Being a superhero should be fun. After all, a world of super powers is a world where Amazonian juggernauts made of candy battle guys in spandex that drive talking cars. Irene loves that weirdness, loves the game of fighting, and loves being a four-foot-tall woman who still gets to drop big heavy objects on villains' heads. In 1980, that fun is in danger. A mad scientist who murders people for his research has everyone afraid. Two of the friendliest super-powered rivals around stop playing and go for the kill.
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Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She's got superhero parents. She's got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets that even she doesn't understand. She has two superpowered best friends. In middle school the line between good and evil looks clear. In real life nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero's sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She's good at it.
Supervillains do not merely play hooky. True, coming back to school after a month spent fighting - and defeating - adult superheroes is a bit of a comedown for the Inscrutable Machine. When offered the chance to skip school in the most dramatic way possible, Penelope Akk can't resist. With the help of a giant spider and mysterious red goo, she builds a spaceship and flies to Jupiter. Penny and her friends find all this and more on Jupiter's moons, but what they don't find are any heroes to save the day.
What would middle school be like if half your classmates had super powers? It's time for Penny Akk to find out. Her latest (failed) attempt to become a superhero has inspired the rest of the kids in her school to reveal their own powers. Now, all of her relationships are changing. She has a not-at-all-secret admirer, who wants to be Penny's partner almost as much as she wants to be Penny's rival. The meanest girl in school has gained super powers and lost her mind. Can Penny help her find a better one?