. These other stations are saying they serve the will of Scarecrow… A disgraced academic turned serial killer by his yearning for control through fear. The stations are heralding Sean Mahoney as Simon Saint’s white knight of the Magistrate program. While most of the records from Arkham have been destroyed, former employees said that Mahoney was anything but a saint. And still, Mayor Nakano has full faith in this program.
I was born in Gotham, molded by it into something I wasn’t, and now I can’t sit behind this desk and do nothing. So the entire team that reports on Gotham will be moving closer to the action. We are setting up shop in one of Batman’s micro-caves in the city, thanks to a few favors I called in. Let’s check in with Violet about what’s going on with Harley…
The camera pans to Violet’s corner. A suitcase is open on her desk with her desktop and coffee machine sitting out.
Violet: FAMILY VACAY TO GOTHAM CITAY! WE GONNA HAVE A PARTAAAY WOOO!
Violet continues throwing ridiculous items into her suitcase before remembering about her segment.
Violet: OH! Right, Harley!
She shoves the suitcase off her desk causing everything to clatter to the floor. She fixes her hair for the camera and smiles.
Violet: My bad, Dan got me excited for this business trip! To update you all on the situation; Harley hasn’t had a break in a while, let’s be real. You all remember that new guy, Keepsake? Turns out he takes something from everyone; umbrellas, flame throwers, you name it. Now he’s come for Harley, beckoning her to rule by his side while he takes over the city during Fear State. I told you all we’d be in the shit soon, here we are!
But Harley wasn’t having it at all. Besides, she has a thing going on with Poison Ivy, who needs another madman looking to compensate for something by causing mass trauma and hysteria? Keepsake thinks Harley’s new path in life is a waste of time and to be blunt, Harley is sick of everyone’s shit and how they think they have a say about who she needs to be. That’s the update for now. I’ll continue my reports in the micro-Batcave! How exciting! Byeeeee!!
Violet turns to collect her suitcase from the floor and walks off-screen. When the camera returns to Dan, he’s in his office as Jerry pleads with him from across the desk.
Jerry: Dan, I am telling you that this Magistrate stuff… it’s about to get really really bad. I’ve seen what comes next and you do not get out of this alive.
Dan: Son, I’m a journalist. I was one of those costumed freaks once too… I cannot sit by as people die anymore. We’re going to Gotham. Have you seen the Oracle report? They would never stoke the flames of fear by alerting them that Batman is…
Dan takes a deep breath as he rubs his eyes.
Jerry: This is how the Future State starts! I’m not making this up.
Dan: Sometimes you have to face the future head-on or die trying. I need you to lead the reports till I get back.
Jerry: Right. Okay.
Dan: Switch the feed to Katie, I need to collect some things.
Cutting over to Katie, we see cats asleep in a circle on top of Katie’s desk in the newsroom. Colored all-black and all-white respectively, the cats form a yin and yang illusion. Katie pets both of them at the same time before speaking.
Katie: Hello, and welcome to GC52 with your multiverse news! My feline friend, Felicia, is joined by this white cat who showed up at my doorstep last night! I felt compelled to name her Selina. Welcome my furry little animals!
The best things come in pairs, right? Well, I’ve got a pair of stories today that will knock your whiskers off! Remember that movie buff somehow controlling realities? Auteur.io? The dude got an awakening last week and we will respectfully refer to the god as Observer.io now. Superman and Batman decided to cross over in each others’ realities under the watchful eye of Observer.io. Is anyone else confused by all these Lex Luthors and Bruce Waynes running around multiple realities? No?
Superman traveled to the World of the Knight in Gotham. Another version of Lex Luthor captured a…Lex Luthor and experimented on the guy in Arkham Asylum. How did this Lex Luthor gain warden access over Arkham? I wouldn’t want to visit any of these realities, in my opinion. The cross-contaminated timelines/worlds/whatever they are now allow Superman and Batman access to any place in the multiverse. Luthor’s mysterious omni-battery and his army of villains were no match for Superman! Unfortunately, the controlling device Luthor was using to try to turn Metropolis into…sigh…Lexopolois (man this guy is unoriginal) contained an innocent man trapped inside! Superman brought the man’s family to his imprisonment, allowing him to overcome Luthor’s control over the omni-battery.
