Spoilers for DC Comics released 03/01 and 03/08 of 2022.
Words in italics signify actions.
If you missed our last report, check it out here.
The GC52 Logo appears on televisions, computers, and all other types of viewing devices at its normally scheduled time. Lead Anchor Dan McMahon sits at his news desk, steam rising off of his mug of tea. The setting sun sparkles off the crown jewel of the City of Tomorrow in the background. The GC52 intro music begins to dim as the actual program begins as Dan turns to the camera with a smile on his face.
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 bring you up to the minute updates on the worlds you live in!
As I told you a few weeks ago, Batman, Inc. was innocent! The entire team of Batmen were deep undercover trying to discover the sinister plans of one bald billionaire hell-bent on control. This particular bald-headed menace who I can only refer to as Dex Duthor due to a pending lawsuit for my former report was up to no good. After another billionaire, Bruce Wayne, started funding Batman, Inc. Lex decided to make his own Batmen which went poorly.
Enter: Abyss. Who was nothing more to Duthor than a pawn in his games. The Batmen helped stop them both which led to each of them fleeing. But Abyss didn’t slip far enough into the darkness to hurt any of the people they kidnapped… Maybe there is some Bat in them after all. But it seems like Batman’s EX-BEST FRIEND Ghostmaker is taking over the Batman, Inc. sector. Remember when Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were best friends? Anyway… let’s check in with Bobby.
The broadcast changes to a reporter dressed up in what appears to be a flimsy Batman costume. He’s in the focus of the camera and is trying to adjust it.
Bobby: Hello Dan, I must say that after the last events where I tried to cover the battle of who I think might have been the Monkey Prince against Batman and Robin, I think I’ve stumbled onto something here. As per the last report, the kid is okay. And he’s talking to a pig man! He’s not in his monkey form though! Let me get a closer look!
Bobby taps on a button to render himself invisible. He’s on a jetpack… somehow.
Bobby: I got the jetpack from my friend Jeffy. And the Batsuit? Well, let’s say that Jeffy also had the suit. He claims that he got it from the real guy though. I thought I’d wear it because I wanted to be Batman!
Bobby goes a little closer to listen in on the conversation between the Monkey Prince and Shifu Piggy, who are in conversation. They are discussing recent events involving Batman when suddenly…
Shifu Piggy: You’re not just a “superhero,” young man. You have a greater purpose than that. But before we continue this conversation, I think we have a spy.
Bobby: Uh oh.
Shifu Piggy: Reveal yourself!
Bobby turns off the invisibility visor.
Monkey Prince: I knew he’d follow us! What the hell are you doing here, Batman?
Bobby tries his best Batman voice.
Bobby: Uh…I am gathering information on you, villain.
Shifu Piggy: No you are not. I think you have heard enough, good sir.
We see a flash and suddenly Bobby’s in the sky, with his jetpack and Batsuit intact. But Shifu Piggy and the Monkey Prince are not around anymore.
Bobby: What just happened here?
The camera returns to Dan in the studio, taking a sip of his coffee.
Dan: I do love a good disappearance. Now let’s check in with Terrence, who’s on the streets of New York with an update on the new Batman’s activities.
The video feed goes to black for a moment, while in the background we can hear Terrence talking to himself before the camera cuts back in to show him standing on the streets of New York.
Terrence: Batman…A Batman…The Batman, no that’s more of a Movie title. At any rate, New York’s very own Batman is getting talked about by the Police Commissioner. It’s a very interesting conundrum to be in. A public Batman! This “Special Police Force” with The Batman should prove to be a volatile cocktail for the city. There’s reportedly a serial killer on the loose, so that’s probably why they’re increasing the news and information circulating on the Batman of NY. This Batman seems to be more about the people of the city than anything else.
I only get word from citizens that either see him racing by on his Bat-Cycle or some of the criminals that he actually…doesn’t beat to a pulp like the Gotham City type of Bat. Does Batman also have a special relationship with some of the Cops, like Chubb who is building a team to help and possibly keep an eye on the Batman? It looks like New York will be playing Cops and Bats before too long.
Will New York become Gotham City-lite? Worse than Gotham? It’s hard to say because with a vigilante like Batman now running around, with somewhat of an endorsement with the police department, there are a lot of people in charge that aren’t going to like what’s to come. A source closest to the mayor and commissioner already rings some of that true. Will this new Batman be able to do what he needs to do publicly? On top of the growing pains in the Batman circle of things, and the already very real and dire gang activity, there’s a serial killer already on the prowl called Manray. We are losing recipes if those are the types of names these lunatics are coming up with.
With a small smirk at his own joke, Terrence presses a button on his phone, the video feed goes dark for a second before cutting back to the studio.
