Who is Spider-Man's ALPHA? Is This Him?


Update: As pointed out by commenters on Facebook and Twitter, the Spider-Man in the background of the Amazing Spider-Man #692 cover resembles Spider-Man's costume from inside the Negative Zone, as seen here.

If the character represented is indeed the Negative Zone Spider-Man, that still raises the question as to why he would be featured so prominently and deliberately set aside from the rest of the characters in the image. Other than the simple answer of "artistic license," it certainly suggests a very deliberate choice by Ramos, which would be surprising for a costume that isn't exactly iconic (and is striking one of the most iconic poses in Spider-Man cover history).

And if we are wrong about the visual aspect of the character — which we certainly might be, as we've said — we maintain our guesses about who Alpha might be. (Even though those also might be wrong. Which is part of the fun.)


Original story: Last week, Marvel asked "Who is Alpha?" through a teaser image that offered no further details than the Greek letter and some text pointing to a revelation in August's Amazing Spider-Man #692 — the character's 50th anniversary issue.

But it appears at least possible — and let's stress that word, "possible" — that Alpha might have already been revealed by Marvel a month ago.


Take a look at the cover for #692, solicited on May 16. The illustration by series artist Humberto Ramos features various outfits sported by Peter Parker (and his clone, Ben Reilly) over the years — classic, black costume, Scarlet Spider, Captain Universe, Iron Spider, a couple of the "Big Time" era suits, and more. It also depicts Miguel O'Hara — Spider-Man 2099 — but he's still a "Spider-Man," so close enough.

But then there's the dude with his back turned, in a clear homage to Amazing Spider-Man #50 and "Spider-Man No More." Not only does it not appear to be a recognizable prior Spider-Man costume, his conspicuous positioning is clearly meant to draw attention. (The mask does resemble the current Flash Thompson Venom look, but the rest of the costume doesn't really match up, and he would seem to be out of place in this picture.)

So, mystery character appearing on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #692, mystery character scheduled to debut in Amazing Spider-Man #692 — it's not a huge leap to guess that the Spidey with his back turned might just be Alpha.

What's Alpha all about, then? Well, that's a bit harder to guess, but the name clearly implies something tied to the foundations of the Spider-Man mythos, and with the Amazing Spider-Man movie — out the month before #692 is released — evidently very much focused on Spidey's origins, it's possible that Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and company could be looking to similarly explore the character's early history, and maybe introduce a pre-Peter Parker Spider-Man.

In fact, it looks like Slott is definitely planning on going back to Spider-Man's roots. In a interview that ran last Thursday on CBR, he stated, "We're going to have our 50th anniversary story which harkens back to a key element of Amazing Fantasy #15, but in an all-new way. The story's called "Point of Origin" and it kicks off in an oversized issue."

Certainly, that would be an attention-getting move befitting of a big anniversary issue, and Marvel has published several stories of this nature in the past. That same month, Marvel is launching The First X-Men, a story from Neal Adams and Christos Gage about an early, pre-Xavier mutant team — something that might make our idea less or more likely, depending on your perspective. The concept of an unknown element from the past changing what you think you know about a character's history has become a full-blown superhero comic book motif in recent years, dating back to Marvel's The Sentry in 2000, and subsequently seen in stories including "Night of the Owls" and "Hush" in Batman, X-Men: Deadly Genesis and Truth: Red, White & Black.


It's also close in concept to some of what J. Michael Straczynski introduced in his run on Amazing Spider-Man last decade — specifically in regards to the character of Ezekiel, who had powers similar to Spidey via a supernatural link to animal totems — but that doesn't mean this won't be executed very differently, in the event that it's indeed anything near what they're actually planning. For one, Ezekiel, despite having similar powers, wasn't a costumed hero — which, if our theory is correct, Alpha appears to be.

Amazing Spider-Man #692 is scheduled for release on Aug. 22. Marvel declined comment on this story.

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