Points of Interest
Distortion Area; planet Arthos, home of Annihilus; planet Baluur, home of Blastaar; planet Kestor; planet Ootah; Shadow City; planet Tarsuu; planet Tyanna, taken over by the Brute
All matter is negatively charged, deep space still contains breathable atmosphere, accessed through sub-space/Crossroads of Infinity
Fantastic Four # 51 (1966)
After Galactus’ first appearance on Earth, Mister Fantastic became obsessed with finding a means to stop such a cosmic menace from ever threatening Earth again. The first step was to break the same faster-than-light barrier that the cosmic beings could use to traverse space-time. After tireless hours, he finally created a machine that would do just that-- a dimensional entrance into sub-space. Mister Fantastic rushed in to explore with the help of the Thing, finding himself in the so-called Crossroads of Infinity, the junction to everywhere. Unable to control his movements, Mister Fantastic was tossed into another dimension, one where all matter was negatively charged rather than positively charged. At the vortex where these two dimensions aligned lay a Distortion Area, where the matter from the two oppositely-charged dimensions met and would instantly explode. Mister Fantastic nearly fell victim to the Distortion Area until his place was taken by the Thing, who in fact turned out to be an imposter-- a rival scientist who nonetheless sacrificed his life to save Reed Richards. Richards called the dimension the Negative Zone and created a portal to it in his laboratory. He often led the Fantastic Four to explore this new world.
Although the Zone is largely devoid of life, the most notable inhabitants of the Negative Zone are the Tyannans (the people of Blastaar) and the evil Annihilus, the latter of which was able to carve out an empire for himself within the Zone with the help of his weapon, the Cosmic Control Rod. Another self-proclaimed ruler of the Negative Zone is Stygorr. Once, a Puritan settlement accidentally transported to the Negative Zone, and the colonists, ancestors of Hellscout, survived for years on an uninhabited planet. Elsewhere, the known inhabitants of Shadow City are Lockdown, Rosetta Stone, and the Twisted Sisters. The mysterious being Dusk originated on the planet Tarsuu in the Zone, a legacy now held on Earth by the young woman (Cassie St. Commons).
In the days of its early exploration, Reed Richards often used the Negative Zone to imprison supervillains, such as one of the Mad Thinker’s androids, the Brute, the Ebon Seeker, and Maximus, but after irrevocable evidence that the Zone is in fact inhabited, such practices were abandoned.
The Negative Zone is often looked to as a source of energy. The Nega-Bands developed by the Kree, for example, have a power source linked to the Negative Zone, and Photon used the bands to create force screens and force bolts composed of intermingled matter and anti-matter. The bands also allowed Photon to transport himself to the Negative Zone or, when he was permanently bonded to Rick Jones, to switch places with Rick as the two would exist separately in the each dimension. On Earth, Janus the Nega-Man was one of the first to battle the Fantastic Four over access to the Zone, a process that he tried to repeat with the use of the Spot and the help of the Gideon Trust.
In the 2006-2007 installment of the Civil War series, Richard Reed and Tony Starks used the Negative Zone for a high-tech specialized internment-camp style prison for super heroes and villains. The project was ominously referred to as the "42".