The GC616 logo flashes across the screen before fading to reveal Reagan sitting at the desk like always.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616. The Bullseye lockdown continues, now in its tenth day, no updates have been issued by the authorities who are requesting that citizens continue to stay inside their homes and away from any uncovered windows. As usual, we will update you on the details as they become available.
In the meantime, here’s Justin with some news about the comic series Conan.
Justin Partridge III sits behind his usual taped together TV trays, but he looks concerningly happy this time, dressed head to toe in a Pilgrim outfit. A grim black one, complete with tall, wide brimmed hat, riding cloak, and sword belt, which houses a rapier. An odd staff-like object adored with the head of a wolf leans against the main anchor table. Draped across the front of the trays is a poorly hung streamer-paper banner that reads “HAPPY 300 ISSUES, CONAN!” and to the side of the trays a low sitting lawn chair stands.
Justin gestures wildly with his hands as he speaks.
JPIII: Hello again, Citizen Fleshies! MAN, do I have a treat for you today. Here in the studio today, all the way from Aquilonia and The Hyborian Age! The man celebrating a whopping THREE HUNDRED ISSUES! The one, the only, CONAN, THE CIMMERIAN!
Justin takes his phone from the cloak and starts to play a random Basil Poledouris track as Conan The Barbarian steps cautiously into the studio. He is wearing one of his borrowed Hellfire Club frocks but holds a wicked looking double-headed axe. He sits but lays the axe on his lap, eying the off-screen crew menacingly.
JPIII: Conan! Thank y-
Conan: My wine.
JPIII: OH! Yeah, of course!
Justin reaches behind the trays and lifts up a comically huge clay jug of wine. He hands it, with some effort, to Conan, who seems able to lift and drink from it with one hand.
JPIII: So, Conan. 300 issues! That’s a big deal! Did you have any idea when you first met the Frost Giant Daughter that you would end up here? 300 issues later?
Conan seems to have finished the wine. He eyes Justin closer.
Conan: Why are you dressed as a priest?
JPIII: It’s not…I’m Solomon Kane.
Conan: KANE!? THAT BRIGAND!?
JPIII: NO, WAIT IT’S A COSTUME!
But his axe is already up and the battle is joined! Justin barely gets his sword and staff drawn before Conan hits him with a mighty glancing blow, launching him through his section of the backdrop. Sparks fly! But Conan seems satisfied with the single blow and he leaves the studio, taking a huge handful of deli meat from the crew table before he does.
Justin’s head emerges from the hole. Except…it isn’t his face. The synthetic flesh once showing Justin’s face has ripped away…to reveal the face of MACHINE MAN! Or at least A Machine Man. Now dressed in a ruined Justin suit and Solomon Kane cosplay.
X-52: B-*ack-ack-ack*ZZYT! T-T-TO you, <Lead Anchor Designate>.
He falls backward in a clatter of gears. The feed cuts back to Reagan, who has a surprised look on her face.
Reagan: Umm. I’m sure Justin is fine. Now let’s catch up with Taneli and the Defenders.
The report switches from the high quality 4k resolution that the studio cameras are capable of to a much granier security camera feed. Taneli floats in his prison cell behind the refined Atlantean bars. His cloak floats in the water behind him with no noticeable breathing apparatuses for someone who from the looks of it is a regular human. A blue skinned atlantean swims by as they make their prison rounds to ensure no one has escaped from King Namor’s bondage. He floats towards the bars and looks up at the camera, his eyes perking up behind his half mask with a large smile on his face.
Taneli: Hello again viewers. It’s been sometime since we last met. I’ve been without any form of communication since I splashed down into the oceans. I did find Atlantis or more like they found me. King Namor had me locked up here as a trespasser as I was peeking through their armory for the item which I seek. I am still new to this world of magic so bear with me as I stumble my way to find what I need. So I have been a prisoner for some time.
He held up his wrists that were bound together with a coral cover set of chains. As the viewers watched, Taneli’s fingers and hands moved as if they were dancing as the water itself heated up. The metal grew hotter as it expanded enough for Taneli to slip his hands out.
Taneli: Perfect, finally got that right. I would have had to wait another week if that didn’t work. You’re here to hear about the Defenders, aren’t you? They’re stuck in a time before time. A world before our, well, your world. Carlo Zota is a rogue scientist spiraling through that time and the Defenders are there to stop him at the request of the Masked Raider. Now they’re in the Sixth Cosmos on Taa. Turns out that’s where Galactus was born. A destroyer from the world before.
As Taneli speaks, his hands wave again as the bars shift in opposite directions so he can swim through. The camera feed changes to the next camera as he makes his way through the city, each capturing his report, controlled by his magic.
Taneli: The Silver Surfer is on this team… the Herald of Galactus. The mothman of planetary devouring if you will. Imagine being faced with the being that is at the root of so much of your own suffering and the suffering of billions? What choice would you make? I doubt the Silver Surfer would kill a child but hope to set him on a path to a better future. Taaia, Galactus’s mother, helps the team face the devourer of the world before. Who just so happens to have made Raider’s friend Zota his herald. One moment…
As Tanelli swims into a clearing, a group of Atlantean guards turn their sights onto him. If he wasn’t quick with his hands, he would have been killed. But before they could strike, a portal was opened that they were all sucked into as the guards and the water were teleported far across the galaxy to the planet of Frost Giants. A true chiller of a realization for them.
Taneli: The Defenders uses a weapon of pure emotion to handle Omnimax, their version of Galactus, before being sucked even further back in time and reality. Sticky situation but it’s good for me. Good that I need not worry about Stephen Strange meddling into my affairs. I am off to somewhere a lot dryer than this. Actually, a place almost out of time. Until then, stay safe.