I know this is a lot of information. Hang in there, because we’ve got trouble with the Bat awaiting!
The two cats look up, sensing shifts in the multiverse. Annoyed, they circle around one another until they cuddle back into their comfortable position.
Katie: In the idyllic World of the Tomorrow reality, Batman and Robin set off to capture an escaped inmate from Blackgate Penitentiary. Surprisingly, “Bizarro Two-Face” was a familiar…face! Batman and Robin had faced off with the disfigured Bruce Wayne and his notorious mother, Martha, before. This time, Bizarro Two-Face grabbed his mother and rampaged through Gotham before the heroes could put an end to the chaos. However, the dynamic duo learned some crucial tactical advantages from their previous encounter with the renegade Waynes.
Katie: Bizarro returned to Crime Alley, where his father had been killed. In an attempt to rectify the situation, Bizarro’s split personality could not decide whether to kill or not kill Martha! Batman used Bizarro’s opposite logic to make the decision for him with a simple coin flip trick. What a crafty Bat! Detective work was on full display. Now, let’s hope Batman and Superman can save all reality from an…enraged Alfred Pennyworth? The butler? Yin and yang, Batman and Superman, Felicia and Selina: You never know what side of the coin will land face up these days!
From the corner of the main camera, Dan can be seen and heard talking on the phone.
Dan: So Ivy is alive? She’s just…split? I’ve heard much wilder things, but that still gives the side of the good an upper hand as long as Harley can help make her whole again. Love prevails right? Thanks, GM. The team will be in Gotham as soon as possible.
Dan walks into the sight of the camera as Jerry approaches him.
Jerry: Listen, I spoke with Midnighter… He’s the only other person who knows about the Future State. See, he was on Warworld in the Future with Sup- I can’t tell you that. But he came back with this dude Trojan in his head. You know that other “tech-genius” who eventually goes too far. So he has been stuck in this sort of time loop. Every time, his partner dies so he came back to fix things. Well, Trojan made their own mother box but he did end up killing him and ending the loop from what I understand.
Dan: Why are you telling me this?
Jerry: Because maybe you’re right. Maybe things can change if we do something. Just don’t fail. I don’t want to see the Spectre again. Smells like brimstone and a graveyard.
Dan: Thanks, Jerry. Okay, cut over to Bree, let’s check in with them.
A frazzled-looking woman in a white sundress and a large, floppy hat appears on the screen. The sun is beginning to set behind her as she stands in the middle of a quaint-looking street. Small shops and apartments line either side.
Bree: Hello there, folks! I’ve had quite the eventful day in upstate New York following- Er, checking in on- the fresh faces of Titans Academy. It’s the first day of summer break for the youngins’. How do the metahuman and gifted non-humans spend their holidays? A question I was hoping to answer for you today, but things seem to have gotten a little…strange.
The reporter gestures to the storefronts, some of which are boarded up and/or have broken windows.
Bree: A small town previously known for its hospitality towards all types. Now boarded up and seemingly abandoned-
Bree looks over her shoulder before signaling to the camera person and ducking behind the nearest building. The camera follows her but turns slightly to angle between the building and part of the street.
Unknown Voice: …Move fast everyone, Gregg’s depending on us.
A group of four young people can be seen jogging through the street for a moment before they disappear from the camera’s view.
Bree: Interesting…the child that resembles a Gorilla seems to be missing from the rest of the group. I had spotted all five of them together earlier in the day. I do wonder why they’re so concerned with finding someone that seems to be very capable of defending themselves. The other four students go by Chupacabra, Tress, Stitch, and Summer. I’ve discovered Summer has ice powers though, isn’t that a cute bit of irony?! Oh! And…the gossip report in me can’t help but notice an air of romantic tension between Chupacabra and-
A pair of adults- likely townspeople- are seen in the street, seemingly headed in the opposite direction as the teens. They’re carrying pitchforks and torches.
