The GC616 logo flashes across the screen to reveal Reagan seated at the news desk.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616, we begin this edition with breaking news from Krakoa. It seems that Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch, is in fact alive.
Maximoff was previously thought to have been murdered during the Hellfire Gala. However, during a visit to Krakoa by the Avengers, they found not her body but Maximoff herself alive and well. We will keep you posted on this story as it develops. In the meantime, let’s go to Journo with some news from the peak, Journo?
The camera cuts to a familiar sight, that of an information hub nestled in S.W.O.R.D. Base One, otherwise known as The Peak. Sitting at a desk, half-reading data flowing across one of the monitors is Journo, the Agent of S.W.O.R.D. He’s distracted from his normal duties as becomes obvious when he touches a finger to his ear before letting out a laugh. He’s on the phone with someone.
Journo: It’s good to hear from you too, Smasher… Yeah, I’m keeping busy. Wish I could be out in the field but Brand’s had me analyzing the data streams from the Dormammu incursion points… Well, I’m glad the Wakandans were of help, and I’m especially glad Deathbird didn’t kill any of them… And how’s the kid? Safe?… Good, good. I was talking with Sam just a few hours ago. They all got back safely from that mission with Cable… Yes, I’ll try my best to make sure Brand doesn’t send him on any more missions like that. Look, I’ve gotta go, but once this is all over we’ll all have to go grab dinner, preferably on Aerie, I’m enjoying Earth cuisine less and less these days… I know, me, all fancy like that. Catch you soon, Smasher.
As he hangs up the phone, Journo looks around and notices that the GC616 drone is active and has recorded his entire call.
Journo: #@!&, um, hey folks, what can I say, when you get the chance to catch up with an old friend, you’ve got to take it. Anyway, as you probably heard me say, the Shi’ar homeworld Aerie is as safe as can be right now given the circumstances thanks to assistance from the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. A small strike team led by M’Baku and Shuri, under appointment by King T’Challa, and with assistance from the Shi’ar Imperial Guard held back the forces of Dormammu.
Yeah, sorry for the quick update folks, but looks like we’re wrapping this situation up, one way or the other. I’ll hopefully be back in touch once this is all resolved. Journo out.
With that, Journo hits a command into the nearest keyboard and the camera cuts back to Reagan in the studio.
Reagan: Thanks Journo and as always, stay safe up there. Now we have Steve the Terrible with some news from Mar- er. Planet Arrako.
Steve the Terrible: Uh hi. I’m Steve, or Steve the Terrible as the guys on Arakko started calling me. I didn’t do anything awful or anything, they just really don’t like me here. I’m GC616’s resident Planet Arrako reporter, a gig I signed on for before I knew it was full of really scary mutants who had spent centuries in a hell dimension. And I have no problem with mutants, but these guys are really mean. They keep calling me “weak” and telling me I wouldn’t last a week in Amenth. WHICH IS TRUE but I’d appreciate it if they didn’t say it daily.
Steve: Aside from the usual daily murders, of which there were dozens as always, today was a pretty busy day on Arakko. My fellow Earthers, the mutant pirate crew known as the Marauders, paid a visit to our great planet this week after the unwanted arrival of a space-crook by the name of Deen Lorix. Or maybe Eden Lixlo. Or perhaps Bjuon. He was very unclear. Whatever his name is, that ex-Nova Corps chump was trying to get to Earth to see some of our mutant buddies down there till the big S.W.O.R.D. station flagged him down. It seems the White Queen had some prior dealings with this guy and he was trying to track her down. Rumblings in the Red Lagoon say something about Ms. Frost stealing a fancy telepathic ship called the Mercury?
After a brief tussle in the bar with the entire Spring side of the Krakoan Quiet Council involved, they seemed to sort it all out and went for a nice little ride in the Mercury and everything ended all happily ever after right? Or maybe not. There’s a few whispers around the port over here that some unexpected mutant debris was found floating in space. But an entire quarter of the Krakoan leadership couldn’t have been wiped out at once…right? With whispers of Lordes Chantel, an old Hellfire associate, being spotted in New York, maybe there are some open spaces for her now on the Hellfire Trading Company? Back to you Earth, and please let me come home soon.
Reagan: Thanks Steve! Now Let’s go to Journo with some Eternals news.
The camera cuts to a small enclosed room. Jordan sits in the center of the frame reading through a large leatherbound book.
Jordan: Ah hello GC616 viewers. Once again welcome to our Sanctum Sanctorum branch. Here I can view much that transpires throughout the universe. Today I have been reading through this book. It details the history of the Eternals, our very own cosmic protectors engineered by the Celestials. This story here I have found to be of particular interest. It appears that there was once a great war between different factions of Eternals some 200,000 years ago.
This schism was caused by two Eternal leaders divided views on Eternals future. A’Lars who we now know to be called Mentor believed that Eternals should reproduce naturally. Opposing him was his brother, the fierce Zuras who believed in the traditional status quo of Eternals. The two leaders came to blows and deployed their forces against each other. To stop this brutal war the two brothers were brought together to reach a compromise by their mother Daina. The compromise was reached as A’Lars left to start his own civilization to see if he could sustain a civilization of Eternals bred naturally. Zuras would help to lead the Eternals left behind as their memories would be erased and they would start fresh.
The two agreed and A’Lars under the name Mentor left for Titan, a moon of Saturn. Here Mentor encountered Sui-San, an Eternal in exile on this decimated moon. Lars proposed that they start a new future for Eternals together. She eventually agreed and Titan became the home for Eternals offshoots, beings imprinted with Eternal DNA. These people would become known as the Titans. The two eventually fell in love and decided to naturally conceive two children. The second of which was who we now call the Mad Titan, Thanos. Thanos drove her mad and eventually killed Mentor. Mentor was then resurrected in the Exclusion, a location built for returning Eternals.
However, Lars would discover firsthand it’s secondary function, as a prison. Mentor was thrown into a cell by Ikaris and Thena as they told him his love was imprisoned next to him and that she wished they had never met. Mentor’s cell was filled with light, each pixel representing a life Thanos had snuffed out. Mentor’s eyes burned out as he was forced to bear witness to the destruction his offspring had wrought. It was a tragic and powerful story that I thought you may find interesting. Given the Eternals current conflict with Thanos it helps to provide some context. As always thanks for listening and may the Vishanti guide you.
The camera cuts back to Reagan in the studio.
Reagan: Thanks Jordan! And with that we’ve come to the end of our show, we’ll see you next week on GC616. Stay safe everyone.
Believe it or not, there was a time that Marvel printed adult-oriented comics centered around well-established characters like Shang-Chi, the Eternals, and War Machine. These titles were published under MAX Comics, an imprint that launched in 2001. MAX Comics was Marvel’s second attempt at an adult lineup after Epic Comics in the 1980s which focused almost entirely on creator-owned work (with notable exceptions such as Stan Lee and Moebius’ Silver Surfer: Parable). Meanwhile, MAX made use of Marvel’s existing characters and oftentimes took place in the established Marvel universe. As a result, the line was inherently controversial. More so than today, the idea of comic book characters “corrupting” young readers was a hot topic, with one major example being the queer overtones and (perhaps unintentional) homophobia present in Rawhide Kid, a relaunch of a series that first debuted in 1955, when Marvel was still known as Atlas. After it’s launch in 2018, DC’s Black Label would go through similar growing pains. Albeit this time it was because of Batman’s penis appearing in a comic, not homophobes being upset about a homophobic comic.
