(Spoilers for DC Comics released 10/19/2021)
(Words in italics signal actions)
If you missed last week’s report, check it out here.
GC52 News begins at the old faithful time even if the program has been a bit different for the last few weeks. The drone camera opens to lead anchor Dan, his hair slicked back from the lack of a good shower in almost a week. Instead of just the “typical” Gotham City attire of a bulletproof vest with the spray-painted cyan bat symbol, he was wearing full shoulder pads and armored plates over his forearms. When he looks up from some files he has spread out on a rooftop air conditioning unit, the bags under his eyes are crystal clear on any TV set.
Dan: I grew up here in Gotham, I started my path to where I am now on those streets down there. As much as I love this city, I know that every single thing in this town has layers upon layers of tragedy. When the paint starts to look thin, the devils of Gotham paint another thick layer of trauma, murder, and pain over top. You could peel back layers of it, cracked and brittle. But you’d never get to the origin. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the explosion with the Peacekeepers.
When I was… a less than savory character in Gotham, I was brought into the GCPD a few times by Officer Mahoney. That was before he was a detective. Not Sean but rather his father Patrick. He would have taken me in more times if he wasn’t crooked. When you can grease some palms with a couple of Benjamins…. well… then being a villain isn’t so hard. But some people get away from that life. Patrick didn’t. Patrick stayed dirty until Gordon finally cleaned house.
The Mahoneys had been cops for a few generations, trying to matter in Gotham. Trying to find respect. Sean wanted to find that again. That respect that his father lost for his family. I didn’t know that he had applied to be on the force multiple times but was denied time and time again by Gordon. I can’t say for sure that it was because of the burden of his family’s name but it couldn’t have helped.
I can’t help but sit here now and wonder what would have happened if Gordon had given him a chance. A chance to do what he thought would make him worth something. If he was given the chance at redemption as I have been given. I… I just don’t know. I’m not sure if Sean Mahoney is a bad man. Or a monster created by the devils of Gotham. I’m not sure if we will ever know.
Dan pauses for a moment as he closes the folders with a heavy sigh as a red light emits from his pocket.
Dan: There’s a break-in at the Batcave? Drone, switch feeds.
A strange man kicks in the door of the Batcave and bursts in, he’s wearing a t-shirt with a purple bat on it and with a massive smile on his face.
Adam: It’s happening! It’s finally happening! The Batgirls are finally doing something! Gotham may be overrun by those Magistrate goons and the lies of Seer, but sources close to the REAL Oracle tell me that the two greatest heroes of Gotham have been working all around the city saving folks.
Adam gestures wildly to an image of the Batgirls that has appeared on the Batcave computer behind him.
Adam: Word on the street is one of the Batgirls was even seen taking out an entire squad all by her lonesome. With the Oracle’s systems being taken down by the mysterious Seer, and Gotham’s heroes left without communications, the Batgirls were forced to go underground… literally.
Wading through the sewers as Magistrate back-up arrives, it’s up to the Batgirls to help Oracle re-establish communications throughout the city. But will they make it in time before Seer’s evil machinations are unleashed on Gotham City? Let’s just hope nothing bad happens to them on their way back to the clock tower…
The camera cuts to Ethan, also in the Batcave, still holding a raised shotgun in Adam’s direction having been caught completely off-guard by the sudden arrival of another reporter to the temporary GC52 operating hub.
Ethan: Well that scared the &#/* out of me. Hey Adam, next time you’re planning on joining us maybe give a heads-up first, I could have shot you…
He raises a finger to his ear, a message coming through his earpiece.
Ethan: Yeah Dan, nothing to worry about. Oh, for- Really? Okay. Hey folks, looks like we’ve got another broadcast from the ferret, so, enjoy?
When the camera cuts, Magistrate drones can be seen wandering the street, peering into the windows of Gotham’s residents, but then they are crushed beneath the metal foot of Mr. Tubes, a furry little ferret in a mech suit. On the shoulder of Tubes is Zeb, his new best friend! Little does the duo know that there is another pair of heroes nearby, Nightwing and Batgirl as they are fighting Magistrate troops who are defending the supercomputer system, Oracle 2. After the Batfamily members enter their target location, Tubes and Zeb hear the screams of those affected by fear toxin! They rush over to see the troops getting back up. And they see just behind them a streak of red and black slide under the garage door as it closed.
Zeb: OH NO! Tubes we gotta help them! But look at all these bad guys!
Trooper: No kid we’re the good guys!
