(Spoilers for DC Comics released 09/14/2021)
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 stands on a rooftop in Gotham City. 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.
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 keep you updated on what is happening up to the minute in Gotham City as the Fear State continues. It seems like the lies and misinformation being spread by Seer continues as terror runs rampant through the city. I’m going to hand the broadcast over to Terrence who is on the ground in Gotham before you return back to the regular programming.. Stay safe and see you next week.
The broadcast switches over to Terrence on the streets of Gotham.
Terrence: *whispers* I have seriously got to get another job. Hello everyone out there! I’m in Gotham City ducking and dodging protests and Fear Propaganda because rent in Gotham City is the best thing next to free. That and no self respecting journalist will ever run out of things to talk about. Batman’s dead? Everyone’s terrified because Scarecrow and an Anti-Oracle are doing what bad guys do. This looks like a job for the other twenty vigilantes wearing some type of Bat Symbol on their costume. Or Superman, he doesn’t live that far.
I’m getting word that Batman, not the big hunk of junk one at the Alleytown protests as seen previously but an honest to God Batman was seen speeding through the streets. Batman could possibly be back?! I’m honestly amazed at the focus he’s putting into being seen by the public and not hopping on Gargoyles and disappearing, I’m hearing he seems different from other encounters. He’s chatting with people, making his presence known, and still kicking ass. These are scary times but this…reformed Bat? Could help to change the tide. I’ll keep you updated.
Wait…BREAKING NEWS! Anarky is dead?!?!
The broadcast cuts back to Jerry in the main GC52 Office, sitting at the main news desk.
Jerry: So…things are going…well? Not really but hey, guess what? Wonder Woman realived Deadman so he is back! The Norns which are the gods of yarn I think helped Wonder Woman and the gang deal with destiny and all of that really high-level concept stuff that I am not really that in tune with. I do know that Wonder Woman stitched that strangely hot spooky Wonder Woman back to back with Old Man Janus. Guess that’s one way to punish someone and hope they finally see the light. Sorry, all this god stuff is new to me. All of this is new to me. Like I’m an intern. I don’t really even get paid all that much to be here and now I’m reporting on Wonder Woman, her buff buddy Siggy, a talking squirrel, and the morality of destiny, change, and the future? This job is…
Jerry’s rambling is cut off as the screen flickers for a moment to the distant future. Jerry still sits behind the desk but now half of his body is cybernetically enhanced. His right eye glows a robotic green as he reports the news.
Jerry: Happy New Year’s Eve! A lot of action tonight in Neo-Gotham as one of the top levels of the Wayne-Powers Building has erupted in flames as an explosion has gone off as well as an explosion at Wayne Manor just outside the city. Sounds like it’s a bad night to be a Wayne! In other news, Batman has been on a rampage through Gotham’s underworld, taking down as many foes as he can as if he was searching for something. That is all we have for you this evening as the fireworks beg-
Static changes the broadcast quickly to a time more familiar to Jerry as he watches the anomaly from the studio. The image changes and Dan is suddenly back on our screens. This Dan looks roughly five years older and slightly more grizzled.
Announcer: With so much going on in the world today, only one broadcast network can bring YOU the news that YOU want. Coming to you LIVE from the Gotham City GC52 recording studio, The GC52 Future State Report!
FS Dan: Good morning Earth-Prime, I’m Dan McMahon, and welcome to another GC52 report! It’s been a quiet week this week with very few mask sightings in Gotham! Seems the Magistrate is doing their job well, for better or worse.
One of Gotham’s own Batgirl’s was sighted recently though, having a nice lunch on the streets of the city. Thankfully the Magistrate interrupted her and was able to put a stop to that. Imagine what could’ve happened if a mask-wearing vigilante…ate lunch. After hunting Batgirl through the city, shooting wildly everywhere they went, the Magistrate “tragically” failed to capture the hero *cough* I mean vigilante and only succeeded in losing more of the fancy robots we all pay for. Some rumors even say the Batman was spotted on the scene too, but the Magistrate denies this. In other news this week-
The flickering returns as Jerry appears on screen once again, mortified at seeing a future he knows all too well.
Jerry: Sorry about that folks, it seems we’re experiencing some real multiversal disturbance today. We’ll have our multiversal expert try to look into it. Back to the regular news!
The camera cuts to a visibly nervous Kevin standing beside a huge, muscular bare chest with straps across it. The camera has to adjust and move up slightly to capture the head of a Thanagarian warrior in his hawk-mask, who looks impassively at the camera, arms crossed.
Kevin: Uh, hi Jerry. I’m here at what used to be the Hall of Justice where I have secured an exclusive interview with – I’m sorry, you said your name was –
Hawkslayer: I am Hawkslayer, Earth-man. You would do well to remember the name, as I have delivered your world today!
