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Quote1 I always like to have reminders around that there is no good he can do... that I cannot corrupt. Quote2
Mister Negative[src]



Simon Marshall (Earth-616) and Mister Negative (Earth-616) from Dark Reign Mister Negative Vol 1 3 001

Mr Negative's origins

The man who would become Mister Negative was a member of the Snakeheads gang in China, which was involved in human trafficking operations. He was pushed into a life of crime by the crime boss known as Silver Fang.[6] He smuggled Chinese immigrants into the United States as a crew member of the Golden Mountain. When the ship nearly crashed onto the New York City shores, he stole the identity of one of the deceased Fujian slaves, Martin Li, who was heading to America to join his wife. "Martin Li" came to his Snakehead gang in Flushing only to discover them dead, and was himself eventually captured by the Maggia crime family member, Silvermane, who forcibly delivered "Martin Li" to the criminal chemist Simon Marshall.

Marshall was developing a new synthetic designer drug called "D-Lite" for the Maggia, testing it on runaway teens and illegal immigrants, often with fatal results, in order to create a cash crop for the crime family. Miraculously three kidnapped victims, Tyrone Johnson, Tandy Bowen, and "Martin Li", survived the experimentation and escaped.[1]

Thanks to the drug and their unique biology, all three developed super-powers related to Darkforce and the Lightforce; transforming Tyrone and Tandy into Cloak and Dagger and "Li" into Mister Negative. The drug also created two distinct identities within the one man: the kind-hearted Martin Li persona and the villainous Mister Negative persona. The Mister Negative side dedicated himself to becoming Chinatown's Kingpin of Crime, intending to erase the Maggia for what it had done to him.[1]

Official version[]

Dark Reign Mister Negative Vol 1 1 Textless

Mister Negative vs Spider-Man

In order to survive and accomplish his goals, the former smuggler used Martin Li's identity and built himself a new existence.[1]

The public knows that the person known as Martin Li was an illegal Chinese immigrant from the Fujian province who attempted to travel to America to be with his wife. In China, he ran a factory, but because of his lack of resources to bribe the Communist Party, he could not develop his business and grew tired of his country. However, 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. 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.

Using his fortune to bribe the two principal political parties, he was not bothered about his illegal immigrant status.[7]

Mr. Negative told his true origin as a Snakehead to The Hood during a battle in an attempt to explain the need for both good and evil. It appears that The Hood has never shared this information and the public is unaware of Martin Li or Mister Negative's true origin.[8]

Philanthropist/Crime Lord[]

In the first steps of his rise, he took control of the White Dragons gang, and seemingly erased the Snakeheads gang from the Fujian to New York (but instead had them absorbed into his organization), and along the way saved Martin's wife, Yana, from them (she was abducted in order to pay for Martin's travel, thought he hadn't survived).[9]

Martin Li was a seemingly good willed philanthropist who ran a volunteer soup kitchen called F.E.A.S.T. (where May Parker volunteered) while he was also the Chinatown crime boss, Mister Negative.[3] Despite being a crime lord, Li was a seemingly kind and generous man. The F.E.A.S.T. Project displayed healing powers for people of various illnesses, although the cause of this healing was unknown.

Mister Negative first came into conflict with Spider-Man when he made 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 bio-weapon called the "Devil's Breath".[10]

Martin Li later entered into politics when he endorsed Bill Hollister for mayor of New York City, putting him against Randall Crowne, who added him to a list of opponents (many of whom became targets of the villain Menace, who was actually Hollister's daughter, Lily). It also caused him to become the target of a smear campaign by Dexter Bennett, editor of the DB! and supporter of Randall Crowne.[11]

Mister Negative later recruited Hammerhead and offered to put his brain in a new robotic adamantium skeleton after having been shot point blank in the head by Underworld.[12]

Mister Negative eventually came across Eddie Brock and gave him a job at his soup kitchen. A touch from him caused his cancerous cells to completely disappear. Also, it allowed the remains of the Venom symbiote to fuse with Brock's white blood cells, causing him to become Anti-Venom during a conflict with Mac Gargan, the current Venom.[13]

After the F.E.A.S.T center was torn apart during the fight between the two, Li discovered from a group of sweatshop workers (from a shop owned by Crowne) that they were experimented on with drugs from Oscorp, although the ramifications of this have yet to be seen.[14]

After Menace was revealed to be Bill Hollister's daughter and he resigned as mayor, Li unsuccessfully ran in a special election, losing to J. Jonah Jameson.

