The Negative Reinforcement wiki last edited by Byzantine on 12/27/13 02:00PM View full history

With THE HOOD and MR. NEGATIVE locked in a battle to the death, BETTY BRANT is poised to unlock the secret origin of the Chinatown's lord of crime, and to stop her he has sent his newest corrupted enforcer to end her life-- PETER PARKER, the Lacerating SPIDER-MAN!

Hood and Mister Negative are battling in Martin Li/Negative's home. Negative has one of his charged swords, but Hood uses a variety of magical tricks including limited teleportation to keep up the fight. Negative then touches Hood, but seeing as a demon has already corrupted Robinson, the touch has no affect.

Spiderman meanwhile, corrupted by Negative's touch, pursues reporter Betty Brant, who is on the verge of discovering Negative's identity of Martin Li. Brant reflects on the fact that superhuman battles--especially ones involving Spiderman--have caused the deaths of two of her loved ones (her brother was killed by Doc Ock and her husband was murdered when Hobgoblin I framed him). She then says she is not them though and she wants to live. Spiderman continues to follow her, taunting in Negative's voice and with his costume tainted grey by Negative's powers. Betty Brant is fully aware that it is really the crimelord causing the murder, but Spiderman continues to hunt her down. Snagging her high heeled shoe with his webbing, Peter Parker causes Betty to fall through a glass window. Cleverly, Brant ties a piece of her clothes to a cat, so Spiderman follows that instead. Brant is near Mrs. Li's house, so she runs in there because she thinks Li told Mister Negative to attack and can call the attack off. The older lady insists she didn't think Negative would kill her, and tells Brant a story. Once when she was younger she had reached China before her husband, Martin Li. Wanting to see each other, a deal was made with a gang called the Dragon Lords to have Li smuggled into the country on the boat Golden Mountain. A gangster on the ship paniked as it reached land and forced the captain at gunpoint to go into shallow water. The ship ran aground, and most of the passengers died, including, it appeared, Mr. Li. The Dragon Lords insisted that Li had died on land, so they had completed their part of the deal. Of course, Martin Li had had the money, so Mrs. Li couldn't pay the debts.

The Dragon Lords took Mrs. Li to a house in Brooklyn and began to torture her to death as punishment, when Mister Negative burst in. At that time, Negative was unknown, and had no gang with him. However, armed with only a charged sword, Negative mercilessly slaughtered the Dragon Lords. Li was chained from the ceiling, and when she saw Negative he seemed completely cold and cruel, and the lady expected to be killed too. Negative asked who she was and Li told her story. Negative seemed confused and momentarilly turned into a man (the comic pannel shows Mister Negative's alter ego Martin). Negative then released Mrs. Li and left. Years later, Mrs Li heard of a Martin Li who survived the Golden Mountain wreck getting a megal from the president. Excited, she got a photo to see if it was her husband, but did not recognize him.

The corrupted Spiderman then appeared to kill Betty.

Meanwhile, Hood overpowered Negative. As Parker Robinson grasped his collar, Negative told Hood that he was the Dragon Lord who paniked and caused the Golden Mountain to crash. Gangsters had so mistreated the people they were smuggling that the passengers died. Negative had taken the papers, money, and identity of a passenger, who turned out to be named Martin Li. Negative tried to radio for help from the other Dragon Lords, but got no answer. Returning to New York trying to find answers, he was ambushed by Silvermane, who had taken over Queens from the Dragon Lords (which was why Negative's signal hadn't been answered). Silvermane was amused that Negative was a Dragon Lord (also known as Snakeheads), so he threw him in with several other prisoners at an abandoned place on Ellis Island instead of killing him. Silvermane had the prisoners tested on as a chemist named Simon Marshall tried to develop a drug to replace heroin. Though most people died, Li became a Jekyll/Hyde creature, with a good side and and a very dark side with super powers. When a prisoner named Tyrone (possibly Rapier) was able to break out, Negative and Tyrone's girlfriend escaped. Negative departed from the couple, and adopted the good side as Martin Li and the dark side as Mister Negative. The Li side it appears was unaware of the Mister Negative side.

At the exact same time, Spiderman was killing Betty. Mrs. Li tried to stop him, but she was knocked down. Brant thoughy of how she used to blame Spiderman but now she new he was just a victim. However, as the wallcrawler was strangling Brant he remembered when his secret identity of Peter Parker loved Betty. Fighting back the corruption, he expelled Mister Negative's touch from his body (which left in the form of smoke). Spiderman apologized (though Brant was unaware he was Peter). Betty told him it was "No problem," but she was coughing badly.

Hood continued to hold Negative, who told Robinson that he only said his story to him because Robinson would die from the demon (Dormammu) inside him before it could cause harm. Then he said that the yin/yang signs in his garden stood for what he believed was a balance in the world. He says that since he allows Li to continue he is able to prosper more in both identities, unlike Robinson who has let evil take him over almost completely. However, it is quite evident that the Negative persona is stronger and is manipulating the situation over the Li persona. Several members of Hood's gang (including Speed Demon, White Rabbit, Squid, Answer, and Bloodshed) enter, and Hood says that Negative is about to die. Then, though, Norman Osborn calls telling him to stop the murder. As Hood argues, he lets go of Negative, who vanishes. Osborn is then seen telling his Goblin persona that it was all a plan to get the evidence Martin Li II had discovered of experimentation on illegal Asian immigrants by Oscorp.

Spot, who was working for Hood, then enters Negative's office, having stolen the evidence back. Negative says the evidence shows that whatever Li does it will always be corrupted. It is then revealed that Spot had been an inside man the entire time and had helped Negative escape. In return, Negative was helping to cure the condition of interdimensional (possibly from the Spot Dimension) corruption that Spot and Negative both had (though only Spot wanted to cure it).

Brant is then seen talking to Martin Li, planning to do a piece on Martin's construction projects to help the community. She says that even though her boss at the DB Dexter Bennett doesn't want her supporting Li (a political adversary of Bennet's allies), she wants a more balanced piece since her last one was a dangerous "wild goose chase." Brant then sees the destruction caused by the Hood/Negative fight and asks Martin how he doesn't hate the crimelords for causing it. Li then says that there is balance and without the evil of Negative he would never have a chance to do so much good. The final pannel shows Martin Li with half his body as a laughing Mister Negative.

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    Van Lente does a good job in the presentation and explanations, but the story is just to skimpy.  The reason is simple: Marvel scheduling issues.  Slott created the excellent character, and has announced he has plans for it.  A story arc involving Negative is imperative for this to happen, but the timing is bad.  The story has become another Dark Reign tie-in, and has to take place before "Utopia."  Van Lente had only done one Spiderman story prior to that start of this series ("Return of th...

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