Alpha: Big Time #3

Background

Andy Maguire gained powers when a certain Peter Parker's experiment malfunctioned. Andy became Alpha, a terribly irresponsible kid who abused his abilities. After putting many lives on the line, Peter Parker took away his powers and he became a laughing stock at his school. Andy's parents divorced and he is currently living in Pittsburgh.

Last issue, Spider-Man (now Otto Octavius) gave Alpha back his powers to use him for his own devious purposes. Andy has faced two fires, one caused by a giant monster. He also shot a mugger in the head, but he is still alive. We left off last issue when Andy paid the mugger a visit in the hospital and he mysteriously grabbed his hand and started talking in an unearthly voice.

Oh, yeah... He is also in love with a girl with a face full of piercings and pink hair named Soupcan. Look on the bright side, it could be much wor-- Oh, wait. That's impossible.

Story Details

  Alpha: Big Time #3
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

Back in Pittsburgh, after having his powers back for approximately two days, the mugger's hand is tightly gripping on to Alpha's wrist. Andy, obviously startled by the suddenness of the mugger's attack, frantically shocks his hand and the mugger returns to his state of weakness, going back to sleep in his bed. Andy apologizes and flies out the window before a nurse can find him. (Fialkov took that from one of the Batman movies.)

Later, Alpha is sitting on a gate when a blaring KRAKOOM erupts behind him. When he remains perched in his position, a voice behind him asks if he heard that and he says that he heard, but doesn't care. Spider-Man stands behind him, in front of an Avengers protocol jet. (How'd he get access to that?) "Ah, disaffected youth," Otto says. Andy asks for him to take his powers away again because they "suck" and have "ruined" his life "multiple times."

"Do you have any idea what other people would do to have your power?" Otto asks. "Some of us, those of us not lucky enough to get powers that don't disfigure and destroy us--" When Andy asks if he is "gross under his mask, Otto replies, saying that he is "extremely handsome." He finishes by saying, "My point, Andrew, is that you're extremely lucky, and you're more than capable of handling anything that life throws at you."

Otto's real intentions are revealed when Andy thanks him and he tells him that he needs him for some "urgent Avengers business." Soon, Alpha is in the desert, holding up a boulder, which Spidey and two mechanical spiders are examining. (What the heck? Is this an attempt at humor? Are there a certain type of desert spider that lives under boulders.)

Later, Spidey drops Alpha off at his house at night and tells him to tell his mom that he said hello. When Andy enters his house, his mom is just staring at the wall again, unconcerned at his son's coming home so late.

Across town at Eat-A-Lot, Soupcan, Andy's love interest, is sitting at the cashier, mumbling to herself, "Another dull night in the dullest city in the dullest high-cholesterol emporium. Suddenly, a fire bursts through the wall and starts burning down the restaurant. "I changed my mind, go back to dull!" Soupcan yells. The word "help" in pink font, starts getting louder and louder until Andy hears it. He figures that Soupcan is in trouble and quickly flies out of his window. Once he saves Soupcan and her coworker, he absorbs the fire with his Alpha-power. (Is his power limitless?)

The police arrive later and notices that there are a lot of fires in Pittsburgh. Alpha tells the police that he will put them out and one cop says, "Kid, this isn't New York. You don't know who you're messing with." Andy replies, "Uh, dude New York has like three super villains for every person." The cop counters, "I'd take super villains over what we have any day. Anyways, thanks for helping out, Gravity!" (That's crap. Two measly fires doesn't compare to the monthly invasion in NYC.)

Soupcan approaches Alpha and thanks him, and Andy is surprised that she sees right through his mask. "Dude, you're a moron. Thanks for saving me. Really cool of you," she says. She begins to walk away when Andy stops her and says that they have a "special bond" now that she knows his identity. "I'm not going to become your girlfriend, man," she tells him because she isn't in to superheroes. (She had better jump on the chance of dating Alpha. She's not going to get anything better any time soon.)