Which brings us to the purpose of this article; this is the first in a series chronicling the titles released by MAX Comics. I hope to create a better understanding of what the imprint truly had to offer beyond its controversial reputation. Unlike MAX Comics, Black Label is still going strong, releasing books such as Garth Ennis and Liam Sharp’s Batman: Reptilian. However, true to form, Reptilian wasn’t Garth Ennis’ first time working on a mature rated series for one of the Big Two.
Historically, I have not been a fan of Garth Ennis.
It isn’t for lack of effort on my part – I’ve read Punisher MAX. I’ve read more of The Boys than I wanted to. I even tried Preacher, the one Ennis book that seems to be universally praised. I cannot say these are bad comics. It’s possible Ennis’ sensibilities, gratuitously mean-spirited and cynical as they are, just aren’t for me. Those sensibilities however mean that he was a perfect fit for the Marvel MAX line. Ultra-violence and liberal cursing (and usage of racial and homophobic slurs, as befit the early-2000s ethos of “mature comics”) were the imprint’s bread and butter. Unfortunately, the bread was usually moldy and the butter closer to congealed milk.
All of this is to say I’m utterly shocked that I enjoyed Thor: Vikings, Ennis’ 2003 take on the God of Thunder with artist Glenn Fabry. It isn’t without its faults, but Vikings’ major boon is that Ennis shows a remarkable amount of restraint. Yes, there is gore a-plenty, and both sexual assault and child murder are alluded to. But it’s in the use of allusion, not in-your-face crudeness that these aspects show Ennis is holding back. Were it not for a single f-bomb in the final issue and the almost cartoonish violence, this perhaps could have acted as a mainline Thor miniseries.
The story begins in the year 1003 A.D., on the coast of Norway. Lord Harald Jaekelsson and his band of ruthless Vikings pillage and massacre a village before setting sail for the New World. Unfortunately for them, the village’s wise man survives and places a blood curse on the Lord and his crew – dooming them to sail for a thousand years before reaching the land they seek to find.
Jaekelsson responds, of course, with an arrow to the chest.
Cut to one thousand years later, the very current year of 2003. The Vikings arrive on the shores of New York ready to conquer, and thanks to the increased strength and durability the “curse” has granted them, manage to defeat the military, Thor, and even the entirety of the Avengers, bringing the city under their control with ease. Thor ends up crawling out of the bay broken and defeated.
“Strange…” Thor says, looking up and off-panel.
“Downright bizarre, I’d say,” replies Doctor Strange, as I bite my lip to stop grinning at how simple-yet-clever that line was.
The plot is simple. Thor is defeated, Strange helps him recover and gather allies to defeat the Vikings, and then they do so. It’s in the little pieces of writing like the line I highlighted above that Thor: Vikings really shines. And even beyond that, Vikings avoids one of the most well-documented things about Ennis – the man hates superheroes. Thor and Doctor Strange are treated shockingly well here by Ennis, whose depiction could reasonably be seen in any other Marvel book (though Strange may be a bit too comical).
The strangest (no pun intended) part of the plot, really, is that one of the allies Thor and Strange recruit is a literal Nazi fighter pilot, Erik Lonnroth. The book goes out of its way to justify this decision by having Lonnroth explain that actually, he hates Hitler and the Nazis and simply wants to help end the war to prevent further civilian deaths. In theory, Ennis could be trying to highlight the hypocrisy of the character. Another warrior recruited for the fight is a crusader, Sir Magnus, who comically shouts about “the love of our lord and savior Jesus Christ” while brutally smashing a man’s head with a flail. It isn’t subtle. Lonnroth is, unfortunately, not cut from the same cloth. It’s a decision that muddies what should be a fairly mindless but fun story.
Glenn Fabry’s art, meanwhile, is perfect for depicting the carnage on display. It isn’t my favorite, but it’s hard to deny that it works here. Fabry reminds me of Steve Dillon, another frequent Ennis collaborator, though his linework isn’t quite as clean as Dillon. There’s an especially gruesomely good-looking double page spread at the beginning of issue 4, depicting the heads of Marines on spikes.
It’s not hard to go into these Marvel MAX titles expecting them to be terrible; after all, many of them are. However, Thor: Vikings convinced me that I should have a more open mind. Despite its pitfalls, Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry put in solid work, and I recommend giving it a shot – maybe it’ll work it’s blood magic on you.
The GC616 logo blazes across the screen, revealing our anchor Reagan seated at the newsdesk, this time with bangs.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome back to GC616 news, our top story today comes from the X-Men who recently fought off the Annihilation Wave in Kansas.
Reagan: You know, I’ve been thinking recently that it’s almost like all of these news stories run on a monthly schedule. It’s like there’s some. Cosmic Writer or something that’s deciding that all of our heroes have little stories that play out during the same week each month.
She shakes herself out of her sidebar and returns to the matter at hand: the news! Afterall, the idea that some higher being is scripting out everything that happens and deciding what the Avengers and X-Men et al face and when is preposterous isn’t it.\
Reagan: [Somewhat shocked] I have no idea where that little tangent even came from. Anyways, back to the news at hand. As I said before, the X-Men recently saved a small-town in Kansas from a large group of absolutely disgusting bug-like creatures known as the Annihilation Wave. Skin crawling! Here to give some more insight is out correspondent Sloan Morris. Hey there Sloan!
The camera cuts to Sloan, one of GC616’s younger correspondents. They’re standing in front of a smoking crater on the outskirts of Iola, a small town in rural Kansas. Beside them is one of the locals, Gerry.
Sloan: Hey Reagan! That’s right, the X-Men did in fact save the town of Iola from the Annihilation Wave. I’m here with one of the locals who saw it happen and even sat down for a meal with the heroes in question.
They turn to Gerry.
Sloan: Now Gerry, can you tell us what you saw here today?
Gerry: Well, we noticed something was wrong when a meteorite made entirely of bugs crashed outside of town. Honestly, we were about to try to figure out how to call the Avengers in by the time the X-Men had already shown up and saved the day. They made real quick work of all of the bugs too, one of them, Sunfire I think his name was, fried them all using his fire power. It was something that was for sure.
Sloan: And you said that you invited the X-Men to stay for a meal as thanks?
Gerry: Of course we did! People show up and help you out of the kindness of their heart? The least you can do is help them out by providing a good meal. And anyways, it was already set up. Doesn’t make a difference whether or not they stay and eat at that point.
Sloan: I see. Thank you for shedding some light on the situation Gerry. Back to you Reagan!
The camera cuts to Reagan back in the studio. She’s playing with her bangs. They are after all new and she hasn’t quite had time to get used to them.
Reagan: Thanks Sloan! Now on to Katie with some Hulk news.
The camera cuts to Katie reporting in front of the Baxter Building. Her black cat, Felicia, walks in a pattern on the ground. Upon closer inspection, the cat appears to be creating the illusion of the number “4.”
Katie: Hello all. I’m reporting live from the Baxter Building, better known as the headquarters of the family superhero squad, The Fantastic Four. From the outside here at 42nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan, a quiet pall has fallen over New York City. Jade giant, the Hulk, and his beefy compadres, battled the Avengers not long ago. The city has been reeling from the showdown, avoiding the streets. Apparently, the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, have also hidden themselves inside the Richard family tower.
