Art by Steve McNiven.
Free Comic Book Day (Spider-Man) (May 2007)
The Amazing Spider-Man #546 (January 2008)
|Created by||Dan Slott
|Alter ego||Martin Li|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength and reflexes
Access to advanced technology and secret laboratories
Ability to switch between reversed and regular appearance and charge up knives and swords with black electrical energy
Created by Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez, Mister Negative first appeared in a cameo in the history "Swing Shift" of Free Comic Book Day (Spider-Man), an issue set after the events of the "Spider-Man: One More Day" storyline. Mister Negative's first full appearance came in The Amazing Spider-Man #546 (January 2008); the start of the "Brand New Day" storyline.
Fictional character biography
Martin Li is an illegal Chinese immigrant from the Fujian province who attempted to travel to America to be with his wife. But his mode of transportation, the Golden Mountain, was a slave ship operated by the Snakehead gang as a way to sell Fujian captives as overseas slaves in Kenya. During a storm, the ship's crew evacuated, leaving the captives alone to make a break for the New York shores. Li was the only survivor and spent the following years building a large fortune and dedicating himself to helping those less fortunate.
However, this story is later revealed to be somewhat false, though only the Mr. Negative persona appears aware of it. It is revealed that Mister Negative was actually one of the crew members of the Golden Mountain. When the ship nearly crashed onto the New York shores, he stole the identity of one of the deceased Fujian slaves (the real Martin Li) who was heading to America for the aforementioned reasons. This gang member was eventually captured by the Maggia Don Silvermane and experimented on with a synthetic drug created by Maggia chemist Simon Marshall that could be more potent than heroin. He escaped with the help of two other experimental inmates and was soon transformed into two men, the kind-hearted Martin Li and the villainous Mister Negative. The Mister Negative side dedicated himself to becoming Chinatown's Kingpin of Crime while the Martin Li side attempts to run the F.E.A.S.T. center with humility.
Martin Li operates a soup kitchen in Chinatown, the F.E.A.S.T. Project (Food, Emergency Aid, Shelter and Training), where Peter Parker's Aunt May volunteers. Neither Peter nor May are aware of Li's dual identity as a Chinatown crime boss under the Mister Negative name. Despite being a crime lord, Li is a seemingly kind and generous man. The F.E.A.S.T. Project has displayed healing powers for people of various illnesses, although the cause of this healing has yet to be revealed.[volume & issue needed]
During the first story of "Brand New Day" storyline, Mister Negative first comes into conflict with Spider-Man when he makes a power play toward taking control of New York's criminal underworld by attempting to wipe out all existing members of the Karnelli and Maggia crime families using a DNA specific bioweapon called the "Devil's Breath". In exchange for leaving the Maggia families' children alive, he takes a sample of Spider-Man's blood to use in a Devil's Breath formula. Mister Negative later tries to use the Devil's Breath formula to kill Spider-Man during a fight with the Maggia, but Spider-Man is able to hold breath long enough to escape alive. Spider-Man then recruits the Black Cat to help steal the web-slinger's remaining blood from Mister Negative and replace it with a vial of pig blood so Mister Negative is unaware of his loss.
Martin Li endorses Bill Hollister for mayor of New York City, putting him against Randall Crowne, adding him added to a list of opponents (many of whom become targets of the villain Menace). It also causes him to become the target of a smear campaign by Dexter Bennet, editor of The DB and supporter of Crowne. After Menace is revealed to be Hollister's daughter and Hollister resigns as mayor, Li unsuccessfully runs in a special election, losing to J. Jonah Jameson.
Mister Negative later recruits Hammerhead and offers to put the man's brain in a new robotic adamantium skeleton after having been shot point blank in the head by Underworld. Hammerhead agrees to that and Mister Negative has his surgeon Doctor Tramma perform the procedure.
