(Spoilers for DC Comics released 09/07/2021)
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. Intern Jerry sits at the center of the newsroom behind his desk. This week he’s wearing a t-shirt that says “Jokerize deez nutz”. The large window behind him looks out over Metropolis. The setting sun sparkles off the Daily Planet Globe, the crown jewel of the City of Tomorrow. The GC52 theme music begins to dim as the actual program begins.
Jerry: 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! Jerry here filling in for Dan while he is on assignment in Gotham. Just doing my part to bring you up to the minute updates on the worlds you live in!
So you remember when Dan went to that nice house on the lake? They got an email over to us, well to Dan…but I’m sitting at his desk so I opened it. They were running out of food and stuff but they got some magic notepad that makes packages appear the next day. I would just write 900 copies of Shrek 2 to see if it happened. Sorry, that was insensitive, I’m really nervous doing this. Bad things are happening to those people. They can’t die and things are looking… bad. Just really bad. I hope they’re alright.
Our next story comes from an unusual source, this message in a bottle found floating in the sink of the GC52 office break room. While we don’t usually endorse weird ways to submit stories like this, it’s about time someone investigated these strange headaches people are reporting worldwide.
Jerry begins reading the message.
Dear Diary, things have been pretty tense aboard the Manta-sub recently. Ever since the boss found that weird rock he’s been a man possessed. Even when we’re after the fish-man he never gets this intense. It all started when he began getting these strange headaches and had to hunt down this artifact, but Captain Demo went and stole it from him. So Black Manta went after him on his own and took it back with ease and we even got some fine plunder from that loser’s ship. Picked up some new recruits from his crew too!
I got a peek at this rock a while ago and I really don’t see the fuss. Just a stone with weird red lines on it. Boss is working with Gallous the Goat (who is a human woman, not an actual goat) to figure out what’s going on, and all the bickering between those two is making the sub miserable with all this talk of “morality”. I hope this rock stuff is figured out soon, we haven’t tried to kill Aquaman in weeks! Anyways, time to throw this diary entry into the ocean to annoy Atlantis!
Mark the Manta-man
Jerry: We sent out the best reporter the seven seas have to offer in order to investigate further. There…aren’t many reporters that live on the seas though, so all we got back was a jumbled voicemail from a “Captain Jim”.
Captain Jim: OK OK OK. HEAR ME OUT HERE. The Human Flame’s the key here. It all comes back to him. Word on the high seas is there’s someone running around stealing the Human Flame’s essence and doing Doctor Fate magic. Speaking of magic, my friend Dead Dave also told me there’s a lady with a fire sword causing trouble in the underworld and there’s no such thing as a coincidence where magic is involved. Probably a magic rock causing all of this too!
Jerry: I hope you enjoyed those random unrelated facts and just remember, it’s easier to teach a reporter to sail than a pirate to report.
An overlay image of Crush appears to Jerry’s right.
Jerry: Did you all hear that Crush escaped space prison? Honestly, good for her. Sounds like her dad betrayed her which ya know…tracks for Lobo from what I know. Maybe she had some time to really think about how she is betraying herself in all of her relationships with the issues she has with… never mind not her therapist. I just love gossip and I love people getting through their baggage. Oh, emergency report coming in!
On the screen, bold letters flash in front of a blaring red background reading, UPDATE. The camera cuts to Katie wearing a SAVE THE GREEN! T-shirt. Felicia also appears to be donning a verdant-colored shirt on her little cat body.
Katie: Urgent news today, Earth-lovers! Felicia and I finally bought matching outfits. Doesn’t she look purr-fect in her tiny kitty shirt!
As if on cue, Felicia stands up on her hind legs and lifts her paws to reveal her SAVE THE GREEN! shirt.
Katie: Look at that! Talented and beautiful. She’s a cat of all trades! On to the actual news report I’m required to give you now. We last heard word from intel relaying information about Task Force X’s plan to capture the mysterious green force disrupting Kaziranga forest. Sources report a deluge of trouble raining down on the infamous Suicide Squad members deployed inside. Antihero Heat Wave was recovered after team leader Rick Flag found Heat Wave’s body half-drowned, along with his equipment. It must have taken an immense threat to extinguish his flame!
A green god himself, Chemo split off from the rest of the group, leaving destruction in his wake. Who told him he could fight fire with fire by decimating the marshland even further? SAVE THE GREEN PEOPLE!!
Again, Felicia rises. She points a black paw at the barely scrutable words on her shirt and taps in consolidation.