Only an hour prior, a witness saw Hulk, She-Hulk, and MIA reporter Jackie McGee enter the Baxter Building. You might as well string up a sign that says, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Did the Green Goliath smash his way through the puny heroes during an inevitable rematch? We can only assume another grim outcome when you place the formidable Hulk against the rocky will of Ben Grimm.
She gazes upon the towering structure, pondering a possible allyship between the two bulging beasts. Felicia shakes her head.
Katie: Perhaps the two reconciled before crimson colors ignited under the Baxter Building. An eagle-eye witness observed a boiling red plasma hue leaching through from below. The source says they blinked and the red evaporated as if a portal had been closed. My source indicates how they felt as if an “entryway into a city of woe” had been opened. Sounds pretty hellish, in my opinion. The Hulk and Ms. McGee have not surfaced since the reported incident.
Felicia meows haughtily until Katie bends down to pick her up. The black cat perches atop Katie’s shoulder in cat-loaf position.
Katie: She’s so spoiled. As above, so below…Back to you, Reagan!
The camera cuts from a close-up on the contented cat over to Reagan in the studio.
Reagan: Thanks Katie, and what a cute cat Felicia is. You’ll have to send me more pictures of her later. Now we have Mr Sinister back with some Sinister Scoops. What’s the goss, Sinister?
Sinister: Welcome back to Sinister Scoops with me, MISTER SINISTER! The best Sinister, who has left behind a ridiculous life of mad science to focus on the most important thing in life, making news reports on clones of yourself and the man you were cloned from! While I hear Krakoa has been up to all sorts of interesting business recently, no Sinister someones were involved so who really cares? It’s time for the team that matters most, THE HELLIONS, and their fearless leader Sinister.
Sinister: When we last left our delightful group of disasters, it seemed some Sinister sins were coming back to haunt us. After that awful business in Amenth, Tarn the Uncaring wanted a little bit of revenge for the DnA that the Hellions gathered while there, which is quite frankly rude. Hasn’t Tarn ever heard that sharing is caring? A little birdie/giant worm man informed this Sinister that the Great Ring of Arrako didn’t give Tarn permission to seek his vengeance, but Arakko is having as much trouble keeping it’s resident mad geneticist with a god complex under control as Krakoa is.
Sinister: After a brief tussle between our beloved Hellions and the Locus Vile, it almost seemed like victory was assured thanks to the ever-surprising Nanny, Orphan-Maker and Wildchild. After their tragic deaths in Amenth, their bodies seemed to have adapted just for vengeance against their murders, and vengeance they were having. So of course that spoilsport Tarn the Uncaring had to show up thanks to his fancy little “fish knife” or whatever, and ruin everything.
Sinister puts his hand to his earpiece.
Sinister: I know it’s called a “Blade Fish”, I was making fun of that Arakki asshole! ANYWAYS with Tarn here the tide turned quickly in the Viles favour. If it wasn’t for Sinister’s quick thinking and diplomatic skills, our heroes could have lost once again! After dispelling all of Tarns lies that he may have been responsible for the deaths when the remaining Hellions returned from Arrako, which I must again reiterate are 100% lies and there is no proof to his claims, Sinister was able to unleash some of the less interesting Sinisters from the wombs of Bar Sinister to fend off our intruders. Now THAT’s what I call a Sinister War! During the chaos our main Sinister and the one left behind in Arrako were able to reunite thanks to a shared love of…cameras. Not chimeras, that’s for sure. Some people may have heard “chimera”, but that’s not right. Sinister has gotten really into photography. Retreating through a Krakoan No-Gate designed only for Sinister and having such faith in the Hellions ability that he left them behind, the two Sinisters go to talk about cameras somewhere only Sinisters can go. If only we knew a Sinister who couldn’t say no to a scoop?
Reagan: Thanks for keeping us updated on all the hottest goss Sinister! Now to Chad. Who I am continually surprised that we haven’t fired.
The electronic beats start as the Checkin’ In With Chad sizzle reel begins. A highlight from this week’s video starts with red fruit punch being poured into a large glass jar with one hand and a handle of Everclear with the other. As the camera starts to pan out, it becomes clear that there is the large disembodied head of the incredible Hulk floating inside. Chad drops the empty bottles before grabbing the camera and yelling “We call this one Chad’s Immortal Jungle Juice, FULL F#@$*&^ SEND”. When the reel ends, Chad is sitting on a bar stool watching another channels report on a huge attack on Spider-Man.
Chad: Yo everybody. Welcome to my favorite bar, the bar with no name. This place gets rowdy as hell. I was supposed to meet some buddies here tonight. But they’re all on the TV right now hunting Spider-Man. I should probably be in that Graveyard reporting on this but I couldn’t find my way to the dead center of town. Looks like they’re all dying to get Spider-Man. I tried ringing up my boy Shocker but I think that’s a dead zone. Honestly I think that human centipede guy is after Spider-Man or something. Spidey is going to be fine. He always is. I just wish my bros didn’t stand me up. I just wanted to have drinks tonight after a depressing lunch with my brother. He told me I am making a mockery of journalism but like… I’m just doing my best. Whatever. I am gonna slam a couple of jager bombs and go bully some of those villains like Spidey does. See you next week, I guess.
Reagan: [Under her breath] Huh. Can’t believe I’m feeling bad for Chad. [At full volume] Thanks for that… toned down report Chad. Now to Brason with some Symbiote coverage.
We cut to Brason speeding down busy traffic, eyes wide after what he just saw.
Brason: A green symbiote has just escaped a nearby nursing home as I was leaving the scene at Alchemax. I have never seen anything that tall and creepy in my life. Oh dear!
The camera pans over to a gas station with the green symbiote we know as Lasher standing tall. A gruesome scene has just played out with civilian bodies everywhere.
Brason: We have to get the hell out of here. We’re already late for today’s Krane rally, I feel there’s going to be a big announcement.
Lasher runs off to elsewhere but there is no time to follow. The rally is close to over. Brason whips into a parking lot and runs through an even more riled up crowd than last time.
Senator Krane: …But we will not be silenced anymore.
Brason: What the hell have you done, Krane?
The crowd goes into a riot, unlike anything Brason’s ever seen. He runs back to his car.
Brason: This certainly will not end well at all. With all the chaos in the city already, Krane is just adding gas to the flame. Remind me to never get wrapped up in symbiote drama after this.
Reagan: Will do Brason! And with that we’ve reached the end of our time. I’m going to spend some time thinking about the nature of the universe and the fact that it increasingly feels like time is a flat circle and we’re all just repeating the same four or five events on a monthly basis. I hope all of you have a great night! See you next time on GC616.
The GC616 logo flashes across the screen before fading out. Before it fully fades out and the feed cuts the muffled voice of the camera man can be heard.
Jamie: You okay man? That was pretty existential there.
The feed cuts out before Reagan’s reply can be heard.
As we get closer to Ben Reilly’s huge return as the Amazing Spider-Man in Issue #75 as part of the Beyond era, I wanted to take a look at Nick Spencer’s last big event for Pete. Can this mishmash of various Sinister Six teams fighting leave a huge impact in the grand scheme of things? I’m betting no, but who’s to say.
For context, I originally hopped onto Spencer’s run around the #850 landmark and the Sins of Norman Osborn one-shot. I had a fun time with both of those but Last Remains quickly lost my interest, although I do love the Order of the Web’s involvement. That’s to say I’ve heard all the critiques with this run being too drawn out, not getting to the point with Kindred in time and not making any lasting resolutions to One More Day.