Mister Negative eventually comes across Eddie Brock, giving a job at his soup kitchen. A touch of him causes Brock's cancerous cells to completely disappear. Also, the remains of the Venom Symbiote to fuse with Brock's white blood cells, causing Anti-Venom's existence during a conflict with Mac Gargan, the Venom Symbiote's host. After the F.E.A.S.T center is torn apart during the fight between the two, Li discovers from a group of sweatshop workers (from a shop owned by Crowne) that they were experimented on with drugs from Oscorp. Later, Mister Negative and his Inner Demons encounter and battle Anti-Venom. In the aftermath, Brock watches Mister Negative turn into Li, becoming the first to be aware of his dual identity.
During the 2008–2009 "Dark Reign" storyline, Mister Negative refuses to submit to the Hood's rule of conquest of New York's criminal underworld. During a meeting with Hood's henchman White Dragon, Mister Negative corrupts White Dragon and sends the man to attack Hood's headquarters. In retaliation, Hood decides to attack and kill him. H.A.M.M.E.R. seals Chinatown on Hood's behalf and an all out brawl erupts around Li's estate. Hood's gang gets the upper hand until Spider-Man arrives to rescue Martin. However, Spider-Man too is corrupted and sent into battle on Mister Negative's behalf. Spider-Man attacks and pummels the members of Hood's gang who are attacking the villain's headquarters and Mister Negative then sends the web-slinger to kill Betty Brant who is interviewing the real Martin Li's widow and is coming close to the truth. The Hood himself then confronts Mister Negative at his Chinatown headquarters and battles him. During the battle, Mister Negative tries to corrupt Hood but fails. Norman Osborn ends the blockade H.A.M.M.E.R. has on Chinatown when Hammerhead hands papers implicating Oscorp in the aforementioned drug tests on immigrants. An irate Hood decides to kill Mister Negative anyway but he escapes. A later conversation that Osborn has with his own darker Green Goblin side reveals that he now has an alliance with Mister Negative similar to the one with Hood. However, Spot slips in and steals back the evidence of Oscorp's tests, revealing being Mister Negative's mole in the Hood's gang under the promise that he will be cured once they get their revenge on the Maggia.
During "The Gauntlet" storyline, Mister Negative corrupts May Parker when the woman walks in on him punishing an Inner Demon. However, May manages to break free from Mister Negative's corruption when Peter went to May for moral support after the Lizard devoured Billy Connors and essentially 'killed' Curt Connors.
During the "Shadowland" storyline, Mister Negative takes the advantage of the conflict against the Hand in a plot to set up a criminal establishment there, only for him and his Inner Demons to run afoul of Spider-Man and Shang-Chi.
Mister Negative later has an encounter with Jackpot and Boomerang. During the "Origin of the Species" storyline, Mister Negative was among the supervillains assembled by Doctor Octopus to secure some items.
During the "Big Time" storyline, Mister Negative is targeted by both Anti-Venom and the new Wraith. When they, along with Spider-Man, interrupt a heroin-smuggling operation, Wraith uses visual recognition software, linked to every television broadcast in New York, to publicly out Mister Negative as Martin Li. When the police approach, Mister Negative and his men retreat. Li is later seen locked in a room by Mister Negative's men who wait for him to change back into their master.
During the "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline, Mister Negative and his henchmen invade a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility as a way of taking an advantage of the war between the Avengers and the Phoenix Five, but Hawkeye and Spider-Woman defeat them while having a discussion about their relationship. It is later revealed that they were informed about Mister Negative's plan by Madame Hydra who wanted to get rid of the competition.
During the "Original Sin" storyline, Mister Negative is seen meeting with the self-proclaimed Goblin King (Phil Urich) who is now leading the Goblin Underground's remnants when it came to them awaiting for Eel II to help divide the criminal underground following the original Goblin King's defeat. Their meeting is crashed by Black Cat and Electro who demand their share of the plan. When Mister Negative and Urich refuse to listen to Black Cat, the woman reminds them that they were all outed by Spider-Man and will succeed in the goal of defeating Spider-Man.
