Amazing Spider-Man #692
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado
Other features by Dean Haspiel and Giulia Brusco, and Joshua Hale Flakov and Nuno Plati
The short of it:
For the sake of all of our combined sanity, as well as to not put focus in little one offs of fun and price tag padding, I’m going to do my best to keep the focus of this review solely on the main story. This will not be difficult.
Let’s talk about Alpha, I mean, he’s what the book talks about. Imagine if Peter Parker wasn’t just any sort of loser when he was in high school, imagine if nobody cared about him and he got mediocre grades. Then add in that this kid might have both parents, but neither really cares…not even enough to sign a permission slip. He’s Andy Maguire, and he’s an absolute nobody. Even the asshole jock that ‘bullies him’ only does so by bumping into him and knocking him down without even realizing it. The class winds up at Horizon for Peter Parker’s demonstation of “Parker Particles”, which totally goes crazy after someone turns off the safeties in a fit of jealousy. This turns Little Douchebag Andy into Alpha, and makes him an over powered little jerk.
Peter blames himself and opts to try and make things right; making the costume, observing the kid in his regular life, and eventually taking him on as a side kick. Peter created this monster amount of power in an immature frame, and he needs to make sure the kid is on the right path. It all starts off well enough, the kid taking nicely to the lessons, unfortunately, he’s a dick. The first chance he gets he takes all the credit and makes himself a spectacle.
Spider-Man has created a monster, and it’s time for an old monster to come back and play.
What I liked:
- The kind of guilt that you see strike Peter is perfect. I mean, it’s an obvious development for the character given what happens, but Slott handles it very nicely in this issue. Not surprising since he’s been one of the best Spidey writers in years, but it really helped this issue. For as unlikable as Alpha was, Peter stepped up that much more.
- Peter getting called on his flaky bullshit by Jay Jameson was nice. He and May left around Spider-Island and have seemingly dropped off the radar, so it’s nice to have someone point out that Peter should call his Aunt if the world is about to end. It helps remind us that she’s still alive and thus the sacrificial marriage was for a purpose.
- For as much as I hate Alpha, I love the girl he does everything to try and impress. Especially when she cares more about him being a superhero than him being him. She’s so accurately a counter culture high school girl, she loves superheroes, and thus, a guy gets powers and is into her, of course she’s going to want to be the number one uber fan. He just wants to get laid, she wants to make him a website. Great dynamic.
- The two page spread of Spider-Man trying to teach Alpha the ropes was pretty good, as much as I groaned at the idea of Spidey with a kid sidekick, that spread emphasized every reason why he’d make an excellent mentor.
- The Thing may very well be the star of this issue, sure, he only pops up at the end, but I was cracking up.
- Ramos brings so much more life to this book than the other guys who do arcs in between him. This book is always so much better when he’s around.
What I didn’t like:
- I can’t stand Andy. Period. I get the feeling that that’s the point, but man, what a little asshole. By the point where he got his powers and I saw the energy go through him part of me was wishing he was just getting his chest exploded.
- How has nobody noticed the evil Horizon scientist? Even Max while standing right next to him doesn’t notice. At the same note, does every screen has to say ‘SAFETIES DISENGAGED’? How about a computer voice warning everyone and thus not speaking to the backs of everyone in the room.
- Peter’s big one of a kind achievement is discovering the horribly named Parker Particles…so of course Reed Richards has to be all “Yeah, that’s nice you said that and all, but I discovered those years ago’.
- For six bucks I would have preferred an extended lead story and not just enough backup stories that will never be referenced again to fill up the price point pages.
So Alpha is Ultra Boy.
Omega Level threats are old news, but the lack of Alpha Level ones seems weird. Weren’t Alpha. Beta. Gamma, Omega the various power levels assigned to mutants back in the day? Wasn’t the only thing scarier than an Alpha level telepath an Omega level telepath?
Parker Particles. Lazy writing or a silver age nod….I’m leaning towards the latter.
There was a time when I didn’t enjoy Humberto Ramos’s work on Spider-Man. There was also a time when I enjoyed Greg Land’s art. Obviously at some point I acquired good taste…right around the time those two flipped.
I think what I hate most about Alpha is that the sort of character he is is exactly who I was in high school. Not a nerd, not a jock, somewhere in the middle where I tended to be completely invisible. Parents who were too self involved to really give me the time of day too. Yet, had I gotten super powers, I still would have wound up like Spider-Man. The kid just has absolutely zero shame and it makes my teeth grind.
So can Pete and MJ get back together? Or can he just date Carol? Either go with the classic girlfriend or give him a super powered one, because his lack of a love life is getting boring and I’m fine without Carly Cooper.
Tags: Amazing Spider-Man, Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Marvel Comics, Reviews, Spider-Man