Dark Reign

Mister Negative: Dark Reign in Chinatown

Writer Fred Van Lente talks about bringing one of Spider-Man's newest foes into the spotlight and revealing his origin in DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE!

Share:

Comments:

By Marc Strom

DARK REIGN:
MISTER NEGATIVE
#1 cover by
Jae Lee

So far, Norman Osborn's Dark Reign hasn't had much of a positive effect on Mr. Negative. However, all that may change with DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #1, on sale June 10 from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Gianluca Gigliotta, as the Hood, a charter member of Osborn's Cabal, finds out just how far you can push the enigmatic Martin Li before he lashes out. "The Hood fancies himself the kingpin of New York's super villains, and as a member of the Cabal he's managed to choke off the access of all the independent operators from Osborn's largesse," Van Lente explains. "The only neighborhood in Manhattan, in fact, he does not control is Chinatown, thanks to Mr. Negative's fierce resistance. "The inciting incident of the series is when the Hood sends an emissary in to take over—and from there, it's all-out gang war in the streets as the Hood sends in a literal army of Spider-villains to take down Mr. Negative, his Inner Demons and his main enforcer, Hammerhead, once and for all." And while Mr. Negative will have the Hood's army to contend with, he'll also have at least one pesky reporter digging into his past as well.

DARK REIGN:
MISTER NEGATIVE
#1 pencil art by
Gianluca Gigliotta

"At the same time, D.B. reporter Betty Brant is investigating Mr. Negative's origin and is on the verge of discovering his true connection to Martin Li," Van Lente reveals. "So really he's getting it from all sides. And did I mention Spider-Man shows up after him too?" Though Mr. Negative may have his name on the title, Van Lente promises that everyone's favorite Wallcrawler will also play "a very, very major role, and not one readers will expect. "Thanks to Mr. Negative, we're going to be exposed to a side of Spidey that's rarely been unleashed before," the writer teases. "And after you read this story, you'll see why. Venom may not be the most sinister Spider-Character out there, that's all I'm saying." Even before Van Lente began writing Mr. Negative's three-issue limited series, he had a great deal of interest in the character. "Mr. Negative is probably my favorite new character to come out of the 'Brand New Day' era of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN," he touts. "[Writer] Dan Slott did what all great super-character creators do—he merged a great visual metaphor with the right power set. In this instance, [he took] the Chinese concept of Yin-Yang, the great duality of man and the universe, [and] encapsulated [it] in the same person: billionaire Martin Li and his dark alter ego, the ruthless Chinatown crimelord Mr. Negative."

DARK REIGN:
MISTER NEGATIVE
#1 pencil art by
Gianluca Gigliotta

Leading up to this series, Van Lente researched modern day slave labor, an element of the story that he saw as "a natural outgrowth of learning about Chinatown, and crime in Chinatown." "Human smuggling from the mainland to here—what the Chinese commonly call the 'snakehead' trade—is the major illegal industry in Chinatown, and so it just made sense that Mr. Negative would have his fingers in it," the writer continues. According to Van Lente, the "snakehead trade" won't only play a part in Mr. Negative's present, but his past as well. "Early on in my research I discovered the incident of the Golden Venture, a ship that ran aground off the coast of Queens in the 1990's bearing a few hundred Chinese illegal immigrants," the writer explains. "The illegals tried to swim for it rather than get deported by the Coast Guard, and 10 or so drowned. It was a very moving tale, and I decided to incorporate it into Mr. Negative's origin as the sort of traumatic experience that might transform a—relatively—normal person into a true villain. "I incorporated it into the origin Mr. Slott had already conceived of for Negative, which involves a pair of—oh. Well. That would be telling."

DARK REIGN:
MISTER NEGATIVE
#1 pencil art by
Gianluca Gigliotta

Beyond Mr. Negative and Spider-Man, Van Lente also hopes to shed a little light on some of Spidey's lesser-known villains as the Hood assembles his army for the assault on Chinatown. "Helping what most people perceive as lame characters unlock their true potential for awesome is one of my great delights in writing mainstream comics," Van Lente confesses. "If it was possible to open a clinic for such a thing, I would. "I'm trying to give screen time to as many of the villains as I can, so they just don't seem like costumes in crowd scenes. We spend time with White Rabbit, the Answer, and Lightmaster—those are some of my favorites. Oh, and we learn the Spot, whom I reintroduced to the Spidey-verse in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #589, is also working for the Hood, so I was able to get him in there too." Newcomer Gianluca Gigliotta provides the visuals for Van Lente's story, and the writer tells us that his collaborator's fresh perspective really adds to the series.

DARK REIGN:
MISTER NEGATIVE
#1 pencil art by
Gianluca Gigliotta

"This is his first super hero stuff, to my knowledge, and he's bringing a really unique sensibility to the piece, as well as beautiful, fluid action," says Van Lente. "Perfect for the gritty street battles that make up most of the limited series." Van Lente also warns that readers of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN may not want to miss DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE, as it will have considerable consequence for at least one of Peter Parker's oldest friends. "Read all the way through DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #3 and you'll learn the full story of the villain's origin, and the price Betty Brant pays for uncovering it! Major changes for that particular Spidey cast member as a result." Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now! Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" and "Wolverine and the X-Men" now on iTunes! Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything Iron Man!

      MORE IN Dark Reign See All

      MORE IN Comics See All

      Comments

      3 comments
      SPNWareZ
      SPNWareZ

      Can't wait. A new twist in Spidey's life... Kewl

      theshock621
      theshock621

      I'm intrigued by the Mr. Negative character...

      SilentmanX
      SilentmanX

      Looks fantastic, & I'm really looking forward to this