Dan: Thanks for that update, Terrence. We now turn to Delco Sfigato with his ongoing in-depth coverage of HEROZ4U. There have been rumblings the past few weeks as to some concerning goings-on at the company that runs the heroes for hire app and now it sounds like all that smoke has turned to literal fire. Delco?
The camera cuts to Delco standing in front of a burned-out office building. The HEROZ4U sign looks like melted cheese sliding down the facade of the building. Delco is standing in front of it. The chilly Autumn wind blowing his normally slicked back hair in comical directions. He has a black, buttoned-down shirt under his signature leather jacket.
Delco: Thanks, Dan. Metropolis Fire Department believes the fire was intentionally set last night on Halloween. They were finally able to get the fire under control this morning, but not before the HEROZ4U offices were gutted. Fire Department officials aren’t saying if this could be the efforts of super-villains or kids engaging in a prank that went too far. Perhaps though, there is another avenue of inquiry worth pursuing.
The camera cuts to a rundown apartment complex. There is police tape blocking the entrance to an apartment. The sign for the apartment complex reads “Dolphin Cove”.
Delco: I’m standing here in front of Dolphin Cove where former hero Gangbuster terrified a group of trick-or-treaters and then attacked a group of local men before running off. He is still on the loose. I’ve learned that Gangbuster’s rent was being paid for by the charity arm of HEROZ4U. Perhaps the arson at HEROZ4U HQ is related. Or perhaps it was done by someone on the inside. It’s no secret that the Board of Directors has been trying to off-load the company that hasn’t turned a profit in recent years. There have been rumors of lay-offs, cash payments to employees off the books, and griping that government oversight and regulations are hampering the direction the Board would like to take the company in.
For several years now Red Tornado has had the thankless job of managing the company and keeping it running. I spoke to one HEROZ4U employee on the condition of anonymity who told me that Red Tornado was ordered to fire half the staff, including Assistant to the Regional Manager, Power Girl, but was working on trying to save everyone’s job shortly before the fire broke out. This same employee told me that many in the company will have nowhere to go now.
Delco walks forward as the camera moves in close.
Delco: That’s the real issue here, Dan. What happens when heroes don’t die in battle? When there’s no sunset to walk off into? For the employees of HEROZ4U, there is no Valhalla, no Elysian Fields. There are crappy apartments, car payments, stress over meeting monthly sales quotas, and medical treatments they can’t afford. Gone are the days of fighting Darkseid or the Anti-Monitor, replaced by battling their own self-worth and a World that no longer needs them. They saved the World once, but the world moved on and didn’t have the heart to tell them. Dan.
The camera returns to Dan in the studio.
Dan: Thanks, Delco. Here’s hoping the heroes of HEROZ4U can rise from the ashes like the mighty Phoenix. Oh, wrong universe. Speaking of things that are wrong, I have to warn you that the next report is very disturbing and you may want younger GC52 viewers to leave the room as we go to Desirae Porter in Texas. Desirae.
The camera cuts to Desirae standing in front of a large mansion as oil rigs in the distance burn brightly.
Desirae: Dan, I’m standing in front of the Sampson family compound at the site of what I can only describe as some type of cannibal feast turned bloodbath. I had been inside briefly where a large table was set with all manner of dishes until I realized the finger sandwiches were made from actual human fingers. From what I can gather from local authorities, the Sampson Clan had gathered here for a dinner where the main course was rumored to be The Joker. The remains of at least a dozen different individuals have been identified so far among the…dishes.
I was able to speak to a surviving member of the household staff that told me as the family started on the first course, a local politician, and a nearby record player played “A Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd, Vengeance appeared and set fire to the oil rigs and began killing members of the Sampson Clan. It was at this time that The Joker attempted an escape but was stopped by Vengeance.
Dan: Did Vengeance manage to finally kill The Joker?
Desirae: According to the witness I spoke to, Vengeance was stopped by none other than her father Bane and Jim Gordon. It was at that point the witness blacked out from blood loss. By the time authorities arrived, The Joker, Vengeance, Bane, and Jim Gordon were gone. As the smell of burning flesh and oil fills the Texas air, one thing is clear, Dan, whatever this is, it’s far from over.
As Desirae walks off-screen, the camera stays on the mansion in the background while we hear Dan speak from back in the studio.
Dan: Thank you for that disturbing, yet important update on the Joker situation, Desirae. We now go live to our on-the-street reporter right here in Metropolis, Rook.
The camera cuts to Rook sat on a makeshift chair at a street corner, the LexCorp building standing tall (and ugly) against the dusk sky of Metropolis.
Rook: When you take a few sick days in this job, a lot can change on you. Case in point: the Thanagarian Wyrm Flu has had me snoozing for the last four straight days, and in that time, the story I was following broke wide open. President Henry Bendix of Gamorra announced his secretive project “the Rising” on stage, in front of world leaders and tech influencers, like it was the new iPhone. And it’s not as bad as I thought: It’s significantly worse.
