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GC616 News for Marvel Comics Released 09/08/2021

The GC616 logo flashes across the screen before fading to reveal Reagan sitting at the desk like always.

Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616. The Bullseye lockdown continues, now in its tenth day, no updates have been issued by the authorities who are requesting that citizens continue to stay inside their homes and away from any uncovered windows. As usual, we will update you on the details as they become available.

In the meantime, here’s Justin with some news about the comic series Conan.

Justin Partridge III sits behind his usual taped together TV trays, but he looks concerningly happy this time, dressed head to toe in a Pilgrim outfit. A grim black one, complete with tall, wide brimmed hat, riding cloak, and sword belt, which houses a rapier. An odd staff-like object adored with the head of a wolf leans against the main anchor table. Draped across the front of the trays is a poorly hung streamer-paper banner that reads “HAPPY 300 ISSUES, CONAN!” and to the side of the trays a low sitting lawn chair stands.

Justin gestures wildly with his hands as he speaks.

JPIII: Hello again, Citizen Fleshies! MAN, do I have a treat for you today. Here in the studio today, all the way from Aquilonia and The Hyborian Age! The man celebrating a whopping THREE HUNDRED ISSUES! The one, the only, CONAN, THE CIMMERIAN!

Justin takes his phone from the cloak and starts to play a random Basil Poledouris track as Conan The Barbarian steps cautiously into the studio. He is wearing one of his borrowed Hellfire Club frocks but holds a wicked looking double-headed axe. He sits but lays the axe on his lap, eying the off-screen crew menacingly.

JPIII: Conan! Thank y-

Conan: My wine.

JPIII: OH! Yeah, of course!

Justin reaches behind the trays and lifts up a comically huge clay jug of wine. He hands it, with some effort, to Conan, who seems able to lift and drink from it with one hand.

JPIII: So, Conan. 300 issues! That’s a big deal! Did you have any idea when you first met the Frost Giant Daughter that you would end up here? 300 issues later?

Conan seems to have finished the wine. He eyes Justin closer.

Conan: Why are you dressed as a priest?

JPIII: It’s not…I’m Solomon Kane. 

Conan: KANE!? THAT BRIGAND!?

JPIII: NO, WAIT IT’S A COSTUME!

But his axe is already up and the battle is joined! Justin barely gets his sword and staff drawn before Conan hits him with a mighty glancing blow, launching him through his section of the backdrop. Sparks fly! But Conan seems satisfied with the single blow and he leaves the studio, taking a huge handful of deli meat from the crew table before he does. 

Justin’s head emerges from the hole. Except…it isn’t his face. The synthetic flesh once showing Justin’s face has ripped away…to reveal the face of MACHINE MAN! Or at least A Machine Man. Now dressed in a ruined Justin suit and Solomon Kane cosplay.

X-52: B-*ack-ack-ack*ZZYT! T-T-TO you, <Lead Anchor Designate>.

He falls backward in a clatter of gears. The feed cuts back to Reagan, who has a surprised look on her face.

Reagan: Umm. I’m sure Justin is fine. Now let’s catch up with Taneli and the Defenders.

The report switches from the high quality 4k resolution that the studio cameras are capable of to a much granier security camera feed. Taneli floats in his prison cell behind the refined Atlantean bars. His cloak floats in the water behind him with no noticeable breathing apparatuses for someone who from the looks of it is a regular human. A blue skinned atlantean swims by as they make their prison rounds to ensure no one has escaped from King Namor’s bondage. He floats towards the bars and looks up at the camera, his eyes perking up behind his half mask with a large smile on his face.  

Taneli: Hello again viewers. It’s been sometime since we last met. I’ve been without any form of communication since I splashed down into the oceans. I did find Atlantis or more like they found me. King Namor had me locked up here as a trespasser as I was peeking through their armory for the item which I seek. I am still new to this world of magic so bear with me as I stumble my way to find what I need. So I have been a prisoner for some time. 

He held up his wrists that were bound together with a coral cover set of chains. As the viewers watched, Taneli’s fingers and hands moved as if they were dancing as the water itself heated up. The metal grew hotter as it expanded enough for Taneli to slip his hands out.

Taneli: Perfect, finally got that right. I would have had to wait another week if that didn’t work. You’re here to hear about the Defenders, aren’t you? They’re stuck in a time before time. A world before our, well, your world. Carlo Zota is a rogue scientist spiraling through that time and the Defenders are there to stop him at the request of the Masked Raider. Now they’re in the Sixth Cosmos on Taa. Turns out that’s where Galactus was born. A destroyer from the world before.

As Taneli speaks, his hands wave again as the bars shift in opposite directions so he can swim through. The camera feed changes to the next camera as he makes his way through the city, each capturing his report, controlled by his magic.

Taneli: The Silver Surfer is on this team… the Herald of Galactus. The mothman of planetary devouring if you will. Imagine being faced with the being that is at the root of so much of your own suffering and the suffering of billions? What choice would you make? I doubt the Silver Surfer would kill a child but hope to set him on a path to a better future. Taaia, Galactus’s mother, helps the team face the devourer of the world before. Who just so happens to have made Raider’s friend Zota his herald. One moment…

As Tanelli swims into a clearing, a group of Atlantean guards turn their sights onto him. If he wasn’t quick with his hands, he would have been killed. But before they could strike, a portal was opened that they were all sucked into as the guards and the water were teleported far across the galaxy to the planet of Frost Giants. A true chiller of a realization for them.

Taneli: The Defenders uses a weapon of pure emotion to handle Omnimax, their version of Galactus, before being sucked even further back in time and reality. Sticky situation but it’s good for me. Good that I need not worry about Stephen Strange meddling into my affairs. I am off to somewhere a lot dryer than this. Actually, a place almost out of time. Until then, stay safe. 

Taneli enters one of the Atlantean’s ship’s as he commandeers it for his own needs. The camera lingers as the vehicle leaves the docking bay.

Reagan: Thanks Taneli! Now let’s go to Chad who is not coming to you via text this time.

Chad’s typical fanfare plays with heavy electronic beats with his sizzle reel opening his report. The highlight of this week’s reel starts with a still frame of a beautifully stenciled glass door that reads “Alias Investigations”. The stillness is broken as a woman in a leather jacket throws Chad through the glass and towards the camera. The reel ends and Chad is sitting on his couch in a C.M. Punk “Clobberin’ Time” shirt and a pair of boxers with Spider-Man logos printed across them.

Chad: What up my Chadlians! I just got back from Krakoa. Absolutely wild Labor Day Week. Did you know they grow everything there? Also they’ve got the magnets guy on trial. Not so mag neato. Also I was just watching that last report and only caught that Galactus’s mom is a total MILF. Sucks I’m not a celestial but it’s not the size that counts.

Chad turns off his TV so he can start his report.

Chad: Sorry my boy C.M. Punk is back in the ring. Anyway, Spider-Man! Finally something happened. You ever see those gaslight, gatekeep, girl boss memes? No? I’ll tweet some for you. Anyway, The Human Centipede turns out to be the bone-zone consequences of Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy. But it’s not. Turns out Harry Osborn gatekept, gaslight, girl bossed his dad into clapping some robot cheeks. Basically he worked with some bad dudes to make robots and make these fake offspring. Listen, Norman ain’t a good guy but what kind of shitty parenting leads to your kid building a robot that you take on a one way trip to pound town? Sick stuff. That’s all I got this week. If anyone knows Galactuse’s hot momma, give her my number. Oh wait, I got something else!

Chad leans forward on his couch and opens his laptop, VERY quickly closing some tabs before anyone can see. 

Chad: Check it. I found a super cool webcam to watch. You know how sometimes Zoo’s have 24 video feeds of penguins or hippos or something? I love watching those. They’re like my ASMR but now I found this super weird one.

Chad: I think it’s actually like a Go Pro or something strapped to a bird’s face. Super weird angle but I have been seeing some really cool stuff. There is this dude Ka-Zar and he died and came back. ARE I PEE to KA-ZAR but he got better. So he’s a smokeshow, his wife, Shanna, is a smokeshow, and they have a cool ass kid with like a flower launcher. Basically the coolest family on Earth.

Chad: So they fought a T-Rex, OH WAIT IS THIS THE SAVAGE LAND? At the party on Krakoa, Wolverine said if I gave him a good game ass slap again that he was gonna send me there. Dude was a great pong partner. Anyway, the T-Rex was on some Resident Evil business with some worm monster in it but Ka-Zar tossed it out like the trash after moping around for a minute. 

Chad: Shanna said something at their dinner though. Wait actually maybe this stream isn’t legal? Maybe I shouldn’t watch this family eating dinner… anyway she said that they can’t eat the animals that they protect. It made me think about those little penguins at the zoo… I would be heartbroken if someone ate them. I really gotta think about this whole vegan thing a little bit more. Beer is vegan right? Anyway, back to you Reagitoni.

Reagan: Thanks Chad! Now we’ve got Kevin with some news about X-Force.

The camera cuts to Central Park. Kevin stands in his fedora and trenchcoat, looking extremely uncomfortable in the bright September sun. Beside him stands the blue furry form of Hank McCoy, frowning at Kevin.

Kevin: [Breathless] Reagan, I am here on an incredibly rare field operation outside my basem – uh, my operations center, for a coveted interview with one of the shadiest and hard to reach individuals on the entire planet.

Beast: You are here because I wished to let you know in person that I would like you to please stop trying to contact me, or indeed the other mutants you have been deluging with attempted communications.