If I’m being honest though, I think I liked this issue. Is it a top-tier Spider-Man story for the ages? No, and I wasn’t expecting it to be. Is the craft from a comic storytelling perspective really that good here? Also no. What it does do is have fun; it’s just teetering on that goofy 90’s Spider-Man animated series vibe. Mark Bagley and the colorist Brian Reber are able to pull off some impressive stuff here with the various teams crashing the film premiere. Everyone wanted to go all out here.
Some other positives here include some of the interpersonal relationships. Pete gets to support MJ as she walks the red carpet and it’s a genuine feel good moment. Carlie Cooper & Harry get some interesting back-and-forth interrogating as they have their own mystery to figure out, then whatever is going on in Mysterio & Vulture’s feud. Now it’s time…to address the octopus in the room.
Technically the return was in Amazing Spider-Man #70, I get that, but this felt the most insulting. I am of course talking about Doc Ock, formerly known as the Superior Spider-Man. We get a brief moment of Pete reflecting on the events of Superior plus Mephisto actually being in the issue. Something more artistic could have been done here rather than starting with a punch to Vulture from one of his arms. He’s doing his whole spiel you’d expect. I hope the later issues of this event will have any ounce of reflection from him.
The Kindred and Mephisto & Strange moments were just flat-out boring. You would want to see the various villains fighting because that’s the promise of the event; instead we get this mystery almost laid out to Pete but not quite just so it can be dragged out bit more. I am intrigued by what the second issue is going to bring with the smaller Sinister Six groups showing up at the end but again, I’m also dreading those pointless Kindred speeches and Mephisto/Strange talks. I’ve always felt Strange just gets tacked onto Spidey stories for no reason and this is no exception. If the meat of the event can just focus on the action and let Bagley do his thing, this can be a decent one.
The GC616 logo, still painted onto a tablecloth flashes across the screen as the broadcast begins. Reagan, hair messily bleached, sits at the anchor’s desk (once again a folding table with a black table cloth over top.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616, your trusted source for superhero news. Tonight’s top story: an altercation between Thor and Captain America.
Earlier today while the Avengers were taking care of an incident involving robots, Thor, the king of Asgard arrived in Midgard seeming stressed to say the least. Over the course of his visit, Thor took out all of the remaining robots with his lightning before having a minor altercation with Captain America.
Multiple eyewitnesses noted that it appeared as though Thor may have been having difficulties keeping control of his powers. More on this story as it develops but first, Katie is here with some Spider-News
The camera cuts over to Katie, brow furrowed and arms crossed.
Katie: This is my segment! You can’t just barge in here and take over my story —
J. Jonah Jameson: WHEN THERE’S A STORY INVOLVING THAT WEB-HEADED MENACE TO BE TOLD, YOU BETTER BELIEVE I’M GONNA TELL IT — FIRST!
Katie: This isn’t even only about Spider-Man! It’s about a symbiote infestation! And if you wanted an exclusive, why didn’t you go to your little Daily Bugle office?
Jonah: LITTLE? WHAT ARE YOU CALLING LITTLE? THE BUGLE IS THE FINEST NEWS ESTABLISHMENT IN ALL OF NEW YORK!
Katie: Well, at least here at G616 we aren’t SCREAMING ALL THE TIME!
A clip-on microphone sits on the desk. Katie and Jonah lunge for the device simultaneously. A brief skirmish ensues before Katie manages to wrestle the equipment from Jonah. She pins it on her shirt and shoves her hand in Jonah’s face to keep him at a distance.
Katie: Many apologies to our G616 viewers today. Somehow, this…Spider’s shadow got through security. Can I get a little help here, anyone?
She waves her free hand around, signaling for assistance. Her other hand is clamped over Jonah’s mouth, desperately muffling the raging man. Two guards emerge from the shadows to haul Jonah out of the studio.
Jonah: OH, YOU’RE ON MY LIST NOW, MISSY! EVERYONE WILL KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO THE GREAT J. JONAH J–
Thankfully for Katie, a door slams. She smiles and turns toward the camera, trying not to appear disgruntled.
Katie: Thank goodness he’s gone! I feel so sorry for those poor souls over at the Bugle…Anyway, before that man rudely tried to overshadow me, I had breaking news for you all. I suppose it’s not breaking anymore. The only thing that’s broken is my hand after trying to rid myself of that lunatic…Ahem. The Fantastic Four’s headquarters have been completely engulfed in what appears to be black tendrils from a symbiote. Several superheroes arrived at the scene of the Baxter Building.
It also appears that our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has returned after his…ahem, killing spree the past week. Unfortunately, Spidey’s suit was completely ripped in the ensuing battle. Although, he’s pretty ripped himself *cough.*
Witnesses saw The Thing rampaging like the Hulk. As Spider-Man aided the Human Torch in battle against their rocky comrade, a grotesque version of Mr. Fantastic released an explosion of the oozing black gunk upon the heroes. I would hate to be the guy in charge of clean-up.
No wonder Jonah was so hysterical! Any combination of Mr. Fantastic’s intellect and the power of an alien symbiote from space is news. Not good news, but news nonetheless! Wait…what if that symbiote explosion possessed all the superheroes below the building? What if we’re all in danger? What if Jonah gets credit for breaking this story before I did? Oh, god. The possibilities!
With Katie plagued by infinite probabilities involved in “What if?” scenarios, the camera cuts back to Reagan.
Reagan: Erm, thank you Katie. Now we have a breaking news report from Brason. Brason?
BREAKING NEWS hits the screen as we cut to Brason speeding in his car to get to the crime scene first.
Brason: Not much time to explain, folks. We have received word that a group of Alchemax guards have captured Andrea Benton, known as Scream, right outside of Alchemax headquarters. At least two dead guards have been discovered so far and what seems to be a symbiote codenamed Doppelganger.
He sloppily parallel parks nearby and when he exits his car, he is bombarded by a Senator Krane supporter wearing a “For Humanity” hat.
Unnamed Krane Voter: Reporter sir, I saw the whole thing.
Brason: That’s great but I need to get to the guards for some real answers.
Krane Voter: Alright, but just know that Scream fellow I saw was in cahoots with that Spider-Man villain, Carnage.
Brason: I will keep that in mind. That doesn’t add up at all. Who does he think I am?
Pretends to write it down with some scribbling. Immediately goes up to the officers and guards.
Brason: What was the scene here last night, how did Doppelganger get out? Is Andrea Benton in custody?
Alchemax Guard: We had everything handled with Doppelganger. Scream had no reason to get involved, and Andrea was dealt with by the police. She killed one of ours, she is no hero.
Brason: Has Krane commented on your testing of various monsters and symbiotes? Is your organization for or against the Humanity Act?
Alchemax Guard: *a nervous pause before he answers* My pay grade is not high enough to answer that unfortunately.
Brason: I might as well ask this one last question, maybe the man who confronted me did see Carnage, or I’ll look like a joke. I’m hearing rumors that Carnage or Cletus Kassady made an appearance at the fight outside of Alchemax?
Alchemax Guard: We would have known if we saw him, I can guarantee you he wasn’t here last night.
Brason: I knew it! Why did I even go for it?! Well, that’s all I have for you. Thank you for your time. GC viewers, I hope I was able to create a better picture of the events that took place here last night. Back to you.
Reagan: Thank you so much Brason, next up, one of our new reporters, Justin has some Krakoa-related news. Justin?