Mister Negative and his Inner Demons encountered and battled Anti-Venom. In the aftermath, Brock watched Negative turn into Li, becoming the first to be aware of his dual identity.

War with Hood[]

Mister Negative refused to submit to The Hood's rule during his conquest of New York's criminal underworld. During a meeting with Hood's henchman; White Dragon, Negative corrupted him and sent him to attack Hood's headquarters, where he was killed. In retaliation, Hood decided to attack and kill him. H.A.M.M.E.R. sealed Chinatown on Hood's behalf, getting the attention of Spider-Man who arrived to rescue Martin Li.

However, he too was corrupted and sent into battle on Mister Negative's behalf. Spider-Man attacked and pummeled The Answer, Lightmaster, Scorcher, Speed Demon, Spot, Squid, and White Rabbit, the members of Hood's gang who were attacking Negative's headquarters and was then sent to kill Betty Brant, who was interviewing the real Martin Li's widow and was coming close to the truth.[15]

The Hood himself then confronted Negative at his Chinatown headquarters and battled him. During the battle, Mister Negative tried to corrupt Hood, but failed. Norman Osborn ended H.A.M.M.E.R.'s blockade of Chinatown when Hammerhead handed him papers implicating Oscorp in the aforementioned drug tests on immigrants. An irate Hood decided to kill Negative anyway, but he escaped. Later conversations that Norman Osborn had with his own darker side, the Green Goblin, revealed that he now had an alliance with Negative similar to the one with Hood.[8]

However, Spot slipped in and retrieved the evidence of Oscorp's tests, revealing that he was actually 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. Mister Negative viewed the Spot as a kindred spirit because they both have powers derived from the Darkforce dimension and both have vendettas against the Maggia.[1]

Some time later, Mister Negative corrupted Spider-Man's Aunt May when she walked in on him punishing an Inner Demon of his.

Later Mister Negative and his operation are targeted by Anti-Venom and the new Wraith. 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, Negative and his men retreat. Li is later seen locked in a room by Negative's men, who wait for him to change back into their master.

Following the events of Otto Octavius' time as Spider-Man, the Kingpin's Hand faction and Shadowland's fall, Peter Parker's return and the rise and fall of the Goblin Nation, Mister Negative's criminal empire was once again one of the major organized crime powers in New York. He sought to meet with two other powers, the Maggia fraction lead by the Eel and the Goblin Nation remnants lead by the Goblin Knight, to divide the criminal underground. While he and Urich were waiting for the Eel, they were surprised to see him crash in from a window. They were confronted by the Black Cat who demanded the Eel's part. Negative refused, saying that she only had reputation and it was destroyed by the Spider. She remained him that he was exposed by Spider-Man, Wraith and Anti-Venom and that everyone there was outed by Spider-Man but that she will be successful in what they failed, defeating him.[16]


At some point, Negative discovered that the Wraith, the woman who exposed him, was really Captain Yuri Watanabe of the NYPD, but decided to manipulate her to his own ends rather than simply kill her.[17] Mister Negative began to target the operations of other crimelords, tipping detective Teddy Rangel on the location of one of Tombstone's hideouts. The NYPD stormed the building and captured Tombstone with Spider-Man's help, but Rangel was fatally wounded and Tombstone was set free by Anson Howell, a judge who got drugs from him. Negative went to Rangel's funeral and gave Watanabe photos linking Tombstone and the Judge taken from inside Tombstone's crew. However, the police chief refused to arrest him. Negative later watched as the Wraith left one of Tombstone's bases after she and Spider-Man went looking for more evidence.[18] With Tombstone and Howell arrested, the Goblin King and Hammerhead agreed to have a match fight for Tombstone's turf and an informant told Negative. Negative informed Watanabe of the match and questioned if she was worried that she was being played and she told him that everybody plays everybody. Negative watched as Spider-Man and the Wraith interrupted the match, with only the Goblin King getting away while the others were caught.[19]

Negative decided to continue using the Wraith and to manipulate the criminal elements in the Third Precinct. He then sent one of his demons posing as the Crime Master to talk to the Black Cat. He convinced her that they could gain the loyalty of Hammerhead and Tombstone's men by breaking them out of Ryker's.[17] The Inner Demon was to use their breaking to kill Tombstone, while Negative alerted Watanabe of it so she could catch the Black Cat while she rescued Hammerhead. However, his plan backfired due to Spidey helping the Wraith, with him convincing black Cat to leave while Yuri stopped the Inner Demon from killing Lincoln.[20] Later, he had a meeting with the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime to propose an alliance between the two to take over the territory of the defeated crimelords. However, the Ringmaster refused. After the meeting, the Wraith confronted Negative about his plot, but he revealed to know her identity and blackmailed her to stop the Circus of Crime from robbing a convention center with a ten million dollar watch at exposition. He also sent Donald, one of his Demons, to keep an eye on her and steal the watch while they fought. Spider-Man, worried about the Wraith, came with her to the convention to help her and together they took down the Circus. During the fight, Yuri finally snapped due to Judge Howell being killed after she put him in prison, and killed Donald when he tried to escape with the watch.[17]