Kevin: Um yes, thank you, sir. We are very grateful. Me particularly, after you helped the Justice League stop that monster –
Hawkslayer: The Synmar Utopica! The United Order was very happy to help apprehend this monster after he escaped the United Planets, despite all our efforts to prevent him. We did not even mind coming to this remote mudball to do it.
Kevin: The…Earth, you mean?
Hawkslayer: Yes. I intend no offense, you understand.
Kevin: That’s…that’s alright.
Hawkslayer: I merely state a fact. On a cosmic scale, you are irrelevant.
Kevin pauses for a moment, not knowing what to say.
Hawkslayer: Of course we recognize the importance of your world’s Superman in bringing together the United Planets.
Kevin: And this… ‘United Planets’ is the government you and your uh… alien friends work for, right?
Hawkslayer: My ‘friends’ as you call them represent the best warriors of countless worlds. We are the United Order, brought together as the Elite Guard for the United Planets. We are not friends.
Kevin: I… I’m sorry, I –
Hawkslayer: Especially not Dominator and I.
Kevin: I’m… I’m sorry to hear it?
Hawkslayer: It’s not personal. His people have no individuality – it is very alien. Very odd.
An alien noise of contempt is heard from offscreen; Hawkslayer looks over and shrugs apologetically.
Kevin: Well whoever you and your um – your elite team are, I know we Earthlings are very, very happy you were here to help stop the alien invasion. I mean the – the other alien invasion. Not you – you’re one of the good ones! Not that uh most of you aren’t good, I mean, I’m sure, I….
Kevin visibly swallows and Hawkslayer stares at him in silence, then quickly turns back to the camera.
Kevin: Look I’m just glad to have gotten through a segment without something new going wrong, so let’s just-
Suddenly, a young Tamaranean bursts into frame, waving his arms urgently
Prince Zerep: Hawkslayer! The Earth-heroes are trying to keep the Phantom Zone Projector weapon they used to stop the Synmar Utopica!
Hawkslayer: What?? That weapon belongs to the United Planets now! We will have it!
He suddenly has an axe and a blade in either hand and whirls them, charging off-screen with a roar and knocking over both a squawking Kevin and the camera, which cuts to static. After a few seconds the camera cuts into a black background and suddenly a green text, all matrix style, starts to appear, announcing an upcoming transmission.
Cass: Hello there! I’m Cass, your favorite reporter from the future…and I no longer have a video feed. Apparently reporting while being kidnapped by a supervillain is not as fun as it sounds. Anyways… I’m trapped in a satellite orbiting earth, but thanks to my unexplained hacking abilities I still have access to the Fortress of Solitude’s cameras and mission records, because people don’t care about me, people care about Superman…and honestly, I don’t blame them. So let’s talk about what is going on with his *ahem* Quirky new team.
So Superman and his new team, it says right here they are being called “The Authority” which is…a choice, have recently recruited Profesor June Moon, also known as The Enchantress, but according to some mission files first they had to rescue her from herself and the ruling daemon she had created. The rescue involved a lot of punching, uplifting speeches, some not so uplifting but more productive speeches, and the use of logic, somehow.
After said rescue, Superman finally gave “The Authority” their first mission, well missions to be more exact. The powerhouses of the team, Apollo and June were sent to retrieve the final member of the team, the first girl born on Mars, Lia Nelson, better known as Lightray, the light in the darkness. Meanwhile, Midnighter, Steel, and Manchester Black were sent to deal with a crisis in Dubai, where it is raining men. Robots actually but I couldn’t resist making that joke.
Wait…the cameras at the Fortress are picking up something, someone is attacking Superman… Solomon Grundy?… No, it’s… Ultra Humanite?!? But he’s supposed to be here… I’m sorry… I have to go.
The screen is left with one final message: END OF TRANSMISSION, before cutting back to a confused Jerry in the studio.
Jerry: So first we had some visions(?) into the future and now this Matrix stuff… The hell is going on with today’s broadcast? Let’s move on to something a bit more nor- Nope, we’ve got the report about the talking dog up next. Never mind then, cut to Katie.
When the camera cuts to Katie, her black cat Felicia hisses with ferocity. Katie is standing outside. A turquoise-colored van adorned with an orange flower design ripped straight out of the 60s hippie era is parked behind her.
Katie: Groovy! Welcome back to Gotham City. I am joined by Shaggy and Scooby-Doo from Mystery Incorporated. They are in town again after solving yet another mystery! Teaming up with their good friends Batman and Robin, Mystery Inc. helped capture the Condiment King. Thankfully, I can report that The Case of the Ghostly Ghost Peppers has been solved.