The troops then aim their guns at Tubes and Zeb.
Mr. Tubes: I hear good guys no aim guns at kids!
Mr. Tubes then lifts his arm and KABOOM! His fist flies through the air like a rocket. The rocket punch hits the jaws of each Magistrate soldier knocking all but one of them out! That dazed gunman begins to blindly fire, hitting Tubes, but before the mecha-ferret can react a bullet pings off in the direction of Zeb! But the bullet calmly travels through Zeb without incident… Mr. Tubes is surprised that his friend is unharmed despite the damage that could have been his ruin. Tubes launches another rocket punch before turning back to Zeb to check on his conditions.
Mr. Tubes: Zeb are you okay!?!
Zeb: Yeah…about that… I’m kind of a…ghost!
Tubes: Why did you not tell Tubes?
Zeb: Well… I forgot. But LOOK AT THIS I CAN FLOAT!!! ISN’T THAT COOL!
The young ferret opens his hatch to get a better look at the smile on the face of his friend as he floats a few feet off the ground like he’s on cloud nine.
Mr. Tubes: The coolest, as my owner once said…the coolest.
As Tubes watched the ghost boy try and float around, he’s turned away from the garage door as the GC52 drone camera spots Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin run out into the night. The ghost and ferret suddenly hear a loud explosion. The camera turns to see the Gotham Clock Tower burning.
Zeb: Oh no! What time is it?!
Tubes: Time to get back to work!
Tubes begins running and Zeb floats not far behind as the GC52 camera’s feed cuts back to the Batcave. On the monitors, footage of the burning Clock Tower can be seen. In the background, Adam can be heard inquiring whether the Batgrils are okay.
Ethan: I don’t know, I’ll try and pull some info from my sources, see what I can find out. In the meantime, this Alleytown situation is getting worse by the minute. The Magistrate is pulling out all their high-quality tech to try and stop Catwoman and her crew. It seems she may have some unexpected backup though, reports confirm that Harley Quinn and The Gardener have been spotted entering Alleytown.
An alert flashes on one of the screens Ethan is using to monitor the situation. He takes a look and lets out a small chuckle.
Ethan: Ha, that’s what I like to see. The team led by Clayface are keeping the Magistrate at bay. Doing good work as well it seems. Maybe, despite the hell the city is going through, just maybe the expected villains of Gotham will actually be its heroes when all’s said and done. I always liked that Clayface…
He trails off before Dan’s voice brings him back to reality.
Dan: Ethan? Ethan! You there?
Ethan: Yeah, sorry, what’s up?
Dan: I’m gonna do some more digging into Mahoney, but Jordan’s got a report from Belle Reve if you can switch the feed?
Ethan: Sure thing. Up next folks, a report from Task Force X!
The camera cuts to a small cramped room as Jordan opens up his laptop and rustles through a cabinet of files.
Jordan: Oh hello there! Welcome back to GateCrashers’ Task Force X branch! Today has been rather distressing. Our esteemed and totally rational leader Amanda Waller earlier today sent our very own Suicide Squad to Hell. Wait, that sounds wrong. Not meaning that she’s killed them, there was some sort of supernatural portals or some such business. Seems the Squad encountered another Squad down there, one made of previously dead teammates.
I’ve just been trying to go through our archives to decipher who is who. Their leader seems to be Mindwarp, who died very recently when the Squad broke out Talon. His team consists of recent members like Cavalier, Blackguard, and Wardog as well as very old members from the Squad’s early days with Weasel and Slipknot. Curiously for the Squad, this team also consists of Branch, who worked with the Squad on assignment not long ago. He was sent in by Waller to get new recruits in the afterlife.
Anyway, the two Squads came to blows resulting in the death of Culebra, although she quickly resurrected. She was in Hell after all. Given all of this chaos, Waller decided to send in reinforcements. So the Squad was backed up by Talon and a new member, Major Force. Major Force came with a vengeance and was equipped with some sort of scepter that seemed to absorb the souls of the Hell Squad.
Through all of this commotion Ambush Bug left to recover something for Waller. Although it was believed to be a retrieval of the Rock of Eternity it instead turned out to be a small mysterious box. Bug rendezvoused with the Squad and they returned to base. Currently, the Squad are said to be enjoying some downtime. I’d imagine you’d need some after coming back from Hell.
As for Culebra? Well, I heard word from some of the other guys here that Waller has found a way to cheat death. So it seems like there’s no way to get away from the Suicide Squad even more. Oh and also we lost contact with Peacemaker after the incident with Swamp Thing. It’s all kind of chaotic here, with allegiances constantly switching and people being brought back from the dead. Just another day for the Suicide Squad.