The Third Precinct soon exploded into chaos, with gangs, super villains and crimelords taking advantage of the power vacuum created from Negative's rivals being taken down. Negative prepared to make his move and take advantage of the situation, but the Wraith confronted him, wanting revenge for ruining her life. Negative was shocked to hear that she killed Donald and was going to kill him, and escaped to the streets while Yuri fought his Demons. Yuri eventually caught up to him, but was being followed by Spidey, who wanted to stop her from killing Negative. He used his powers on the crowd, making them attack the pair while he fled. But Spider-Man caught up to him after defeating Wraith and punched him out, handing him over to the police and helping them stop the chaos in the Third Precinct.[21]

Dark Kingdom[]

At some point, Negative escaped and continued his criminal operations. He discovered that Silverfang, the gangster that who pushed him into a life of crime, had abandoned crime and adopted the identity of Chinese humanitarian Shen Quinghao. Negative started planning his revenge on him.[6] Later, he captured Cloak and Dagger and used his powers on them, making them work for him. He also began working on a new drug known as Shade, which worked like his corruptive powers. However, he was captured again and put in prison. His minions finished the Shade and used it on Cloak and Dagger to stop the effect of Negative's power on them from fading. While in custody, Mister Negative started to change again between Negative and Martin Li.[22]

While being transported by sea in a Department of Justice transport, Negative's Inner Demons, along with Cloak and Dagger, came to free him. Finding him as Martin Li, they used a Shade package on him to make him change into Mister Negative. He later took control of the captain and had him transport them to China. Negative moved his criminal operations to Shanghai, starting production of Shade there. In the next three weeks, Negative's syndicate quickly rose to power in the city thanks to his new drug.[22] An opportunity to take revenge soon presented itself when Quinghao was to be awarded a humanitarian award for his work. He was going to be given the prize by Peter Parker, who had become CEO of Parker Industries. Negative had Cloak take him to Parker, who he corrupted and ordered him to slip a Shade sample to Quinghao at the ceremony to make his true nature resurface. But unknown to him, Parker was Spider-Man, who he had already corrupted once and thus he only pretended to be affected. Peter had Parker Industries' scientists work on an antidote to Shade and tracked Cloak to one of Negative's drug labs with a Spider-Tracer. Meanwhile, Negative left a pre-recorded video for Martin Li after he transformed, revealing that he planned to take revenge on Silverfang. Martin Li agreed to work together with Negative to this goal.[6]

Negative and his minions watched the conference in which Quinghao was to receive his award atop the World Financial Tower, but when Quinghao didn't reveal his identity under the influence of Shade like planned, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He, his Demons, Cloak and Dagger attacked the conference, but were being waited by a SWAT team armed with the Shade antidote and Spider-Man. Cloak was quickly hit by an antidote dart, cutting Negative's escape route, and he subsequently cured Dagger. However, Lian Tang arrived in the Spider-Mobile to kill Spidey for an unrelated matter, giving Negative an opening to corrupt Quinghao. He ordered him to reveal his past in front of a camera, but police Inspector Sun shoot the camera, as he knew Quinghao's identity already. Frustrated, he had Quinghao jump off the roof while he escaped, but Shen was rescued by Cloak and Dagger. Later, Spidey, Dagger and Cloak went to Negative's hideout to apprehend him, only to find a prerecorded message by Martin Li. He warned them to go back to the States, as now both of his halves were working together and they plan to use Shade to take over the city. However, Cloak and Dagger decided to stay in Shanghai to take down Mister Negative for enslaving them.[23]

Negative Space[]

As part of his plan to torment Spider-Man, the demonic villain Kindred resurrected the vigilante Sin-Eater and gave him the ability to "purify" criminals, stripping them of their wickedness.[24] When Mister Negative learned about him in the news, his repressed Martin Li personality fought to regain control of their body,[24] and managed to reach the Sin-Eater's base, where he begged to be cleansed.[25]

