First You May Have Missed: Mr. Negative
Hello everyone and welcome back! If this is your first time here then WELCOME! To your first appearance on First You May Have Missed. I originally had something completely different planned for today but I felt I had to get this one out the way as soon as possible. Lets talk Mr. Negative. In this Last appearance of Mr. Negative (get it because you know…. negative….[hold for laughter] ok maybe not).
Being a huge Spider-Man fan naturally I am really excited about the new Spider-Man PS4 game coming in a few weeks. While talking to both comic and non comic reading fans as well as GameStop employees I have come to the realization that not a lot of people actually know who Mr. Negative is. Some even went as far as to say he was created just for the game. No thanks to his just released Funko pop being subtitled Gamer verse furthering the confusion.
Mr. Negative aka Martian Li is a very complex character so I will try to explain him as best I can without confusing myself in the process. His origin is a bit of a cluster as he has two different and distinct personalities and neither may know his true origin but let's try to tackle that.
Martian Li was a Chinese immigrant who boarded a slave ship ran by the snake head gang to travel to America and live a life with his wife. During the trip the ship was evacuated and Li managed to make it to the New York shore. But that origin is pretty much reversed from the truth(because you know…..negative). Although this altered ego of Mr. Negative believes this to be true it is in fact not true….sort of.
Mr. Negative was a member of the snake head gang running slave ships to New York. When his ship crashed he escaped and assumed the identity of one if the dead passengers. A man named Martian Li who was traveling to be with his wife. So while the story of Martian Li is true, it is not the true origin of Mr. Negative but is the believed origin story of his altered ego. Confused yet?
Mr. Negative's 1st appears in a cameo in the 2007 free comic book day Spider-Man(it was brought to my attention today that this was mentioned on the Flipside podcast by none other than Matt Devoe but for another reason, it is also featured in the Hot 10 this week so nice one guys! Here's a bonus for that book.) His first full appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man #546, which is the start of the Brand New Day story.
Mr. Negative's powers are also very interesting. It's hard to say exactly what his power is because he is seen using a wide variety of techniques. Derived from the same darkforce experiments that gave us cloak and dagger Mr. Negative while in negative form has super strength, speed, and can turn people into zombie like soldiers that obey his commands. This power is never fully explained seeming to turn good people bad and bad people badder(because you know….negative). He also has the ability to harness dark energy and uses these tools to rise up in the criminal underworld.
As Martian Li he runs a soup kitchen program called F.E.A.S.T. being an upstanding member of society as Li and an evil criminal as Negative makes for a very interesting dynamic. While Negative is a criminal Li is not and he can be considered a hero, having the power of healing touch he has aided countless soup kitchen patrons by curing illnesses most notably he is responsible for curing Eddie Brock(Venom) of his cancer while inadvertently transforming bits of the Venom symbiote into Anti-venom (because you know…..negative).
Mr. Negative is not an A list villain but with only 11 years behind him he has come a long way and has solidified himself as an important part of the Spider-Man mythos. His upcoming headlining of the new Spider-Man game will help catapult him into the spotlight. He is an example of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde agreeing to live fully separate lives in the same body. Lets get to the run down or the walk up (because you know…..negative) on his books.
Free comic book day Amazing Spider-man (2007): 1st cameo of Mr. Negative. Here he is seen talking to the criminal overdrive in a few panels, this book is heating up because of the jackpot rumors (check out the hot 10) but this may give it an extra boost. Prices are all over the place at the moment due to recent news so not as great of a bargain as it could be. It is a free comic book day book so proceed with caution as a load of copies may be sitting in a basement box somewhere. Still i would add a few to my collection if possible
Amazing spider-man #546: this print run is off the charts touching almost 128k, but it is the first full appearance of Mr. Negative. The regular cover shouldn't be hard to find and I think it is easily a buy and let sit type of book. If you really believe in Mr.Negative's future then you will want to go for the Bryan Hitch variant or if your feeling really lucky the 1:100 sketch variant with 9.8's available for around $150. There is also a 2nd print variant which I would pick up without hesitation if I ever come across one.
*EDIT There is also a hard to find book market variant for 546 and it can fetch a pretty penny. Big thanks to my buddy Matt Devoe for bringing this to my attention.
Thanks for your time and as always remember “its better to not have first and not flip…..because you know……nega…..oh forget it” honesty the whole negative power thing is very confusing but i still think the character is cool. Happy hunting!