Taneli enters one of the Atlantean’s ship’s as he commandeers it for his own needs. The camera lingers as the vehicle leaves the docking bay.
Reagan: Thanks Taneli! Now let’s go to Chad who is not coming to you via text this time.
Chad’s typical fanfare plays with heavy electronic beats with his sizzle reel opening his report. The highlight of this week’s reel starts with a still frame of a beautifully stenciled glass door that reads “Alias Investigations”. The stillness is broken as a woman in a leather jacket throws Chad through the glass and towards the camera. The reel ends and Chad is sitting on his couch in a C.M. Punk “Clobberin’ Time” shirt and a pair of boxers with Spider-Man logos printed across them.
Chad: What up my Chadlians! I just got back from Krakoa. Absolutely wild Labor Day Week. Did you know they grow everything there? Also they’ve got the magnets guy on trial. Not so mag neato. Also I was just watching that last report and only caught that Galactus’s mom is a total MILF. Sucks I’m not a celestial but it’s not the size that counts.
Chad turns off his TV so he can start his report.
Chad: Sorry my boy C.M. Punk is back in the ring. Anyway, Spider-Man! Finally something happened. You ever see those gaslight, gatekeep, girl boss memes? No? I’ll tweet some for you. Anyway, The Human Centipede turns out to be the bone-zone consequences of Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy. But it’s not. Turns out Harry Osborn gatekept, gaslight, girl bossed his dad into clapping some robot cheeks. Basically he worked with some bad dudes to make robots and make these fake offspring. Listen, Norman ain’t a good guy but what kind of shitty parenting leads to your kid building a robot that you take on a one way trip to pound town? Sick stuff. That’s all I got this week. If anyone knows Galactuse’s hot momma, give her my number. Oh wait, I got something else!
Chad leans forward on his couch and opens his laptop, VERY quickly closing some tabs before anyone can see.
Chad: Check it. I found a super cool webcam to watch. You know how sometimes Zoo’s have 24 video feeds of penguins or hippos or something? I love watching those. They’re like my ASMR but now I found this super weird one.
Chad: I think it’s actually like a Go Pro or something strapped to a bird’s face. Super weird angle but I have been seeing some really cool stuff. There is this dude Ka-Zar and he died and came back. ARE I PEE to KA-ZAR but he got better. So he’s a smokeshow, his wife, Shanna, is a smokeshow, and they have a cool ass kid with like a flower launcher. Basically the coolest family on Earth.
Chad: So they fought a T-Rex, OH WAIT IS THIS THE SAVAGE LAND? At the party on Krakoa, Wolverine said if I gave him a good game ass slap again that he was gonna send me there. Dude was a great pong partner. Anyway, the T-Rex was on some Resident Evil business with some worm monster in it but Ka-Zar tossed it out like the trash after moping around for a minute.
Chad: Shanna said something at their dinner though. Wait actually maybe this stream isn’t legal? Maybe I shouldn’t watch this family eating dinner… anyway she said that they can’t eat the animals that they protect. It made me think about those little penguins at the zoo… I would be heartbroken if someone ate them. I really gotta think about this whole vegan thing a little bit more. Beer is vegan right? Anyway, back to you Reagitoni.
Reagan: Thanks Chad! Now we’ve got Kevin with some news about X-Force.
The camera cuts to Central Park. Kevin stands in his fedora and trenchcoat, looking extremely uncomfortable in the bright September sun. Beside him stands the blue furry form of Hank McCoy, frowning at Kevin.
Kevin: [Breathless] Reagan, I am here on an incredibly rare field operation outside my basem – uh, my operations center, for a coveted interview with one of the shadiest and hard to reach individuals on the entire planet.
Beast: You are here because I wished to let you know in person that I would like you to please stop trying to contact me, or indeed the other mutants you have been deluging with attempted communications.
Kevin: [Ignoring him] Now, Beast, if that is your real name
Beast: I can assure you it is not.
Kevin: You’ve been hiding out from the world for a very long time. Some people think you exist only as a legend, a rumor, a shadow in the night –
Beast: What on Earth are you talking about? I was an Avenger for several years. In fact, you see that bar on the corner? Simon and I once – but no. That was… another me. [Murmuring, as if to himself] In fact, perhaps it’s better that you do think of me this way.
Kevin: And what way is that? As a secret mastermind behind a global conspiracy against mankind itself???
Beast: [Nods to himself and then looks up, as if resolved] Yes. Why not. Yes, I do what I must to protect my people, and I do it well. And it is good for you – for humans – to be aware of what that entails. Especially after your recent appalling behavior.
Kevin: [Growing more excited] And that creature on the coast – those recent murders – you admit that you were-?
Beast: [Looking into the camera] What I admit is this: some of you humans attacked me- attacked Krakoa very recently, with your miniaturized assassins. Ingenious technology, but – thanks to my good friend Black Tom Cassidy – it has not worked. I am still here. And you, my Russian friends, will not be able to say the same for long.
Kevin: Is that – Russian – so –
Beast: I know who you are. I know what you’re doing. I know everything that transpires on this world now, and rest assured, I – we – will stop it. And on that note, I must bid you adieu. And you, strange little man – do not try to contact me again. I have known fine reporters in my day, and you are not among them.
He turns and strides off camera. Kevin barely notices, bouncing with excitement
Kevin: I knew it!! I knew it!! Oh they called me crazy, well who’s crazy now??? ‘Russian’ – He practically admitted he’s in bed with Putin – probably got kompromat on the whole nation!!! Man I’ve got to make sure they see this on Reddit
Kevin races out of frame. The camera hangs on the empty park for a moment, then cuts back to studio.
Reagan: We really need to vet our contributors better so we don’t keep bringing on conspiracy theorists. Anyways, thank you one again for tuning in to GC616, we’ll see you next time!