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(Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California)

Julie Power (Lightspeed, of Power Pack) stands on the roof of the Hyatt Hotel, telling Phil Urich (the heroic Green Goblin) on the phone that she can't go on like this. Phil is begging her not to do it; they've come too far for her to just throw it all away. Julie replies that he did the best he could, and she appreciates it, but this is her choice. She says she's tired of living a lie. As Julie walks to the edge, Phil desperately begs her to stop, telling her that she can get all the help she needs. Julie, saying goodbye, hangs up and falls over the edge.

Julie manages to fly herself to safety, and it is revealed that Julie wasn't contemplating suicide at all; only asking Phil if she could use her powers (something Excelsior isn't fond of). Mickey Musashi (Turbo from the New Warriors) asks Phil what pushed her over the edge – no pun intended. Phil is miserable – Julie had been doing so well, not using her powers. Mickey asks what building she jumped off and Phil tells her it was the Hyatt. Mickey is shocked – the Hyatt is just a block away, so why couldn’t she resist temptation? Phil replies that tall buildings get her every time, and says that she should learn to keep her powers to herself or risk endangering her entire family. Phil says that if the Civil War was good for anything, it showed them how important it is, now more than ever, to keep their powers to themselves – to stay out of costume. Mickey agrees with him, and suggests they go find Julie. It’s time for an intervention.

(Holy Trinity Church - Excelsior meeting)

In the basement, Johnny Gallo (Ricochet from the Slingers) leans over a chair lazily. Chris Powell (Darkhawk) sits beside him, comfortably. Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman III) sits tensely beside Phil who is looking at his watch. Johnny complains about meeting in the Church basement and Mickey replies that the reason they meet there is to remind themselves about the point of their group: namely to abandon their powers. Johnny makes a sarcastic remark, to which Mickey replies with a harsh comeback. Phil warns her to calm down. He suggests that, even though Julie hasn’t arrived yet, they should start the meeting. Mickey then turns to Mattie and says that it is her turn.

Reluctantly, Mattie gets up and dives into her story: she was the third Spider-Woman, or 'the Young One' as some of them remind her. She explains that her powers pretty much destroyed her life. “That’s something they don’t tell you when you put on the tights. Become a super hero. Fight crime. Save lives. Every life but your own, that is.” One day, Mattie was out there, minding her own business, and the next thing she knew, dope-dealing junkies drug her and keep her hostage while they pick her apart, stealing some of her skin and blood in order to adopt her powers. What really horrified Mattie later, was that she found out that they didn’t even know what her powers were. She was nothing but the next high to them. After being violated like that, Mattie had no desire to ever use her powers again. They disgusted her. Just being in New York made her sick which was the main reason she came to Los Angeles to hook up with Excelsior. As Mattie cries, she reveals that the reason she joined the group was to be around people who understand that super-powers can be as much of a curse as a blessing. Mickey gets up to comfort her, but that is when Julie Power enters the room.

Julie, who was talking on the phone to her brother, Alex, ends the conversation by saying, “Don’t worry, Alex, I know what I’m doing. I’ll tell them when I think the time’s right.” Julie then apologizes for being late, but Mickey cuts her off by snapping, “When the time’s right for what?” Embarrassed, Julie says that she wants to tell her parents of her wish to be an actress. Phil reminds everyone what Julie did today; Julie apologizes for that as well, saying she 'needed to let her hair down a bit.' Mickey snaps back harshly. “Let your hair down? Is that what she calls jumping off a hotel on Sunset Boulevard in broad daylight? Who’s her hairstylist, Daredevil?"

Phil tells Mickey to calm down. Getting up, he tells Julie the purpose of their group is to try and put their powers behind them. Their reasons and motives may vary, but they have to support each other. Phil informs her that because of her 'aerial joyride,' they can barely trust her. Chris then asks why they even bother reprimanding her; it’s in through one ear and out the other with Tinkerbell. Johnny immediately turns to him, warning him to watch his mouth. Julie, however, tells him to forget it. She’s a big girl who can fight her own battles.

Julie then dives into her speech. Unlike the other members, Julie got her powers when she was a little girl. She’s had them as long as she can remember. They’re part of who she is: as much a part of her life as walking and talking. She turns to the others. Chris found the Darkhawk amulet when he was a teenager, and could give himself the dark force powers whenever he chooses. Mickey’s powers come from her costume; no powers, no Turbo. The same goes for Phil, who only became the Green Goblin after donning one of the masks his predecessor left behind to become a hero. Johnny, as a mutant, must understand what she is going through, but even so, his ricochet abilities only developed in college. She turns to Mattie and says that even though she’s sorry for what happened to her, Mattie hasn’t been at this as long as they have. Julie then begins to complain about how they had normal lives before it began, unlike her. Crying heavily, Julie begs them not to blame her for simply being herself.

