- I always like to have reminders around that there is no good he can do...that I cannot corrupt.
Appearing in "Negative Reinforcement"
- Mister Negative ("Martin Li") (Main story and flashback) (Origin revealed)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Main story and flashback)
- Norman Osborn
- Betty Brant (Main story and flashback)
- Yana Li (Main story and flashback)
- Bennett Brant (Only in flashback)
- Snakeheads/Dragon Lords (Only in flashback)
- Maggia (Only in flashback)
- Silvermane (Only in flashback)
- Simon Marshall (Only in flashback)
- Tyrone (Only in flashback)
- Tandy (Only in flashback)
- Martin Li (Corpse) (Only in flashback)
- Ned Leeds (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Dexter Bennett (Mentioned)
- Front Line (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Golden Mountain (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Negative Reinforcement"
The Hood attempts to gun down Mr Negative personally, but Negative proves a formidable foe. However, as Negative moves in for the kill, the Hood teleports out of his way. The fight will prove more even than at first apparent.
Elsewhere, a brainwashed Spider-Man has been ordered by Mr Negative to kill Betty Brant for investigating Negative's past. As he appears to get her, she flashes back to the fates of her brother Bennet and her husband, Ned Leeds. Both were killed by superhumans. But Betty wants to live, and not only gets away, but manages to lay a false trail.
As Betty gets away, she runs into Mrs Li, legal wife of Martin Li and the woman Betty came to interview. Mrs Li explains that her husband came to America illegally on the "Golden Mountain", but died. The gang that brought him in - the Dragon Lords - insisted that she pay them the rest of the sum, even though he was dead. They took her to their hideout and were about to kill her when they were attacked by Mr Negative, on his first outing. She thought he was going to kill her, but he decided to free her instead. She tried to bury the incident. Years later, when she heard that "Martin Li" was being awarded with citizenship, she saw a picture - but the man was not her husband. Betty is about to ak further when Spider-Man catches up.
In the garden, Mr Negative gets the Hood in a headlock and proceeds to use his powers on the rival crimelord. However, the Hood's demon-induced abilities protect him, and Negative concludes that the Hood is a fool. He tells his rival a story:
The "Golden Mountain" ship ran aground because the human-smuggler on board panicked in the storm and shot the helmsman. The ship ran aground, but a radio call to their contacts in New York yielded no help. The smuggler, who had a criminal record in the United States and China, stole ID papers from the corpse of a man who died during the voyage. Because he was stronger than the illegals, he is able to swim ashore and make for his contacts. He discovers that they are dead - killed by the agents of Maggia capo Silvio Manfredi.
The human-smuggler was sent off to be a test subject for a Maggia operation being run out of an abandoned immagration facility in Ellis Island. There, a chemist named Simon Marshall injected the human-smuggler with a new synthetic drug, and waited to see what happens. That night, two of the runaways break open the window and escape. The human-smuggler makes a run too, but the drug began to elicit... side-effects...
As Spider-Man chokes Betty, Mrs Li tries to stop him. But Spider-Man is in full swing, blaming Betty for following Jameson all those years. Betty admits, in what she tinks will be her fianl words, that what she did was wrong. She blamed Spider-Man for the deaths of her husband and rother, but she sees that he is as much a victim of what happened as she is. This is enough for Spider-Man to remember meeting Betty for the first time, and strongarm his way through the brainwashing. He thanks her.
Back in the garden, Negative completes his story by pointing out that all things in the world require duality to be whole. He is both philanthropist Martin Li and crimelord Mr Negative, and both are the stronger for it. While the Hood is a villain, through and through, and will soon fall. The Hood accepts this - but Negative goes first. As he loads his gun, however, he recieves word from Norman Osborn - one of Mr Negative's operatives has made a bargain for his entire organization, which is now under the purview of Osborn - and therefore off-limits. As the call ends, the Hood turns around - to discover that Negative managed to escape from under the noses of all his lieutenants.
The next night, Osborn is congratulating himself on a deal well made. In exchange for sanctuary, Mr Negative has couriered over a file proving that Oscorp is experimenting on illegal immagrants with chemicals derived from the superhuman known as "Freak". Osborn has plans, and cannot afford to see them jepardised. He thinks that in a few months he will destroy Mr Negative, but he appears to be talking to a mask...
The file, which was placed in Osborn's safe, is stolen by the Spot. He, it is revealed, is a mole for Mr Negative within the Hood's criminal syndicate. He is also the method that Negativve used to escape. He promises to use his organization to find a cure the Spot's condition, as soon as his foes in the Maggia have been destroyed. Because Mr Negative is forever striving to be evil.
Several days later, Betty Brant is interviewing Martin Li. FEAST is working hard to rebuild the areas of Chinatown that were destroyed in the supervillain fight. Betty Brant has decided that villifying Li is counter-productive, and that she will be taking a balanced approach to the piece. Martin Li approves, and returns to his work in the community. Because Martin Li is forever striving to do good.
With THE HOOD and MR. NEGATIVE locked in a battle to the death, BETTY BRANT is poised to unlock the secret origin of the Chinatown's lord of crime, and to stop her he has sent his newest corrupted enforcer to end her life-- PETER PARKER, the Lacerating SPIDER-MAN!
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