Before Miles Morales was Peter Parker’s unofficial partner, Spider-Man trained Alpha, a powerful and rebellious young hero.
Spider-Man is one of the most enduring heroes in the Marvel Universe, but he really hasn’t had much luck with his teammates. Captain America has had Bucky and Falcon and Iron Man has War Machine, but Peter Parker has had trouble finding someone to fill that role. While Peter has most recently taken on the role of Miles Morales’s mentor, there was another young hero who received guidance from the cobweb thrower.
Andrew Maguire, who goes by the name Andy, was your everyday high school teenager. First appeared in 2012 Amazing spider man # 692 in the short “Point of Origin” by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado. Andy was a student at Midtown High, the same school Peter Parker attended years before. Everything about Andy was lacking. The girls weren’t paying attention to him, the jocks were pushing him, and he was an average C-average student. All that changed when his high school class took a field trip to Horizon Labs, where Peter Parker was presenting his newest discovery, Parker Particles.
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Peter’s experiment is sabotaged by Tiberius Stone, an agent of the Hand who also worked at Horizon Labs. Lightning seemed to shoot through the room and headed straight for Andy’s crush. Andy shoved her away and took the blast himself. Andy was slow to get out, but was able to push the falling debris away from himself, revealing to everyone that he gained powers in the explosion. Horizon calls Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Beast, and Hank Pym to test the teenager. The tests reveal that Maguire now has a plethora of powers. He can shoot energy projections, has super strength and speed, the ability to generate a force field and fly. While Andy can control these powers, he can only use one at a time. With the new powers came a higher cost.
Reed Richards takes Parker aside to explain that Andy’s abilities will continue to grow with no stopping point in sight. He explains that Andy is the first alpha-level hero, which means he could be more dangerous than the Hulk or even Phoenix. The superintellectuals make the decision to entrust Andy’s growth to Peter and that Horizon would offer a contract for Andy to be the company’s spokesperson. Andy would adopt the name Alpha as his superhero alias. After the event, Peter dressed up as Spider-Man to start a workout.
When Spider-Man caught up with Alpha, Peter informed Andy of his alpha-level powers. This caused Andy’s head to swell and his ego to go haywire. He began to ignore Spidey’s orders, thinking they were evidence. Alpha’s attention-seeking attitude caused Jackal to kidnap and clone him. Fortunately for Alpha, her powers did not reside in her DNA, rendering the Jackal clones obsolete. Alpha destroyed his clones and became obsessed with fame, instead of training with Spidey.
Finally, Alpha left the city for Japan just as the Avengers approached him for help with Terminus. Alpha breaks its own limitation, using flight and superspeed to reach the scene in record time. Alpha immediately fires blasts at Terminus, who deflects them skyward, causing Aunt May’s plane to crash. Peter can save the plane while Thor takes out Terminus. Peter decides that Alpha has failed him too many times. Spidey is able to rework Terminus technology and tricks Alpha into getting in. Turn off the machine and drain Alpha’s powers. Spidey explains that Alpha was not ready to take responsibility, so he had to remove his powers, returning Alpha to his normal life.
Alpha would regain her powers little by little by looking Alpha: Big Time # 1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Nuno Plati. This miniseries saw Maguire living in Pittsburgh as his powers were slowly returned to him by a Peter Parker controlled by Otto Octavious. Through his adventures and growth, Maguire tries to be Pittsburgh’s protector before falling into obscurity.
Miles Morales has been a much more reasonable partner / apprentice to Peter Parker than Andrew Maguire. Miles seems to understand a bit more about responsibility and his powers align more appropriately with Spider-Man. While Alpha may never return to New York to help Spidey, there is always the possibility that the cobweb thrower will cross paths with his former partner once more.
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