Mickey rushes to Julie and apologizes, but Chris says, "And the academy award goes to..." - earning him a punch from Johnny. Phil, standing up, says he understands what she is going through, however, as the world around them is still changing, he advises her that self-sacrifice is the new order of the day. This angers Mattie. "Self-sacrifice?" Angrily, she shows the rest of the room her four, long, arching Spider-legs emerging from her back. "Self-sacrifice?" Mattie says she may not have had her powers as long as they have, but this is what passes as normal for her. This is what she's forced to live with. She has to fight to conceal those things, and the pressure on her back is a constant reminder of what power she has. Mattie, angry, snaps at Julie, saying that just because 'she hasn't been at this nearly as long,' she doesn't know what it's like to have powers that affect your everyday life. Leaving the room, she suggests that they try walking a mile on her extra legs. Chris immediately jumps up, and races after her, chasing her outside. Mattie then turns and gives him a little smirk. "You think they bought it?" she asks.

Chris is stunned - Mattie's anger was all an act. Julie isn't the only actress in the group. Chris asks why Mattie did that, and Mattie explains. Joining Excelsior was the only way her step-dad would allow her to move here. Chris asks if she even follows the group's real mission: to not use their powers and adapt to a normal civilian life. Mattie does believe in what they are trying to accomplish, however, things have changed for her. She holds up her Spider-Woman costume and mentions that she still is attached to her superhero life. Chris asks what made her want to put the suit back on, and she tells him of how her past caught up with her. His and her past, actually. Chris is confused. His past? Mattie explains: the Daily Bugle had published a story about him (as Darkhawk), selling his blood to junkies and letting them get high. Mattie tells him this is his chance: if he could put his Darkhawk costume back on, he could take down some dealers and clear his name by proving Darkhawk really is a hero. Mattie reveals the reason she put her costume back on was that she found the Mutant Growth Hormone dealers who abused her, here in LA. That's why she wanted to move here. She learned that the MGH Dealers had moved from New York (which was going crazy) and arrived here in LA, because the Pride were no longer around.

Mattie invites Chris to clear his and her name at the same time. Right now. Fingering his Darkhawk amulet, he says a quick night of crime-fighting shouldn't hurt. Changing into Darkhawk, he asks if this should stay a secret between both of them. She agrees; after all, what they don't know won't hurt them. As the two of them fly off to stop the drug dealers, Johnny watches from below, murmuring "And the academy award goes to... Mattie Franklin, it looks like".

(Downtown, Los Angeles)

Darkhawk and Spider-Woman arrive at the warehouses where the MGH dealers have their base of operations. Darkhawk suggests they should go into a full-frontal fight, though Spider-Woman wants to see what they're up against. Darkhawk ignores her, and goes into a full-frontal fight anyway. Mattie sighs. She had to pick the 'unstable one.' Her luck with men never changes. Inside, Darkhawk has already knocked out half the MGH dealers by the time Spider-Woman arrives. Just after they defeat every dealer, Darkhawk notices a woman on a bed in the corner. Horrified, he rushes up to see that she is a mutant, and the MGH dealers are taking her blood. Just before Darkhawk saves her, the woman jumps up and reveals herself to be Nekra, vampire-like mutant. As it turns out, Nekra was willingly giving her blood. Darkhawk and Spider-Woman begin to engage her in battle, with Spider-Woman sardonically remarking that she thought vampires were supposed to take blood, not give it. It is at this moment that Ricochet arrives, having followed them ever since their meeting.

While fighting Nekra, Ricochet tells Spider-Woman and Darkhawk that they were losing the fight terribly, though Darkhawk says they're a little out of practice. Spider-Woman, however, is angry that Ricochet followed them. Ricochet shoots one of his disks in Nekra's eyes, Spider-Woman grabs her with her legs and Darkhawk blasts a purple energy ray from his amulet at Nekra. Finally, the villain collapses to the ground. Spider-Woman looks around the warehouse and finds a folder about Nekra. Apparently, she is a mutant whose body produces 'neo-adrenaline,' which means the more worked up she gets, the stronger she becomes. The MGH dealers were paying her a fortune for her blood. Worse, Spider-Woman finds out the MGH dealers have a big revolving door of donors. She is angry. While Excelsior has been ignoring their powers, the MGH dealers have been turning a minor business into a company. After much deliberation, the three of them (Spider-Woman, Darkhawk, and Ricochet) decide to continue wearing their superhero costumes to look into this company further. Ricochet asks if they should get the others involved, but Spider-Woman suggests that they should keep this secret between themselves... besides, what they don't know won't hurt them.

Back at Excelsior's meeting, Julie, Mickey and Phil stare at the three empty chairs. After a silence, Julie asks, "Think they're coming back?"

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3.5 stars 3.5/5 Stars Average score of 2 user reviews

They came from the 90s.... 0

I like the idea of the Loners, and yet it's the actual idea of it that keeps me from being totally interested in it. It's a support group for former super heroes that want to leave that life behind for various reasons. They are the bottom of the barrel, and that's one of the reasons they don't want to do it anymore. That's where the problem lies. If I didn't care about these characters in the 1990s, why would I care about them now? That's the challenge C.B. Cebulski has here. If he can make me c...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

I can't help it... 0

I started heavily collecting comics during the very early 90s. I'm a fan of Darkhawk. I know, I know, but you like what you grew up with. Or something.Anyway, I enjoyed this issue. Can't give it a full 5 stars because it didn't GRAB me like some issues of the current run of Daredevil do, but seeing DH back in action made me feel like I was back in High School.I'm not sure about the whole 'drug pushers' storyline, but if that helps keep the series grounded I'm eager to see where it goes. The...

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
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