Superior Spider-Man (And Thor) Take an Interest in ALPHA

Alpha #1 cover.

Andy Maguire — you know him as Alpha, the formerly über-powerful former kinda-not really sidekick to Spider-Man — debuted with a great deal of hype in the summer of 2012, but was quickly written out of Amazing Spider-Man. After all, with #700 and Superior Spider-Man looming, Dan Slott and company had a lot to get to.

But a character as impulsive and outspoken as Alpha was never going to stay quiet for long, and he's back (and repowered) in a new five-issue miniseries, Alpha: Big Time, debuting on Feb. 23. Newsarama talked about the series with writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, who let us know that although his DC book is ending in April, he's still very much keeping busy.

Newsarama: Joshua, when we first talked about Alpha, much of Spider-Man's future remained shrouded in secrecy. Now, we're a few issues into Superior Spider-Man and the truth (as far as we know it right now) has been revealed. So with it now out in the open, how relevant is the Superior status quo to the Alpha miniseries? Can we assume that Doc Ock sees a potential in Andy Maguire that Peter Parker did not (whether that's with good intentions or not)?

Alpha #2 cover.

Joshua Hale Fialkov: Sure, the whole impetus for the series (and Alpha getting his powers back) is born out of Superior Spider-Man. He sees all of Parker's successes and failures, and, now, he's out to set them "right." Parker Particles are far and away the most amazing thing Parker ever "invented," and he caused utter chaos with them. Otto sees that as a huge opportunity.

Plus, y'know, Alpha level powers sound pretty good to him. If he can just figure out how to take 'em from Alpha and give them to himself...

Nrama: Along those lines, how would you characterize the relationship between Alpha and Ock/Spidey? Does their shared brashness make them kindred spirits, in a sense?

Fialkov: Alpha is skeptical of him at best with his sudden turnaround (plus, y’know, he wasn’t fond of either of them before.) But, yeah, Otto sees a bit of himself in Alpha, although, as far as he’s concerned, nowhere near enough.

Alpha #3 cover.

Nrama: And now that we know that Peter Parker's consciousness is still around as something of a covert back-seat driver, does he play much of a role in the series? (Though he's got a lot going on with trying to figure out a way back to life and regaining controlling his body, he probably has at least some thoughts on Alpha getting repowered.)

Fialkov: You'll have to wait and see.

Nrama: It looks like a big part of the Alpha series is a balance between superhero action and high school drama/comedy. Does the story tilt more in one direction than the other? And how much fun has it been getting to write a comic that on one hand has ties to one of the biggest mainstream comic book heroes in history, but on the other hand seems to be a very different type of superhero book than most, both in tone and content?

Fialkov: I think the book is probably 50/50. Y'know, I’ve been longing to write teenagers again ever since my first book, Elk's Run. I think the teenage years for many of us are something we never quite get past. They’re the best of and worst of times simultaneously, and that's true for literally every person I've ever known. So, it becomes very universal, and ultra-relatable, I think.

Alpha #4 cover.

As far as Spidey, y'know, as much as I love the character and am thrilled to be around him, the bigger thrill for me is getting to be working near Dan Slott, who's quite simply doing one of the best runs on the character in history. It's one for the ages, and I can’t believe I get to dance in the same gym, let alone so nearby.

Nrama: Obviously Spider-Man has a presence in the series, but do any other familiar Marvel heroes or villains make their way to Pittsburgh during the five issues?

Fialkov: Spidey is indeed in every issue, sometimes for just a second, sometimes for more... I think issue #4 (whose cover should be out there soon enough) features a certain Scandinavian gentleman with the powers of a God coming to give advice to Alpha. Advice and head-smashings. [Newsarama note: As unveiled Thursday morning with Marvel's May 2013 solicitations, it is inded Thor on that cover.]

Nrama: When we originally talked about Alpha, you expressed your enthusiasm for working again with Nuno Plati — now that you're several months into it, has the collaboration been any different this time around, working on a longer project? Has his art maybe guided the series in any unexpected directions?

Alpha #0.1, reprinting the

character's first appearance.

Fialkov: Working with Nuno is an absolute pleasure. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I see how many amazing people I'm working with right now.

Nuno has a similar ethos to me... He believes in character first. That every movement, every position moved, and every single beat needs to come straight from character, and that’s why he's amazing. I think when you see the whole thing put together, people will bow before the sheer genius of Nuno Plati.

Nrama: Last month brought news that I, Vampire was ending at DC. Is there anything else you're working on that you can at least obliquely tease at this point? (Dynamite's The Devilers is still a ways off, right?)

Fialkov: If only this interview was taking place next week! I've got quite a few books being announced in the coming days, so, stay tuned, true believers!

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