Spider-Man celebrates his 50th Birthday in style, with an issue that manages to both move things forward and also pay a lot of respect to what’s gone before. The main story here is of course the debut of ‘Alpha’, Spider-Man’s brand new sidekick. The parallels between his origin and Spider-Man’s are obvious, and there’s a lot of fun spotting the references and nods to Amazing Fantasy #15 here. Andy Maguire is an outcast high-school student who attends a scientific display and is transformed into a superhero. It’s a very clever idea to have Peter Parker in his new role as a super-scientist cause a very similar accident to the one that he suffered, and it’s another great addition to the classic idea of power and responsibility. I also loved how self-aware Slott seems about the fan reaction to Alpha, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those quotes calling him a ‘Poochie’ came directly from The Outhouse or other forums! I personally don’t mind the character, as I don’t think he’ll be around for too long, and I just think the idea is so perfect for an anniversary issue like this one, allowing Slott to do some indirect nostalgia, but also, as I said, to do something new and demonstrate how much the character of Spider-Man has grown, from a nerdy teenager and hated vigilante, to a respected scientist and Avenger. The other stories in this issue are also solid, Dean Haspiel writes and draws a fun ‘between the panels’ story from way back in ASM #50 and Josha Hale Fialkov delivers a ‘day in the life’ that has plenty of the typical Parker Luck. So, Happy 50th to our friendly Neighbourhood Wallcrawler, and let’s hope the upcoming 700th issue party is just as fun! Spider-Man’s getting greedy with these anniversary issues, what is he, the Queen?