An eerie silence falls over the GC616 Studios. A silence interwoven with the smell of sulfur. A purple puff of smoke BAMFs three figures behind the desk. One is Kurt Wagner, holding a cutlass to the throat of another man in the middle who wears a tattered suit with longish hair. The other is Black Tom Cassidy, whose hands are clamped heavily over the man’s shoulders until he shoves him hard against the newsdesk. As he does they both point menacingly at the man. Black Tom with his hand, but Kurt Wagner with his cutlass.
Black Tom: And say tha’ fook outta the Krakoan Woolworths!
They BAMF away. Justin looks at the camera, flips his hair Loki style, and sits with a wolfish grin.
Justin: Hello, again, Citizens. Yes, I am returned. Back from my prolonged time-looping hellscape beyond the Zero Point and from extended embedded assignment on the mutant nation of Krakoa, where both X-government and metaphysical officials are still in an uproar.
Despite the general success of the recent Hellfire Gala and newly gained political clout the fledgling island nation has garnered, there is still an unexpected unease rippling through the populace. While I was unable to gain any real hard evidence as to the cause of said malaise due to my clandestine stay, one mutant who spoke to me said that he and his friends “The Xorn Brothers” were looking into the matter.
“Oh, aye, the weebles have kinda spread like wildfire around ‘ere,” said the mutant who would only identify himself as “David”. “But me, the elf, and Starlight Express are on it. Those weebles are the least of your worries when you deal with Onslaught, but if even a humie like you is feelin’ ‘em, that means we gotta start crackin’ on all the more, yeah?”. When I pressed for an explanation, the Brothers Xorn simply harrumphed and “David” started to cackle breathlessly before moving their whole party toward one of the newly constructed Gates that lead to new Krakoan territory Arrako (formerly known as the celestial body Mars).
The Quiet Council of Krakoa also proved similarly cagey. When asked to comment on the “Onslaught” as well as the general feeling of unease felt by the mutant population of the island, a surly, cigar chomping Council representative said, “Who the f$%k is this guy and why does he smell like a flatscan?”. Afterwards I was…politely asked to leave the island after a…lengthy “debrief” process with the island’s security team X-Force and later provided egress, as you saw at the top of my report.
But I assure you, Citizens, my quest for truth is undaunted! Even though I can’t really remember what my mom looks like or the last 72 hours, give or take. We will return to you next week with more top-notch reporting and up to the minute updates on the evolving state of Mutant affairs.
I’m Justin Partridge III and that’s news to me!
Reagan: Thanks Justin! Now here’s another new reporter, José with a report on Iron Man. José?
After finally receiving the On-Air signal on his long-range communicator, José rushes to the front of the window, where alien constellations glisten in the endless black of space. When he first arrived on this rum-dingy FTL ship, he knew it would be the best view for his first live report, though he expected to have stronger feelings about the whole thing. In fact, José expected to have any physical feeling at all, especially with his equipment, but that’s astral projection for you.
José: Hello team! I am reporting from the farthest reaches of space where the most unlikely crew is on its way to fight a god, and you will never guess who is leading them: The Invincible Iron Man!
Just as he rehearsed, José walked down the corridor to the main passenger room, where his interview subjects stood waiting. Even as an astral-projected ghost, he never got used to how weird these folks looked.
José: But Iron Man is now missing, somehow transported to an unknown and untraceable world, and here to describe his current whereabouts are his teammates.
With the gloating ghost-camera, José put Frog-Man and Gargoyle into the shot.
Frog-Man: This is my first time on the news without the humiliation. Hi mom! I’m Frog-Man!
Gargoyle: As for Stark’s location, we have yet to figure it out. According to Hellcat’s tenuous mental link, Iron Man is on a barren planet, living on a colony with other lost souls.
Frog-Man: Apparently it’s the planet where Ultimo is from. Fun fact: There are so many Ultimos! Makes the one we have feel less special, if you ask me.
José: Once you lock onto him, will you have a rescue plan prepared?
For an instant, Gargoyle and Frog-Man exchange a worried glance.
Gargoyle: We have options, but without a true way forward, all is in flux.
Frog-Man: Like it wasn’t to begin with. I mean, Iron Man had to call on me, Frog-Man, for help! Against a cosmic tyrant named Korvo, or something. Only someone really crazy would do that, and right now I think he’s crazy enough to throw in the towel and stay on that colony.
José: Would you say your partnership with Tony Stark was inspired by complete helplessness or yet another personal crisis?
From the next room over, an intimidating pair of iron boots stomped into the scene, pushing Gargoyle and Frog-Man out of the shot.
War Machine: That’s it! Get this guy out here! This is a serious operation, not a goddamn TV show!
José: And we are out of time! Will Tony Stark ever return from his cosmic odyssey? Who knows! But with friends like these, a man has no choice but to find himself. Back to you Reagan.
Reagan: Thanks José, now on to — oh! [annoyed] It’s Chad again. Hi Chad, what’s happening today?
The newscast is transitioned from the studio footage to Chad’s sizzle role, a highlight of this weeks reel is him showing his entire ass to Galactus while shouting “Eat this bro, fucking beta”. When the reel ends, we find Chad in a highly swanky event which is actually the film premiere of “Down in Flames, Up in Smoke”. The camera is facing Chad’s back as he gets something from the bar. As he turns towards the camera, he finishes shotgunning his beer in a powdered baby blue suit.
Chad: What’s up! I am here at a fancy ass movie premiere for Cage Mcknight’s new movie “Down in Flames, Up in Smoke” but the real smoke-show is Mary Jane Watson. I saw with her boyfriend earlier, honestly I could fight him. Anyway GC52 sent me out to report on the event.
The cinema’s lobby is clearly empty as the movie is about to start inside. If you are watching at home, it’s clear Chad is terrible at his job.A group of costumed villains start to walk past himuntil one stops, a man in a green striped shirt.
Sandman: Bro I love your videos dude. Can we get a selfie? Can’t wait to show my buddies.
Chad does indeed take a picture before Doctor Octopus whistles for Sandman to follow him while also telling Chad he loves his work. The camera follows Chad as he follows the group into the theatre which is popping off.
Chad: OH SHIT! There are so many villains in here beating each other up and Spider-Man. Dude! Mysterio is here! I am in over my head but Imma get involved. See you next week Chadians!
The camera cuts out as Chad slams a folding chair over the Vulture and the report turns back to the newsroom.
Reagan: [dryly] Chad everyone, never a bore.
Reagan pauses before transitioning to the next segment.
Next up is something very special, an interview with Multiple Man himself. Bobby?
We cut to two men sitting opposite each other at a dining table. There is Bobby Varghese Vinu, a young up-and-coming reporter who started at GC’s 616 News Division for the UK. Opposite him is Mr. Jamie Madrox, a gentleman known by many to be the superhero known as Multiple Man. He wears a suit, with the colour scheme based on his costume.
Bobby: I must say Mr. Madrox–
Jamie: Please, call me Jamie.
Bobby: Well, I must say, Jamie, when I was planning the interview at my place–
One of Jamie’s dupes comes to the dining table putting two plates of food.
Bobby: Thank you. Anyways, Mr. Madrox, I admit that I wasn’t expecting you to bring your clones–
Bobby grimaces, realising his mistake
Bobby: I mean dupes. I apologise!
Jamie: Not a problem. I am used to it.