Shaggy: Like, they won’t get jalapeño business anymore!
Katie: Now, Shaggy; you seem to brave Gotham City quite often to fight crime with Batman. Can you tell us how you first met Batman?
Shaggy: That’s funny, man! We were just talking to Batman about our ol’ adventures! Right, Scoob?
Scooby: Right! I’m rungry!
Felicia eyes Scooby menacingly as he licks his mouth.
Katie: I’m sure Shaggy has plenty of Scooby Snacks to give you — later. So, what’s the consensus, Shaggy? When did you guys first team up?
Shaggy: See, back when we were kids and I had a certain pup — named Scooby-Doo! — this cool dude named Detective Harvey Harris taught the whole gang some detective skills. There was this other student named Rob who wouldn’t let us take off his mask.
Katie: Uh-huh…so where does Batman fit into all this?
Shaggy: Right. So a monster man dude broke into this museum and stole a dynamite painting! Detective Harris took us kids and Rob to investigate. Fred thought the monster guy was our childhood nemeses in disguise — Red Herring.
Scooby: Mmmm…rerring sounds good!
Shaggy: Scoob, like, we’ll eat soon. I could go for a jalapeno and egg sandwich!
Scooby and Shaggy look off into the distance with a glazed look in their eyes. They imagine a ten-layer sandwich floating above their heads.
Katie: Shaggy! Scooby! Are you there?
Shaggy: Oh hey, man!
Katie: Shaggy, we’re almost out of time. Can you wrap up your story quickly? I feel like you’re throwing me some red herrings!
Shaggy: Zoinks! Eventually we, like, tracked down the monster guy and found all the Gotham City mob bosses and gangsters! Professor Hugo Strange made his henchmen dress like a monster and steal the museum painting. He wanted to trick the mobsters into thinking he made this out-of-sight formula that transformed men into real monsters! Thanks to us and a black cat named Mr. Whiskers, those criminals had a lot of bad luck that day.
Katie: Hey, black cats make my life easier.
Felicia meows approvingly.
Shaggy: I’ve always preferred dogs. Scoob’s great!
Scooby: Awwww, rucks, Raggy.
Shaggy: He was the best pup back then, and the greatest dog now! Anyway, Batman recently told us that like, Rob was Batman himself — before he became Batman! We never even knew we had already met Batman when we were kids!
Katie: Wow! Case closed! Thanks for talking, guys. I hope you’ll reconsider your stance about black cats now that you’ve met Felicia here!
Shaggy: Does she like, want a Scooby Snack?
The camera cuts away as Shaggy and Scooby race for the van to find food. Felicia discreetly pads behind them. Jerry looks visibly nervous as he clears his throat and shifts in his chair behind the GC52 News desk. He takes a moment and looks down as if giving himself a silent pep talk. He looks up straight into the camera.
Jerry: Now with the latest about Jim Gordon and The Joker, we turn to Very Senior Correspondent Dickkory Shippers coming to us live from Paris, and here’s hoping he has an update about Jimmy as well, who should be set to return to GC52 shortly. Dickkory?
The camera cuts to Dickkory Shippers standing in front of a restaurant in Paris. He’s dressed in a garish burgundy suit with a burnt sienna-colored tie. His face is stern as though he’s admonishing the viewers with this news report. There’s something desperate in his eyes though. A wild look that hasn’t been there in his other news reports.
Dickkory Shippers: Good Evening, Daniel. I’m here toni-
Jerry cuts in abruptly.
Jerry: Dickkory! Daniel, I mean, Dan, is in Gotham. It’s Jerry.
Dickkory continues his report in a louder voice, undaunted.
Dickkory Shippers: I’M HERE TONIGHT, outside of a restaurant where Lady Bane was seen interrupting a drink between Jim Gordon and Interpol’s Chief Detective Isabella Hallows. As I reported last time, Gordon was taken into custody by Interpol and accused of murdering several scientists. My sources have confirmed that video footage exists of Gordon at his hotel at the time of the murders and so Gordon was released.
The camera cuts back to Jerry. His apparent tension at having to interact with Dickkory has eased and he looks more comfortable and genuinely interested in the report.
Jerry: Dickkory, do you know why, after being released, Gordon was still in the company of Chief Detective Hallows?
The camera cuts back to Dickkory. His look is more intense now. He appears unsettled. Despite his looks, his voice is steady and authoritative as he begins to deliver the rest of the report; however, the pace of his words quickens until he settles into a sing-song pattern by the end.