Katie: See! Even Felicia doesn’t like what she’s hearing about all this mangled forest mess. I have scarce details about the location of the other Task Force members, Parasite and Asa. Amanda Waller must be feeling the heat now! Oops, too soon?
All we can say for certain is this: The Suicide Squad is scattered throughout Kaziranga, and the “Swamp Thing” they are hunting remains at large. I believe a supernatural force is battling against — or with? — Mother Nature here. It sounds like a nightmare out there. No one will be resting easy tonight. The search for the “Swamp Thing” has run into some major roadblocks. Thankfully, we can’t hear anyone scream in the forest…I’ll have a new update soon. Let’s hope we don’t get another visit from King Shark again! Also, SAVE THE GREEN! T-shirts are available on my website at-
The camera cuts Katie off before she can offer unsolicited promotional material on-air.
Jerry: You think Swamp Thing ever… hits the green? Darkseid’s Lettuce? Joker’s Laughing Grass? Poison Ivy’s Smokey Kiss? Speaking of lighting it up, let’s check in with Jordan about Task Force X.
As the camera cuts, a small room comes into view, Jordan adjusts his chair and riffles through different folders and books.
Jordan: Welcome back to our top-secret Bell Reve branch for GC52. It has been an incredibly eventful few days here with a move to a new location which unfortunately is confidential. Anyway, let me get you up to speed. The Squad recently encountered Superboy on assignment on Earth 3. Of course, this was more than a little strange given that Superboy was already on the Squad. Our own Superboy didn’t take well to this imposter, in much the same way as this other motorcycle Superboy.
As the two came to blows, the rest of the Squad fulfilled their assignment. Turns out this assignment was recovering a whole lot of Superboy clones which Waller had kept as a secret, even worse than that is the fact that our Superboy wasn’t the real one after all. Instead, he’s a defective clone called Match who was unaware of his own identity. After securing the clones, the Squad was suddenly teleported back to our new base.
Ambush Bug: Whoa there, you don’t wanna forget the stinger at the end of the annual do you?
Jordan: Ugh. Sorry everyone this is Task Force X’s newest teleporter, Ambush Bug. What are you talking about Bug?
Ambush Bug: Well at the end of the issue Robbie Thompson revealed that the escaped Rick Flag has recruited the original Mirror Master Sam Scudder for a new Suicide Squad designed to stop Waller.
Jordan begins looking progressively annoyed the more Ambush Bug talks.
Jordan: Uh-huh, sure. Look I don’t think I’m gonna be able to get you to leave, so please at least simmer down and stay quiet. Anyway, the Squad got a bit of downtime in a simulated reality. Unfortunately, our friend Ambush Bug here broke some bad news to the Squad.
Ambush Bug: Bad news?! Hey buddy someone needs to keep this story rolling
Jordan: I said be quiet, please. It turns out that Nocturna is from another Earth, was brought here by Bloodsport, and brainwashed into believing she was of this Earth. All this intrigue was promptly interrupted however by a bunch of demons sent into the simulated reality by Waller. She’s testing the Squad to enter hell itself and reach the Rock of Eternity.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the Squad has run into a bit of an obstacle as a group calling themselves the Hell Squad has appeared. These seem to be previous members of Task Force X who died in the field, and they’ve returned with a vengeance. We’ve since lost contact with the Squad and are trying to bring comms back online now. I’ll be sure to update you as this progresses. But in the meantime, just remember that you didn’t hear any of this from me.
Ambush Bug: Ooooo very ominous.
The camera cuts before Ambush Bug decides to teleport into the studio.
Jerry: Thomas is in this week! This should be…enlightening. Get it? Like Green Lanterns ligh-
Thomas stands in front of a dead screen.
Thomas: Hello Jerry, I’m standing in front of the GC52 Smart Report Interactive Screen, which as you can see is powered down. I had all kinds of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold footage queued up for display, but apparently someone told those dunderheads that NFTs exist, and now every smart device that tries to show an image of them…well, see for yourself.
Thomas turns on the display, which momentarily shows Blue Beetle and Booster Gold in an exciting car chase before pop-up ads for “Blue & Gold” shaving kits, mattresses, food crates, and website tutorials fill the screen and cause it to freeze.
Thomas: So that’s what the media is dealing with. This NFT menace arrives on the heels of Booster Gold’s announcement that the two superheroes are available for less-than-Justice-League level jobs and threats on a pro-bono basis. Every recorded moment of their exploits becomes a digital product for sale that, itself, promotes another product with their name on it. Kord Industries is bankrolling the initiative, which goes to show that the only thing trust fund babies have more of than discretionary spending is time and industry to waste.