Dan pinches the bridge of his nose when the feed returns to him.
Dan: Once, the Suicide Squad was a place where people could earn redemption. Earn a way out. Now… I’m not so sure. So many are destined for hell. This brings us to our next report.
The reporter in the suit that’s a size too large returns to the screen, seemingly crouched behind a sandy hill as they had been during their last appearance. However, the fancy, false mustache has been replaced with a crudely drawn, smudged imitation.
Brian: Uh… Hi there folks, I have…seen some things. I may have jogged after the big guy and had a little peek into the Rock of Eternity. Just a little glance around the corner, doing my due diligence as a reporter. And I must say, I did not like what I saw!
Their face twists into something that is half smile, half grimace.
Brian: Someone that looked like Black Adam but…younger, showed Shazam the end of the world. That he allegedly causes. Oh! But in the future. So, the world will end…sometime later. Maybe. Billy’s little blonde friend, Dane, seems to be the key to it all. As well as Raven, somehow. All of the doom is giving me a headache.
Anyways, Teen Adam seems to have solved whatever issue Shazam was having with his powers. Because- and I am serious here- he traveled back in time with them. So some great Wizard transferred them to Black Adam and he came to transfer them back. The way normal people pass around the same $20 bill with their friends for taking turns buying breakfast.
Sweat begins to drip down their forehead and they take a second to wipe it with the back of their hand. The reporter takes another moment to sigh deeply before resuming.
Brian: Now Teen Adam and Shazam are fighting some sort of demon, and I’ve lost track of Raven and Dane. From what I can tell it’s…Pride. Yep, the demonic manifestation of Sin. I hope this nice little time hopping reunion was enough to redirect the future. Really at my wits end here, and may have to call in a favor or two. No point in watching me mope my way out of this though, so back to you, Dan!
The camera returns to Dan on the Gotham rooftop.
Dan: Thanks, Brian. I’d just like to remind everyone that while GC52 is always happy to hear from anyone, we have an email address. You don’t need to send us messages in bottles. Especially when they randomly appear in my bathtub! That being said, allow me to read out our latest update from “Mark the Manta Man”.
Dear Diary, I’m thinking of quitting the Manta Men. The sub has been a real nightmare recently, it feels like all Manta cares about is that stupid stone now. And I even hear the boss is part-Atlantean? I don’t want to work for some fish. I signed up to work with a badass pirate and plunder the seven seas but all he’s doing is going to some “Gentleman Ghost’s” party with Gallous the Goat (who once again, isn’t a real goat) so he can time travel. I mean seriously? We don’t get paid for that!
Mark the Manta Man
Dan: We also checked in with the only pirate reporter that money can buy, Captain Jim, who has left me another incoherent voicemail.
Captain Jim: I’ve cracked it, Dan! It’s a waterman. Not an Aquaman, a waterman. His name is Devil Ray and he’s behind it all! Oh and the Amazon’s are involved too, Dead Dave told me so. That magic lady comes from that part of town. See! I’ve cracked it! Now excuse me, I think this waterman has blown up my ship.
Dan: I would like to urge anyone with a boat…we are hiring for a replacement. Now, I hear Rook has an update regarding a developing situation in Smallville…
The camera cuts to Rook stood outside a Smallville diner.
Rook: Well, all the &#*% hit the fan in Smallville’s neck of the woods. Once a dot so small you wouldn’t even be able to find it on a map, in recent months it’s been recognized as the childhood home of Superman. And yesterday, that home was destroyed.
The posthuman “Faultline” was at the center of this devastation once again, though current Superman and one-time resident Jon Kent urged all parties involved that she wasn’t actually in control this time either. It seems she was abducted from STAR Labs after being placed there for safekeeping, yet another high-profile failure on their part after the mess with Dr. Glory.
Faultline’s superhuman density is beyond her control and was triggered by her captors as they dropped her above the Kent farm. The resulting explosion obliterated most of the structure, but Superman was able to move everyone to safety before the Justice League arrived. (Gotta love super-speed.)
After this, he contacted the investigation group known as The Truth, which turned out to be composed of fellow superhumans Wink and The Aerie. They presented a compelling and well-researched case for Henry Bendix, president of Gamorra, as the mastermind involved with all of these recent “accidental” supervillains.
