So what do you get a legendary superhero who’s been around for 50 years? Well… if the creators at Marvel comics are anything to go by, you get them a new sidekick.
CBR has announced that ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #692, which releases this August, will introduce the new character of Alpha. Alpha is actually 15-year-old Andy Macguire, a kid who gains superhuman powers after a field trip visit to Peter Parker’s laboratory. (Hey! That origin story sounds oddly familiar!) Since Peter feels responsible for Andy’s accident, he takes the lad under his wing and tries to teach him how (and better yet… why) to use his newfound powers.
Marvel’s wall-crawling hero, Spider-Man, was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1962. At that time, Peter Parker was “Midtown High’s only professional wallflower”. After gaining his powers from his own laboratory accident with a radioactive spider bite, Parker went on to become one of the greatest superheroes of all time.
The question Marvel is posing with Alpha is “What if a kid had Spider-Man’s origin but without the angst of Uncle Ben’s death or the nerdy personality of Peter Parker?” Andy/Alpha is the polar opposite of what Peter Parker was in high school. He’s not nerdy and quiet, but instead, he’s more confident and outgoing. And, if CBR is correct, Alpha is more powerful than Spider-Man! Peter and Andy’s relationship sounds ripe for some interesting stories.
But why now? Why after 50 years does Spider-Man need a sidekick? His character, by his very nature, has been mostly a loner. Even in his membership in groups like The Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man has often been the odd man out. Well, according to Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker, the reasoning is to update Spider-Man’s original vibe for a new generation of kids:
What we try to do with the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man is we try to play with the original clay of the book. When Spider-Man was first created in the 1960s, there was no other superhero like him. Pop culture had never really taken teenagers into account. What Stan [Lee] and Steve [Ditko] did was sing to their angst, and we’re trying to sort of modernize that.
While I’m sure that there are some that will balk at the idea of Spider-Man having a sidekick, ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ writer Dan Slott has yet to let me down with his tales of everyone’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger, so I’ll give Alpha a fair shot.
What do you think? Is Spider-Man ready for a sidekick after 50 years? Or will Alpha be a forgotten character in a few years?