Two days later, at Horizon Labs, Peter Parker (Otto Octavius) is running more tests on Andywith a giant helmet over his head. When Andy mentioned he sensed the fire, Otto infers that it's super senses. Then, he finds that he is able to see though Peter. "Well, as with all of your powers, these will likely become stronger in time. They should serve as another weapon to your arsenal. Which is already plentiful," Otto states. Andy asks for some help from Peter and he says, "Andy, you can't keep coming to me with every little problem. You're a big boy. Act like it."

Once he leaves Horizon, Alpha sits on the top of a skyscraper cursing Peter Parker and Spider-Man. He decides to test his super senses and concentrates extremely hardly. Suddenly, everything rushes at his mind at once. Among the things he senses is a rock concert, body builders, ice rinks, Wolverine, and even a panel of Nuno Plati drawing Alpha. (I love it when artists incorporate this type of stuff in comics.)

He is overwhelmed and falls from the skyscraper. "I...can hear...everything!" he yells. He is now omniscient and feels every death in the world, "I can't do this! I can't save them! Any of them! All dead!" Right as he is about to hit the ground when he hears Soupcan says on the phone, "I mean, he's kind of cute, but he's got this whole stupid super hero act in his head. But if he just tried talking to me like a freakin' person--"

Alpha stops right as he is about to hit the ground and joyfully shoots into the clouds. "A girl likes me for me! Sort of!" he yells. He quickly flies by Soupcan's window, which she figures is just a "truck going by or something." He joyfully flies into the mugger's hospital room and asks, "Any more weird vocal outbursts about revenge?"

He quickly flies away but there is still much to see there. The mugger turns into a spaghetti-like monster and consumes the nurse attending to him, roaring, "Allppphhhhaaaaaa!"

Once again, Alpha puts out another fire in the city and blissfully yells, "There is an inordinate number of fires in this city." Two people are monitoring Andy on a screen and one says, "This is the boy who's put out three of the fires and stopped the monsters from ruining the factory? You know what giant elemental monsters cost these days?" The other says, "He was on the TV constantly for a month. I'm talking Kardashian-level irritating." They are then revealed to be a heavy-set Russian man, an egghead with a large forehead and a weird guy with a long face. When asked what they do about people like this, the Russian one suggests, "We go into their homes, we say hello. And we murder every single person they care about. And then, best of all...we make them watch."

Alpha journeys into space and looks at the Earth. "Everything's coming up alpha!" he yells.

General Comments

This series has so much potential. Sadly, Fialkov keeps on going back to the SAME EXACT CONCEPTS HE INTRODUCED IN THE FIRST TWO ISSUES. Seriously. Alpha puts out a fire, Peter Parker experiments on Alpha, nobody feels for Alpha, the police are out of character, Spider-Man uses Alpha, Alpha likes Soupcan, it's all been done. I wish that Andy's relationship with his parents was more fleshed out, but Andy's mom appears in only one panel.

And what is up with Spidey's appearance? Was it an attempt at humor? It wasn't funny; just awkward. And a waste of three pages. Plus, Superior Spider-Man doesn't sound as brilliant as he should. I understand that Fialkov doesn't want to turn the spotlight from Alpha by making Ock sound more interesting, but it could have been handled nimbler.

As for the cliffhanger...where did this come from? It doesn't even genuinely interest me. The new bad guys look and sound like generic tough guys and I already don't like them. This type of thing should have been introduced in issue two or something. also.

Nuno Plati's art is inconsistent. The two page spread where Andy is overwhelmed by his senses and the two pages that follow are brilliant. But, in contrast to the great pages, are the terrible: the monster attacking the nurse at the hospital is strangely colored and sloppily drawn, the fire spreading around Eat-A-Lot does so ridiculously fast and unclearly, the last page depicts the Earth as black with white lines. His art, like the writing, is in a steady decline.

Overall Rating

This is bad. It could be so much better, but it just reuses content from the last two issues. I have been genuinely disappointed.