Jerry: Thomas, is there any risk of “Blue and Gold” clients being used in future advertisements, especially if these, excuse me, en-eff-tees can manipulate devices used to watch them?
Thomas: That’s an excellent question, Jerry. NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, were invented by the Riddler as a means to skim rich people who want to skim middle-class people who want to skim poor people. It’s all tracked on a digital ledger that perfectly accounts for all transactions except when it doesn’t, and uses enough energy to qualify as a Swamp Thing story. This crossover sounds brutal, but I have hope that people can tell the difference between a risky investment and unadulterated bull–
Thomas’s video and audio feed freeze as a 3D rendering of Booster’s face appears in front of him to address the camera.
Booster Gold: Hello, fans and Gold Club members! Blue & Gold Restoration LLC does not endorse this fake news valuation of NFT markets. Any ideas or strategies discussed herein should not be undertaken by any individual without prior consultation with a financial professional for the purpose of assessing whether the ideas or strategies that are discussed are suitable to you based on your own personal financial objectives, needs, and risk tolerance. Blue & Gold Restoration LLC expressly disclaims any liability or loss incurred by any person who acts on the information, ideas, or strategies discussed herein. Stay golden!
The Booster graphic disappears, and regular video and audio resume. Jerry is visibly disturbed.
Jerry: Moving on… Thomas, you’re pulling double duty this week, as there have been quite a few developments among the Green Lanterns. Care to bring us up to speed?
Thomas is drenched in sweat and slurring his words.
Thomas: Umm let’s shee herr… new information indurcates that Lantern Mullein met with Sinestro to discuss potato involvement in the attack on Oa. Lantern Stewart has been deployed to investigate Gold Centurions and their presence in the Dark Section following the Barrier War, including whether New Gods are involved.
Jerry: Thomas, everything okay over there? You haven’t been hitting the sauce between takes, have you?
Thomas: I feel abs…
Thomas begins melting from the top-down, becoming a pile of goo and JCPenney clothing. Jerry is once again visibly disturbed.
Jerry: Oh my. Security? We might have a supervillain attacking us? Someone call janitorial, at least!
The real Thomas kicks in the studio doors, microphone in hand, letting in glorious yellow light.
Thomas: That was just a lifelike model biding for time while I made my way here in person, Jerry. We’ve got CRUZ NEWS!
Confetti and released birds burst forth from all directions as a choir’s powerful chords wash over the studio space.
Thomas: Okay, first off. We knew Jessica was a Yellow Lantern, right? Like, we all knew. But what was really going on there? We finally got the full scoop. Not only did she defeat three Yellow Lanterns while depowered in a derelict space station, not only did she drop the gauntlet at Sinestro’s door, but she used a yellow ring to put Hal Jordan in his cocky place afterward, too! What a hero. What an inspiration.
Jerry: What will this mean for Cruz’s standing within the Green Lantern Corps? Soranik Natu has jumped corps before, but are the Yellow Bogeypeople really so trustworthy?
Thomas: They are when Jessica’s taking point. Her sensitivity to fear means she can find strong expressions of the emotion and act to help those situations. There’s a whole candle metaphor that gets the point across beautifully. Lantern Quintela is some ten steps behind Cruz on using rather than abusing Sinestro’s Corps.
Jerry: That all sounds rather promising. How are other prominent Lanterns taking this power shift?
Thomas: Kilowog returned from some space raid with barely a few survivors, sounds like a rough day. He’ll probably take it well. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are Rao knows where at the moment. If they’re feeling profound fear, though, they have a friend on the way! ‘Til next time, Jerry.
Jerry: Thank you, Tho-
Jerry’s replacement intern rushes in front of the camera, tears off his shirt, and screams “CRUZ NEWS” just before blacking out.
Jerry: Now I know how Dan felt like when I was interning here. You’ll remember viewers that over the last few weeks we’ve been receiving reports from an ex-GC52 reporter, Ethan. He’s actually a DEO agent and has been assisting with an investigation into the Multiverse. Well, looks like everything that’s been happening has drawn to a close. Let’s take a read of what Agent 17 had to say.
Jerry picks up a report from the desk and begins to read.
For storage in DEO Archives regarding Operation: Infinite Frontier.
Compiled by Agent 17.
It’s over. Our heroes are back home. Is it a win? In the long-term, hard to say. But right now, at this very moment, yeah, the Chase, JSA, and Justice Incarnate did it. So once this report is filed, I’m going on break. I’m gonna lie down on a sun lounger at some beach, with a cold can of MultiBrewery, and do nothing for a week.
