One day, Andy Maguire, an average irresponsible teenager, obtained incredible powers from an experiment malfunction at Horizon Labs. Quickly, Alpha became the most powerful and popular hero in the universe! Peter Parker, the scientist who made the invention and the amazing Spider-Man, tried to make Andy his sidekick to teach him responsibility. Sadly, Andy became corrupt and put many people's lives in danger. Peter Parker's hand was forced and he had to discharge Andy, leaving him a laughing stock at his school and with little power.
In ASM #700, Doctor Octopus transported his mind into Peter Parker's body. Peter's mind was transported and died in Doctor Octopus's body. Now, Doc Ock, wanting to be a better Spider-Man than Peter ever was, has access to all of his memories. Yeah, it's as bad as it sounds.
Andy Maguire begins our story reflecting on the past. Six months ago, he sat at the table with the regular kids. Four months ago, he sat with the popular kids. This was because of his gaining super-powers. When the powers were taken from him, he was forced to sit at the stay-away-from-at-all-costs table. A nerdy chunky guy with a retainer, Duncan Kilgore, and a skimpily dressed girl with pink hair and a black ponytail, Susan "Soupcan" Rice, now sit next to him. When a popular kid launches and hits Andy with mashed potatoes, Susan yells at him for almost getting some on her. True friends.
When Andy is walking to his locker, a jock starts harassing him. "You know that now that you don't have powers, you will literally never get laid again?" the jock bullies. "Yeah? So what's your excuse?" Andy comes back at him. (Oh snap.) The jock knees him in the crotch. When Andy punches back, it has literally no impact at all. The jock starts laughing and Principal Markazenie breaks up the fight. He tells Andy that he shouldn't let those jerks make him angry and that his ride's here.
Outside, Andy is greeted by a flight attendant and rides a private jet with the Horizon logo on the side. After a limousine ride, he greets (what looks like) Peter Parker in his lab at Horizon. "Andy Maguire. Suit up. Today is your lucky day," Peter/Octavius says. "Yeah, Parker? You poking and prodding me isn't my idea of a--" Andy complains. Otto interrupts, "No poking and prodding. Today, I'm fixing one of Peter Parker's biggest mistakes. You." (If he didn't have to pretend to be Peter, I bet Otto would have started maniacally laughing right about now.)
In Peter's lab, Otto has placed Andy with the task of trying to keep an extremely heavy contraption up with no powers. "Uh, Peter...this is...really...hard," Andy exclaims. "Yes that's the point," Otto confirms. When Andy's foot slips, he barely gets out of the way as the contraption slams down in from of him. "I knew I knew you'd get out of the way," Otto says. "There is so much wrong with you," Andy mumbles. if he only knew...
Soon, Andy is in a mechanical chair with a thing strapped to his head, in a testing room. "I...wasn't a very good mentor to you, Andy. I'm sorry for having failed you," Otto says insincerely. "No. I was sort of a wiener too, I guess," Andy says. "I'm pretty sure we were both "The Wieners." Andy, I want you to know I trust you," Otto says. Then, he turns Andy's chair to shock him with full-voltage energy. And we thought that Ock was being compassionate for a second there.
"Since the last incident, you've been behaving yourself excellently," Otto says. "If you had your powers back, knowing what you do now... What would you do with them?" Andy replies, "I dunno. Help people and stuff." Otto says, "I'm going to tell you something someone very smart once told me. "With great power comes great opportunity." Before, you squandered your gifts. ...But now you've become a better man. And now you must help me to help you." (Can you believe Ock? He told himself that with great power comes great opportunity when he decided to no longer be a villain and to help the world in Spider-Man's body.) "You helped me before and you kinda sucked at it. I almost killed all those people," Andy says. "Omelets. Eggs. Follow me, boy," Otto exclaims.
Otto takes Andy to the room where he took his powers away. He tells Andy that he and Spider-Man are giving him his powers back for a while. "You keep doing well, and you can be Alpha once more," Otto says. "Now get in the machine before I change my mind." "Is this going to hurt?" Andy asks. "Yes. But it's worth it," Otto replies. Alpha is suddenly shocked by green energy, giving him ten percent of his power.
Once again, Alpha has all of his powers back. As he flies away from the lab, Otto says, "I almost feel guilty using him. No matter. I will harness the power of Parker Particles like Parker never could."
Alpha is obviously excited as he flies above the city streets. When he spots a fire, he makes a mask out of energy to preserve his secret identity. "Not screwing that up again. Andy Maguire...no more!" Alpha lands next to the firemen and easily absorbs and puts out the fire. "Hey, aren't you that doofy kid from TV?" one asks. "No that was someone else," Alpha says as he flies away. The firemen are not convinced.
When Alpha hears a cry for help, he swoops down to find a man holding a knife to a lady's neck. "Put the knife down and let the lady go. Sweet. I just said that thing super heroes say," Alpha orders. The man then stabs Alpha with the knife. "Ouch. That tickled." He shoves the guy down. Then, the man pulls out a pistol and shoots Alpha. He stops it in midair and throws it back at the criminal. The bullet fires back at him as a force of pure energy, hitting the man's head. He falls down, certainly dead. I'm in so much trouble right now, Alpha thinks to himself.
This may be one of the most drastic come-backs in all of comic book history. Alpha's origin story was utterly terrible. Terr-i-ble. But this comic book was surprisingly suppressing. I love Alpha and Otto's conversations and I'm excited how Otto intends on "harnessing the Parker Particles." I am looking forward to see where the cliffhanger goes, also. I hope that as the series progresses, we can see Alpha's parents who were divorced once Andy lost his powers and how Andy feels about it.
Fialkov voices Alpha so well, it's amazing. Before, he was just that annoying, jerky teenager. Now, he's fun and interesting. He almost reminds me of Sam Alexander, the current Nova. Continue on with the great writing, Fialkov.
The art also surprised me. I didn't like Plati's work on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book that follows the TV series at all. I thought it was really sloppy and rushed. His art on this book was very enjoyable and captured the personality well. His characters have a solid design and the appropriate amount of detail is added to each scene. This is the type of book that his style is appropriate for. I certainly couldn't see him on a big book like the Avengers, sadly.
Really, this was a 3.5 story. But it faces greater odds and negative backlash for the character's introduction than any other book I know and wasn't bad. That's at least another half-web.
You may have noticed that the Fialkov/Plati team did a back-up story in ASM #692, Alpha's origin story. This is a perfect example of what I talked about in my rave, We Caused the Superior Spider-Man.