Kevin: [Ignoring him] Now, Beast, if that is your real name

Beast: I can assure you it is not.

Kevin: You’ve been hiding out from the world for a very long time. Some people think you exist only as a legend, a rumor, a shadow in the night –

Beast: What on Earth are you talking about? I was an Avenger for several years. In fact, you see that bar on the corner? Simon and I once –  but no. That was… another me. [Murmuring, as if to himself] In fact, perhaps it’s better that you do think of me this way.

Kevin: And what way is that? As a secret mastermind behind a global conspiracy against mankind itself??? 

Beast: [Nods to himself and then looks up, as if resolved] Yes.  Why not. Yes, I do what I must to protect my people, and I do it well. And it is good for you – for humans – to be aware of what that entails. Especially after your recent appalling behavior.

Kevin: [Growing more excited] And that creature on the coast – those recent murders – you admit that you were-?

Beast: [Looking into the camera] What I admit is this: some of you humans attacked me- attacked Krakoa very recently, with your miniaturized assassins. Ingenious technology, but – thanks to my good friend Black Tom Cassidy –  it has not worked. I am still here. And you, my Russian friends, will not be able to say the same for long.

Kevin: Is that – Russian – so –

Beast: I know who you are. I know what you’re doing. I know everything that transpires on this world now, and rest assured, I – we – will stop it. And on that note, I must bid you adieu. And you, strange little man – do not try to contact me again. I have known fine reporters in my day, and you are not among them.

He turns and strides off camera. Kevin barely notices, bouncing with excitement

Kevin: I knew it!! I knew it!! Oh they called me crazy, well who’s crazy now??? ‘Russian’ – He practically admitted he’s in bed with Putin – probably got kompromat on the whole nation!!!  Man I’ve got to make sure they see this on Reddit

Kevin races out of frame. The camera hangs on the empty park for a moment, then cuts back to studio.

Reagan: We really need to vet our contributors better so we don’t keep bringing on conspiracy theorists. Anyways, thank you one again for tuning in to GC616, we’ll see you next time!

Categories
Comics

Is Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Lands #1 New Reader Friendly? 

To the outside viewer, like myself, Ka-Zar might look like he’s just Marvel’s version of Tarzan, and to be fair, he has been used that way throughout his publication history. That being said, if Zac Thompson and Germán García’s new limited series proves anything, it is that under the right hands Ka-Zar and the Savage Lands can be a lot more than just another savage hero and a mysterious jungle. 

I think the last time I read a comic with Ka-Zar on it was five or six years ago, in one of those Mini-Marvels comic strips they used to do back in the day, which means I was super thankful that this new series starts with a flashback in the form of a nightmare that serves to remind everyone of Kevin’s backstory. This scene is also amazing because it not only introduces the basics of who Ka-Zar is, but who he is at the moment. 

Art from Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Lands #1 by Zac Thompsom and Germán Garcia

Starting a series with a character that just recently has come back from the dead can be tricky especially when trying to appeal to new readers, luckily for you and me the creative team of this series handles this the best way possible. We are given the important details of the past and concentrate on the now. The book is saying “Yes, Ka-Zar died and came back from the dead and has new abilities, but this book isn’t about that, it’s about what happens next, about what happens NOW”.

There is also this fight scene that does a great job of introducing each member of the Plunder family with actions and dialogue, and not boring exposition. We also get to see some of their family dynamics, which get expanded upon in the diner scene. These were the two scenes that got me hooked. They showed that the Plunders are a lot more complex and interesting than what I gave them credit for. 

There is also a lot of credit that goes to Germán García and Matheus Lopes for pulling the reader into the comic. The art and colors in this comic are beyond amazing, going from the beautiful to the disgusting in the span of panels. The contrast between the colors had a special effect on me, making me want to explore each panel with a careful gaze. 

Art from Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Lands #1 by Zac Thompsom and Germán Garcia

Within this character and their environment, there are some really interesting themes to be explored and Thompson knows this, touching upon things like bio-tech, imperialism, change, our connection with nature and the world, and even veganism. This series manages to take an antiquated concept and give it a contemporary take that doesn’t feel forced or dishonest. 

While I was pushed to read this comic because of my love for the writer’s previous work, I came out of the experience pleasantly surprised. In just one issue, the creative team made me interested in a character I barely knew existed prior to this. If you are looking for a different experience inside the Marvel universe, here is your chance. I’m pretty sure I will check this series in its entirety as it comes out. 

Categories
Comics

The Road To Knowhere

I’m a big fan of comic books, and have been for a good while now. They’re pretty cool. Fun stories with fun characters in a unique medium. Good stuff. But you know what’s the best stuff? Marvel Cosmic; to me, the cosmic corner of Marvel represents the very best of what comic books have to offer. So I wanted to celebrate that with a new column. 

For those not in the know, Marvel Cosmic refers to Marvel comics that take place in an outer space setting. These are stories set in the far corners of the galaxy with strange alien races and crazy new planets, stories that follow characters like Quasar or Moondragon. Marvel Cosmic initially blossomed out of the wonderful mind of Jack Kirby; in the Silver Age, he and Stan Lee established a lot of the foundations of that world. Together they were responsible for so many imaginative ideas that future creators could play with; we got Galactus, the Skrulls, the Negative Zone, Silver Surfer, Ego the Living Planet, and the Kree. All of these are essentially the building blocks of Marvel’s Cosmic universe and, at the time, all of them were fresh and exciting ideas with fresh and interesting characters from across the stars, and all of them were just waiting to be explored further.

From there writers and artists continued to build on those foundations. Writers like Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas added to the mythology in books like The Avengers. We got stories with the Avengers and the Fantastic Four like the Kree-Skrull War and the Celestial Madonna storyline. For a time, the cosmic universe was more in the background, a backdrop for Marvel’s earthbound characters to visit occasionally. But when Jim Starlin came along these space characters really took off; Starlin created Thanos, Gamora, and Drax, and made Adam Warlock into what he is today. If Kirby laid the foundations, Starlin built the walls, creating a whole new world on the fringes of the Marvel universe. 

However, it wasn’t until the 2000s that Marvel cosmic became solidified with Keith Giffen’s Annihilation, a cosmic event that united all of the characters and concepts of Marvel cosmic into one massive story. From there, passed the torch to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning who would create the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, spearheading a series of interlocking books all under one cosmic umbrella. This was the final step in making Marvel cosmic a cohesive entity, this is where the roof came over the heads of the cosmic characters. They had a place to stay, a house all of their own where creators could tell stories with them in the spotlight. Marvel cosmic has largely built off of that work and now with writers like Al Ewing, it is expanding once again. 

So why do I love Marvel cosmic so much? Well, it’s because I think it’s representative of everything I love about comic books; comics are silly and bizarre with hundreds of completely insane characters, worlds, and concepts. A lot of superhero comics tend to suppress that wackiness, to try to push it down. Marvel cosmic is the opposite of that approach, it’s all about embracing the craziness. Characters like Pip the Troll and Rocket Raccoon have been around for a while. They’re goofy characters in design and in concept, yet they work because they’re fully fleshed out characters who can, thanks to the time and care taken in writing them, coexist alongside grandiose philosophical gods like Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock. That’s why I adore Marvel cosmic. It’s a whole universe. A rich tapestry of stories and ideas. It can be a more grounded space opera in a book like Guardians of the Galaxy. It can also be an operatic epic like the Eternals. It’s a universe that feels like it can do anything and go anywhere, but more than that it fits together and it feels cohesive.  

The nature of these stories as well means it brings out the very best in its creators. Largely separate from Marvel’s earthbound characters, writers can weave whatever tale they want. There’s not much of a need to explain that Iron Man is evil now or a need to tie into the latest massive event. They can stand on their own because really we don’t even need to bother with boring old Earth. This Gives the stories an element of unpredictability. We know Captain America ain’t gonna be dead long but what if Mantis bites it? Cosmic stories give writers the room to do what they want and push the boundaries more. That boundary-pushing is especially true of the artists. Cosmic stories often take you to such visually stunning places and introduce us to spectacular creatures and beings of extraordinary power. It gives artists the ability to totally cut loose and let their imagination run wild. It’s a space where the likes of Jack Kirby, Ron Lim, and Mike Allred can experiment and put out some of their best work. 

That’s ultimately why I love Marvel cosmic. It’s a playground full of anything and everything but it’s also oddly cohesive with effective world-building and its own mythology, it’s a universe that lives on with or without us reading it. So that’s why I’m doing this series, to share my love of this side of Marvel comics with you. In each article, I’ll discuss a different cosmic story. Some you might have read and some you probably haven’t. It’s going to be a long journey, I mean we have a whole universe to explore. So let’s waste no time and get started. Join me on my adventure throughout the cosmos as we travel on The Road to Knowhere.  

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Comics

MAX Crashers – Thor: Vikings is Suprisingly Enjoyable

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.

Categories
Comics

GC616 News for Marvel Comics Released 09/01/2021

The GC616 logo flashes across the screen and fades to reveal Reagan seated at the desk, looking at her phone as a notification comes in. She looks at it and laughs a little, shaking her head as she does so, exasperated at the antics of whoever has sent the text. 

Reagan: [Under her breath] Fucking Chad.