But first, what happened exactly? Well, turns out Justice Incarnate had been investigating everything that’s happened from their side, just the same as Chase and JSA were conducting their own investigations. After communications were cut off on Earth-Omega as they all converged on Darkseid, Chase filled me in on what went down. It’s a lot, some stuff involving our Earth’s Flash being controlled to chain the universes off from each other. Injustice Incarnate being defeated by the combined forces of the heroes present. President Superman of Earth-23 rescuing Flash. And in the end, with his plans thwarted, Darkseid sending everyone back to their own universe, except Flash. No one knows where he is.
Now, what’s happened with the DEO, well, Bones vanished. No surprise there after his plan failed. So Chase now has charge of the organization. Good I say, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone I trust as much as her. She’ll steer us right. And we’ll find Bones soon enough. Anyway, she’s in New York right now debriefing Roy Harper. He went through some stuff during this old thing but I think he’ll be okay.
Once Chase is back and I’m done with my holiday, I’m going to ask about getting a posting in Justice Incarnate’s base. Having a permanent presence there will be good and hopefully help prevent something like Operation: Infinite Frontier from happening again. But first thing I’ll be doing when I’m back is catching up with an old friend.
Jerry places the report back on his desk and looks to the camera.
Jerry: I think I know who this old friend is and well, that’s gonna be something. To end our report tonight, I’m handing you back over to Dan who is coming live from a Batcave in Gotham City. I will see you next week.
When the report cuts over to Dan, he looks nothing like he normally does. Gotham City is a hellscape where suits and ties don’t cut it. His hair is pulled back by a black bandana with the bat symbol on full display at the front to show his allegiance if it comes down to it. His eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep due to keeping such long hours. His normal formal attire is replaced with his worn GC52 T-shirt hidden beneath a heavy bulletproof vest with a spray-painted bright teal bat symbol on his chest. The lid to his thermos pops off as he takes a long swig of his coffee.
Dan: Evening viewers, it’s only been a week since I’ve arrived in Gotham but things are not great. Since Oracle was taken over by some hijacker, people have had fear driven deep into their hearts like a stake. But we are out here doing what we can in the city. It’s been a long time since I’ve been home in Gotham but this is what needs to happen…
Dan takes a deep breath as he rolls his neck to release some tension.
Dan: Saint’s propaganda reports continue to run on every major news station but ours… Must be easy to have the Devil’s hands in your pocket to slip you a 20. But he’s trying to make sure Gotham knows his intentions are pure… That he wants to build a new Gotham. I think the people of Gotham know better than to trust the Magistrate program. They’re just Robocop’s with their prime directive to serve their masters’ whim. What Gotham needs isn’t a police state, it needs the Bat.
A loud buzzing can be heard from one of many pouches on Dan’s person as he pulls out his phone to answer. The phone has been patched directly into the Ghost-Net, the network the bat-family is working from in this crisis. He speaks off-camera for a bit before lifting it up again to speak.
Dan: Batman is alive. I hope people see this report because Batman lives. The Scarecrow captured him and things sound worse than we thought. His tech has had a major upgrade somehow… Maybe a tech mogul helped him? But my contact is beneath Gotham with Queen Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Ivy’s ex-girlfriend The Gardener. The Unsanity Collective is down there with them so they’re safe currently. For the time being, things are calm. But eye of the storm… I have a strange feeling that Saint has something much worse coming for Gotham.
Now I have to get back on the streets to help people. 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.
Books covered this week:
- Batman #112 by James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
- Crush and Lobo #4 by Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tamra Bonvillain, and Ariana Maher.
- The Nice House on the Lake #4 by James Tynion IV, Álvaro Martínez Bueno, Jordie Bellaire, and AndWorld Design.
- Black Manta #1 by Chuck Brown, Valentine de Landro, Marissa Louise, and Clayton Cowles.
- The Swamp Thing #7 by Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer, and Aditya Bidikar.
- Suicide Squad #7 by Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Marcelo Maiolo, and Wes Abbott.
- Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1 by Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Dexter Soy, Chris Sotomayor, and Wes Abbott.
- Blue & Gold #2 by Dan Jurgens, Ryan Sook, and Rob Leigh.
- Green Lantern #6 by Geoffrey Thorne, Marco Santucci, Tom Raney, Mike Atiyeh, and Simon Bowland.
- Green Lantern 2021 Annual #1 by Ryan Cady, Sami Basri, Tom Derenick, Hi-Fi, and Rob Leigh.
- Infinite Frontier #6 by Joshua Williamson, Xermánico, Romulo Fajardo Jr, and Tom Napolitano.