Spider-Man has always pretty much been a loner. After gaining superpowers, he used them for personal gain. When he had the opportunity to stop a crook, he refused on the grounds of being tired of everyone telling him what to do. This resulted in the same crook killing his beloved Uncle Ben. From that day Spider-Man took on the motto, "With great powers comes great responsibility." He has made countless sacrifices in the name of fighting evil and saving lives. Too many times his personal life has suffered due to his actions as Spider-Man.
As the life of Peter Parker continues to change, he has an important job at Horizon Labs and is about to take on an even bigger one. Spider-Man is now becoming a mentor and taking on a new sidekick. There will be some spoilers for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692, so be sure to read that issue first.== TEASER ==
The reason for Spider-Man getting a sidekick is simple. Peter was conducting a science experiment. Things didn't go too smoothly and Andy Maguire ended up gaining superpowers. Sounds familiar and that's the point. We all know Spider-Man has a strong sense of responsibility and he is now responsible for Andy, who takes on the superhero identity of Alpha. It turns out that Andy is now incredibly powerful and will need guidance as well as someone to keep their eye on him.
The main problem with Spider-Man becoming the mentor to a new and young sidekick is it makes him feel older. It was said that one of the reasons to erase the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane was because it would be hard for younger readers to relate to a married superhero. Using this same logic, one would think it might be hard for those same younger readers to relate to a hero that's in a position of authority. Do kids relate to their teachers or parents? Probably not in the way Marvel might want.
Spider-Man's responsibilities have been increasing more and more lately. Not only does he have to do his part to fight the bad guys and fulfill or prevent whatever visions Madame Web sees involving him, he also has to be there for both the Avengers and Future Foundation. Of course there's also the responsibilities at his job at Horizon Labs. Spider-Man used to be a carefree superhero in many ways. He might have felt a strong sense of responsibility but he only had to fight the bad guys and be sure to pick up Aunt May's prescription. Adding a sidekick that could become an 'alpha-level threat,' jacks up the responsibility for Spidey.
We have to ask, should Spider-Man have a sidekick? It does change the direction of the title but maybe that isn't such a bad thing. We are talking fifty years of comic book stories with Spider-Man. We've recently seen Spider-Man having to convince Hope Summers of the importance of power and responsibility in the pages of AVENGERS VS X-MEN. If anyone can teach an insanely powerful youth, it's Spider-Man. This may change his focus slightly but after fifty years, this could give us a different sorts of Spider-Man stories.
The main trick with Alpha is how much does he tell him? Andy's already been taking advantage of his power, doing what most of us would probably want to do if we suddenly gained superpowers. Andy also doesn't have a secret identity. How much should Spider-Man trust him with? If he's going to be his mentor, there has to be a great deal of trust. But if Spider-Man can't trust Andy with his secrets, Andy could easily see this as a wall between them and he could start going in a different direction. With Andy being new to all this and completely arrogant, trusting him with a secret like this could be a dangerous choice. This could easily go bad if Alpha ends up hurt or feeling betrayed by Spider-Man.
Spider-Man having a sidekick might not be the best idea but he is well suited for the responsibility of taking one on. Spider-Man is going to have his hands full, especially considering the power Alpha possesses. Whether this ends up causing even more problems in Spider-Man's life remains to be seen. Spidey rarely catches a break and this is a whole new level of responsibility for him.