What had begun as animosity born out of the frustration that came with being forced to give Chad a position with the team as an attempt to absorb the audience that he would bring with him in the hopes of boosting GC616’s ratings from the get-go has, over the months since GC616’s first broadcast after the Hellfire Gala, evolved into the very early stages of a friendship between colleagues. A friendship that had required Reagan to set aside some of her preconceived notions and to ignore for brief moments the indignation she often felt at the state of broadcast news and how, decades ago, it had sacrificed ethics and meritocracy in favour of high ratings at whatever cost.

To put it briefly, Chad had grown from a nuisance to be dismissed as soon as possible to, at the very least, alright in Reagan’s books.

Someone clears their throat off-camera, alerting Reagan to the fact that they were live and that she had, albeit quietly, said “fuck” on air. As quickly as she can she straightens up and plasters a grin on her face, entering anchor mode.

Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616, our top story tonight comes from our correspondent on The Peak, Journo. Journo?

The camera cuts to drone footage of an information hub. Monitors cover the walls. Warning lights flash from five specific screens, each labeled with the name of a planet. An alarm klaxon can be heard in the distance outside the hub. Sat looking at two monitors is Journo, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. On the screens he’s looking at are images of the mutant Cable and the leaders of the Kree/Skrull Alliance; King Hulkling and his husband, Royal Wizard Wiccan. Journo turns to the camera, unlike his last broadcast, he looks like he’s had a good 5 hours of sleep at some point in the last 2 days.

Journo: Hey folks, got an update for you on this Dormammu situation. We’re holding our own, for now. There are various strike forces holding the flow of the tide across the galaxy. One of them was led by Cable to Battleworld of all places to… procure some weapons for S.W.O.R.D. The old man called the team the X-Terminators, because of course he did. Y’know, the kid who was going around recently, that young Cable? He was good people, but I have missed the old man’s way of doing things.

And seeing him fighting side-by-side with Cannonball and Boom-Boom again? What a treat. Anyway, with some additional assistance from S.W.O.R.D’s best agents, and the only strategic mind to rival Director Brand’s, Ranger Rocket, the forces of Battleworld were no match for our team. We’ve now got a pretty big bullet to help in the fight.

Journo looks to one of the monitors, taking in the information scrolling across the screen at lightning speeds. A smile crosses across his face and he turns back to the drone.

Journo: Ha, they did it! Not to sound too victorious because we’ve still got a long way to go yet before the celebrations can begin, but we’ve just had a couple wins on Skrullios and Throneworld II thanks to the leaders of the Empyre.

It seems that on Throneworld the remnants of the Supreme Intelligence were still lurking around and enacted a plan to destroy the planet. While on Skrullios, Dormammu, or some echo of him showed up to take what he thinks is his. While Hulkling was unequipped to deal with the threat of the Intelligence, and the same with Wiccan and Dormammu, they could deal with eachother’s. So what did they do? Believed in the power of love.

I’m not joking, their wedding rings are formed from the remains of Mar-Vell’s Nega-Bands so they translocated to the other’s location, and boom, threats neutralized. Now I’m gonna have to go, there are reports coming in about something Wakandan going down, and Brand will be wanting a report on that immediately. I’ll update you as soon as I can. Journo out.

As Journo turns back to his monitors, the camera feed cuts out before returning to Reagan in the studio.

Reagan: So it seems that Chad does not have a live report this week so instead, he texted me and requested I show it to you on air.

Reagan: Thank you Chad for that. Interesting new way to present the news. 

A brief pause before Reagan continues.

Reagan: Oh and good luck with Tabby.

Reagan: And now over to a Mister Sinister whose qualifications we’re still trying to verify with some more coverage from Krakoa!

Reagan: Hello?  Are you there Sinister?

Sinister: What?  Can’t you see I’m on hold with Sinister services right now?  I’m trying to find out about my current upgrade plan but I’ve been here for HOURS.  The Sinister system has been really put through the ringer this week so things are running a little slow.  Lot’s of new drama to catch you all up on!  I followed those trouble-causing Sinisters through the secret portal, UNDETECTED MIGHT I ADD, as we all slinked around the creepy warehouse over Murderworld.  Arcade, ever the master of misery, decided to bury the creepy amusement park he calls home two thousand feet underground and build a very cramped elevator down there.  It’s part of the torture too of course, the only music playing the whole time is Arcades mixtape of recorder covers to ABBA songs with the occasional ad-break for his Soundcloud.  How did I follow them on that tiny elevator you ask? Well-

Sinister: ARGH!  Where was I?  Ah yes, so the Hellions battle with Tarn the Uncaring and his Locus Vile continued on and our gang of beloved misfits and idiots was not faring well.  With the revelations of Psylocke’s betrayal, our lovesick Greycrow went a little off the rails and nearly ended reality as we know it by feeding Amino Fetus.  That at least managed to distract Tarn for a while to go “cast his child into a black hole” and the silly Arakki god-mutant left his fish-knife portal open for our Hellions to stroll on through and see what all the fuss was about.  And it was something beautiful.

Sinister Services: Hello, you have reached Sinister Services.  For cape enquiries, press 1.  For body upgrade enquiries, press 2.  For Scott-  Thank you for choosing 2, please hold…

Sinister Services: Hello?

Sinister: Hello, yes I wanted to ask if my body upgrade plan includes fancy Sinister-Arakki god-mutant chimeras?

Sinister Services: Hmmm, let me check.  It says here that any chimera project doesn’t exist, and even if it hypothetically did then it was blown up when – 

Sinister: SHHHH!!!  SPOILERS!  I haven’t gotten to that bit yet!

Sinister: Anyways, as Sinister Prime revealed his grand design, a chimera that will give him the power of Tarn, some non-Sinister secrets are revealed as Empath shows himself a TRAITOR and sets our harmless himbo Havok on a…harmful path, all in the White Queen’s name.  With Havok in one of his Axis moods again, there were some slight… explosions as the lab was destroyed, maybe even with Kwannon’s daughter’s DNA with it.  More importantly, maybe even the pilot program of that gorgeous chimera!  If I hadn’t managed to sneak through the fish-knives portal at the last second, even I’d be doomed!  While I wait on the other end for things to calm a bit, back to you!

Reagan: That is certainly a lot to take in all at once. Good luck with all of that. Now to Justin with some Avengers news. [Sarcastically] Everyone’s favourite superhero team.

Justin Partridge III sits behind his taped together TV trays, looking the most normal he’s looked so far. He wears a sort of consternatated face. His clothes, while admittedly lame, look fairly normal.

JPIII: So apparently the She-Hulk is red now? And a blonde?

Now I can hear you now, you simpering flesh-sacs called Citizens. “Now, Justin! We already knew that! She’s been seen kicking around with The Immortal Hulk and the Defenders lately! This is old news!” To which I say, WHY are you talking to me?

This isn’t THAT She-Hulk! This is the OTHER She-Hulk! The AVENGER! NOT the Defender! (Though, technically that other She-Hulk was a Defender too, once upon a time, but I can’t think about that right now or I will get a migraine I have to promptly drown with dark alcohol). BUT SHE’S GONE NUTS! And Bottle Blonde apparently, which I just can’t get over.

Rampaging all across the world, apparently doped to the gills on vampire blood and palling around with a depressed gorilla. By last word, the pair were on their way to Atlantis. No doubt looking to spread a little of her obviously venting rage on the King of Ab-Lantis, Namor McKenzie (Yes, That Is His Real Last Name, @ Me All You Freaking Want). Honestly, just saying it here now, it sounds like the dopest shit ever. A brand new Hulk, diving down in the depths of the earth, aiming to face Ol’ Wingfoot under the direction of some probably no-good nogoodniks. Only for later her friends, Earth’s Mightiest, to make the scene and hopefully bring her green jeans back to the side of the angels.

The thing is…I don’t give half of a rip about it. And I don’t think you should either. Frankly, s’not a very good report and barely even had Namor in it at all. Isn’t that disappointing? That a news report about Earth’s Mightiest HeroesTM can make someone, even someone as unfeeling and robotic as me, just NOT CARE? Even more so than I already DON’T care?

He sighs heavily. 

JPIII: S’just really depressing. I am really depressed now. THANKS, AVENGERS, you freaking clods. You’ve DEPRESSED ME. Back to you, I SUPPOSE, Reagan.

Reagan: Depression and the Avengers do happen to go hand to hand. Frustration too. And boredom. A lot of emotional responses to them, [under her breath] few are positive. Well, anyways. On to an update on a previous story.

As longtime viewers may know, Gabby Kinney A.K.A Scout was initially reported to have been murdered after the Hellfire Gala. After the Gala, we at GC616 issued a correction for that story explaining that Ms. Kinney had in fact not been murdered and had merely been briefly missing. 

We would like to issue yet another correction. Recent information that has come to light. has revealed that Gabby Kinney was murdered. Currently, our sources have yet to have revealed whether or not it is known who murdered Ms. Kinney.

In related news, Krakoa has seen movement on the front of establishing who counts as an individual in terms of being eligible for resurrection, something which could allow clones with identities separate from themselves to be eligible for resurrection. 

What this means essentially is that, should this become an established aspect of the protocols surrounding resurrection, there would be what would amount to a legal difference between say a Sinister clone and someone like Gabby Kinney, who was cloned from her older sister Laura Kinney A.K.A. Wolverine.

Well, that’s it for today. We’ll see you next time. Thank you for tuning in to GC616.

The logo plays and the broadcast ends.

Categories
Comics

GC616 News (Marvel Comics Releases for 08/25/2021)

The GC616 logo flashes across the screen and fades to reveal Reagan seated at the desk, this time with her hair noticeably lighter having had it bleached at some point between broadcasts.

Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616, tonight’s first story comes from Justin who has an exclusive interview with none other than Spider-Man himself. Justin?

The camera cuts to Justin Partridge III standing atop the GC616 Studios, once again filming himself on his phone and his cartoonish overcoat flapping in the wind. Revealing a pretty scarily accurate J. Jonah Jamison get-up, complete with the thickest suspenders you have ever seen. The picture pitches and sways as he tracks The Amazing Spider-Man swinging up and onto the ledge of the roof. Approaching Justin with a wave.

JPIII: Hello, Citizens and welcome back to the program. I am moments away from a one-on-one interview with Spider-Man, who reports have claimed has spent some time recently mixing it up with The Immortal Hulk, tearing a swatch of saticially rendered and oddly traced looking carnage over the Lower West Side and then later the Savage Land! We turn now to Spider-Man for comment.

He turns the microphone to Spidey’s mask, which just implacably stares back.

Spider-Man: Wait. Wuuuut?

Justin swings the microphone back to himself.

JPIII: Yes, as of deadline Wednesday, a new report surfaced on the wires that claimed in the wake of your confrontation with Karnilla, The Norn Queen, in a team-up with Black Cat, while YOU YOURSELF were in your “Black Costume”. You were thrown into a later conflict with a rampaging Hulk which then spilled out into the Savage Land! Where you tousled and scrapped in the shadow of Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur! What say YOU to these claims, SIR…Spider-Sir…

He swings the microphone back to Spidey, whose eye holes seem to have contracted larger.

Spider-Man: I don’t…It feels like you are just saying all the words you know. I thought you wanted me to call your boss Reagan? Like, tell her she’s doing a great job and stuff? Is that NOT happening now?

Justin swings the mic back a third time and holds a finger to an imaginary earbud in his ear.

JPIII: My producers and not at all a buzzing pitch in my head tells me to say that this takes place after Incredible Hulk #300 but before Web of Spider-Man #1

The mic finds Spider-Man again. The mask seems to have a cocked eyebrow now. He “scratches” his head.

Spider-Man: I honestly have no idea what you are talking about BUT CAN WE talk about your Larry King costume?

JPIII: It’s not…it’s supposed to be JJJ.

Spider-Man: OH HA HA! Yeah, then those suspenders need to be WAAaaaaAAAAyyyyYyyyyyY bigger, my man! You gotta hike them way up too. Kinda like how Paul McCartney wears his bass like flagrantly high up on his chest? How can he even PLAY that thing?! It’s SO HIGH!

Justin sighs. At least he didn’t get punched this time. Spidey throws an arm around him and gives a “hang loose” hand.

JPIII: Back to you moldering, constantly decaying fleshies in the studio….

Spider-Man: We love you, Reagan and #FranklinIsAMutant!!!!!

Before the broadcast can cut back to Reagan, the “Checkin in with Chad” logo appears as his techno beat plays without a clip this week. Once the logo fades, Chad is standing with a hot dog staring at the camera. He seems uncharacteristically mad.

Chad: Are you %#*^ing kidding me? That &@&/in guy gets to talk to Spider-Man and I have to report on this stupid @$$ human centipede dude? Big %#*+in deal this week. Norman Osborn made a deal with the Devil and sold his son to the Devil or something? Mephisto? How about you Mephisto these nuts dude? Can Spider-Man just beat this guy already so we can stop dragging this out? #*<%! 

Chad closes his eyes as he takes a very deep breath and sighs before taking a bite of his hot dog.

Chad: Sorry, it’s been a long week. This kid I assistant coach basketball for in the Bronx… this kid Connor is an incredible player but he’s also the best kinda person. Would give you the shirt off his back and has the biggest heart. The kid had a full ride to Empire State University. But now he’s sick… can’t play ball anymore. It’s like his entire life was pulled out from under his feet in a moment.

Chad turns away from the camera for a moment to use one of his hot dog napkins to wipe the tears from his eyes. 

Chad: Life isn’t always fair, viewers. As hard as we try, sometimes things change. Nothing is certain in life so just… I don’t know… appreciate every moment and love slash live to the fullest. You matter. Anyway, there’s a new Darkhawk out there. Dude looks SICK. Like cool frickin plasma wings and >#%&. Busted some crooks in the Bronx who were using some sci fi laser weapons. Really digging his get up. Awesome to see more heroes out there. Back to you Reagan. 

Reagan: Thanks Chad, I’m sorry about the kid you’ve been coaching. 

She takes a deep breath before moving on to the next story.

Reagan: Now we have Jordan with some news from Russia.

Cut to a small cramped room, lit by candles, books sprawled all over the floor. Jordan Edwards is sat in the center, pouring through scrolls and jotting down notes in his journal

Jordan: Ah greetings GC616 viewers. I’m Jordan, your liaison here at the Sanctum Sanctorum, and student on the sorcerer supreme. It is here where I can view much that transpires throughout our world. This includes international affairs, of particular note, The Winter Guard. This elite group of Russian superpowered individuals has been pulled together once more to track down Yelena Belova, one of the Black Widow’s and Alexi Shostavok. Belova is now under the watch of Natalia Romanova, the other Black Widow. She has just recently escaped the custody of Carol Danvers, in which she was questioned on the location of She-Hulk. 

It doesn’t help matters that Russia’s top assassin the Red Widow, has brought together a new Winter Guard with Chernobog, Vanguard, Vostok, Ursa Major, Crimson Dynamo and Darkstar. Prior to Belova’s capture by Danvers, the Guard was sent in to apprehend Belova and the Red Guardian as they search for something aboard the Koschei Air Station. What followed was an all out….. 

A tentacled monster suddenly bursts through the door, knocking over the camera and pinning Jordan to the ground. Someone follows behind quickly afterwards, kitted with a large cleaver, a bandaleir of vials and a large sack. 

Wong: Hold very still! 

Wong heaves with all his might and swings the cleaver straight into the creature

Jordan: What in the Vishanti was that!? 

Wong: A bog hydra from Katharta. Stephen and I have been conducting experiments in that realm, this was a great success. 

Jordan: Can your success not be barging into my room? 

Wong: Your room? Don’t forget where this room resides Edwards. This is the Sanctum Sanctorum and any manner of creature could make your every waking moment a living hell. I would suggest that you lock your door, and prepare yourself for dinner at 6. We’ve ordered Indian.  

Wong grabs the Hydra, dropping it into his sack. He hurls the sack over his shoulder, exits and closes the door. Jordan readjusts the camera and continues.

Jordan: Ahem, where was I. Ah yes. Belova and Alexi do battle with the Winter Guard. Alexi manages to somehow control the Crimson Dynamo causing his suit to explode, I am unsure how he was able to do so. Regardless, Belova and Alexi make good on the distraction and escape with a briefcase containing a remote titled ‘Operation Snowblind.’ Belova prodes at the idea of a mole on the Winter Guard, yet Alexi refuses to answer as to who. Given my resources here at the Sanctum, I’m well aware. However I will leave that discovery to come to you in time dear viewer. Until next time, stay safe and may the Vishanti guide you.  

The feed cuts back to the studio where Reagan prepares to deliver the final story of the evening.

Reagan: Thanks Jordan! Finally, our last story of the evening. Earlier today Thor was spotted thwarting a robber attempt by the Wrecking Crew with the help of Valkyrie. Unfortunately, Thor wasn’t able to stick around for long after saving the day as he was alerted to what was likely some pressing kingly duties by his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn. It’s unlikely that we won’t find out what’s going on in Asgard sooner rather than later, these things do tend to affect Earth for some reason.

Reagan pauses.

Reagan: And with that we’ve come to the end of out time tonight, we’ll see you again next week.

The logo flashes across the screen and fades to black as the next program starts.

Categories
Television

What If… The World Lost its Mightiest Heroes? Review and Discussion

GateCrashers’ coverage of What If…? returns with Amanda and Reagan’s discussion of Episode Three.

Episode Three of What If…? has been described as what would happen if the world suddenly lost its mightiest heroes. What will happen if Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative is suddenly…gone? Amanda and Reagan are locked and loaded and ready to find out with you all! Beware of the spoilers down below and buckle up for another episode of Marvel’s What If…?

Amanda: Really?! They’re gonna make me watch Tony die AGAIN????? Personally, I think this is overkill. Why they gotta do me like this? It wasn’t even a cool death, either!

But I guess at least I got an animated version of the iconic Iron Man is Dying and Eating Donuts in a Donut scene.

Also, as a side note, I am very obsessed with the animation of Black Widow fighting that entire caravan of SHIELD agents. The animation style of What If…? is just so much fun, the fight scenes are honestly expertly crafted, 10/10, will watch this scene over and over again.

Reagan: She. I really loved Natasha in this, her scenes felt like parts of The Winter Soldier and they were absolutely the standout part of this episode. You could really feel the mystery aspect of what was going on.

Amanda: When I tell you I SCREAMED when Hawkeye let that arrow loose! SIR! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Also, like, how did that actually kill Thor? He is literally a god? He wasn’t stripped of his godlike power in the first Thor, he just was no longer worthy of wielding Mjolnir! And, like, I’m pretty sure Hawkeye shooting him in the first Thor was just supposed to incapacitate him, not kill him!

Reagan: That and Hawkeye’s death were the moments where I was like “ok so this is what we’re doing, this is the what if.” It was simple yet left a lot of room to grow in terms of what could happen. Would we see the heroes introduced later on? I had no idea but I knew I was into it.

