Alpha: Big Time #5

Background

Andy Maguire got his powers back from Superior Spider-Man. He's been putting out fires, a giant energy beast ate 400 people, and a guy named "Boss Cohan" had his people burn down Andy's house with his mom and grandma in it. Don't turn back now! The quality gets even worse, surprisingly!

Story Details

  Alpha: Big Time #5
Summary: SM Spinoff
Editor: Tom Brennan
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Nuno Plati
Lettering: VC's Joe Sabino

Let's play a game called, "Guess How Poorly I Can End a Terrible Mini-Series!" With us is Joshua Hale Fialkov, playing for the grand prize of our boredom! If he decides to go all the way, he can make it possible that Alpha will never get his own miniseries ever again! Let's see how it goes...

In Pittsburgh, PA, a pop culture magazine with Alpha's face on it is burning in Andy's house, which is on fire. Is Fialkov predicting what I'm going to do with this comic once I'm done reviewing it? How endearing! In the fire, Andy's grandmother is standing helplessly, holding Andy's mother. She must have passed out once Cohen's men lit her house on fire instead of actually attempting to escape. Good thing Andy's mom and grandmother have had about five pages in this whole miniseries for development, so I don't feel the least bit of affection for them. That would jeopardize Fialkov's chances of getting Alpha another series!

Quickly, Alpha bursts down the door and simply sucks all of the fire into himself...somehow, extinguishing it. How anticlimactic! He runs over to check on his mom and grandma. His mom is apparently not breathing! Oh no! How did this happen? Did she have a heart attack? Does she have breathing problems? It doesn't look like she has any physical damage... It's not explained. Fialkov would have to actually use some brainpower to figure out that the human body doesn't randomly stop breathing!

Anyways, Andy provocatively touches his mom and glowing strands of light cover her face. Then, she gasps for air. Yay! Apparently, now Andy's powers include healing! How come this wasn't mentioned in ASM 692, when Alpha was introduced? Wait, do I really think Fialkov took notice of anything he read in Alpha's origin story? Is this Alpha's power evolving? In fact, I don't even think absorbing fire is one of his powers, is it? Ah, who cares about continuity? Fialkov doesn't!

Anyways, Andy's mom thanks him for saving her and tells him that the man who lit the house on fire said "Boss Cohen says hello." Andy says that he knows what to do next. His mom tries to stop him from going, but he says, "Don't worry, mom. I'm just gonna hit him really, really hard. I guarantee that's enough." It's amazing that Fialkov was able to interject his life motto into his own comic book!

Meanwhile, in NYC, Spider-Man is taking on the Constructor on a rooftop. "I have places to be, Constructor. Just let me arrest you," Spidey says. I can only imagine a conversation between Tom Brennan and Joshua Hale Fialkov after looking at this page of the script. "Hey Joshua. I just read your half-page long script. Other than spelling about sixty words wrong, Spider-Man is totally out-of-character. Remember Spidey's Otto Octavius now? He brutally attacks villains; he doesn't just talk to them," Brennan might have said. Fialkov then might have yelled, "Who's Otto Octavius? Darn, my dog must have forgotten to include that in his script. Rufus, you don't get kibble this week!"

Anyways, Constructor is explaining that he's not a bad guy anymore when Alpha flies by and picks up Spidey. Otto starts yelling at him once they land until he sees the giant energy monster at the hospital. Strangely, the area around the monster is all demolished and ruined. It almost looks like a nuclear bomb went off. Silly Fialkov, the energy monster consumes energy. He doesn't blow stuff up!

The monster starts yelling, "Zeta hungers! Zeta consumes! Zeta must grow!" Look, Zeta has the same grammar as Fialkov! Amazing! Spider-Man walks up and touches Zeta, deeming that "it seems unstable." Otto just accomplished the equivalent of a kid walking up to a growling dog with a foaming mouth and deciding it's rabid.

