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Early Review: ALPHA - BIG TIME #1

From the pages of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, the former sidekick is getting his own miniseries by Joshua Hale Fialkov.

When it was first announced that Spider-Man would become a mentor to a powerful young hero and take him on as a sidekick, it sounded as if we were going to see some big time changes in the pages of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Through events similar to what happened to Peter Parker, Andrew Maguire soon gained extremely powerful powers and abilities and became known as Alpha. Rather than see the typical story of the character immediately using those powers to do good or seek revenge against anyone that bullied or picked on him. Instead, he used his powers to gain popularity, fame and fortune. Isn't that what a lot of kids would consider?

Alpha was immediately seen as an annoying character. He was meant to be. That was the role he played. He was a teenager with immense powers and a possible threat to the world. His story ended with Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) removing (most of) his powers. Alpha had to give up everything he just gained and was forced to be a normal kid again with the possibility of having his powers return.

That's where Joshua Hale Fialkov's series comes in. Andrew is now living in Philadelphia. Despite being in a new school, it's no secret who he briefly was. You can imagine how the other kids will treat him. This is a kid that used his powers for as much personal gain as he could. He fell from grace in the biggest way possible. His big mistake was not having a secret identity. This series is dealing with the aftermath.

Fialkov does a great job depicting the high school dynamics. He has the difficult job writing a comic based on a kid many quickly grew to hate and capturing our interest. Fialkov manages to do this right away. Alpha may have been extremely annoying but that's part of being a teenager. You're still learning right from wrong. In a world where superpowers are possible, the temptation to use those powers and live in the moment would be something many teens would find hard to resist.

Of course when Alpha had his powers taken away, Peter told him it was possible they'd return someday. This meant he could get it all back but would have to think about the mistakes he made. Many great stories are about redemption and this could be Alpha's.

The strange thing about the original story is there was the first impression that this was going to be the status quo for a while. It felt like Spider-Man would be dealing with, or struggling to deal with Alpha as his sidekick. The story was quickly resolved after just three issues. It felt like there was room to explore his character more rather than wipe him off the board immediately. That's the opportunity this series has. A lot of readers might not have been immediately drawn to him but there is something about a flawed character and the act of trying to seek out redemption.

Fialkov also has something else to deal with. Alpha has to return to Horizon Labs in New York every couple weeks to get tested to see if his powers are returning or at a dangerous level. Because it was and accident during Peter Parker's experiment, he's the one conducting the tests. But we all know Peter Parker isn't exactly the same person he was when these two last met. That means Fialkov gets to deal with this slightly different version of Peter Parker and there's going to obviously be some repercussions occurring here.

In Alpha's first appearances, the issues were drawn by Humberto Ramos. As you know, he has a distinctive style and it's easy to associate that look as Alpha's. Ramos even does the cover for the issue. The interior art is by Nuno Plati. At first I was a little unsure how I felt about it. Reading over the issue again, it started to grow on me. I'm familiar with Plati's art from other comics. Something just threw me off at first.

Is it possible to enjoy a comic about a character you didn't like at first? Josh Fialkov makes it possible. In many ways, Alpha is more realistic than most of the other teen heroes we see in comics. He had a great opportunity and messed up...big time. Part of life is about making mistakes and learning from them. With the power Alpha had, he had the potential to be an extremely powerful hero. Now it's just a matter of trying to figure out what the right path is if he is given a second chance. His story felt like it came to an abrupt ending in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. It'll be great to see what the next chapter holds for him.

Fialkov's stories aren't ones you should take lightly. He's known for throwing major curveballs at readers. This issue sets up what comes next for the kid superhero that almost had it all. He may have made mistakes and is trying to avoid new ones. That doesn't mean he won't make more.

ALPHA: BIG TIME #1 goes on sale February 12, 2013.

34 Comments Refresh
Posted by Trevel8182

Out of all the characters that could have spin off, I bet Alpha was on the top of everyone's list.

Posted by cyberchop979

Fialkov is such a great writer. Because of him I am willing to give this mini a shot.

Posted by dondave

When does this come out

Edited by Mucklefluga

This is a very early 'early review' compared most others. I'm not complaining tho! The character still doesn't interest me that much even with you saying great things about how it is written. Maybe ill jump aboard after a few more issues?

He had a great opportunity and messed up...big time.

Nice one haha ;D

Edit: Didn't realise this was a mini-series! Perhaps i'll just wait for the trade then. They usually come out very quickly since it's a Marvel book.

Posted by x_29

Alpha sucks

Posted by Teerack

Thinking about an Alpha mentored by Doc Ock is really scary.

Posted by saoakden

@Teerack: Almost as bad Osborn using the Sentry.

Posted by mightypug78

if doc ock wants to redeem himself, mentoring and teaching alpha to be a great man and hero would be a start.

Posted by Phaedrusgr

Now, now...I must admit this could be interesting...many paths open ahead...

Edited by UlquiorraSchiffer

@mightypug78: Or even a good man would be a start. Or a man at all.

Posted by HellknightLeon

This Alpha chick looks hot. Just goes to show you that not all comic book girl have to have big boobs and butt to be amazing looking. Wait... this is a guy?

Posted by mk111

@HellknightLeon: LOL

Edited by Mutant God

I dont care much about Alphalpha

Posted by StMichalofWilson

I can't wait for his enconter with the Superior Spider-Man!

Posted by Sissel

Gonna read this one out and see where he'll go. Wish he becomes redeemed but became the new Sentry before that happens. I like the idea of flawed heroes, so +1 for him.

Posted by zackattack529

Mmmm... Joshua Fialkov is a great writer but sorry, i just wasn't interested in Alpha's character.

However if the book does get great reviews ill get it in trade.

Posted by Skaddix

Should have been shipped to Avengers Arena and been brutally murdered not rewarded with a miniseries.


Alphaa energy powers will be the key to bringing parker back...

Posted by SUNMAN

in 5 or 6 years this character will be dead. Calling it now

Posted by Loki2u

No thanks

Posted by longbowhunter

As much as I loved Echoes and Elks Run I'm not interested in this. Rather see Fialkov do something else creator owned.

Posted by MagmaGazer

Feels like this sort of thing has been done to death and then some. However, as it's just a mini series, I don't suppose it's that bad to bear after al.

Posted by Compa

Why Alpha???

Posted by zombietag
Is it possible to enjoy a comic about a character you didn't like at first? Josh Fialkov makes it possible.

this is kind of my issue with the book in the first place. why do i even want to spend money on a character i dont like?

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

You had me at Fialkov! ^_^

Posted by dboy4dashing

A month wait...

Posted by G-Man

@Compa: That's the challenge. Believe me, I was not a fan of the character. We weren't supposed to like him. But wait until you see what Josh does.

@dboy4dashing: I was so thrilled to get to read it early. Not trying to brag. Happy I got to share my thoughts.

Posted by powerhouse1122

This is very interesting..... It's like reading AMS right from the start! Cant wait!

Posted by JMLG

@Trevel8182 said:

Out of all the characters that could have spin off, I bet Alpha was on the top of everyone's list.

exactly what i thought smh

Posted by Teerack

@saoakden: Alpha is way stronger then Sentry.

Posted by blackkitty

Alpha is just way too annoying to really care about. I'll pass. Not surprised though, remember when they kept trying to make people care about Sentry?

Posted by Chibio

Andrew "Alpha" Maguire, as in Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire? 
God, sometimes I hate comic book writers so much.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Alpha is a flop.

Posted by Barubal10

Wait - is JHF leaving DC?