Amanda: So going in I was pretty convinced this was going to be the zombie episode, like, I was fully prepared for Tony to just wake up and start eating people but I also know that the zombie episode is supposed to be a later one, so. I honestly had no idea what was going on. Why are all of the Avengers dying? Why is someone trying to ruin Nick Fury’s day like this?

Reagan: There’s so many ways a scenario like this could go. A guy like Fury is bound to have a lot of enemies.

Amanda: Oh god why did the Hulk just blow up. Why did that happen? What is happening? What is going on? Why is Natasha dead? Someone please explain I am hands-and-knees begging.

Reagan: Was fully not expecting Hulk to just blow up like that, that was such a massive surprise.

Amanda: YES!!! FINALLY!!! SOMETHING WORTH STICKING AROUND FOR!!! As someone who has very little comics knowledge, I’ve been completely lost as to what this episode is supposed to be accomplishing but anything that includes Loki is automatically at least three times better. And Lady Sif? My queen!

Reagan: Once again, she. Loki was such a great part of the episode. It’s never hard to tell that Hiddleston is having a great time and you can really feel that here. It always improves whatever he’s in when that shines through, it makes it more fun. And I mean, I think we all know how much I love Loki.

Amanda: Okay, so apparently… Hope had been under Nick Fury’s employ and he… sent her on a mission where she… died, I guess. And so now we have an angry Hank Pym. Who is wearing what I think is the Yellow Jacket suit. And is swearing revenge on all of the Avengers? I’m so confused. And now Carol Danvers is on her way I guess? Reagan, do you know what’s happening?

This fight scene with Nick and Loki is pretty cool, though, I’ll give them that.

Reagan: It’s definitely a very busy episode, it feels cluttered with how much is going on. It’s one thing to have a butterfly effect caused by a single difference, it’s another thing entirely to have this many what if scenarios at once.

Amanda: I was fully confused for literally the entire episode. I’m honestly not sure what was supposed to be happening here. I generally had some context for the first two episodes and for most of the remaining episodes but for this one I sat here the entire time like “can someone please explain!!!” Why did Betty Ross become so significant here? Why did Hank kill all the Avengers? What purpose did any of this serve?

I know this episode was “What If… The World Lost its Mightiest Heroes?”, but I think what confused me the most is that I don’t really end up learning what happens without the Avengers, I only learn how they were eliminated and I guess why.

I really hope Ep. 3 isn’t someone’s first episode because they’re going to be hella confused. Also, like, not much really happens (at least that makes sense on paper)? I suppose the subterfuge and political intrigue would keep a casual viewer watching just for the suspense and I know the inclusion of Loki will absolutely encourage the audience to stay, but I honestly found myself… quite bored with this one, I won’t lie to y’all.

Reagan: Not even Loki could make this one outshine the first two in my eyes. I really hope this isn’t what the rest of the episodes will be like, especially after the other two were so good. 

Categories
Comics

GC616 News (Marvel Comics Reviews for 08/18/2021)

The GC616 logo flashes across the screen and fades to reveal Reagan sitting at the desk, a solemn look on her face as she begins the show. 

Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616 News. Tonight, shocking news from Krakoa as the mutant nation makes public the death of Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch. 

Originally thought to be a mutant herself, Maximoff has been public enemy number one to mutants since M-Day, also known as the Decimation, the event in which all but a handful of mutants were depowered. Prior to it being revealed that neither Maximoff nor her brother Pietro were mutants, they were both founding members of the Brotherhood of Mutants and early members of the Avengers. 

Krakoan authorities have not revealed much due to the ongoing nature of the investigation but they have confirmed that Maximoff’s death is being treated as a homicide. No suspects have been revealed at this time but social media speculation is placing everyone from Mystique to Exodus to Magneto himself as her murderer.

We will keep you updated on this story as it unfolds. In the meantime, let’s turn things over to Journo, our “Special Cosmic Correspondent”, reporting live on the developing Annihilation event.

The camera cuts to drone footage of a supply closet converted into an information hub. The room is bathed in red as the monitors that cover the walls flash emergency warnings. An alarm klaxon can be heard in the distance. At the back of the room, sat hunched over a desk, is Journo, Agent of S.W.O.R.D, GC616 Reporter. He turns on his chair to face the camera. There’s bags under his eyes, he’s clearly not slept in a while, but he still manages a smile to the audience at home.

Journo: Hey folks, don’t know how much time I’m gonna have with you today. The situation out in space is rapidly deteriorating. We now have confirmed reports that 5 worlds have been attacked by Dormammu’s forces and it’s all hands on-deck here up on The Peak. Brand has split S.W.O.R.D forces to assist Emperor Hulkling and the Royal Consort on the Empyre’s respective homeworlds. We’re all on-call to provide assistance whenever necessary.

The Guardians of the Galaxy meanwhile have split their forces among the other world’s currently under attack. Reports from The Proscenium confirm that Dr. Doom is assisting, though he likely thinks he’s in charge, being the despot he is. Anyway, he’s developed a theory that the five planet’s being attacked form a pentagram, and that it’s Dormammu’s plan to bridge our universe with his Dark Dimension. It’s not good.

As he’s contemplating this, the screen’s in Journo’s information hub start flashing an even deeper red as some new data streams in. The drone camera picks up an image on a monitor labelled Spartax an image of an enormous figure emerging from a portal. Journo swings his chair round to take in the info. He lets out a quiet swear under his breath.

Journo: That’s… That’s bad. Dormammu, who was already pretty big having taken over Ego’s head now has a body to go along with it. And is that… Nova facing off against him? He’s so small I can barely make him out. Umm, Reagan, I need to head up to the command room to report this. I’ll be back for another report when I can.

As Ethan darts out of the room, the camera cuts back to Reagan in the studio.

Reagan: [Hushed but stressed] Dornammu is. Not good news. 

She sits there, eyes big before remembering that she’s in the middle of a broadcast.

Reagan: Umm…Thank you Journo for your reporting, we hope to see you again soon, stay safe. Now let’s go to Katie with some news about Felicia Hardy a.k.a. Black Cat.

The camera cuts to Katie, adjusting her shirt. She is wearing a red and white baseball t-shirt with a giant yellow star embroidered on the front. What message she is trying to send to the audience with this flashy attire is anyone’s guess. Her cat, Felicia, lays asleep on the desk in front of her today. 

Katie: As a reporter here at G616, it’s my job to seek out information. Sometimes, I send a companion in with a wire tap. Sometimes, I show up at people’s doors unannounced. You never know what kind of method I’d use to find a good scoop. Nothing illegal though, I can assure you…

Felicia’s ears perk up for a moment. Katie pets the cat and pushes her ears back down.

Katie: In one of my latest eavesdropping–investigative adventures, I heard an intriguing conversation. It was a starry night the other evening, and I couldn’t sleep. My…colleague set out the next morning to scope out a building with two suspect superheroes, since I was too exhausted from scrolling through cat pictures all night. Anyway, I’m here to report a new update on the Black Cat thievery saga! 

Katie: My new associate uncovered information about a stasis chamber having been stolen the same night Black Cat stole a large object from the docks. You’ll never believe what was in this chamber — a body. Not just any body, but, and don’t hold your breath since my source tends to get their paws tied up like a cat’s cradle, but the body of hero-turned-anti-hero: Star! We haven’t heard about her in about five years or so? Who knew the reality-warping hero was stuck in a glorified coffin this whole time? 

Tired of sleeping, Felicia gets up and shakes her head at Katie. Obviously, this cat has been working hard. Katie seems to have been hardly working.

Katie: We are still trying to figure out what the Black Cat wants with this untrustworthy woman. She can literally destroy our reality. Star can eavesdrop like no one else with her enhanced hearing powers. No wonder she was a journalist! Did I mention that she also previously merged with the Reality Stone?! If Black Cat and Star are teaming up to hunt down the Infinity Stones, this is shaping up to be an un-furr-tunate series of events! Fur-give me for the cat puns. You may want to wish for safety on the next shooting star you see. Back to you, Reagan. 

The camera cuts back to Reagan.

Reagan: Thanks Katie! Now onto Bobby with some news from X-Corp.

The camera shows a room with the Madrox duplicates. It moves quickly around the room, showing them working and then it focuses on this young man sitting on the sofa. It’s Bobby Varghese Vinu, wearing a suit.

Bobby: Evening GC616! It appears that X-Corp, one of this year’s interesting start-ups has apparently become a major shareholder for French pharmaceutical conglomerate Noblesse Pharmaceuticals. I wanted to verify this and this time, I seek to not make a joke of myself.

The camera focuses on one of the men coming towards Bobby. It is Jamie Madrox.

Jamie: Well, this is a surprise! How did you get in here?

Bobby: Door was open. And I know that this wasn’t the time we agreed on for our second interview, but after hearing about the news with J.P. Kol, I wanted to verify what was going on?

Jamie has a stunned look on his face.

Jamie: What are you talking about? I don’t remember anything.

Bobby smiles.

Bobby: Don’t lie.

Jamie: Yeah fine. We bought out the people under Noblesse. It was a vote, and everyone was on board. Well, we did have one member who wasn’t on board. 

Bobby: You know that the media is gonna hound you on this right? We have nothing against the mutants and our news is unbiased. But the others won’t.

Jamie: Sure, and maybe now these companies know who we are, and they might not try to jerk us around. We’re powerful. We’re mutants. We’ve had our name smeared numerous times and you think this is gonna stop us?

Bobby: It’s just…

Jamie: Just what?

