Alpha's Beta Test
Alpha was a great story for Spider-Man, going full circle with Spider-Man's origin story, but with Peter Parker in place of the scientist doing the experiment and a new hero getting powers. A new hero who is socially the same status as Peter was, but never had the 'Great Responsibility' instilled in him to counter his 'Great Power.' And his great power was on a scale beyond anything else. His celebrity status got to his head, and Peter actually let me down as a character by taking the easy way out and simply shutting Alpha down instead of attempting to teach him great responsibility properly. And then it felt like after all that hype, the story was completely dropped. But now Alpha's getting a second chance, because where the Amazing Spider-Man failed him, the Superior Spider-Man is determined to succeed.
It's really interesting to see here how Doc-Ock-Parker does things differently. He's taking risks with the testing of Alpha's powers that the real Peter would likely never take, and that draws out Alpha's positive trait's a bit better, and showcases his potential. And in return, he's taking a chance to do what Peter wouldn't. Because Ock is older and more experienced. He doesn't remember his teen years as strongly, so he doesn't have the need to refute Alpha's similarities to himself like Peter did. He actually gives Alpha the 'great power/great responsibility' speech before returning 10% of Alpha's powers to him. But he has an ulterior motive, and that bothers me just a bit. Part of me would have liked to see Ock doing this because Peter couldn't, like how he was able to break away from the circuitous relationship with Mary Jane, although he does feel a tinge of guilt. The other thing I'm curious about is Ghost-Peter's reaction to all of this. Part of me thinks this would've been better if we'd seen a bit of Peter pleading fruitlessly to Ock not to do this.
But overall this story is about Alpha, not Spider-Man, Amazing or Superior. Joshua Hale Fialkov shines so brightly with strong character work with nice little twists of uniqueness. 'Unpopular' characters still usually have their duo of other friends, but Alpha only has a mere shade of that. He has two kids who are willing to sit near him, they might be closer to friends than he thinks, but Alpha is still incredibly alienated; and it's hard not to see why. He's a known disgraced superhero, and that kind of thing tends to be a magnet for hatred or mockery. And yet, Alpha hasn't turned dark from this experience, he's actually matured a bit from the selfish asshole he was before. He's still a little pompous, adamant that he's matured enough, but I can see he's at least a bit of a better person. Which is why the end of the issue hits him so hard, a pretty brick wall smash kind of lesson in using great power responsibly. It was quite a bit of a shock, and a brilliant setup for some intense character development. The other big problem he has is attempting a clean slate, because with the same powers and costume and hairdo and everything.... a domino mask isn't really hiding anything. And he makes so pathetic attempts at a new alias, but I don't really seen any viable way around this, especially if the miniseries' title still calls him Alpha.
The artwork is.... strange. Nuno Plati has a REALLY unique style, and its pretty hard to get used to. The biggest problem is that Alpha looks REALLY different than how Humberto Ramos draws him. Peter seems fine, but Alpha just looks older and weirder. And overall the style is a bit much to get used to, someone who just flips through might get turned off by it, but once I got through to the end, the style had grown on me.
In Conclusion: 4/5
This issue was a little dialogue excessive at times, but overall Joshua Hale Fialkov is taking the reigns of Alpha from Dan Slott amazingly. His character work is as unique and powerful as I've come to expect from him, and he's already shaped a lot of strong development for Alpha to come.