Following the Secret Wars storyline as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Martin Li has been arrested at some point. He was rescued by Cloak and Dagger who have been corrupted by his touch and are using patches of the drug known as "Shade" to stimulate the effects of Mister Negative's touch and "remain" loyal to him. After the two break Mister Negative out of the prison ship where Li was being kept and restoring him to Mister Negative, he leads an assault on Parker Industries's Japan branch. Peter Parker gets attacked by Dagger while Cloak teleports Mister Negative behind Peter where he manages to touch Peter. Although Peter is able to escape being corrupted by Mister Negative thanks to Spider-Man's prior corruption, Cloak and Dagger manage to help Mister Negative escape when Peter tracks the two to his Hong Kong headquarters. After Mister Negative returns to Li, he reveals in a video message that he is targeting a philanthropist named Shen Quinghao who was once the criminal that led the Snakehead syndicate which was in charge of the slave ship where Li became Mister Negative. Through the video message, Li accepts Mister Negative's proposal. However, this plan fails when Peter does not slip Shen Quinghao the drugged award that would have prompted the man to confess his own sins during a live broadcast, with Mister Negative's impulsive attack giving Spider-Man the chance to cure Cloak and Dagger of the "loyalty" to Mister Negative. The criminal is able to inject Shen with the drug before escaping but only a select few overhear Shen's confession and most were already aware of his past, concluding that it doesn't matter so long as the man continues to do good. Although Mister Negative flees the base where he was working with Cloak and Dagger, the now-cured heroes vow to remain in Hong Kong to protect it from his future efforts.
Powers and abilities
It initially appears that Martin Li has no knowledge of his evil side. During "New Ways To Die", Li took Eddie Brock into a back room he calls his inner sanctuary, where he claims to play a game of Go day by day against an unknown opponent who he has never seen, claiming that he has "learned that it's okay to enjoy the game." When he transforms into Mr. Negative, Li's appearance resembles that of a photographic negative. He also speaks in a reverse colored speech balloon, although this does nothing to the sound of his voice.
Prior to his transformation, "Martin Li" was a member of the Snakehead gang, whose true name has not yet been revealed. Both the Martin Li and Mr. Negative personas are the result of experimental drug tests done by Maggia chemist Simon Marshall, the same tests that powered Cloak and Dagger (namely Cloak's association with the Darkforce). However, unlike the two heroes, who were each given a power over light and dark, the gang member was given both a light and dark side. As such, Mr. Negative considers himself an embodiment of black and wickedness and both of his personas view the balance of good and evil as a necessary part of the universe. The two halves, while fully aware of one another's existence, take no steps to interfere with one another, with the Martin Li persona even taking such drastic steps as allowing his bad side to corrupt May Parker to keep it a secret.
During an encounter in The Amazing Spider-Man #621, Mr. Negative displays a degree of superhuman strength high enough to send Spider-Man flying through two buildings with a single blow. Mr. Negative also demonstrates superhuman reflexes during his battle with the Hood, dodging bullets or cutting them in half with his sword. He also has to power to charge up knives and swords with black electrical energy, and he can corrupt people he touches in the same manner, bringing them under his control. A corrupted person's clothes change their colors to their photographic negatives, and all who are corrupted praise their new master with proclamations like "Mr. Negative was never born, so he is ever living", or "He is attached to nothing, thus he is one with all." It's shown his corruption is more effective the more good the affected person was before his conversion: White Dragon, a villain himself, gained vastly increased stamina and endurance, but was still easily dispatched (interestingly, his clothes reverted to normal once he was killed). Conversely, Spider-Man, a hero in every respect, was corrupted into a spiteful and angry villain, despising every value he held dear (even his Uncle Ben's memory) and no more above killing. Spider-Man is able to break the hold his malevolent side has over him when he is on the verge of killing Betty Brant, as he remembers the love he once had for her upon getting close. Mr. Negative's corrupting touch appears to be ineffective against beings with supernatural powers, as Hood is unaffected when Negative attempts to corrupt him; Mr. Negative claims that this is because the Hood's soul belongs to a being even darker than he is. It has since been revealed that while Negative can renew his influence on others, he cannot corrupt someone once they have broken free of his influence already, allowing Peter Parker to infiltrate his plan by using the fact that he had been corrupted by Negative as Spider-Man without his foe knowing his secret identity.