Bobby sighs

Bobby: You and I are different. I know that. You and the other mutants do things differently. I respect that.  It’s just that I am worried about the anti-mutant sentiments.

Jamie: Who cares? 

Bobby: Look I don’t see it like that. I can see what you’re trying to do. You are mutants and you are fighting for yourselves. And not every human is gonna see this like that.

Jamie: It doesn’t matter what they think.

Suddenly Jamie sees something outside of the window.

Jamie: You need to get out.

Bobby: Wha—

Jamie grabs Bobby and pushes him against a broom closet. He closes the door.

Jamie: This is for your own good. Don’t leave the room.

Bobby’s voice is muffled.

Bobby: Uh, Jamie, will you come back? And be careful out there! I don’t wanna be stuck here forever you know. 

The camera cuts back to Reagan in the studio looking perplexed.

Reagan: Hope everything turns out fine Bobby! Now let’s go to Ireland for an update on some Mutant activity over there.

The camera cuts to a small, seemingly empty, stone room that almost looks like a castle’s basement.

Reagan: Hello?  Is someone there?

Padraic: Yes!  Can you please tell your camera man to point that bloody thing down a bit so we can crack on?

The camera pans down to reveal a small ginger leprechaun dressed all in green standing with a microphone looking annoyed.

Padraic: Your man’s not the full shilling quite frankly, where’d you get this eejit anyways?  So those X-men returned to Ireland and as usual, they made a right mess of things.  With those posh tools over in England buggering up the deals for those fancy Krakoan medicines, all those melters really accomplished was making the border even more of a nightmare.  And the Marauders are having their own wee supply issues, what with their fancy boat completely banjaxed, so the black market is a bit buggered too.  All those problems got the  Russian mob and some of the local hallions having a gander round one of those Hellfire warehouses, and trouble was bound to go down. Thankfully everyone’s favourite mutant, Banshee, was there to save the day and show those chancer’s what’s what.  Or that was the plan anyways, till those Verendi Reavers showed up to ruin it all and chuck a big bomb into the mix.  If it weren’t for those Marauders arriving just in time we’d be in proper bother.


Padraic: We even managed to get a wee clip of Banshee’s reaction to the Marauders arrival:

Banshee: SCCCRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Padraic: Class.  With the Marauders on the scene Emma Frost got right to evacuating all the folks caught poking around the warehouse while Jumbo Carnation and Captain Kate fought off the Reavers.  That lass Tempo went about slowing down time around the bomb to turn those seconds into minutes.  Time for Tempo indeed!  Of course Tempo only slows time, not stops it so that bomb had to go off eventually.  While the locals legged it, Kate Pryde kept tempo out of phase while the warehouse blew up.  Verendi may have destroyed some medicines today, but with the departure of one of their members, through some meddling by the Cuckoos,  it’s not all great for those eejits. 

Padraic:  Right, that us then? Banshee has brought the crew back to Cassidy Keep so time to get hammered!

Reagan: Is our Ireland correspondent really a leprechaun? Is that…ok for us to have done? Anyways, on to Justin with some news from both Krakoa and Gamma Flight. Justin?

Justin Partridge III sits at the side Correspondent Desk (which looks suspiciously like four TV trays taped together). Over his right shoulder a giant piece of posterboard is taped to the GC616 backdrop. It has a crude silhouette of Galactus and the words “GOD WATCH” spelled out in glitter glue.

He is dressed like Brian Fantana, but looks like he spent all his money on the wig and fake moustache. His sling is gone. 

JPIII: Thank you, Reagan and thank YOU, Citizens. ::he takes a deep breath::

GOD WATCH! 

Things have been getting downright metaphysical during the week, throughout our little universe, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track. But that’s the job, fellow Citizens, and we here at GC616 are the best at what we do. And what we do ain’t very…well, it actually IS pretty nice, now that I think about it.

From the Krakoan wires, more reports of unrest and wanton, almost gleeful, violence have started to trickle through. Though the Quiet Council are still proving mum in regards to the day-long absence of one of their heads of state, Professor Charles Xavier, and the pitching violence other denizens of the island-that-used-to-walk-like-a-man are all too happy to speak up. Though I can’t seem to recall who exactly provided me with the following quote.

“It’s weird, it’s like everyone is in “hardcore party mode” all the time”, said the…one mutant I talked to. Who was…slightly bald, I think? Had one of the older jackets, I wanna say? “They push and push and push. Into all hours of the night. And then something just…always snaps. And it always ends in a resurrection. No matter the situation. It is gettin’ kinda grim, I can’t lie.” 

GC616 reached out to The Quiet Council for comment, but was met again with a stony silence. Even in the wake of ANOTHER Council member, Kurt Wagner, recently also becoming “unavailable” after what appeared to be a catastrophic celestial event over the new Krakoan planet Mars. Wherein one of its moons, Phobos, almost fell into the planet’s atmosphere. Only to be BAMF’ed several lightyears back before it could. We hope to know more in the coming days.

On the Gamma Beat, it seems also that Gamma Flight is missing. Again. 

After a rollicking battle in the Texas capital, the team seemed to…for lack of a better term, “blink out” once the rampaging Skaar had been dealt with. Local authorities and S.H.I.E.L.D operatives quickly locked down 8th Street and the side street Quadalupe, much to the chagrin of the town’s population of disgusting hipsters and crust punks wishing to drown their sorrows in overpriced chili and soapy beer. 

Former Gamma Flight Commanding Officer and Current Alpha Flight Commanding Officer Henry Peter Gyrich had this to say about the team’s missing status. 

“F^&k those kids.”

More on these stories as they develop. Until next time or the inevitable heat-death of your central star, Fleshies. Whichever comes first. Reagan?  

Reagan: Thanks Justin! Now let’s check in with Chad who I am [obviously reading from paper] making a clear and concerted effort to be kinder to. Chad?

The electronic beats start as the Checkin’ In With Chad sizzle reel begins. A highlight from this week’s highlight reel starts with a close zoom shot of Scarlet Witch’s mouth as she says the words “No more…”. The shot quickly pans out as she finishes her sentence with the word “cups!” as she sinks the final shot in a beer pong game. Chad and Wanda chest bump as Doctor Doom pours luke warm beer over his mask because Chad refused to give him a straw. When the reel ends, Chad is sitting at an Applebee’s bar.

Chad: What up Chadlians! Chadsters! BroChadskis! Another week of who even cares anymore dealing with our friend Spider-Man! So like all of his villains have been going for him non-stop because the Human Centipede basically told everyone that if they didn’t, they’d go to hell. I had a priest tell me that once after I polished off the church wine. Listen, if Jesus didn’t want me drinking his blood, then it shouldn’t get me so f#$*&^ up! Anyway the centipede dude summoned some other dead bozo from the grave to shoot out some spooky ghouls or something. No one gets in. No one cares. Spider-Man is going to be fine. Besides, there are two now, remember?

A waiter drops off a plate of wings in front of Chad’s at the Applebees in Times Square.


Chad: If you’re ever in the Big Apple, you better come to this Applebees. Tell them I sent you! So back in my neighborhood, there has been this weird string of attacks. They’re saying some geriatrics have been attacking people at night. Which is weird because they’re old… just push them down. It’s fine, they had good runs. But the dude running The Midnight Mission, Moon Knight, got called in to handle it.

Chad eats one of the wings while on camera but doesn’t speak with his mouth full.

Chad: I know this because I have been trying to get a date with Reese who runs the place with him. She’s a smoke show. By smoke show, I mean vampire. Because like that dude Bella Thorne or Well-go-see, I can’t remember the actors name…the dude who played Dracula in those black and white snooze fests could turn into smoke. Anyway, she can never get lunch and always says she can’t because she is a vampire but I think she’s just trying to make the Chadseter woo her. But anyway…


Chad slams the rest of his beer on the counter after finishing.

Chad: From what I hear, Moon Knight drank some janitor’s sweat. Listen, I will never yuck anyones yums but dude. But through that, he drove the dude bonkers and he fell over. It freed all the old folks. But it seems like something bad is coming for the neighborhood but I think Moon Knight is gonna be good for us. Back to the studio! Gotta finish these wings!

Reagan: Thanks Chad! Now rounding out our show is the first in a series of reports put together by our correspondent Max, on to you Max!

Screen cuts to a picture of Kang during one of his several battles. The somewhat squirrely voice of a man plays over it.

Max: Hi I’m Max, Amateur superhero fanatic, reporter and historian and my goal is to make superheroes more accessible to the general public both for education and transparency purposes. Welcome to my new series: “History Of” where I’ll be documenting the “History Of” several superheroes and villains and maybe those in between and beyond heroes and villains. As you can probably guess right now and for the next 4 episodes we’re covering Kang the Conqueror, not much is known to the general public about Kang beyond a few pictures of him on the news but I’m here to take you back the moment where Kang became Kang which I definitely didn’t hear about by stumbling upon a drunken Kang one night in New York.

We see a different picture of what appears to be fan art of a young Kang. Throughout this segment, different images of Kang are being played. 