The monster starts lasing out at Alpha and Spidey. "Incredible. He's merged with...how many people?" Otto asks. Andy mentions hundreds and Otto says, "Remarkable." Yeah, Fialkov's dog has not been following Superior Spider-Man. Even Otto cares about innocents lives. Zeta yells, "Kill Alpha and his amazing friend!" Once Otto corrects the monster, saying that he's "superior" now, he is smashed into the floor by Zeta's tentacle. Andy picks up Zeta and suggests throwing him into the river to protect innocents.

Spidey tries to postpone it, but Alpha is already raising up with Zeta in his hands. "Oh crap... I'm just giving him more juice!" Andy yells. Once he throws it to the ground, Spidey says, "Look at him. Use your enhanced senses for me, and describe what you see on a cellular level." Alpha replies, "You mean, like a cell phone?" WHAT THE HECK?! Fialkov is trying too hard to make teenagers connect to Alpha. I knew what cells were when I was in second grade. Alpha isn't a typical teenager, he's a retard.

Spidey tells him to look at him "really, really hard." Andy describes that he sees "circles and then jaggedy things." Andy's a retard! We're reading about a retarded hero! Otto tells him to "radiate" the cells and only cause the "corrupted cells" to die. Andy starts doing so and the monster yells, "What are you doing? You're killing me agaaaaiiinnnnn! Nooooooooooooooooooooo!" That is how many O's that were in the "no." I am dead serious. Dead. Serious.

Alpha destroys the monster and tons of people walk from the goo. When Alpha asks where Zeta is, Spidey says, "He's gone. the super villains always seem to get away unless you shoot them in the head first." Spidey's so helpful with young heroes like Andy. Alpha is happy with himself and exclaims, "I wish I'd known how good feeling good felt! I would've done it sooner." Then, he remembers his mom and flies away. When he's gone, Spider-Man turns on a recorder and states, "Alpha Observation Number 92. Alpha's powers when used in concentrated form causes cancerous tissue to form. This makes transference of his powers to me too complicated. Potentially fatal." So, Otto just gives up trying to take Alpha's power. How boring.

At Motel 5, Alpha is being yelled at by his mom for putting himself in danger. "Mom, he tried to kill you!" Andy explains. Lies! Cohen tried to kill her, Zeta was just a little bit hungry! "You're supposed to be a good guy now, and that means being the bigger man," she says. Just a second ago, she was pissed about him trying to go after Zeta. Now he's a hero?! And how is Cohen the bigger man if Alpha hunts him down after his trying to kill his mom? As I said in my last review, everybody in this book is a retard. "You saved me. You're my hero," Andy's mom says as she begins to cry. How touching...not! Too bad Andy's mom hasn't even been built up for me to care about this scene.

Andy goes to where Soupcan works and finds her helping repair the building, which looks great considering it had just been burnt down. She says that she saw him at the hospital and he was "ridonkulous." EVERYBODY IN THIS COMIC IS DEPRIVED OF AN EDUCATION!!!!!

Andy asks if she wants to go to "dinner or a movie or something." She agrees and Andy asks if he can call her "Susan" instead of "Soupcan." Soupcan says, "My mom called me Soupcan. When I was little. And she, like, died so y'know, I kept it-- It reminds me of her, y'know?" Soupcan's mom hates her. She hates her. Who calls their kid Soupcan, for god's sake? And I can also confirm that's not where Soupcan's name came from. One day, Fialkov was really hungry and started eating the first thing he could find off the side of the road, a soup can. Then, BAM! It came to him!

Andy and Soupcan start talking when they hear a bang. Andy watches as a bullet heads for Soupcan's head. He makes it disappear with yet another unexplained power. Then, Andy finds Edward from last issue holding a gun and punches him. Soupcan is hysterical from the experience and Andy asks if she's okay. "I was just shot at! I am not okay!" she cries.

Later, in a dark room laminated by many computer screens, a balding man alerts "Jimmy" that Alpha has showed up. How did Alpha find-- Aw, who cares? Obviously not Fialkov. "I figured he would," a person says. " In the shadows, Alpha asks if it was part of the plan. What plan? Fialkov is making this up as he goes! A Russian man with a scar on his left eye says, "Plan? What plan? One of my boys goes crazy and shoots at a chick and I'm to blame?"