The nation that he stole leadership of has been manufacturing meta-humans at an alarming pace and using a combination of psychological conditioning and cybernetic implants, they can be remote-controlled like they’re drones. Bendix didn’t even hide this comparison from the public: he explicitly drew parallels to unmanned bomber drones. He even framed this as an evolution of the United States government’s reprehensible Task Force X.
Just the United States government’s “Suicide Squad” of supervillains coerced into acting on behalf of the CIA’s interests, a bomb is implanted in the skull of each member of The Rising’s Gamorra Corps. If there’s some issue with the remote control puppeteering of a metahuman’s body, if they start to speak with their own voice instead of the careful broadcasting from president Bendix’s office, they can scrap the asset. Just. Like. That.
And yet, some see him as a hero, for taking the power of the Justice League and putting it back in the hands of a corrupt system. The flooding of Metropolis last week, with only two lives lost but millions in property damage, was pointed to as an example of the young Superman’s skewed priorities. He tried to keep a “monster” safe, and now the wealthy elite of Metropolis have to foot the bill, which is somehow a greater sin.
Now, the Gamorra corps has been caught trying to further president Bendix’s agenda by any means necessary. When Nightwing and Superman tracked the murderer of a Teen Titan alumnus, he was revealed to be a small squad of Gammoran drones, still under direct control. And these instruments of death were revealed to have come from a massive lead-lined complex beneath the city. With an inference in the base of the Lexcorp Tower. See where I’m going with this?
Just when it looked like the scheme of the Gamorrean president was beginning to fall apart, he triggered the remote detonation bomb. The young man that Bendix puppeteered and forged into a murder weapon was killed, all to make it look like Superman incinerated him with his heat vision. It’s a cowardly ploy by a blatantly evil man, but if that’s not proof enough, Nightwing and Superman are following the trail and aiming to bring Bendix to Justice once and for all. And as they follow the evidence, I’ll keep following the story. Back to you in the studio, Dan.
The video feed returns to Dan in the studio.
Dan: Thanks for the update, Rook. We now go live to The Hill, where Adam has an update on the latest goings-on with the Batgirls.
The camera cuts to Adam’s apartment overlooking The Hill.
Adam: Hello everybody and welcome back to The Hill! We may not have towers full of villains, but the Hill has been having its own troubles recently. Thankfully, we have our very own pair of Batgirls to save us! If only they could stop blaring All-Star around town…
With the villainous “Tutor” wreaking havoc all across the neighborhood with his unique blend of mind-control fear gas, the citizens of The Hill were thankful when the Batgirls finally took him down. Storming his secret hideout the two heroes fought off his mind-controlled goons (including my neighbor Dave, who is very thankful they snapped him out of it with minimal injury) until they came face-to-face with the Tutor himself. Things took a turn for the worse when the purple Batgirl was once again exposed to the Tutors gas in such a high dose it threatened to overwhelm her mask. If it wasn’t for the scary Batgirl being able to break Tutors control with the power of “friend”-ship, who knows what could’ve happened.
With the villain defeated and tied up in the back of their roaming Smashmouth machine that seems to be known as “Bondo” from the shouts heard across the city, Tutor was transported to the home of renowned art-therapist, Charles Dante. Some of GC52s underworld sources have heard this Dante fellow may have connections to “Spellbinder”, another of Gothams many, many rogues. But I’m sure that’s a load of nonsense and this guy’s legit…right? And to make matters worse, the threat of the Magistrate still looms over Gotham as the Saints follow our Batgirls around unseen, waiting for their moment to strike…
The camera returns to the studio.
Dan: Legit isn’t a word I’d throw around in Gotham. Let’s check in with Violet who I’ve sent on a mission to give us a special report.
The camera cuts to Violet on the edge of Themyscira; a worn marble staircase can be seen in the background surrounded by vibrant hues of green.
Violet: Hi all! I’m reporting from one of the largest events in all Amazon history, right from THE Themyscira – I’m not entirely sure I’m supposed to be telling you what’s going on here but I’ll keep a low profile! It appears Amazons from all over are gathering for a huge competitive trial to find a new Goddess to guard “Doom’s Doorway”. Tribes such as the Bana-Mighdal and The Esquecisas have come together all to take part alongside the Themyscirains to prove themselves worthy champions.
Before gathering in the palace to discuss the terms of the contest; I saw Diana and Faruka having a small fight. Tension is high among all, especially with Yara Flor and the new tribe. The others seem skeptical of her and the others but I suspect great things are to come. The rules for the trial are..well there are none really; the first Amazon to enter the doorway wins. Representatives from each tribe are to guard the doorway. Queen Faruka suggested there be a reward to rule the Amazons also. This is going to be HUGE.