Max: According to my sources, Kang does indeed come from earth, just not our earth, a future earth from an alternate reality apparently so he’s definitely not an alien just like a human from a different universe a thousand years into the future. So how did he become the villain we see the Avengers fighting in all our cities. Well according to what Kang told m—what my sources tell me, Kang was at some point taken in and trained by himself from either an alternate reality or the future, they were unclear on that. He was trained for a year apparently in the Mesozoic Era right before the meteor hit. The training conditions were brutal, Kang was regularly humiliated, beaten and abused by his older self. However even in this supposed hell, Kang apparently even managed to find some form of solace, meeting a human in the Mesozoic Era which shouldn’t be possible but that’s what he-I mean ‘they’ told me. This fun little vacation in the Mesozoic Era apparently ends when Kang got tired of the conditions and murdered his older self, taking control over the suit, using it to travel to a different point of time. In that moment, it was said that a “Warrior and Conqueror was forged, one that would no longer study history but be a part of it” according to my sources. And that’s it for this episode, tune in next time as we continue to look into Kang’s past and maybe even his present.

Rather than return to Reagan in the studio, the screen cuts straight to the logo before the feed is cut and a terrible low-budget horror movie starts playing.

Categories
Comics Television

“What If… T’Challa Became a Star Lord?” Review and Discussion

GateCrashers’ coverage of What If…? returns with Amanda and Reagan’s discussion of episode two. Beware – there be spoilers ahead!

What You Missed in Episode One:

If you haven’t seen the memes, then you probably need a bit of a refresh on what the series premiere of What If…? was all about. I can break it down for you in three words:

Captain. Peggy. Carter.

In the first episode of What If…?, Peggy takes the super-soldier serum in Steve’s stead, following a series of what the Watcher identifies as small choices that make a big impact. She becomes Captain Carter, Howard essentially makes Steve an Iron Man suit, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Peggy and Steve never did get that dance.

Now, back to your Episode Two coverage with Amanda and Reagan!

Reagan: Episode Two of What If…? follows a version of T’Challa who was taken by Ravagers and became a very different Star-Lord from Peter Quill. Take for example the first scene of this episode. It’s basically the same as the first scene of Guardians of the Galaxy except people actually like T’Challa. 

Amanda: I mean, I would definitely argue that people liked Peter until we properly found out that Chr*s Pr*tt sucked, ahaha. Unless of course, you meant characters in-universe actually like T’Challa as opposed to Peter, which… very fair, and I love it. Nothing tickled me more than watching the scenes and characters we know so well happening through the lens of T’Challa as Star-Lord. Korath being a huge Star-Lord fanboy? Was so. Good. And also, Drax’s family still being alive? Because of T’Challa? RIP me.

I also really loved T’Challa’s dynamic with Nebula and also Nebula as a character in general. While I absolutely adore the character journey they took Nebula one in the Infinity Saga, it was nice seeing her as someone who was confident and fully in control of her own life (to a certain extent), rather than buckling under Thanos’ thumb. I couldn’t get with the blond hair, though. I was very confused by that. 

The Collector was also super fun here! They made him a lot more bad-ass, which was kind of cool. I don’t dislike the film’s characterization of the Collector, because I like that he’s a little weird and squirrely, but it was fun to actually watch him fight to defend and expand his collection as opposed to letting it all just languish. What’s the point of a collection you don’t use? What a waste. Get with the times, theatrical film releases!

I will say, though, there was a severe lack of 80s music, aka, GotG’s biggest money-maker.

Reagan: T’Challa and Yondu’s relationship is really interesting in that they’re actually like father and son here whereas we didn’t get that between Yondu and Peter until the very end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Amanda: I’m a big ole sap for a good father/son dynamic, so I was absolutely one of those people that fell for Peter and Yondu’s relationship in GotG2 (“He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn’t your daddy” dear god), and it was really nice to see a different side of that dynamic here with T’Challa and Yondu. “I’m not leaving without my kid” HELLO???

So while Peter and Yondu’s relationship had a foundation of animosity that stemmed from a lack of communication (and, y’know… trying to kill each other), T’Challa and Yondu showed mutual respect for each other and actually listened to one another. Honestly, this episode of What If…? goes a long way in showing us the kind of Star-Lord we could’ve had. *Adele voice* WE COULD’VE HAD IT AAAAAAAAAAAALL

Reagan: Let’s talk about Thanos. This Thanos is, like a lot of the characters we see in this, someone who has been changed by the fact that they encountered T’Challa. He’s given up his quest to kill half of the universe with the infinity stones.

Amanda: Yo, Thanos showed up and I SCREAMED I was so shocked. I was flabbergasted. I was ready to rumble. I was like SIR. PLEASE. And then this man was all T’Challa showed me the error of my ways, they’re really just out here hammering the point home. We get it! T’Challa is a vastly superior human being!! We already been knew!!! 

The frequent (and…kind of jarring) references to genocide were perhaps a little on-the-nose for me; I don’t think they needed to say it quite so many times, but also, this is coming from me, a person who was very aware that Thanos committed genocide. I’m also sadly, incredibly aware that there are people on this earth who thought he had a good idea in that noggin of his…to which I say…please…get off the internet…

Reagan: I think the stinger at the end with Peter and Ego could have been removed. The rest of the episode feels like a loving tribute to Boseman and his character and to have what feels like an ending show a scene with two completely unrelated characters feels unnecessary and a little bit jarring, especially when it’s almost immediately followed by an in memoriam for Boseman. 

Amanda: I totally agree with that. So much of this episode was not only just… a fun look at how literally everything is better when T’Challa is around, but also worked as a wonderful reminder that Chadwick really did enrich the lives of everyone around him. (Though, of course, I love Kurt Russell so much that I’m willing to overlook it.) I think it could’ve been a fun little bit after the in memoriam.

And also, as someone who’s watched the first three episodes already, I fully believe that this should’ve been the series opener. While I know episode one has a lot of great meme material and I do love the role reversal of Captain Carter and Steve Rogers, I just think this story has more heft and fun to it. Though I guess I can see why they’d want to start with What If…?’s chosen First Avenger. 

But for anyone who may have gotten through the first episode and said “that was okay” I implore you to stick around for this week’s episode. In my opinion, this is exactly what What If…? stands to bring us more of—a deep appreciation for the stories we already know and love, and an even deeper fondness for the amazing characters and actors who have told them to us.

Categories
Comics

GC616 News (Marvel Comics Releases for 08/11/2021)

The GC616 logo flashes across the screen and fades into a shot of Reagan seated at the news desk.

Reagan: Good evening and welcome to GC616. Our top story tonight concerns the takeover of Stanworth Prison by the inmate Daredevil. According to sources, Detective Cole North has entered the prison per Daredevil’s request. As usual, we will keep you updated on this story as it develops.

Meanwhile, law enforcement is still asking everyone who lives in New York City to continue to stay inside and to cover any windows until Bullseye is caught. We will keep you updated on this story as well.

Now onto our next story from Katie. Katie?

Somber music plays in the background of a picture montage video scrolling by on the screen. Images of Reed Richards — the heroic Mr. Fantastic — show him stretching his body in the shape of a parachute bringing children safely to the ground, and Reed slings his arm over his wife, Sue Storm, in a group photo of the Fantastic 4. The montage fades out, replaced by the words, Reed Richards. In loving memory of our elastic, genius, leader. The camera cuts to Katie looking sorrowful, while her cat, Felicia licks her paws absentmindedly. 

Katie: Unfortunately, I have to share sad news today. It’s easy to pose questions in life. What if we lived in a world without superheroes? What if I didn’t have to go to work every day? What if I had a cat who could traverse the multiverse? What if? No one ever wants to think about the harrowing aspects of losing a loved one, though. What if my sister or brother died today? Sadly, for Fantastic 4 members Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm, a venomous scenario came true. 

Katie: The symbiote that infested Spider-Man, turning him into a ghastly killing machine the last few weeks transferred to Fantastic 4 leader and ingenious scientist, Reed Richards. Somehow, the symbiote violated Richards’ superior intellect, combining forces to infect several Avengers members and other superheroes with the invasive symbiote. A partially-clothed Spider-Man entered the Baxter Building by climbing up its walls with his sticky-fingers. No one was able to identify him while he was unmasked. Human Torch Johnny Storm and his sister Sue Storm battled an alien-esque Reed to keep Daily Bugle reporter Mary Jane Watson safe from the symbiotes. Why Miss Watson was at the scene at all remains unclear. 

Katie: Richards, with a sickly elongated body and a crimson-colored head like that of Red Skull, used a possessed Thor to break Sue Storm’s force field with Mjölner. She almost plummeted to her death and died at the hands of her own husband — a devastating image for spectators and fans of their tight-knit relationship to witness. Spider-Man interrupted the rooftop fight by offering himself up as a sacrifice. Later, we learned Johnny Storm was masquerading as Spider-Man through an image inducer created by Richards for the purpose of masquerading Ben Grimm. 

Katie: Although the distraction worked, it came at the cost of Mr. Fantastic’s life. The venom symbiote separated from Richards’s body, tearing through his torso and ultimately rendering him dead. Thankfully, the Human Torch engulfed the symbiote in flames under the guise of Spider-Man. Eradicating an alien evil came at the cost of Reed Richards’s life. Sources indicate how the symbiote feared Mr. Richards’s superior intellect. Well, we need to fear no more. Death is no stranger here in a universe where heroes don spandex and masks, protecting the public while risking their own lives. We remember Reed Richards and his ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps it would bode well to contemplate this: What if there was a universe where Mr. Fantastic was still alive?

She hugs Felicia tightly, tears escaping her eyes as the camera cuts away

Reagan: Umm. Katie. Mr. Fantastic is still very much alive. I’m pretty sure I saw him in Starbucks two hours ago. Are you sure you’ve been reporting news from this universe?

She pauses before moving on to the next story.