When Alpha asks why he shouldn't kill him, he says, "My name is Boss Cohen. I run this city. And you've been in my business, boy. I can get to everybody you love, and will, so, I recommend you sit down and talk to me like a proper human being." Boss Cohen has just become a stereotypical crime boss villain.

Then, Cohen rants for a while, none of it of purpose, and ends showing Alpha a picture of him killing the mugger from issue 2. "It would be a shame if the press, or heck, the Avengers, found out about this, no? Not only did you kill a man, but you turned him into a monster that nearly destroyed a city," Cohen says. He goes on to threatening to show it to his mom and girlfriend too, which catches Alpha's attention. "Now, kid, next time you see a fire or one of my boys, you steer clear. Otherwise, this goes to the press," he finishes.

Back at the school, Kilgore is saying random things to Andy. Andy asks is Kilgore wants to be his confidant guy. "I thought I already was," he says. Kilgore asks what's up with Soupcan since she is sitting alone, to which Andy replies is another of his mistakes. "I'm a lame superhero, dude," Andy says. "Bullcrap, man. You saved all those people and put out the fires and y'know, did all sorts of cool stuff. You're big time," Kilgore says.

Then, Andy dons his Alpha costume during school hours and flies up, thinking about all of the things that happened during the miniseries. I would quote what he's thinking, but it depresses me. He ends saying, "This superhero thing could work out..."

General Comments

If anything, this miniseries showed that Alpha cannot hold up his own independent series. Or at least not one written by Fialkov. I found Alpha to be enjoyable the first two issues. Fialkov voiced him very well. Then, he began trying too hard, making Andy sound like a complete retard. And the characters Fialkov introduced were totally boring. I hate Soupcan. I absolutely hate her. She's less attractive than my dog's butt, extremely boring, and plain stupid. Kilgore, Andy's other friend, is Fialkov's attempt at making a funny, geeky kid like Ganke from Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 for Andy. And he fails utterly.

I was also angry at how misused Andy's family was. If I was writing Alpha: Big Time, I would have totally explored how Andy feels about his parents being divorced and his unattached mom. Also, I would have developed Andy's grandmother more so she has more of a mother role for Andy and was someone Andy could talk to. Both were only devoted about five pages in the entire mini before they were put in danger. I can't believe Fialkov expects for us to care for them after that.

The villains also sucked. Boss Cohen is a stereotypical crime boss which reminds me of the Rose from Morbius the Living Vampire. I don't care about him at all. Zeta, on the other hand, was plain ridiculous. Really? A giant monster that absorbs energy? And it wasn't even explained how Zeta got into the mugger's body. Alpha shot him...then what? And he seriously ate 400 people without anybody even coming to stop him? That's something my 9-year-old self would come up with!

Overall, this issue was anticlimactic. Fialkov gets his award on "Guess How Poorly I Can End a Terrible Miniseries", our boredom! He's just getting so many awards for his critically hated series, Alpha. Plus, there are so many little mistakes, it bothers me. Spider-Man doesn't sound like Otto enough, Andy's mom isn't consistent on her opinions, and Andy is plain stupid.

Nuno Plati's art has been inconsistent during this whole mini, but this is his worst issue. First of all, he's coloring his own work, which I don't like. Rauch added a layer of depth to it with his colors last issue that I miss. And the spaghetti monster is back and worse than ever. Zeta's just a bunch of random lines, which pisses me off. The art doesn't capture emotions at all and the second half seems terribly rushed. Lastly, much of the issue was missing backgrounds.

I must admit, I really enjoyed Plati's Thor and Spider-Man, but his Alpha, Soupcan, Kilgore, Boss Cohen, and Zeta's designs are poor. He just shouldn't be allowed to design his own characters. I think he was trying to model Soupcan after Ultimate Gwen Stacy, but failed at that. Same with Kilgore to Ganke.

Overall Rating

This whole series gets an average grade of about 2 webs. It was inconsistent in both art and writing. Overall, I have wasted about 20 hours of my life reviewing this terrible mini. That's probably less than Fialkov took writing it.