Bree: Oh no…I can’t say I’m dressed for a cult meeting. Uhh…I’m going to end the broadcast until I can figure out how to blend in. Things are really heating up. And people say upstate is boring, ha! Until next time, back to you Dan!
When the camera returns to Dan, he’s speaking to Jerry the intern just off-screen. He seems rather worried, an open file is on his desk, one Dan has clearly just finished reading. His reading glasses lay on top of the report.
Dan: …sure this is legit? I don’t want to read something like this on-air, worrying our viewers about what kind of implications this could have. We cannot be wrong about this especially now.
Jerry: I’m sure, boss. Ethan hand-delivered it to me. He stepped through one of those sliding-door teleporters. Looked like hell, as if he’d just seen something real bad, which I think that report of his backs up.
He gives a silent acknowledgment to Jerry, and then Dan turns to the camera, his calm smile not quite hiding a small hint of worry in his voice.
Dan: Viewers, I have a report in front of me directly delivered to us from Agent 17 of the DEO regarding the latest developments in the multiverse situation I’ve reported on previously. I’m going to read it verbatim so you know exactly what’s going on, and what measures are being taken to stop this encroaching disaster.
He picks up his reading glasses from the desk and begins to read the report.
For storage in DEO Archives regarding Operation: Infinite Frontier.
Report compiled by Agent 17.
I’ve lost any trust in Mr. Bones that I had. Recommendations have been made that he be removed from further DEO operations, providing he survives. The Carrier Arks he was using to transport the captured heroes through the Multiverse crashed. Based on information I’ve picked up through the transmitters embedded in the Arks, they’re on an Earth referred to as Earth-Omega. This one didn’t exist on our radar until the last Crisis (See Case File: Death Metal).
It looks like this X-Tract person that Bones was working with is actually another Cameron Chase, one who was erased during the first Crisis (See Case File: CotE), but has since been returned to existence. I don’t know, it’s bad.
But it seems we’ve at least found where Flash vanished to. He was captured by Psycho-Pirate on this Earth-Omega as part of some plot to close off each universe to its own sector, making multiversal travel impossible. This is what Bones was working towards. He was part of this plan from the beginning.
The heroes that were there joined forces to take on the Pirate’s “Injustice Incarnate”. But just as they were about to finish the fight, he showed up.
And that’s when the feeds cut out. I’ve been awake for 51 hours as of writing this, trying to reestablish some sort of contact, but it’s been useless. I’m filing this now in the hope that my next update will be more hopeful. Superman knows I could do with some right about now.
Dan places the file back on his desk, removes his reading glasses, and looks at the camera.
Dan: So there you have it, folks, Darkseid is… back. You know, Dr. Crane is well known for one theory, especially after he started stuffing the burlap sack. It’s called “The Fear State Theory” and it essentially puts forward the idea that society would evolve if given a tremendous shock to the system.
With everything going on in Gotham and the Multiverse… Seems like the Fear State is upon us. We can only hope that the Bat-Signal is still burning on the other side… ‘Till next week, I’m your host Dan McMahon. Be strong in all your convictions.
Books covered this week:
- Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1 by James Tynion IV, Riccardo Federici, Chris Sotomayor, and Clayton Cowles.
- Harley Quinn Annual #1 by Stephanie Phillips, David LaFuente, Marco Failla, Jon Sommariva, Miguel Muerto, and AndWorld Design.
- Batman/Superman Annual #1 by Gene Luen Yang, Francesco Francavilla, and ALW’s Troy Peteri. Paul Pelletier, Mick Gray, and Hi-Fi.
- Midnighter Annual #1 by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma, and Dave Sharpe.
- Teen Titans Academy #6 by Tim Sheridan, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Ulises Arreola, and Rob Leigh.
- Infinite Frontier #1 by Joshua Williamson, Paul Pelletier, Jesús Merino, Tom Derenick, Norm Rapmund, Raul Fernandez, Hi-Fi, and Tom Napolitano.