Reagan: Anyways, here’s Kevin with some news from Krakoa.

The camera cuts to Kevin in his trenchcoat and fedora; his head is bowed so that his face is in shadow. He stands that way for about 30 seconds, just long enough to be awkward, before suddenly snapping up.

Kevin: Weapon X!  Weapon Plus. These are powerful names. Frightening names. Names to conjure by.

He mimes lighting a cigarette, though he does not actually have one, and points to his definitely-not-crazy wall of photographs. Front and centre is a grainy, out of focus image of Wolverine, and an even poorer image of the monstrous Man-Slaughter.

Kevin: While some fools and short-sighted news stations have questioned their existence, here at GC616 we know these covert programs exist and have for some time. And this week, I can report that two of their products seem to have made contact; the much-rumored deadly mutant agent known as ‘The Wolverine’ has brought in the long-hypothesized creature called Man-Slaughter.\

Reagan (V/O from Studio): You know Kevin, we uh… definitely know that Wolverine exists. He pops up a lot pretty much everywhere – I mean he was on the Avengers for a while and everything. To be honest I don’t even know where you got that terrible photo, we have a *lot* of very high quality footage-

Kevin: (Cutting her off): That’s right. We know that Wolverine exists… just like we know he is part of a top secret mutant black ops team engaged in an ongoing secret war against a shadowy cabal of human interests calling themselves XENO.

There is an audible sigh over the microphone from the studio. Kevin ignores it.

Kevin: What did the mutants hope to gain from Man-Slaughter? Well, our sources ain’t quite sure, but it might be related to reports that a group of those crazy ‘Order of X’ cultists –  (Kevin pauses as though hearing something in an earpiece) – I’m sorry, extremely valid alternative religious believers – were possessed by some sort of plant-creature in New Orleans and then launched an attack on Krakoa. Some mutant sources even report they may have had themselves a battle on the island afterwards, though of course nobody knows nothing when it comes to that place.

Reagan (V/O): Again, this is absolutely not true; GC616 actually has multiple reporters covering all sorts of aspects of life on Krakoa, many of whom actually do their jobs, I might add. In fact, we already know there was a fight and the ‘plant-possessed’ people were fought off by-

Kevin: (Cutting her off again): In this shadowy world of rumors and uncertainty, only one thing is for sure here at X-Force Watch. No conspiracy of mutants or humans will keep us from keeping you in the loop.

Camera cuts back to the studio, where Reagan is massaging her temples.

Reagan: I want to make it very clear that GC616 does not endorse any conspiracy theories of any kind. Now onto Justin with some more X-news. [muttered as the camera cuts to Justin] we really need to have a talk about our hiring practices.

The screen behind Reagan blips and changes to another self-shot vertical portrait of Justin Partridge III. He is dressed in a comically large overcoat with a stupid-ass Tom Brevoort hat complete with his PRESS card. He stands in the shadow of The Treehouse, the newly grown New York headquarters of The Uncanny X-Men. Well-wishers and fans surround Lorna Dane AKA Polaris, as she blesses them with her presence (venti still in-hand).

It also seems like Justin’s right arm in a DIY-sling of some sort, heavy bandages supporting the appendage and holding up his GC616-branded Microphone.

JPIII: Yes, good evening, studio and Citizens. I stand outside of The Treehouse, looking for some kind of comment on the recent scandalous accusations that have come to light, suggesting that the former X-Men sister-team, X-Factor, were complicit in the deaths of four Latverian mutant-nationals by the hands of their regent, Victor Von Doom. I am going to try to get a comment from former Factor-member and current member of the X-Men, Lorna Dane, now.

Justin slightly pushes through the crowd to the shining and smiling face of Lorna, which instantly falls as soon as she sees him, the phone, and the weird sling.

Lorna: Um, hi? D’ya want me to sign the cast-thing or…?

JPIII: Justin Partridge III, GC616 News. I wondered if you might have a comment on the recent allegations that have come to light about your former team’s actions during the Latverian Embassy Crisis of 1986?

Lorna: Eighty-Six? Um…That’s X-Factor biz, dude. I’m on the X ::she fans her hands into an X for emphasis:: MEN now. You might have heard? “I AM the Big Gun”? That sorta stuff? Basically, I rule.

JPIII: No, you absolutely do and I’m a Capital H HUGE fan, but recent reports have alleged that you and your team, specifically Rahne Sinclair, not only failed to quell the mutant aggression in the Latverian Embassy, but also basically SERVED the rebels to Doctor Doom in order for him to execute them personally.

Lorna blinks heavily and purses her lips in thought for a second. She takes an additional beat to take a long, heavy drag from her coffee, draining it completely and then basically crushing it into a dwarf star with her hand.

Lorna: This is about that stupid f&*$in’ “Legends” comic, isn’t it?

JPIII: W-well, I’m not at liberty to reveal a source-

Lorna: No, f%^k that, gimmie yer stupid phone.

She flexes her open hand forward and Justin’s Phone/Camera (But Mostly Phone) flashes to her hand in less than a second (also flinging Justin forward several dozen feet, spilling him onto the grass, and unfurling the arm sling in the background).

Lorna: I know a lot of you weird-beards out there are crazy obsessed with “continuity”. That, for some ungodly reason, there is an entire market of comics out there explicitly geared towards providing you dinks the “story before the story” or the “stories between the stories” or WHAT-ever. Here’s the thing, though. Stories don’t really need to BE EXPLAINED. Nor does every single “iconic” moment need to be led up to or “fleshed out” in some needless way. Stories are meant to be ENJOYED and the stories you’ve already read? Those “Iconic” ones? They are done. You don’t need to go back to them. In fact, you should actively AVOID it. Why do you wanna hear the same bulls%^t twice? From some “different angle”, no less? Who? The? F$&k? CARES? I certainly don’t. Neither should you. We are doin’ PLENTY of new stuff here. Pay attention or it won’t be new anymore and you will have missed everything cool and died angry.

She takes a beat.

Lorna: Those Simonson issues were pretty cool though…

She drops the phone and walks back toward The Treehouse. The Camera cuts back to the studio.

Reagan:Another elucidating report Justin. Now something a little special. We now bring you a new reporter in the field. They came to us in a letter from our parent station’s lead anchor Dan. He said that this reporter comes highly regarded in the circles of magic… Well, let’s check in with what they’ve got for us.

The framing of Reagan suddenly shifts from the long focal length of a studio camera to the wide-angle lens of an iPhone as it’s clear to the audience they’re seeing on the street footage. The “reporter” is faced away from them, bathed in the neon lights of Lowtown in Madripoor as rain trickles down a dark green half cloak. The cameraman and the reporter’s pace is steady as they push through their ways through the crowded streets of Madripoor, the camera bouncing with the camera person’s footsteps. Despite the streets brimming with lights, sounds, and souls…the only voice that could be heard through the speakers of the viewers displays was their voice.

Stranger: Thank you for joining me tonight, viewers. As you can see, I come to you from the lovely streets of Madripoor. I apologize but I do need to bring you with me for just a moment as I speak to someone.

His hand motions for the camera to follow him into a large and rather rowdy bar with large neon letters above the bar that reads “Princess Bar”. For a moment, the camera catches a glimpse under the hooded cloak. Most of the reporter’s face is covered in a mask other than his mouth. He waves his hand for the cameraperson to sit. The reporter sat across from another suspicious figure who started to speak to him, the voices coming in clear to the audience.



Baron Mordo: Always a pleasure, Taneli. Dr. Strange had a strange visitor, the Masked Raider. There was a quick spat between the two as they measured their manhoods with spells and abilities before taking a chance to speak.

The audience gathers the stranger’s name from the conversation, Taneli. 

Taneli: As in Masked Raider from the Enclave? That group has made and broken kings. What does the Raider want from Strange?

Mordo: It seems as if another member, Carlo Zota the true last member of the enclave, was creating some experiment which doesn’t matter. What matters is that Zota was trying to use a book of magic to use a time magic spell.

Taneli: As if regular magic didn’t come at a cost. Did you bring what I needed?

Mordo: A simple water breathing incantation? Yes, I have it. But I want you to know, they’ve reformed the Defenders. A rather hodgepodge team…

Without missing a beat, a small object clanked onto the table and a small pile of tarot cards laid across the table.


Taneli: I have to keep tabs on the magic users, I have to stay three steps ahead. If I’m not, if I falter, I die. Again. There is your payment. The Defenders are somewhere before time, meaning there is no chance for Strange to help me. Thank you for meeting me here. I have to go. Oh, Mordo! One last thing.

Taneli stood up from the table and gestured his hand up and twirled it, light forming around it before the camera was turned away from him. It only took a moment for the audience to realize that there was no camera man. The camera was being held afloat through magic, a weak magic though that caused it to falter.

Taneli: Our meeting was broadcast multiverse wide so if you turned on me, everyone would see. So until next time.

The camera was now held by Taneli as he stepped through a portal as he turned the camera to himself.  The mask was now clear to the audience as his cloak sputtered around him as he freefall through the sky downwards.

Taneli: Yes, I’m on the run. This gig is for money to support what needs to be done. So the Defenders are back, that’s news right? That’s what you came for. Right, anyway, see you soon.

As he is about to sign off for his report, his body hits the water hard as the splash swallows him and the phone. The feed fizzles as water ruins the phone and the feed goes black.

The camera cuts back to the studio.

Reagan: Well then. That’s all for tonight, see you all next time.

The logo flashes across the screen and fades out, the feed cut immediately afterwards.