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The Amazing Spider-Man #692 - Alpha, Part 1: Point of Origin Review

5

It's the fiftieth anniversary and there's some huge changes headed Spider-Man's way. It may sound like a bunch of malarkey but something is definitely going down here.

The Good

Spider-Man is turning fifty and what better way to celebrate than to give the character an oversized issue and a story that is setting out to change the direction of the book? Let's hit the main concern first. This book has a $5.99 price tag. BUT, you get a 27 page main story by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos plus two back up stories (one by Dean Haspiel and the other by Joshua Hale Fialkov). This gives a total of SIXTY pages of content (including the letters pages). If you break it down to the average issue, it works out to be a good deal.

Plus there's the fact that this issue CHANGES EVERYTHING!

How many times have we heard that? This appears to be true in this case. You may have heard the news concerning Spider-Man getting a sidekick. This is where it happens. You'll want to be here to witness the beginning of a new chapter.

I won't lie and say I think it's a good idea. There's plenty to be said about the notion of Spider-Man having a sidekick. We'll have to wait and see how it plays out. For an introduction, Slott does a splendid job. If you've read the news or saw the preview, you know there are many similarities with Peter's origin and this new kid, Andy Maguire. But despite the similarities, there are loads of differences at the same time. You can imagine what the 'typical' teenager would do if they suddenly gained superpowers. Especially the typical teenager that had been floating along through high school with no real place to fit in. This is what makes the idea interesting. It's not going to be a walk in the park or a swing through the city as Spider-Man attempts to bring this new hero under his wings and guide him along the proper path to superhero-dom. It's great to see a different take on gaining powers along with the reaction of those around.

Besides Slott and Ramos' story, there are the previously mentioned back up stories. The first takes place immediately after AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 and is by Dean Haspiel. The second is by Joshua Hale Fialkov. These aren't your typical Spider-Man stories. It's fitting to see them in an issue that celebrates Spider-Man and his longevity as they focus more on what makes him a great and inspiring hero. This also indirectly reinforces the idea that Spider-Man could indeed be a good role model for a young hero. Spider-Man should be a mentor because he strongly believes in what he does and carries the burden of his actions with him everyday. These stories illustrate what it is about being 'Spider-Man' that makes him a hero and how it can affect and influence others.

The Bad

While there is more than enough content and great stories to justify the price tag, there will still be those that will have a hard time spending six dollars on a single comic book. It's more a matter that readers invested in Spider-Man and the possible future direction of the title may not have much of a choice. Celebrating the anniversary is great and seeing some nice back ups by writers that may not normally get the opportunity to tell their stories is a good thing but true Spider-Man fans may have to pass on another title this week in order to fit it into their budget.

The back ups don't necessarily add to the main story. They are good stories and should be read but when read back to back, almost come across as a little preachy and corny. One inspiring story is okay. Two might be a bit much. Of the two, the second, "Just Right" by Fialkov struck a stronger note with me as it reminded me of one of my favorite Spider-Man stories, "The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man" in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #248. This isn't to say the first wasn't touching but in a different manner as the focus wasn't directly on Spider-Man.

Spider-Man with a sidekick is a bold move. Supposedly the idea to break up the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane was because a married Spider-Man would be hard for younger readers to relate to. Obviously making Spider-Man a mentor or the authority figure gives him an older feel. Instead of trying to make Spider-Man feel younger, he's getting older by being portrayed as the well experienced superhero that has seen and done it all and now is guiding the next generation.

Then there's the fact that Mary Jane does casually appear here at a dinner with Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr. They even ask the question of whether or not Peter and MJ are together. They should be as her appearance here felt so natural but again begs the question of why bother erasing the marriage in the first place?

The Verdict

If you love Spider-Man, you're going to love this oversized anniversary issue. If you just 'like' Spider-Man, you will totally dig the new developments here with the idea of Spider-Man taking on Alpha as a sidekick. If you don't like Spider-Man...you should still check out what changes we may be seeing with the character. Spider-Man has been around for fifty years now. This issue marks a new chapter in his career. It's questionable if this is the right direction but with the way it's presented, you'll definitely want to find out how it's all going to play out. Along with an extended main story, we also have two back up stories that illustrate the importance of Spider-Man as a hero. They are the types of stories that can be read anytime and are the perfect examples how Spider-Man has endured fifty years of publication. He's more than just a guy in red and blue spandex. He means something to even the average citizens of the Marvel Universe. The price may feel like a bit much for a single comic book but the amount of content and the quality of it all will make it worth every penny. Spider-Man has been here for fifty years. With a bold new direction beginning, l can't wait to find out what the next fifty will hold for him.

30 Comments
Posted by kingjoeg

It's actually 6 dollars not 7. However i loved this issue, definatley my potw.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

I am so excited to read this issue!!!!!

Posted by MrArrogant

As a massive spider-man fan I'm really excited to read this issue; however with the DC annuals, a 5 dollar issue of justice league and marvel releasing a crapton of double shipped issues next week my wallet is gonna be hurting :(

Edited by G-Man

I absolutely love the variant covers. I just don't know which I like best. Thankfully you get to see them all inside on one page. So there's that.

Staff
Posted by Billy Batson

@G-Man:

Btw I saw that you removed Spider-Man 2099 and Scarlet Spider out of the issue page even though they appear on the cover (or at least I think it was you since no one else had edited the page). I thought cover appearances were allowed to add?
BB

Posted by ThePRez

the only thing that I reaaaaaally dont like about Alpha is that he's got all this mega powers. Why new characters have to be mega powerfull

Posted by Wowlock

As you said, it is a different approach and I can't guess how this play out. Spiderman with a side-kick ? It is a strange notion and pushes back the Marvel's notion of making Peter ''younger'' as they tried to do with erasing his marriage and so forth. As a mentor , he has to feel Older and as you pointed out, if Marvel wanted to have a younger feeling to Peter...then why make this big change ? Are they finally realized their mistake and returning Peter to his ''adult'' roots. Like you pointed out...if this is the new direction...what was the point of OMD ? To this day, I don't know what they were thinking....