Dickkory Shippers: I do, Daniel. Chief Detective Hallows runs a specialized division within Interpol that investigates whenever American heroes and villains operate overseas. Her unit, dubbed “Halloweentown” by her colleagues, is interested in The Joker and how he could lead them to a secret cabal called The Network that bankrolls Gotham villains and gives them free vacations as well as providing other services. In fact, it is believed that the recently murdered scientists were involved with The Network and illegally working on cloning human tissue. Ha. Ha Ha. HA HA HA!
The camera cuts back to Jerry in the studio. His expression has changed to panic as Dickkory continues his staccato laugh unseen.
Jerry: Dickkory. Dickkory, is everything okay? Dickkory, do you have an update on Jimmy?
The camera cuts to Dickkory. At the name “Jimmy” his laughter stops abruptly. He looks confused. Then a wave of calm washes over his face as he takes a deep breath and a sudden change comes over him. His eyes are wide open now with pupils that look like black holes devouring all the light around him. The look in his eyes is a mix of terror and menace, both the deer and the headlights. His right hand reaches up to his hairline, grabbing a fist full of hair and tugs, digging his fingernails into his skin, as he pulls his hair and what appears to be a latex mask off his face.
Dickkory Shippers: JIMMY! Did you say, Jimmy, Daniel? He’s right here, Daniel! HAHAHAHAHA! He’s right here!
The camera is on Jerry now. His panic has given way to confusion and he chuckles uncomfortably to himself.
Jerry: Jimmy? Is that you? What is going on? What is the point of all this? So there’s no Dickkory Shippers?
The camera is back on Dickkory, but he’s moved closer to it, too close, so only his face is seen in the shot. It is obvious now that the person under the torn latex mask is Jimmy.
Dickkory Shippers: Daniel, you fool! No! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! THERE. NEVER. WAS. A. JIMMY! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. THERE NEVER WAS A JIMMY, DANIEL! THERE’S ONLY DICKKORY SHIPPERS, DANIEL. THERE’S ONLY EVER BEEN DICKKORY SHIPPERS! WELCOME TO THE PRIMAL FEAR STATE!!!
The screen abruptly goes black. When the feed eventually returns, Jerry is on the phone with Dan.
Jerry: Yeah I don’t know, it was creepy as all hell. Look, I’ve gotta finish the broadcast, stay safe, Gotham sounds less and less safe by the minute. Now that’s all we have for you, so 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 Jerry the Intern. Be strong in all your convictions.
Sometime after the broadcast ended, Dan is down in the remote Bat-Cave that had been loaned to the GC52 team from a mysterious benefactor. He’s sat at a computer screen, reading through reports of the Anti-Oracle’s continued disinformation campaign.
Dan: Jerry was right, this is getting worse by the minute.
As he continues reading, a teleporter activates in the middle of the cave. Out of a door made of pure yellow light steps a man in a black suit and tie. Dan looks over in shock.
Dan: E- Ethan? Is that you? I thought you were still working for the DEO?
Ethan: Hey bud, I am, but heard about all this shit going down in Gotham and wanted to help. Those reports I was sending to the studio? About the Multiverse situation? That whole thing fried my brain so I took a break, went on holiday for a week. And as I was heading back to work, I saw what was going down.
Dan: Right, um, okay.
Ethan: So I called Director Chase and she agreed we need a presence in Gotham for this situation to report back. And here I am. It’s really good to see you again Dan, I’m sorry for how I left, I got caught up in being under Bones’ wing, but he’s gone now and Highfather help him if we get wind of his location.
Dan: You’re good man, I know what it’s like to get caught up in stuff.
Dan unconsciously reaches to the back of his neck, scratching the scar there.
Ethan: Thanks bud, I’ll help out with logistics while you keep doing your reporting thing. Oh, and on broadcast, call me Agent 17.
He walks over to Dan, pats him on the shoulder, then takes a seat at one of the large monitors as alerts pop up all over Gotham.
Books covered this week:
- I Am Batman #1 by John Ridley, Olivier Coipel, Alex Sinclair, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
- Wonder Woman #779 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain, and Pat Brosseau.
- Batman Beyond: Wake #1 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Max Dunbar, Sebastian Cheng, and Aditya Bidikar.
- Cassandra Cain: Hunter… or Hunted #1 by Guillaume Singelin.
- Justice League #67 by Brian Michael Bendis, Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Hi-Fi, and Josh Reed.
- Superman and the Authority #3 by Grant Morrison, Mikel Janín, Travel Foreman, Jordie Bellaire, Alex Sinclair, and Steve Wands.
- The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #6 by Sholly Fisch, Scott Jeralds, Carrie Strachan, and Wes Abbott.
- The Joker #7 by James Tynion IV, Guillem March, Arif Prianto, and Tom Napolitano.