Bobby: It’s a force of habit since the concept of clones is all too real now ever since Dolly the Sheep. So I forget that you can have a duplicate of someone without thinking “clone!”
Jamie: I guess clones are duplicates in a way.
Bobby: But not all duplicates are clones now, are they?
Jamie: Maybe. Though they do have my DNA so they might be clones.
Bobby: You also reabsorb them back, don’t you? So wouldn’t they be extensions of your consciousness?
Jamie: You’ve thought about this a lot haven’t you? I could have sworn this interview was about something else.
Bobby: Of course. My apologies for going off-tangent. But before I ask, I must admit that I wasn’t expecting you to bring them to my place and make food. Not that I don’t appreciate it of course, as I do like a good home-cooked meal, but it was surprising.
Jamie: Ah, well, I got called for an interview on such short notice and I wasn’t able to absorb my dupes, so I thought that I might be able to bring them along!
Bobby: Anyways, I have heard that you’re presenting something at Technology Talks about an ionospheric bandwidth generator.
Jamie: That is correct.
Bobby: Now, here is a question I would like to ask: what is an ionospheric bandwidth generator?
Jamie: I am afraid I can’t divulge the details there.
Bobby: Fair enough. I must ask though, how do you do it? You must have a schedule for this sort of thing, wouldn’t you? And if you don’t mind me asking, how do you work around it with your powers?
Jamie: Well, as they like to say, sir, I do a lot of yoga and meditation. I read. I jog every morning.
Bobby: With the dupes?
Jamie’s phone buzzes and he picks it up.
Jamie: Apologies, Mr. Vinu. I must go attend the conference.
Bobby: But wait! How are you going to get the–
Jamie opens a gate and walks through it.The dupes join him, and the dining room is empty.
Bobby: Well…so much for my first day as a reporter.
Reagan: It’ll get better with time! And now for another piece of news from kra—
Reagan begins to transition to the next segment but is interrupted by a raven swooping into the studio. From its claws a scrolled up parchment drops. It falls lazily through the air until landing flatly on Reagan’s desk.Reagan skims the letter before reading it aloud.
Reagan: [Reading] To whom it may concern,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. I also hope this communication arrives to you as intended, and not as Otherworld sees fit. I try my darndest to get these to you as I’ve written them but for whatever reason this place seems to pervert them in the oddest of ways. Why last week I sent Reagan a tweet only for it to arrive as a sign at the bottom of their tea.
I digress, you seek the events of Otherworld and I am here to deliver it. The lands of this place have been in quite the commotion since the coming of the mutants, or witchbreed as the inhabitants say, although that has a nasty ring to it. The latest rumblings come from Blightspoke. A fellow described Blightspoke as a place of lost treasures, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s full of shite no one wants. Apparently the mutants were poking their noses into some of this shite when the sheriff let a shot off at them. In a magnificent display of force the one who calls himself Gambit deftly defected the shot. It is said you could hear the shot on all the spokes. Needless to say the mutants wrapped up their business there and continued on.
A little after this I got a scathing report from one of my informants in the Majestrix’s court, WHO WILL REMAIN UNNAMED. Apparently, Merlyn, the old wizard of legend has returned. I was told that he was previously the ruler of the Starlight Citadel until Lady Saturnyne deposed the old fool. When I pressed for further information my contact started laughing. Jai- my informant, has a way of doing that. Merlyn is back and his newest quest seems to be the eradication of mutants from these lands. A particularly brave thing to say considering that the rulers of two of these lands are themselves mutants. Not the only drama in the court though as it seems that the Majestrix and her Captain Britain seem to continue to be at odds. Even when their goals align against Merlyn they can’t help to not trust the other. Though I can’t blame Lady Saturnyne, the dear captain’s colors are a bit in poor taste, considering what they represent.
As I write this to you, I currently sit at a tavern with a snout nosed fairy that escaped from Merlyn. All thanks to the Captain and her friends, or as they call themselves, Excalibur. Late the past evening Excalibur trodded right up to Merlyn’s tower freeing the prisoners therein. According to my new friend, Merlyn himself came out to greet them at his Water of All Reality. She didn’t say what the waters truly were but I’ll investigate in my own time and hopefully have it in my next correspondence. Once Merlyn showed Excalibur made an earth shaking exit accompanied by noises whose description eerily sounded like that of a locomotive. Surely they didn’t escape via train. But, Otherworld is a fantastical place and stranger things have happened. The other weird thing is that my new friend claims there was a king amongst the prisoners. The thought made me chuckle. A king in chains, sounds purely Athurian.
Please have my warmest regards as I bring this month’s correspondence to an end. Will this arrive as intended? Who’s to say. Will this arrive as a letter dropped by a plague soaked avain? Judging by prior experience, undoubtedly so.
PS: I almost forgot, my Krakoan correspondent said something about five mutants close to Excalibur being resurrected. To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest idea of who the hell they are. Although, knowing Excalibur, I’m sure I’m about to find out.
As the letter is finished being read it bursts into flames, immediately setting off the fire alarms and dousing the set in water. Reagan, drenched in water from the sprinklers stares annoyed at the camera.
Reagan: Well, it’s time to end our show anyways so once more, thank you for tuning in to the second-ever broadcast of GC616.
The GC616 logo, dripping water appears as the broadcast cuts out.
The GC616 logo appears on screen as the camera zooms out to reveal the GC616 newsroom. At the moment, the newsroom is just an empty utility room in the first reasonably priced office space that the team could find on such short notice. The anchor, Reagan, quickly jumps up from behind the plastic folding table covered with a black tablecloth that doubles as both desk and lunctable for those in the office. Pinned on the wall behind her is a blue tablecloth hastily painted with the GC616 Logo.
Reagan stares off-camera and talks to the camera man. While not as nervous as she was at the Hellfire Gala, there’s still an element of anxiety to her.
Reagan: Are we live?
The cameraman, the same one from the Gala, says something inaudible that shocks Reagan into the same confidence that we saw at the Gala.
Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616. I’m Reagan Anick. Our top story tonight: the X-Men return to heroism and save the city from a psychic robot.
Footage of the X-Men piloting a mech in battle against an alien-looking robot appears in the corner of the screen as she talks.
Reagan: Thanks to the quick thinking of this new team, led by Marvel Girl and Cyclops, New York City was saved from a psychic attack that would have led to immense damage and could have potentially spread to the world if not for the heroism of the X-Men. The other heroes that we have to thank are Polaris, Synch, Sunfire, and Wolverine.
Reagan shuffles the papers in front of her a little bit.
Reagan: After saving the city and receiving a welcome from both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, the X-men returned to their new base, a treehouse in a corner of central park that they have named Seneca Gardens in honour of Seneca Village, a 19th century majority Black settlement that was torn down in order to construct Central Park, displacing all of the inhabitants of the settlement.
Reagan pauses as the same muffled voice from early can be heard from behind the camera.
Reagan: Once again, a thank you to the X-Men for their heroics today. Now, if what I’m being told is true, we have someone with information on a teenage superhero group known as… [she looks off screen, squinting to read the cameraman’s lips] the Runaways. Let’s cut to them and find out more.
The feed cuts from the normal view of the GC616 offices to webcam footage of a dark room, with the only light coming from more than a dozen screens placed all around the place, and in the middle, a young man in a hooded cloak can be seen sitting on a rotating chair.
Reagan: Now, if what we’ve been told is correct, you have information about the not-famous-enough-to-get-a-real-reporter Runaways, right? You say you’re their biggest nemesis.
