This issue concludes the Alpha storyline that began in ASM 692, the 50th anniversary issue. Alpha was a nobody before Peter Parker accidentally turned him into an extremely powerful super being. Unlike Spider-Man, who tries to use his powers responsibly, Alpha primarily used them to get money and attention. He’s somewhat unlikable, but that’s intentional.
This was a satisfying conclusion to what was kind of an epic story. Alpha became so powerful that if he misused his powers, he became a danger to everyone around him. It certainly doesn’t help that he’s not the least bit responsible. While Alpha will be out of the game for a while, it’s not impossible for him to return one day. It’s a tale of misusing powers, which isn’t done often enough in the superhero world.
Even though this issue ends Alpha’s story, the primary focus is on Peter Parker and those he cares about. There are some potentially permanent changes to a long-time supporting character in the Spider-Man franchise. There’s a nice moment between Parker and J.J Jameson. All of these moments are handled well and they add more depth than expected from this issue. While I wouldn’t agree with the cover’s line “The greatest super hero story of all time”, it’s still very good. Also, the last page cliff-hanger is simply awesome.
The art is great too. This comic looks simple at first glance, but there are plenty of little touches that make every scene feel complete. Alpha’s private room is filled with all the posters and banners you’d expect from a self-absorbed teenager. Lighting effects and facial expressions are well handled too. My only complaint is that Iron Man’s torso looks stretched in one panel; otherwise it’s a great looking book.
Dan Slott has proven that he really cares about Spider-Man over the course of his run on the book. This issue is no exception. This issue is an easy recommendation for Spider-Man fans or those who want to check him out, although I recommend you find the last two as well.
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This was good. But odd. I liked the concept – what do you get when a hero doesn’t care about responsibility? – and it was well-executed. But there was something keeping me from enjoying it fully.