Freed from his Mister Negative personality, Li enjoyed a short-lived life on the streets until the Sin-Eater's cleansings were undone. Li's corruption returned to him and with it Mister Negative. Li managed to cast out his evil personality and sough shelter at the F.E.A.S.T. Center, but not before he, as Mister Negative, had contacted the Inner Demons.[26] The Inner Demons stormed the F.E.A.S.T. Center and gave chase to Li and May Parker. Despite Spider-Man's intervention to protect the two of them, an Inner Demon managed to hold her at sword-point, prompting Li to turn himself over. Li exited the building, and the spirit of Mister Negative became imbued in him once again. Mister Negative was then pretend arrested by forces of Kingpin, who was at the time Mayor of New York City and had struck a bargain with Mister Negative, returning him his former territories in exchange for the Tablet of Death and Entropy in his possession.[27] Mayor Fisk also offered Mister Negative to join the hunt for Boomerang, who was in possession of the Tablet of Life and Destiny, in exchange for full legal immunity.[28]


Power Grid[32]
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As a result of his exposure to the drug D-Lite, Mister Negative can generate and control the Darkforce and Lightforce, manifesting it as the photographic negative of black or white electrical energy. He uses this unique form of Darkforce for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Limited Shapeshifting: He uses this energy to change from Martin Li into Mister Negative. His Mr. Negative persona possesses an undefined level of superhuman physical characteristics, likely due to the Darkforce & Lightforce energy.
  • Superhuman Strength: Mr. Negative displayed superhuman strength (at least Class 50)[29], sending Spider-Man flying through two buildings with a single blow.[30]
  • Superhuman Reflexes[29]: Mr. Negative also demonstrated superhuman reflexes during his battle with the Hood, dodging bullets or cutting them in half with his sword.
  • Object Empowerment: Mr. Negative's touch can imbue objects (most often his dagger and other blades) with Darkforce, making them stronger and more durable. An empowered object takes on the appearance of a photographic negative and glows with energy.[29]
  • Person Empowerment/Healing Touch: Mr. Negative's touch can imbue people with energy for various effects. Martin Li's touch has healing properties: he cured Eddie Brock's cancer and a subsequent touch charged the remnants of the Venom symbiote in Brock's body with the power to bond with Brock's leukocytes and create another symbiote, a hero named Anti-Venom. (Since Martin Li's healing touch was the source of creating Anti-Venom's suit, Mister Negative's touch can reverse that ability which disables Anti-Venom's healing powers until Anti-Venom is free from Mister Negative's energy.) Aside from Brock, homeless people who've stayed at Martin Li's shelter have rapidly recovered from any illnesses or injuries they suffered from. It is possible that healing touch is Martin Li's opposite of Mr. Negative's corrupting touch.
  • Person Empowerment/Corrupting Touch: Mr. Negative's touch has brainwashing and corrupting properties: his touch can change people's personalities and temperaments and make them serve his interests. A corrupted person's clothes change in appearance to 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." Negative's touch inverts the morals and personalities of his victims; further his corruption is more effective the more good the affected person was prior to conversion[29]: 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 was no longer above killing. However, individuals can reverse the corruption when confronted with intense emotional turmoil. Spider-Man is able to break the hold his dark 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. Aunt May after seeing Peter clearly suffering mentally feels guilty and undergoes an intense mind battle, breaking the corruption.
Mr. Negative's corrupting touch was ineffective against the Hood; Mr. Negative stated that this was because the Hood's soul belongs to a being even darker than he is.


Ability to swap between a monochromatic and regular appearance. Mister Negative appears to be a proficient hand-to-hand fighter, having the reflex to dodge bullets from the Hood and throw his dagger with pinpoint accuracy.

  • Multilingual: Li speaks both English and Mandarin fluently.[14]



Mr. Negative also has access to advanced technology and secret laboratories, in which he's able to give his subject medical care far more advanced than the one available to the general public.


Formerly the Golden Mountain


  • It is possible that Li's Mister Negative persona is due to some sort of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and this theory is widely held among readers. He invited Eddie Brock into a room he considers his "Sanctuary", resembling an office done in Feng Shui, where he has a Go board on a table where every day he moves a white piece. He claims that some days he enters to find a black piece has been moved. It does not bother him, as he "has learned to enjoy the game."[13]
  • Very few people are aware of the dual identity of Mister Negative, and his "good-self" himself isn't aware of it. Here the list of people who know more or less about it:
  • As Mister Negative, Li's appearance resembles that of a photographic negative. He also speaks in a reverse colored text bubble.

See Also

Links and References