After a little fact-checking with Pulitzer winner Lois Lane (hi Lois, hope you’re reading this), that was enough for Superman to fly to Gamorra and confirm this fact for himself. Superhuman hearing comes in handy when listening to a man lie, but unfortunately for Jon, that isn’t always enough to hear a trap coming.
Now, he’s overcharged with ridiculous amounts of power and seems to be hearing every voice on the planet at once. Yikes… Um. Jon, if you can hear this: good luck.
The camera cuts back to Dan on a Gotham rooftop. He’s trawling through files of old GCPD records.
Dan: Thanks Rook. Looks like we have another transmission from our Green Lantern Corps correspondent, how’s it going, Thomas?
Thomas: Green Lantern fashion check-in is here. It’s been a while since John Stewart wowed audiences at the United Planets summit, but he’s really outdone himself and the space-time continuum with this new outfit! In fact, it’s sourced from the distant past on the plains of Ahmeggon. What are yesterday’s robes next to vintage Apokoliptian beam krackle? I would credit John’s latest New God friend Lonar, who claims to be the god of journeys, but based on how he blinked out of existence and back, he’s really the god of wardrobe changes.
Dan: It’s good to see Lantern Stewart back in action… or maybe that should be, it was good whenever he was in action… how are the rest of the Earth members of the Corps?
Thomas: Oh, you know. Jessica’s still hiding out with Sinestro. Kyle and Guyle are tearing up their respective sectors past where I can safely bring a camera.
Dan: Did you just say Kyle and Guyle? Do you mean Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner?
Thomas: Yeah. That’s what I said.
Dan: Right. Has Lantern Quintela recovered since her rampage on New Korugar?
Thomas: Excellent question, Dan. I am told by a Corps spokesperson that Lantern Quintela has nothing to worry about.
Several all-green copies of Robin crash through a nearby wall.
Thomas: Her power gauntlet is under control and does not represent any threat to the Corps or its allies.
Jo Mullein catches a giant bullet fired from the revolver of an extremely tall construct of Ginny Hex and tosses it back.
Thomas: Why, the Corps cannot wait for Lantern Baz’s mentorship of the young Quintela to bear fruit in the form of a bold new champion.
A green whirlwind sends several Thanagarians flying without the use of their wings.
Thomas: In fact, I’m positive that as soon as I turn around, there will be more good news to share on this front.
Dan: Wow, it’s about time the Lanterns catch a break. Thanks for the positive beat, Thomas! It’s something we really needed-
Dan stops speaking all of a sudden as he presses his hand to his ear.
Dan: I’m getting word that the Magistrate has infiltrated Queen Ivy’s sanctum. I knew things were falling apart for Saint but this is madness. He has to know… Ivy could collapse the entire city. I cannot live through another No Man’s Land-level event.
I just hope Master Wyze can reach her. Wyze’s mission is to peel back those layers of tragedy in Gotham. To rip off the layers of paint over Gotham to replace it with one new gleaming coat of hope. His technology though… it’s been rumored to be linked to the Mad Hatter. Wait…
Dan starts to flip through the files he was reading on Mahoney earlier.
Dan: Sean was controlled by Hatter when he was a child as he is controlled by Scarecrow now. Are they all using the same tech? If Scarecrow, oh no, oh high father no. If Crane has the same tech to pull back those layers like Wyze does, he could splatter the entire city in blood. Nothing but fear. His fear state. The Bat-family will stop him… they have to… I have to go. I hope we see each other again. Be strong in all your convictions.
Books covered this week:
- Batman #115 by James Tynion IV, Bengal, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
- Batman: Secret Files – Peacekeeper #1 by Ed Brisson, James Tynion IV, Joshua Hixson, Roman Stevens, and Travis Lanham.
- Batgirls: Clueless by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern, and Becca Carey.
- Nightwing #85 by Tom Taylor, Robbi Rodriguez, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott.
- Catwoman #36 by Ram V, Nina Vakueva, Laura Braga, Jordie Bellaire, and Tom Napolitano.
- Suicide Squad #8 by Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, Dexter Soy, Julio Ferreira, Marcelo Maiolo, and Wes Abbott.
- Shazam #4 by Tim Sheridan, Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo, and Rob Leigh.
- Black Manta #2 by Chuck Brown, Valentine de Landro, Marissa Louise, and Clayton Cowles.
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 by Tom Taylor, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe.
- Green Lantern #7 by Geoffrey Thorne, Tom Raney, Marco Santucci, Mike Atiyeh, Rob Leigh, and Andy Owens.