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Overview

The issue opens with Julie and Johnny in a diner discussing Julie's vast knowledge of burgers from around the world. Johnny asks if Julie's ever bothered by the fact that she doesn't know everything that these alien powers have done to her.

Julie looks away, lies, and changes the topic of coversation to Phil and his new "friend." Johnny responds with a comment that amounts to "friend" being far too generous a title for someone who stabbed Julie, but Julie says she understands that Hollow was just scared and lashed out. Johnny suggests they just call S.H.I.E.L.D. because of all the new laws, but Julie expresses her concern that then they'd just be moving Hollow from one lab to another. She reassures Johnny that Mattie and Mickey are looking into it, as the two of them get into his car.

Johnny replies that he doesn't trust Mattie, but Julie once again steps in to defend someone from Johnny's skepticism. She turns the topic of conversation to what she sees as a sexual relationship developing between Chris and Mickey. Johnny is skeptical, once again, saying he knows his friend and that Chris would never go out with such a "goody-goody." Julie's skeptical of this, stating that Mickey is totally hot and that Julie herself would totally--but she stops herself there, quickly turning the topic of conversation over to how they need to get to the studio for her audition and her nervousness over it. Johnny wants to know what the rest of Julie's original thought toward Mickey is, but instead expresses his skepticism that a girl who's taken on nearly every bad guy on the planet would be so nervous about one little audition. "Super villains are easy," the former Power Pack "Lightspeed" Julie Power retorts.

Still, Johnny agrees to help her pursue her acting career and reassures her that her dream to be a big star is definitely no secret, so that the two of them should go make her dream a reality. The two of them arrive at Marvel Studios.

Meanwhile, Phil washes the dishes in his apartment, wondering about Hollow and her secrets as he glances at her sleeping, curled up form laying on his floor by the TV and couch. Though it's been a few weeks since she started staying with him, she's only ever said that one word, "Like," which she said when they met for the first time. Phil imagines the kiss the two shared at their first encounter to be something much more romantic than it had been, a smile on his face.

He's concerned about all the secrets she's keeping and that concern quickly turns to anguish and fear as he sees an image of the Green Goblin and Hollow, ready to kiss him, in the reflection of one of the plates he's washing. He cries out, "NOO!" and knocks the dishes off the counter violently away from himself. Hollow, startled awake by Phil's outburst, comforts him as best she can when she sees that he is in emotional pain.

Back at Marvel Studios, Julie angrily leaves an audition with the big Hollywood director who's casting for a movie called "Civil War," Johnny in toe. The director told her to get acting lessons, which causes her to launch into an angry tirade in the hallway to Johnny about how that director wouldn't know acting if he had an Oscar shoved up his--but Julie's interrupted by a man who's very impressed with her blunt honesty about Hollywood. Turns out, it's Mark Lowell, one of Johnny's favorite directors.

Mr. Lowell laments the fact that CGI films are becoming more popular, since he's an old-fashioned action flick director who needs to pay all sorts of costs regarding special training and stuntmen. Julie decides she can help this director out, "outting" herself and Johnny as an ex-superheroes. The director agrees to give them jobs as stuntmen, which Julie is totally thrilled about. He does, however, ask them if they are registered with the government regarding their superpowers and status as heroes. Julie hesitates, then says "yup."

Johnny pulls her aside for a moment, asking her if she really thinks this is a good idea. "Sure, I mean why not?" Julie replies, a little miffed. Johnny reminds her how the rest of the group reacted badly to her using her power of flight a few weeks back, but it doesn't deter Julie, who replies that the true purpose of the group is to put their costumed pasts behind them and that's exactly what she's doing by getting this job. Julie turns and shakes the hand of her new boss, while Johnny reluctantly agrees to go along with it.

Meanwhile, at the Griffith Park Obeservatory, Chris begs Mickey to give him another chance, skeptically questioning her on just how many times he has to apologize for becoming Darkhawk again and whether it was really so bad that he did, since he did it for "the right reasons" like busting up a MGH facility. Mickey retorts with a snide question of whether Chris thinks his "good intentions" justifies him using his powers despite their pledge not to anymore.

Chris, as carefully as possible, calls her out on this bit of b.s., reminding her that she was the one who convinced all of them, a few months ago, to put on their costumes and go after "those runaways." Mickey angrily reveals that her real problem is with the fact that Chris and Mattie were doing it together, alone, as opposed to when they went after The Runaways and it was a group trip.