Violet frowns down at her notes before continuing
Violet: Lastly and regretfully; I’m devastated to report the news that Hippolyta was found dead this evening by Queen Nubia. That’s all I know about this awful situation for now, but if I find out anything else I’ll be sure to let you know.
The video feed returns to a genuinely shocked Dan in the studio.
Dan: Oh Violet, that is truly terrible. We will do our best to keep you updated on this tragic event viewers. Now for our last story tonight, we return to Ethan in Gotham with the latest news from the Arkham Tower hostage crisis.
The camera cuts to the GC52 mobile studio in Gotham City (actually Ethan’s apartment). Outside the window stands Arkham Tower, lit up by the spotlights of GCPD choppers circling the tower, and the flashing lights of police cars can be seen bathing the plaza outside in a red-blue hue. Ethan steps into the frame.
Ethan: Evening Dan, events here have taken a turn for the worse. We have a confirmed report that one of the hostages in the building is Mayor Nakaon’s wife, Koyuki. Now while we at GC52 have had a…frosty relationship with the Mayor, this is not something we would wish on anyone. And for her sake, and all the hostages inside Arkham Tower, we hope this gets resolved soon, before any more lives are taken.
But the likelihood of that happening seems low as just before I began this report, we received word that Scarecrow has taken control of the building. It was only a few weeks ago that Gotham was plunged into his Fear State. Hearing he is back already is sure to bring no sense of comfort to the people of the city. I can only hope that with Batman still being out of the city, the rest of his family can work together to bring Scarecrow down.
Based on a few scant transmissions we have picked up it does seem that the entire roster of vigilantes operating out of Gotham are either inside the Tower or doing their own good to assist in the situation from elsewhere. It sounds like even Harley Qui- Wait, what the hell is that?
As Ethan had been speaking, he’d taken a look outside the window up at Arkham Tower only to pause at something in the distance. He runs behind the camera zooming in at the top floor of the building. A smashed window reveals a bound Nightwing being held over the edge by Scarecrow.
Ethan: F~@#, he’s got Nightwing. This is… This is bad. It doesn’t look like anyone will be able to catch him if Scarecrow does thro- NO!
Ethan’s shout of despair is punctuated by the image of Nightwing being thrown from the top floor of Arkham Tower. Just when all hope seems to be lost, Batwoman swoops in and grabs the ropes the former Robin had been tied in, only for her to lose a grasp and Nightwing to keep falling. The audio recorder from the camera, even at the distance Ethan’s apartment is from the Tower, then picks up a gigantic roar as a sight not seen in Gotham for some weeks soars onto the scene; the Batplane. Standing in the cockpit is the Batman, he catches the tumbling Nightwing. Gotham’s hero has returned.
Ethan: Haha, holy S&/$. It’s him. He’s back. He saved Nightwing. Dan, as you can see, Batman has returned to Gotham in the nick of time. I’m sure with him here to coordinate the rest of his family’s operations, this crisis will be resolved shortly. But until I have confirmation, I’ll hand it back to you in the studio.
He takes one last look out at Arkham Tower, the Batplane circling around it before the video feed returns to Dan in the studio. He’s speaking half-excitedly, half-annoyed with someone on the other side of a phone call.
Dan: I know, I just wish you could have told me he was on his way. It would have saved us all a lot of worrying. You’re friends, I get it. And I know you’ve got responsibilities of your own now, what with running Batman, Inc. but come on, stay in touch GM, huh?
Dan ends the call, takes a sip of his no-longer steaming coffee, pulls a mild face of disgust at its tepid temperature, then gives a big smile to the camera.
Dan: Yes folks, as Ethan has just shown us live on air, the Batman has returned to Gotham. We’ll be back as soon as possible with more information on this developing story. But until then; 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 #121 by Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
- Monkey Prince #2 by Gene Luen Yang, Bernard Chang, Sebastian Cheng, and Janice Chiang.
- I Am Batman #7 by John Ridley, Christian Duce, Rex Lokus, and ALW’s Troy Peteri.
- One-Star Squadron #4 by Mark Russell, Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart, and Dave Sharpe.
- The Joker #13 by James Tynion IV, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Arif Prianto, and Tom Napolitano.
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #9 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Wade von Grawbadger, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott.
- Batgirls #4 by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern, and Becca Carey.
- Trial of the Amazons #1 by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Joëlle Jones, Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Elena Casagrande, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Jordie Bellaire, and Pat Brosseau.
- Detective Comics #1055/#1056 by Mariko Tamaki. Amancay Nahuelpan, Jordie Bellaire, and Ariana Maher.