The recent Spider-men mini-series was great as Peter had some good interactions with the younger Miles Morales and I can see him as a mentor. As for this current series , well it can still work but Marvel needs to do it right.

Posted by SeanFoster

Spider-Man vs. Alpha in issue 700?

Posted by Mrakbarman

In all honesty this was a very well thought and well written issue. It makes up for the below par lizard story .  Atleast now I know what Dan Slott was planning and I know he must have put a lot of thought into it. 

Posted by pspin

Who cares about one more day? For something that everyone hated, everyone talks about it constantly.

Anyway, this story was great, the second one was really touching and was kind of cool how it was in the past and could easily fit in. The third was by far the best part, I liked it better than the main story, the part with the pigeon made me laugh, why can't Peter catch a break even on the "normal" days.

"Not the face!" - Spider-Man

Posted by Cafeterialoca

I don't like Alpha that much. He's pretty much Human Torch/Ice Man, except more of a douche.

Posted by DATNIGGA

@Cafeterialoca: what would you expect a teenaged boy to act when he finds out that hes overpowered? thor was cocky too when he was at that age lol

Posted by butters911

Really love the death of Gwen cover

Posted by ChaosAgentLoki

Andy Maguire... seriously, that's the name of Spidey's sidekick? Wow, well, I'll just have to read this issue and see for myself whether it will turn out well or not. That and why pass up on the 50th anniversary issue of Spidey?

Posted by kadosho_16bit

Awesome review friend! I definitely can believe we've made it through 50 years of Spidey. Just feels kinda weird that Peter will have a new sidekick after all this time. (er wait wasn't Johnny sort of that buddy comedy setup?) But some new character that is connected to the past (or sometime). Maybe this new direction could be a fun spin, or it could be well who knows.

Posted by noj

I can honestly say I didnt like it. The Alpha kid is a major douche. He was relatable only to a certain point, and was very unlikable. It also strangely seemed to really belittle Peter. One of the best things about Slott's run on Spider-Man is how he has reminded the world of how smart Peter is. This issue starts off like that with Peter very proud about his own major scientific discovery only to be shot down later in the issue where Reed says he discovered them years ago. Alpha even calls Spider-Man his SIDEKICK after all he had done was be nice to the kid.

Posted by sparty-dbq

I should NOT be buying 6 dollar comic books when I'm still waiting for the paycheck I should've gotten a week ago.

Posted by Dark_Guyver
Hopefully we don't have to put up with Alpha for more than a couple of issues. Already don't like him.
Posted by erik_norris

@Dark_Guyver said:

Hopefully we don't have to put up with Alpha for more than a couple of issues. Already don't like him.

I think we should all take a Damian Wayne approach to Alpha. Remember how much most people hated Damian Wayne when he was first introduced? Now he's a lot of people's favorite Robin. I'm on the wait and see. With that said, he is a cocky S.O.B., isn't he?

Staff
Posted by zombietag

whats the first page of this comic from?? i know fred van lente wrote a bunch of these 1 page origin stories for something and i cant remember what it is! driving me crazy

Posted by cerial442

Alpha is like Poochy the Rapping Dog. Hopefully they kill him off soon.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

@DATNIGGA: Then did we need another blonde teenage douche? I mean, why not create an entirely different character than the one we get CONSTANTLY?

Posted by noj

@erik_norris: I was kind of thinking of him like that at first but he is really nothing like Damian. Damian had a reason to be a cocky POS. He was the son of the GD Batman and the grandson of Ra's al Ghul. He had been raised and trained by the League of Assassins his entire life and was pretty spoiled. Alpha on the other hand is just a douche for almost no reason other than that he is a teenager.

Posted by SuperStarKirby

Alpha is without a doubt a huge douche.

But really, how many of you wouldn't use power for fame and women? And payback?

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

I think it could be cool to have Spider-Man have a sidekick. Haven't exactly read it yet, but the idea of a Spider-Boy or a new character guided by Spider-Man sounds fun. Think, years from now, maybe this sidekick will have his own comic like Tim Drake did as Robin a few years back. This kid could be Marvel's Robin character.

Posted by Dernman

The character before powers didn't seem like the character after powers. I liked the character before powers and would have liked to have seen that. Though for stories sake I assume how he is acting now will better fit the story, It was a good issue and some of the art was funny. Parker particles? Poor Peter thinking he discovered something only ti find out Reed found it out first.

Posted by theTimeStreamer

@Mrakbarman: below par? get out of here. that story was great.

Posted by andrew2696

@cerial442: He's actually called Poochie by an internet commenter in a part.

Posted by AltyAce

Laughed at the Batman reference.

Posted by jojobinks70

Gotta say I agree that Alpha's character seemed to shift pretty dramatically pre to post super hero. I get that he is a teen an understandably might use his powers as he did. However, he was likeable pre-powers. I think the writers made a mistake by not carrying through some of that post super powers. I guess maybe they plan to do this as he develops, but seems kinda stupid to make all your readers completely dislike your newly introduced character, who will have a major role alongside their flagship character. Unless of course they intend this because they are setting him up to be a bad guy. But then thats kinda sad given Alpha's origin story around his mildly neglectful family is something so many kids can empathize with, and then they turn him bad. What kind of message is that?