Chris realizes that Mickey is jealous of Chris spending time with Mattie, even though they were just "on patrol" as Chris says, and Mickey admits that it's part of the reason why she's so upset. Chris gets angry that Mickey doesn't trust him enough, but Mickey reassures him that she does trust him, it's just that Mattie rubs her the wrong way, in general.

Chris questions why Mickey doesn't get jealous of the other girl, Julie, and Mickey quickly makes up an excuse about Julie's career obviously being her top priority. Chris tells Mickey that he couldn't care less what Julie's into, because he's into Mickey, not Julie, and the two of them kiss. Afterward, Chris makes a joke about there hopefully being some time it's okay to put costumes on, like, possibly, in the privacy of their own homes. Mickey sees where Chris is going with this and suggests the bedroom. Chris agrees, saying he'd like to see her in spandex.

Back at Marvel Studios: Cult favorite Mark Lowell's latest action flick is being filmed, with Julie Power as the stuntwoman for the actress playing Black Cat and Johnny Gallo as the stuntman for the actor playing Iron Fist. The two engage in an action sequence which ends with Julie falling to her apparent doom -- which is, of course, just a bit of acting on her part, as she saves herself at the last moment with a rainbow cushion.

The director and a cameraman are very pleased with all the money they'll be saving by using ex-superheroes, with Mr. Lowell sleazily adding that there'll be some "fringe benefits" with his latest "discovery" as Julie is lauded by the film crew for her performance. Mr. Lowell ups the compliment ante by saying that she and Johnny are going to be big stars in this town.

This causes the Julie, the eternal dumb blond as far as Johnny knows, to instantly fly off, shouting "Woo hoo!" and claiming she just HAS to go tell her family all about her fame and success. Johnny, meanwhile, is left behind to make excuses to a stunned Mr. Lowell and Mattie, whom he calls and tells her he has to cancel their lunch meeting due to Julie's antics.

Sitting outside at a table with an umbrella hanging over it, with her laptop in front of her, Mattie is polite enough to Johnny while she's on the phone with him, but calls him an idiot in frustration after she gets off the phone with him. She's looking at a web article whose headline reads "Costumed Casualty After Manhattan Massacre: Murdered Hero Was ESU Student."

Elsewhere, flying through the skyscrapers of Hollywood in the Black Cat suit, Julie enthusiastically tells her sister Katie about her success, who in turn quickly picks up on the fact that Julie's using her powers because she can hardly hear her over all the wind. Julie lies, claiming she's just driving with the window down, and lands near the Hollywood sign. After a short conversation, Katie expresses her concern that Julie is letting her whole "dumb blond" act go to her head. She reminds Julie that Julie is her older sister and that she used to be the smart, responsible one; Katie further wonders when Julie will start acting that part again.

Later on, Julie is changing back into regular clothes in a trailer when there's a knock at the door. It's Mark Lowell, Mr. Director, wanting to collect on some of those "fringe benefits" before and stating how he has the power. Julie decides to show him who really has the power in the trailer and blasts him with a rainbow beam, sending him hurdling out of the trailer. Director Lowell shouts at her that there are laws now to protect people from superpowered freaks like her and suggests he might call the police. Julie replies that he should go ahead and call the police, so that they can explain the laws protecting minors like her from predators like him. Mr. Lowell is shocked to discover that Julie is underage, saying that he assumed--but Julie cuts him off there, saying that he assumed the persona she put on was the real her. Hard to believe it took a dirtbag director like him to realize it, she further states, but she realizes now that it's time to drop the act.

She returns to the roof she jumped off of a few weeks ago, remembering what she said about being tired of living a lie and wanting to be free. That's still true, but she decides that maybe this time it's time to take a step back and keep her feet on the ground, to see what it's really like living without lies. She turns away and walks over the roof towards the exit, the wind blowing through her hair.

Later on, at one of the group's regular meetings at Holy Trinity Church, she confesses to the group that she hasn't been honest with them about who she is. She says that she's had to lie about her powers since she was ten, along with the rest of her siblings, and passes around a photograph of herself with Katie, Alex, and Jack Power as little kids. She confesses that maybe she's gotten too used to lying and that it's too easy to lie to herself. She asks them for a new beginning and reintroduces herself once again as Julie Power.

The others welcome her into the group, ready to give her another chance, but the moment is interrupted by a familiar female voice. She is happy with how they list their meetings online because it's easier for her to find and kill them... and with that Nekra bursts into the room!

Notes

  • The cover to this issue is an homage to the movie poster, Pretty In Pink.

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