Hey look: I don't want to say I'm biased against the idea of a sidekick for the (as far as I know) traditionally sidekickless Spider-Man. But in this Fox News article, the new sidekick that will be debuting in "Amazing Spider-Man" #692, "Alpha," is described as having "a brashness, an edge, that Parker will find challenging, especially as he molds a potentially unpredictable teen who’s more powerful than he is." Which, outside of the "more powerful" part, is giving me major Jason Todd flashbacks.
But Marvel insists that the relationship between Spidey and Alpha "may make Spider-Man and Alpha seem less Batman and Robin and more Odd Couple."
The story will be a "replay," if you will, of the old Peter Parker origin story, with 16-year old Andy ("the-boy-that-will-be-Alpha") visiting Parker's laboratory and getting accidentally "zapped" by one of the experiments. Now possessing amazing new powers, "Alpha" is mentored by Spider-Man. Explained Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso:
"Part of it is that Spider-Man is grown up. He's older, more seasoned, but young at heart. He's still a young man, but he's been around. It's interesting because it flips the paradigm. Teen hero Spider-Man is now responsible for this teen hero sidekick."
Teen sidekicks have been a mixed-bag in pop-culture. For every Dick Grayson, there's been a Jason Todd. Rick Jones -- now currently the big blue behemoth A-Bomb -- had been a "staple" Marvel sidekick for years, assisting (or just sort of getting in trouble and having to be rescued by) such superheroes as Hulk, Captain America, and Captain Marvel. Virtual teen "sidekicks" in shows like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (Wesley) and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Dawn) have had their haters and supporters.
What does the future hold for Alpha? Well, the success rate of teen sidekicks has been pretty 50/50. He and his lush, Justin Biebery hair could end up being a beloved addition to the Marvel pantheon. Or, he could end up getting blown up by the Green Goblin after a call-in contest. I guess we'll find out!