Cloaked man:I AM THE SHADOWS THAT CRAWL AROUND THEM DURING THEIR SLEEP! THE SWORD HANGING OVER THEIR HEADS! THE ABYSS THEY DO NOT DARE TO LOOK INTO! I AM…Glenn.
Reagan: I see you’re very passionate about your job.
Glenn: IT’S NOT A JOB! It’s an honor! I was tasked with watching every one of their steps by the heads of P.R.I.D.E before they fell, and I will not abandon their purpose, even after their deaths. I watch what they do every hour of every day. I have cameras all over the city. I have drones ready for anything they do!
Glenn does a spin with the chair as he puts his hands in the air.
Glenn: This week has been slow though, they’ve just been kinda sad. Gib, the child of the gods that wanted to destroy humanity and now lives with the runaways, keeps going to school and playing football. Lots of cats started giving him rats as sacrifices so he can feed, so I guess there’s that. Nico had a breakdown because of the wizard inside her staff sucking her soul. I would feel sorry for her if my purpose wasn’t destroying her and all she cares about. At least she told her girlfriend, Karolina, about it. The kid that is no longer with them because he betrayed them a while ago, Alex, wants to join the J-Team now. Let’s see where that goes!
Glenn: Wait, finally! The past Gert, who is now present Gert, and is dating Victor, has just discovered that the future version of herself is dating her ex, Chase. They’re all running off, but Victor is staying in place…A SPACESHIP? An alien spaceship just appeared in the sky and landed right in front of him…They’re from Karolina’s planet! What’s going to hap-
The door to upstairs opens. It’s Glenn’s mother.
Glenn’s mother: SON! I TOLD YOU I NEEDED YOU TO GO TO THE STORE FIVE HOURS AGO. THE THOMPSONS ARE COMING FOR DINNER!
Glenn: MOM! THE NEWS PEOPLE ARE HERE! Fuck, I’m sorry, guys. I need to go. I’ll see you next week, I guess.
Glenn goes running up the stairs as he tries not to trip over his cloak, and the camera cuts back to Reagan in the studio, her eyebrows raised.
Reagan: Well then. That was interesting. Now to Katie with a report on a Hulk sighting.
The camera cuts to Katie, standing inside a hotel lobby. Next to her is a woman, tall in stature with a slightly miffed expression as she adjusts the sleeves of her dark grey trench coat.
Katie: Hello G616 watchers! I am here in New York City, reporting on a domestic disturbance report. And yes, it is safe to go outside downtown Manhattan again. After that gamma-fueled fight between several Hulks and the Avengers earlier, many citizens felt terrified. At least Blade was extricated from the fight early on. What was he even doing there?
Jen Walters: Hello? If you don’t mind, can we start this interview?
Katie: Oh, right! I’m merely informing people that they’re in no danger of getting Hulk-smashed anymore.
Jen scoffs, smirking. The recording audio picks up Jen’s muffled mutter.
Jen: I’d be more worried about She-Hulk smashing you right now…
Katie smiles at Jen, completely oblivious.
Katie: Yes…Sorry I’m so scatterbrained! I had a recent blood transfusion and I’ve been feeling like two different people lately!
Jen: Ah, I can relate.
Katie: Wait, you can? You’ve had a —
Jen: Can we just start the interview, please?
Katie: Yes, of course! Ahem. Jen Walters, tell me, who was arguing and what was the cause of the argument?
Jen: My cousin and his…whatever she is to him these days, were yelling about their relationship, of course.
Katie: Witnesses in the lower levels of the hotel said it sounded like all hell broke loose up there. Do you have any insight into why the debate escalated so loudly?
Jen: Let’s just say, those two have some…self-esteem issues. And a history. They aren’t the best at communicating their feelings. Who is? I’ve felt a loss of control as well lately. Yet, I didn’t cause a scene, ha.
Katie: I see. Why was the whole building reported as “shaking” the moment corroborating sources also witnessed a “demon angel from the depths of hell” flying from your hotel suite.
Jen: Look, I don’t know what to tell you about hell or angels. The domestic situation has been handled. My cousin’s a good guy, deep within the recesses of the hulking emotional barrier he’s constructed. He took an extended Vegas vacation and his girl…wasn’t thrilled about his absence. There’s been a lot of tension between all of us lately. Warring internal desires and all that. But I can assure you that no one was hurt.
Katie: Well, I’m delighted to hear that everyone is safe. You avoided my question about the flying…harpy creature. Are you throwing me a red herring here?
Jen stifles a laugh.
Jen: I’m throwing you a red something.
Katie: A red…? Well, thank you for your time Miss Walters.
Jen: Pleasure. I wanted to set the record straight in case any misleading information leaked.
Katie: Manhattan truly is safe today, evidently. Back to you!
Jen rapidly texts on her phone as the camera once again cuts away to Reagan in the studio, this time as she’s wrapping up a conversation with her cameraman, a grin on her face. The grin quickly falls into a more serious look as she notices that she’s live again.
Reagan: Thank you so much Katie. Now, on to some more news from Krakoa as one of our intrepid reporters relays the most recent word on X-Force, Krakoa’s covert ops unit.
The camera cuts to a completely dark screen. After a moment of silence, Reagan’s voice is heard.
Reagan: Did we lose it or….?
She is interrupted by a voice from the dark.
Voice: Frustrating, isn’t it? The dark? Oh, not all the time. Sometimes, we want the dark. We need it. Good things can happen in the dark, memorable things can happen in the dark. Sometimes you’re better off in the dark. Krakoa wants you to think that’s what’s happening with X-Force. They want you to trust them, to stay in the dark – for your own good. Well, we here at GC616 have a different view on that.
Light flicks on, revealing Kevin wearing a trenchcoat and a fedora, trying very hard to pull off a look he isn’t quite managing. He is standing beside a wall full of photographs of various mutants and humans connected by red tape, which looks suspiciously like the wall of a crazy person.
Kevin: I’m Kevin, and welcome to the X-Force Beat. This week, I’m reporting on another series of mysterious incidents that have swept the US. Most of you probably heard about the high-profile murder of a US Senator in the streets of Washington DC, with no motive even suggested. Some of you may also have heard of the strange, sudden disintegration of an NYPD officer in Central Park. But I bet you hadn’theard the extremely credible reports of a strange hulking monster in the Pacific North-West?
Grainy footage plays of a large red-eyed monster; its authenticity looks highly dubious.
Kevin: What do all these things have in common? As your humble reporter, legally bound by several extremely firmly worded contracts and multiple reprimands from prior employers for ‘wild evidence-free allegations’ – I can say nothing. But if I couldsay something, I might note reports that a certain purple-haired mutant was reported at the scene of at least one of these mysterious deaths, and maybe more.
The camera cuts back to the room, where Kevin draws a circle around an image of Quentin Quire with a red marker.
Kevin: I could also note that this same individual was spotted in Washington state shortly after the rash of appearances by this hulking swamp-monster, with sources suggesting that other mutants may also have been present and engaged in some sort of battle – just before sightings of the creature abruptly stopped. But like I say, I can’t mention any of that – or remind you of this mutant’s alleged links to the heavily-rumored mutant black ops team known as X-Force. Other networks may keep sneering at this as a ‘crank conspiracy’ – but I’ll let you be the judge of whether this seems like the work of some conspiracist.
