Alpha: Big Time #2

Background

Andy Maguire was once an average teenager until a fateful school field trip to Horizon Labs. He was accidentally zapped by Peter Parker's (the amazing Spider-Man) newest invention and gained incredible super powers, becoming the awesome Alpha. Soon, he was more powerful than any other hero. But Alpha was irresponsible with this power, becoming corrupt with the fame. When he almost killed many people, Peter Parker had to take away Andy's powers, making him a laughing stock and has-been at his school.

Last issue, Otto Octavius (acting as Peter Parker) gave Andy 10% of his power back. Little does Andy know that Otto has possibly evil plans for him. Alpha was ecstatic about the return of his powers. He flew around town and tried to be as heroic as possible. But, when a common-day mugger got on Andy's nerves, he accidently shot him with one of his blasts at full speed. The mugger fell to the ground, with his head essentially on fire.

Story Details

  Alpha: Big Time #2
Summary: SM Spinoff
Executive Producer: Alan Fine
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief: Axel Alonso
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Editor: Tom Brennan
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Nuno Plati
Cover Art: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
Lettering: VC's Joe Sabino

In Pittsburgh, PA, where we left off last issue, Alpha is stunned that the mugger took such impact when he "barely hit him." The lady that the mugger was trying to steal from thanks Alpha. Andy picks up the mugger and his victim and flies them to the nearest hospital, which happens to be the medical center in the University of Pittsburgh. "Uh, crap. I don't think you're supposed to move someone who's got, like, a head trauma," he notices while he's flying. The doctors at the hospital are frantic when the mugger arrives and one of them orders the "idiotic hero" to leave.

Alpha is standing outside the door when two cops come aside him. Alpha puts out his hands and waits for the cops to arrest him. "I'm going to jail...right?" he asks. The cop says that the "sucko must have tripped or something" and Alpha had just saved the girl. Alpha begins to tell them that that is not what happened, but they interrupt him. "Sure is. Them streets is slippery, y'know? Now you be good, kay? We got work to do," one says before they walk away.

Later, Andy, out of his Alpha costume, walks to "Eat A Lot", a convenient diner, and takes a seat. There, he meets Soupcan, a girl from his school who is uncool enough to have sat by him, who is working as a waitress. She tells him that she isn't allowed to wear all of her disgusting piercings at her job. He orders coffee and, as Soupcan is walking away, she orders Andy to stop looking at her butt. (Is there a romance developing here? I sure hope not.)

When Andy looks at his phone, he finds that his mom has texted him, and rushes out without even reading it. Andy's house (Or his grandma's. It's unclear.) is very dark and moody. His mom is sitting on the couch, looking at either the wall of the TV. She asks Andy where the cereal is that she texted him to get is. "Oh--I thought you were worried," he says. "You're a big boy, Andy. You can take care of yourself," she exclaims. Andy is met by his grandma upstairs. When he greets her as "Grandma" she tells him, "Call me Mona. Grandma makes me sound like...Screw it. Call me Grandma." She tells Andy that she knows how he is feeling. "Stay out all night again and I'll break your kneecaps, y'dig?" she says.

Andy sits through a boring day of school until lunch, where he listens to his fat friend with the retainer, Kilgore, rave about random trash. He runs into Soupcan, who starts telling him off about how she had to pay for his coffee out of her tips because he left without paying the night before. "Stop," Andy states. "I was just a guy, all right? And then, this stuff happens to me, not cause I wanted it!"

Soupcan just tells him that she was talking about him paying her for coffee and notices that he is angry. "Everybody hates me. I'm completely alone. My parents don't give a crap about me. Nobody understands what I'm going through. So, yeah. Angry," he bursts. Soupcan feels bad for him and lets him pay her tomorrow.

Once again, Alpha is flying in the sky, with a luminous white light trailing him. He is thinking of many things, among them him kissing Soupcan and the mugger he shot. When he hears an explosion of some sort, he heads down to an industrial building, which is on fire.

When he asks some firemen at the scene what happened, one says, "Some...thing crashed through the wall, started eating the ore. Are the rest of the New Warriors on the way, Speedball?" Alpha journeys further to find a giant, orange/purple, squid-like monster staring at him. Alpha shoots him, but it absorbs his energy. Alpha punches him and realizes that his skin takes in energy.

Alpha notices a large bucket of lava. "I've been having a totally crap couple of days, so thanks for being there here. I really need this!" Alpha says. He throws the lava at the monster. It absorbs it and burns up.

Afterwards, Alpha flies to Horizon to confront Peter about his incident with the mugger. He wants to convince him not to take his powers away. He thinks that Peter is going to be "mad as hell" and take his powers away. The secretary at the counter tells Andy to wait for him to come out.

While waiting for Peter to come, Andy notices a newspaper on the counter of the waiting room. In a tiny article, it says that the mugger he thought he had killed will live. Peter/Otto finally comes and Andy excitedly tells him that everything is all right and that he is doing great things with his powers. Then, he quickly leaves. "Weird kid. At least your powers haven't killed you yet," Peter/Otto says. (He didn't even hear about what happened to the mugger.)

Andy ventures to the mugger's room to thank him. The mugger has bandages covering his head and is just laying down. "I'm glad you're alive, and I'm not going to get in trou--" he says thankfully. The mugger, all of the sudden, wakes up and grabs Andy's arm. "You...did...this...you...will...pay," he cries in a strange voice. "Alpha...must...pay!"

General Comments

This was a very boring and unproductive issue. None of the themes that were introduced last issue are really followed up on. Fialkov voices Alpha as well as last issue and it still keeps up most of the energy. It just falls in the area for a typical issue two of any mini-series.

The mugger dilemma is terribly unrealistic. The first time you read through the issue, it's funny how no one actually cares about it, but Alpha thinks that everybody will be angry at him. He's a typical teenager. But, after the second read, everything unravels. The police would never let Andy just walk away from the crime scene without questioning or something. They would surely be fired. Shouldn't Otto have heard that Alpha shot that mugger, being that he is (supposedly) the smartest person on the world? He would have one of his Spider-Bots monitoring him or something.

Also, Andy's romance with Soupcan is totally out of left field. Soupcan was introduced as a joke in the first issue. I understand why Fialkov wants to give Andy a girlfriend, but couldn't he have introduced a new character for him? Soupcan is just plain disgusting and it makes Andy look desperate.

The one battle scene between Alpha and the monster feels forced. The layout of it is very lazy and was too short for my liking. How convenient that a monster crashed right next to a GIANT BUCKET OF LAVA? No industrial place would just have something like that just laying around. This is Pittsburgh, not Star Wars. Plus, Plati's art in this section didn't have good focus and the monster is essentially a bunch of random lines all over the place.

Other than that one part, Plati's art is just as good as last issue. The character designs for Soupcan and Kilgore are more solid and rounded than last issue. I like how dark and shaded Andy's house is, capturing emotions well. My favorite panel of the issue is the cliffhanger, which Plati made very energetic.

Overall Rating

Really, it wasn't a bad issue. There were just a lot of minor mistakes. It was a bit boring and uneventful, but the art is still top-notch.