The Negative Zone’s Darkest and Most Dangerous
A Guide to the Residents of One of Marvel’s Most Famous Dimensions
The Negative Zone, a kind mirror dimension of the Marvel Universe, has long fascinated and repulsed. Capable of supporting life in the way our own universe can, the Zone nonetheless differs in several key ways. First, as one might expect, all the energy the MU has would be considered positively charged while the Zone only has negatively charged energy. Like our solar system, the Zone rotates around an immensely powerful object. However, even our sun cannot compare to the kind of power at the heart of the Negative.
Most importantly, the Zone is inhabited by very different beings. It boasts races like the Tyannans—a collection of creatures resembling lions—the Baluurians—the most conventionally humanoid in appearance—and the Arthosians—large insect-like beings. Moreover, it has given rise to several power-mad beings whose very existence threatens not only the Zone but our world as well.
An Arthosian, perhaps the first, Annihilus soon discovered the wonder that we call an “existential crisis.” He became obsessed with death, specifically avoiding his own, and set out to do whatever he could to extend his life. This question eventually led him to the Cosmic Control Rod, the large pill-like object he wears around his neck. Simply being in contact with the Rod extended his life and, with it, brought a measure of comfort to him.
When the Invisible Woman’s life appeared in danger, Reed Richards discovered and spirited himself to the Negative Zone to steal the Rod. While the Fantastic Four returned it, Annihilus came out of the experience a bit miffed and not, shall we say, the biggest fan of Marvel’s First Family. Thus, after encountering and easily besting an invading human Dr. Janus—then fully in the throes of his dark alter ego, the Nega-Man—Annihilus enthusiastically agreed to spare Janus’s life for a trip to the positive Marvel Universe and a visit to Earth.
Apparently thinking one good theft deserves another, Annihilus sought to abduct Franklin, sensing the child’s tremendous power. In the end, however, the FF thwarted him.
Since then, besides being a reliably dangerous opponent for the Four, Annihilus has tangled with the gods of Asgard, the Mad Thinker, the Nova Corps, and, eventually, nearly the entire known universe during the events of Annihilation. The warlord last suffered defeat at the hands of the Avengers and has stuck to ruling the Negative Zone since.
The so-called Living Bomb Burst, Blastaar represents the largest Negative Zone-based threat to Annihilus’s unfettered rule. A brutal ruler of the Baluurians for years, he eventually did lose the throne and has spent the years since plotting his return. More often than not, the machinations of his own family undo him. His wife has protected the throne from his grasp for the freedom of her people while their son Burstaar has undermined his father’s attempts because Burstaar himself hungers for that power.
Despite being ferocious rivals with Annihilus, the two have often teamed up for mutual benefit over the years, especially when it comes to the Fantastic Four, and, occasionally, other Earth heroes. Inevitably, however, these alliances prove short-lived. Their individual drives for power simply cannot allow for their teamwork to last, no matter how mutually beneficial.
Blastaar’s last power grab involved an attempt to seize control of the Kree Empire, an effort thoroughly thwarted by the likes of Beta Ray Bill, Nova, and Guardian.
The self-proclaimed Lord of Sub-Space, Stygorr lived his life as a lesser warlord of the Negative Zone. Stuck in the shadows of the titanic Blastaar and Annihilus, he seemed destined to forever feed on their crumbs. Then, in FANTASTIC FOUR #231, fate presented him with an opportunity to change all that. At least, that seemed the case to him.
In order to save New York City from a Negative Zone invasion, the FF transported the Baxter Building to the Negative Zone. Once there, Stygorr imagined it being the ticket to his dominance of his home realm. He believed if he could destroy the building and surrounding area, he would be able to harness the resulting positive energy and turn it on his rivals.
Meanwhile, however, Lew Shiner, a demolitions expert from the Earth who got sucked along for the ride, began to experience his own fantasies of power. First, he sparked a riot amongst the other unfortunately stranded civilians. When this was thwarted, he hid in a building to plot his next move. When Sue Storm ripped the building away from the rest of the chunk of Earth as a means of protecting everyone, Shiner ended up being propelled into Stygorr. The resulting collision sparked an explosion that seemingly slayed both would-be monarchs. Stygorr has not been seen since.
Obsessed with the idea of using the dead to further his quest for power, Syphonn mind-controlled Drax the Destroyer to steal the corpse of the original Captain Marvel. Using his powers to reanimate Mar-Vell’s corpse, plus his own creation, the Conqueror Wheel, Syphonn planned to declare war on the positive universe. He even managed to strike an alliance with Annihilus and Blastaar to further these ends. Initially, the combination seemed bound for success as, in their first Syphonn-led attack, they secured Adam Warlock’s soul gem.
However, Genis-Vell had been alerted to their dark deeds by this first move and managed to organize the remaining members of the Infinity Watch to oppose Syphonn and company. Knowing he had no chance of winning, Syphonn sent his mind to the Power Portal moments before his body ended up obliterated. According to Warlock, the villain’s consciousness has no chance of every escaping the Portal.
Annihilus’s replacement as ruler of the Arthosians after the former’s death during Annihilation, Catastrophus initially turned the Control Rod’s power against Annihilus, keeping his new body in an infant stage.
Soon, the Negative Zone found itself invaded by Talon and Razor, two of the Raptors, the race of beings that Darkhawk unwittingly belonged to. They battled Carastrophus long enough to upset the balance of power. In short order, Catastophus had been slain and the Control Rod seized by his rivals. Unaware that Catastophus had been suppressing Annihilus with it, however, proved their doom as the warlord once again reached full growth and easily destroyed them to reclaim power and his Control Rod once more.
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