Alpha, Spider-Man’s sidekick for a brief time, is down on his luck and is going through a tough run of it. De-powered and embarrassed, he’s about as low as it gets. Joshua Hale Fialkov has been tapped to write Alpha’s return in the new mini-series Alpha, in stores this February, featuring art by Nuno Plati. Fialkov was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to discuss Alpha’s current state and what readers can expect from the young hero in the new mini-series.
Joshua Hale Fialkov: I’d worked with the Spidey office on the story that appeared in ASM 692, and I’ve known Steve Wacker for years. I think they liked the tone Nuno and I captured in that Spidey story, and it really suited what they saw for Alpha as a series.
AL: Alpha is a relatively new character in the Marvel Universe, as a writer is it difficult to make a unique voice for a new character in such a vastly explored landscape as the Marvel Universe?
JHL: I’ve been lucky in a lot of my mainstream work that I’ve gotten to help establish some very young characters. With Alpha, Dan and Humberto did such unbelievable work on his introductory arc, that for me, using that as the origin and the thing that really sets him off on his path as a hero, I wanted to merge that with as natural and realistic a voice as possible. I think the things he’s feeling are things we’ve all felt. He’s an outsider and an oddball… someone who’s infamous for a series of stupid mistakes and acting like a jerk, who suddenly realizes that he has to actually, y’know, thrive.
JHL: Not great. His parents have split up, he’s in a new city, and without his powers or the fame and fortune, he’s… well… a nobody again. Except, that he’s completely conspicuous. People know who he is just enough to not want anything to do with him, other than as a circus freak. And, by the way, being famous and a womanizer does not bode well for your relationships once you’re no longer famous.
AL: The mini-series takes place in Pittsburgh. How did you go about choosing the city, and what unique aspects does it bring to the story?
JHL: The guys in the Spidey office wanted Alpha out of the big city, and they knew I was from Pittsburgh, so, it’s sort of an easy one. For me, I love the city, the history of it, the topography… It’s like no other place on earth, and not just in the way we all think our hometowns are special. It’s a city that’s divided by mountains and rivers and cultures and class like no other. It’s a city that’s been built up, tumbled down, and built up again a dozen times. And, it’s a working class, head down kind of place. All things that aren’t great for an out of his element teen superhero.
AL: Can you discuss how Alpha’s relationship will be different with the new “Superior” Spider-Man, and what he’ll be up against in the mini-series?
JHL: Spidey sees Andy as one of the great mistakes of Peter Parker’s life. And he’s going out of his way to prove his superiority by proving that Andy can be a great hero and not the global terror everyone expects him to become. And that’s everyone including Andy. So, you get to see the nurturing side of Spidey really come out. It’s… sickly delightful.
Be sure to check out Alpha #1, in stores this February, by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Nuno Plati.