Mr. Negative's alternate Martin Li persona seems to have the power to cure others: in The Amazing Spider-Man #568, a simple touch from Li completely cures Eddie Brock of his cancer, and combines the remnants of the Venom symbiote in his blood with his white blood cells, creating a new symbiote named Anti-Venom that possesses similar healing powers. Aside from this, homeless people who have stayed at Martin Li's shelter have rapidly recovered from any illnesses or injuries they suffered from. It is possible that his healing touch is supposed to be the opposite of Mr. Negative's corrupting touch. It is revealed that Anti-Venom can be affected by Mr. Negative's energy because it negates his healing ability.
Mr. Negative also has access to advanced technology and secret laboratories, in which he is able to give his subjects medical care far more advanced than that available to the general public.
Mister Negative is often accompanied by several henchmen, known as his Inner Demons, who wear Dragon-style masks and use high tech electrified versions of swords, knuckles and various other oriental weaponry such as gun staffs and Nunchakus. They are able to regenerate from even the most lethal wounds within a matter of seconds, as they've been shown almost immediately recovering from impalement, gunshots to the head, and even getting torn apart or decapitated. It has been implied that the Inner Demons can be killed under the right circumstances: at one point, Anti-Venom claims to have killed some of them, possibly by suffocation, which he later notes to be an effective tactic against them. Mr. Negative also orders the murder of two Inner Demons who have failed him.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- Mister Negative has his animated debut appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister 6, voiced by Keone Young. Seen in the Marvel Noir universe, Martin Li is depicted as a henchman for Hammerhead, and Mister Negative's power comes from a Siege Perilous shard. In the episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" Pt. 3, he gets tired of his boss using the shard piece to power up weapons in a gang war against Joe Fixit. After giving himself powers thanks to the shard piece, Mister Negative gains the ability to transmutate anything he touches to stone (in place of his corruption ability from the comics). He does this to Hammerhead as well as with Thunderbolt Ross and A-Bombardier while getting Hammerhead's remaining minions to serve him or else. While planning to unleash his abilities on New York City, he has an encounter with Wolf Spider but fights the interdimensional supervillain off. After turning Kid Arachnid to stone, Mister Negative fights with Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir and Fixit where he's defeated, stripping of his powers and restoring everyone that was petrified earlier by him to normal (as well as the Noir universe getting some color).
- In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, there's a newspaper of Daily Bugle about Mister Negative in the present and a newspaper of 2099 about Martin Li.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, Mister Negative is first referred to by reporter Whitney Chang as a mysterious person leaving his signature next to a homeless shelter named F.E.A.S.T., leaving photo-negative imprints on objects like a bench, a phone booth, etc.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Shocker mentions that Mister Negative's crew are in fear of Cletus Kasady's killing spree.
- Mister Negative is set to appear as an antagonist in the upcoming Spider-Man video game.
- Dark Reign: Mister Negative #1. Marvel Comics.
- Dark Reign: Mister Negative #3. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #546 (Jan. 2008)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #548 (Jan. 2008)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #546-548
- The Amazing Spider-Man #620
- The Amazing Spider-Man #621. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #558
- The Amazing Spider-Man #591. Marvel Comics.
- Amazing Spider-Man EXTRA! (July 2008)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #569. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #572. Marvel Comics.
- Amazing Spider-Man Extra! #2. Marvel Comics.
- Dark Reign: Mister Negative #2
- The Amazing Spider-Man #618
- The Amazing Spider-Man #633. Marvel Comics.
- Shadowland: Spider-Man #1. Marvel Comics.
- Web of Spider-Man vol. 2 #10
- The Amazing Spider-Man #642. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #664
- Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1. Marvel Comics.
- Avengers vol. 4 #30. Marvel Comics.
- Slott, Dan (w), Ramos, Humberto (p), Olazaba, Victor (i). Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #5 (October 2014). Marvel Comics.
- Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #6
- Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #7
- Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #8
- The Amazing Spider-Man #547 (Jan. 2008)
- Mister Negative at Comic Vine
- Inner Demons at Comic Vine
- www.spidercoms.com - Dark Reign: Mr. Negative Reviews