Alpha: Big Time #1 – Alpha Flight Is A Robot

The wiener kid with the mega powers returns, but Superior Spider-Man has new plans for him.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

A while back, in the days when Spider-Man was still Amazing and celebrating his 50 years of existence, Dan Slott inverted Peter Parker's superheroic origin to create a superhuman out of high school nobody Andy Maguire. This time, it was Parker running a scientific experiment for students to observe, and it went awry, granting Maguire an immense level of power which immediately went to his head. He was selfish enough that the only way Parker could corral him was to dangle the carrot of Avengers membership in front of his new superhero identity of Alpha, and when he still went to far, Parker had to take those powers away from him. Maguire just did not have the requisite level of responsibility to go with his great power.

So now, Maguire is back in his life as a high school nobody in Alpha: Big Time #1, from Joshua Hale Fialkov and Nuno Plati. He's picked on for being a lame has-been (although he kind of deserves it, being a dick to everybody when he had the power), and apparently the only people "lame" enough to sit near him at lunch are a giant braces guy named Duncan Kilgore (that name is too cool for him to be lame) and a superhot tube-top-wearing punky-haired chick named Soupcan Rice. I'm not sure these people understand what makes a high school student 'lame,' but I suppose we'll get more backstory eventually to justify the outcast status.

However, things are different with Spider-Man these days. Peter Parker's got Otto Octavius in the driver's seat of his body, and thus, his approach to dealing with Andy Maguire is much different. He'd call it Superior. So he makes some amends with Andy, they both admit they were wieners, and grants him about 10 percent of his Alpha power back, with the ulterior motive of unlocking the secrets of those powers to use for himself. "With great power comes great opportunity" is Otto's motto.

So Alpha's delighted to have power back, and he goes about trying to be a superhero – complete with a lame Hal Jordan mask to try to create a 'secret identity,' but everybody recognizes him immediately, even if they don't know his name. Two firemen have a memorable exchange when trying to place him.

"That was totally that doofy kid from TV."

"Omega, right?"

"Nah, I think that was Alpha Flight."

"You're an idiot. Alpha Flight is a robot."

For some reason, that last line has been the laugh of the week for me. ALPHA FLIGHT IS A ROBOT.

Anyway, Alpha screws up 'big time' at the end, meaning the whole 'responsibility' thing is going to be a tough slog, if he decides to stick with it at all. Fialkov's dialogue is fun, and his take on Alpha is that while we aspire to be Peter Parker, we tend to end up more like Andy Maguire. The art from Plati is very cartoony, but given that Humberto Ramos did the original story and the cover for this one, it's understandable that Plati would try to bring across a similar stylizatio – although he's in no way directly aping Ramos. It's acceptable.

A good alpha issue for Alpha #1. This kid's a wiener. Fialkov's got his work cut out for him, making us like the guy enough to follow his story. So far, it's working.