By Tim Stevens
Sometimes being stubborn pays off—sometimes it gets you killed. On July 1, Martin Li, better known as Mister Negative, will find out which fate awaits him.
In DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #2, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Gianluca Gugliotta, the Hood makes his move on Negative's business and finds Li still unwilling to play ball. With a piece of property as valuable as Chinatown hanging in the balance, the Hood cannot afford to back down.
"Other than being centrally located in Manhattan and of high strategic value, the neighborhood is the nexus through which all illegal trade with the enormous market that is China passes—drugs, guns, people, et cetera," notes Van Lente. "It's a very large chip that Hood has to capture to make his dream of becoming the super villain Kingpin
of New York a reality."
In order to achieve victory, the Hood calls upon a group that he thinks uniquely suited to the task.
"Hood's villain army is comprised, in this [series], entirely of B-list Spider-Man villains, because here at the Spider-Office, that's how we roll," Van Lente says.
While that accounts for the why and the how of the Hood's commitment to this battle, it does not clarify what drives Negative to not join the Hood's gang. For that, Van Lente says, you need to look at Li's personality—or, rather, personalities.
"[Mister Negative] is the one half of a Yin/Yang imbalance he shares with another person, billionaire philanthropist Martin Li," the writer explains. "Whereas Martin Li is selfless, generous [and] an inclusive thinker, Mister Negative is cruel, devious, and wrathful. In other words, he is more than willing to completely destroy himself in order to avoid going under the Hood's thumb, and he may just get that wish!"
Along the way, he might destroy several others as well though. First among them, unsurprisingly, happens to be Spider-Man. Drawn to the conflict because of Aunt May's
role at Li's FEAST program, Spidey quickly finds himself picking sides, perhaps not fully understanding why.
"Peter Parker's Aunt May volunteers for Martin Li's FEAST organization and when Chinatown is attacked by the Hood's villain army, Martin is trapped inside," Van Lente says. "So Spider-Man has ample motivation to rescue him. [Plus] let's just say I learned from Mister Negative co-creator Dan Slott that our anti-hero has certain powers we haven't seen yet that will [be] deployed for the first time in this [story]."
A certain ally of the web slinger will also find herself quickly entangled in the gang war.
"The third major character in this story is Betty Brant," the writer reveals. "She's perilously close to uncovering the connection between [Li] and Mr. Negative and thus close to losing her life as well! What happens to Betty in MISTER NEGATIVE ends up
impacting her character quite significantly and will influence how we move forward in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN based on some stuff we cooked up in March's Spider-Summit, so Wall-Crawler fans won't want to miss it."
Scoop up your copy of DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #2, from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Gianluca Gugliotta.
Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything Spider-Man!
Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" and "Wolverine and the X-Men" now on iTunes!