Comics
Published June 13, 2019

5 Reasons to Fear the Return of F.E.A.S.T.

As the neighborhood resource center is poised to reopen, we look back on its darker side…

FEAST
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN (2019) #7

F.E.A.S.T., the friendly neighborhood resource center, is once again open for business in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #7 – available now – thanks to the efforts of Aunt May. May Parker has been with F.E.A.S.T. almost from the start and has remained proud of its work throughout its existence.

However, F.E.A.S.T. has cast a dark shadow. For all the good it did, there was plenty of bad that went down in and around the soup kitchen, shelter, and neighborhood sanctuary. To prevent history from repeating itself, here are a few of the organization’s dark spots.

Mr. Negative

Mr. Negative
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1998) #663

Any discussion of F.E.A.S.T.’s less than savory past must begin with Martin Li. Li presented himself as a pillar of the community. A Chinese refugee who was subjected to terrible treatment even after he escaped to the West, Li survived kidnapping and forced experimentation to become a successful businessman and philanthropist.

He also became a brutal criminal mastermind who used the powers he gained from that experiment to twist others to his will and force them to follow their darkest instincts for his benefit.

For a time, he kept the balance. Li helped the community, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and, at times, literally cured the sick. Mr. Negative, on other hand, expanded his influence, engaged in brutal gang wars, and manipulated politicians.

Inevitably, he was exposed. First Eddie Brock discovered the truth, then Aunt May, and finally the Wraith revealed the truth to the masses. Li went into hiding and F.E.A.S.T., which tried to limp along without him, closed soon after.

The White Dragon and the Dragon’s Gang

White Dragon
DARK REIGN: MR. NEGATIVE (2009) #1

The established Chinese crime lord seemed to be poised to play a sort of go-between between Mr. Negative and the Hood when a turf war seemed inevitable. Mr. Negative, however, had no interest in working with Dragon and “turned” him in their first meeting. He sent Dragon off to attack the Hood as a demonstration to how much power Mr. Negative wielded. Negative then incorporated the Dragons into his Inner Demons gang and used them as a more public facing group to show his power and protect his turf, including F.E.A.S.T.

Freak

Freak
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1998) #552

A rather cruelly nicknamed and dismissed drug addict, Freak was introduced to readers when he was at the end of his rope. Jonesing for a fix, he attempted to rob his fellow disadvantaged New Yorkers to get enough money together. When F.E.A.S.T. attempted to intercede to protect the other soup kitchen denizens and offer “Freak” a more long-term solution, he chose instead to run from the premises.

Even more desperate, the man broke into Curt Connors’ lab and consumed a variety of experimental serums that continued to change and evolve him over subsequent appearances. In the end, he would never be the man we first met again. Moreover, his addictions remained but his rapid “evolution” robbed him of the ability to ever feel high again by destroying the pleasure centers of his brain.

Menace

Menace
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1998) #550

Lily Hollister only wanted what was best for her father, Bill Hollister. So when she accidentally stumbled upon a Green Goblin layer and ended up mutated by the Green Goblin serum, she used her transformations—which were totally under her control—to engender sympathy for her dad’s campaign by repeatedly attacking him at public events.

She ended up connecting to F.E.A.S.T. via Martin Li, since Mr. Negative was an early Hollister booster. Hollister ended up achieving victory on the backs of two of the biggest criminals active during the election.

Anti-Venom

Anti-Venom
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1998) #663

While dying of cancer, Eddie Brock finally decided to do the right thing and spend his final days helping others. By coincidence, he ended up choosing F.E.A.S.T. as his home base to do just that. For a time, that was all he did: help out around F.E.A.S.T. However, one day he met Martin Li face to face. Brock respected Li highly and enthusiastically shook his hand. The exchange cured Brock entirely of his cancer.

But that handshake also activated latent aspects of his DNA that mutated further when Mac Gargan showed up as Venom. Responding to his former symbiote’s presence, Brock’s body produced a new symbiote of its own and gave rise to Anti-Venom.

Brock remained at F.E.A.S.T. for a while after, seeing himself as a guardian to the place and as a means of paying it back for all it helped him. However, because he elected to stay, he eventually witnessed Li’s transformation into Mr. Negative. Brock told no one, but it broke something inside him and was probably just a step away from achieving the pure heroics as Anti-Venom.

Will F.E.A.S.T. be able to stick to its charitable plans – or will it once again provide a home base for the darker side of Spider-Man’s neighborhood? You’ll have to read to find out!

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #7, written by Tom Taylor with art by Ken Lashley, is on sale now online and at your local comic shop!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7

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