The camera pans out to show that the set of connected photos is in fact dramatically larger than previously revealed, taking up the entire wall of a very large auditorium. After a knowing nod from Kevin, it cuts back to the studio.
Reagan mutters something about needing to stop conspiracy-types from ending up on the airwaves before turning on her usual anchor persona.
Reagan: And now for a special report from…a member of the Krakoan Quiet Council, Mister Sinister himself?
Sinister: Welcome to Sinister Scoops with your host, MISTER SINISTER! Not the main Sinister of course, he’s a bit…distracted at the moment. Instead it is I! The Sinister with the journalism gene, dedicated to scooping the news on Krakoa for all mutant – and man – kind. Or at least the important parts featuring Sinister.
Sinister puts his hand to his ear
Sinister: I’m hearing that the journalism gene is not a real thing but I would like to remind the GC616 staff that I am a high regarded geneticist with a very short temper who may not be able to kill humans, but will gladly clone them and leave them in constant doubt of which is which. Not everyone has a Sinister System like we do after all.
Sinister: Drama in the Hellions this week, but what’s new there? Orphan-Maker found himself snooping where he wasn’t allowed and he and his Nanny have found themselves falling out. Will this finally push our seven foot tall child to grow up a bit? His new unlikely friendship with Greycrow sure seems like it’ll toughen him up a bit. Meanwhile, Empath is struggling to recover from the news that he…
Sinister stares in disbelief at the page he’s reading from
Sinister: SACRIFICED HIS LIFE FOR THE HELLIONS? Is this thinly veiled excuse to give us Sinisters some useful henchmen actually producing results? Greycrow isn’t immune to the drama either, as Kwannon rebuffs his latest advance and sends PsyCrow shippers spiralling. Meanwhile, the main Sinister has some Sinister shaped spanners thrown in the works as ANOTHER Sinister appears, returning from Arakko, and he is NOT happy. Presumably because of his vastly inferior cape. Now in the service of Tarn the Uncaring, this scarred Sinister has joined up with the Locus Vile to get back what Sinister stole from him. Some delightful DnA samples of those Arakki mutants. Is Arakko the secret source of the journalism gene perhaps? With Bar Sinister under the Locus Viles occupation at the moment, Tarn has asked me to read out a statement and…warning…to anyone listening.
The entire screen goes black with white text appearing on it
“Amino Fetus must not eat”
Sinister Secret #1
Those humans and their “Zeta Squad” may think they’re on to something but everyone knows a robot baby mutant coming from Cameron Hodge is destined for only one ability, manifesting cardboard suit necklaces.
Sinister Secret #2
And speaking of robot babies, Nanny isn’t as good at hiding her little one from the prying eyes of Sinister Scoops as she thinks. I won’t tell, but let’s hope the other Sinister doesn’t watch the news…
Sinister Secret #3
The journalism gene? I made it up. But shhh, don’t tell anyone…
Reagan: You know this is a news program right? Why are you telling “Sinister Secrets” to everyone? Anyway, on to the next segment!
We cut to a nervous wreck of a reporter, Brason, sweating in his nice suit. He looks very out of place in this crowd at Senator Krane’s statement on his new anti-alien movement following Knull’s invasion.
Reagan: Is everything alright there?
Brason: I think so, the environment isn’t too hostile. Looking over the notes I gathered, some anti-mutant hate speech at the beginning. *whispers* Maybe someone was salty they weren’t at the Gala. Anyways, there’s Krane leaving the stage right now! Let’s try to get some further information.
Brason sprints up to him very uncomfortably in his dress shoes.
Brason: Senator Krane, we over at GC616 have a few questions about the Birthright Act! Have you contacted any members of S.W.O.R D. or the Guardians of the Galaxy on your plans about dealing with alien threats before they can reach Earth? Will Thor have to leave the Avengers and Earth entirely? Why are you so confident Charles Xavier would sign onto this after all he’s been trying to accomplish over the years with mutants?
Krane is caught off-guard at first with the fluster of questions & the detail of them.
Krane: I can assure you we have taken all those questions into consideration. We have this handled and will have the Act ready for the President to sign on in no time.
Krane steps into his trailer and slams the door in Brason’s face.
Brason: First off, rude. Second, something sounds fishy, GC viewers. He didn’t answer a single question. I’m worried about what we’re in store for.
Crowd: FOR HUMANITY! FOR HUMANITY! FOR HUMANITY!
Brason: Now it’s getting too chaotic here. I’m gonna see myself out. I hear talks of another Krane rally tomorrow. Everyone please stay safe out there. Back to you, Reagan.
Once again, the camera cuts back to Reagan at the newsdesk.
Reagan: Thanks Brason! And now for some news on everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood Spider-Person. On to y—
Before Reagan can cut back in from the office, the screen turns black as Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 plays as an icon slowly appears as the drums hammer away. The logo finally become clerk as “Checkin’ In With Chad” who is known as a hyper infamous Youtube sensation. As soon as the logo becomes clear to the viewers, the music quickly transitions into a heavy bass electronic track as Chad’s sizzle reel begins. A few of the highlights of the reel are as follows: Chad kayaking in the flooded streets New York City after Namor flooded the city, him taking a selfie with his tongue out as Magneto declares that Earth has New Gods, and one particularly tasteless one where he shouts “GOTTEM!” as Norman Osborn kills the Skrull Queen. The choice to bring him on the team was a tough one but his fanbase would help their ratings massively.
Chad: What is up, nerds! When I got the call about being a real newscaster, I said hell no but then I was like wow. What if they, like, let me go to big ass parties and shit like the Hellfire Gala? That would be hella sick. But anyway, I am on Spider-Man duty. JJ Jameson always says he is a menace but I am not really sure why, I don’t read the news, just the headlines. Seems like enough. Anyway, a couple of Spider-Man bits of news this week!
Chad starts walking away from his cameraman, towards a scene of clear havoc recently caused by the semi-villain Star. It’s clear that he’s so used to holding the camera himself that when he was talking about what happened that the camera got none of it. When the cameraman finally spoke up, Chad swung around.
Chad: Bro, I am straight up not going over it again so I will give you the TLDR. Star is like this super person who can change reality. She was mad or something, popped her high school bully like a water balloon, and Spider-Man gave her some soapy “great power” crap to show her the error of her ways. All that matters is that I got to meet a little dog named Tater Tot and got to buy a sick book called “Infinite Jest” from the bookstore she robbed. All my dudes have been telling me this book is sick. But also some other bad stuff happened.
Chad fumbles in his SUPREME backpack before pulling out his iPad. He pulls up a video of Doc Ock attacking Curt Connors’ lab to hold up to the camera.
Chad: So my buddy uses the dark web a lot so he got me this gnarly video. So it looks like the Lizard and Dr Conners are split in two now. There has been a lot of weird chatter that the villains are about to start an all out war. Sounds like the Sinister 6 are involved and shit too. I am going to find out more but I will kick it back to Megan back in the studio. Oh, Reagan. Sorry, my b.
Back in the studio Reagan purses her lips.
Reagan: Thanks Chaz! [sarcastically] Oh wait, it’s Chad isn’t it.
Reagan smiles before rounding out the show with her outro.
Reagan: Once again, thank you for tuning into GC616, and a massive thank you to our correspondents. Keep an eye out next week for more of our reporting. Have a wonderful evening.
Reagan quickly ducks down behind the desk as the camera zooms in to the banner behind her and music plays off of a phone held close to the microphone. Reagan: [offscreen] That went great!