As a wealthy and widely hailed philanthropist, the man known as Martin Li uses his financial resources to help those in need. But in his other identity, that of the ruthless underworld figure Mister Negative, he uses his extradimensional energy powers to corrupt anything he touches as the leader of a criminal empire.
Land of Opportunity
While his real name remains unknown, details about Mister Negative have emerged, as per his own account. Years ago, he was a “snakehead slaver,” or human smuggler, who oversaw the transport of Chinese citizens to the United States aboard a cargo ship called Golden Mountain. The immigrants included businessman Martin Li, of Fuzhou City. Li intended to go to the United States to join his wife, Yana, who had arrived there months earlier through a student visa. During the sea voyage, several of the passengers died of pneumonia—and Martin Li was one of them.
As the Golden Mountain approached Queens, New York, a storm endangered the ship and disrupted an arrangement between the snakeheads and a Chinatown gang the Dragon Lords, who were scheduled to pick up the passengers and ferry them into the city. Seizing control of the ship, the supervising snakehead caused the Golden Mountain to run aground. The crew fled in the only lifeboat, leaving the snakehead and the Chinese passengers to swim for shore. The snakehead, who had a criminal record in the U.S. and China, took Martin Li’s identity papers. He was the only one still healthy and strong enough to survive and arrived safely at New York Harbor.
Seeking his colleagues in Flushing, New York, the snakehead found them dead—killed by Maggia gangsters led by Silvermane, who was expanding his influence over the area. Silvermane handed the snakehead over to his employee, the chemist Simon Marshall, who was testing a potentially profitable synthetic drug on unwilling subjects. The snakehead was experimented upon, along with teenage runaways Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, among others. Through the tests, Tyrone, Tandy, and the snakehead acquired super human powers derived from the extradimensional Darkforce, and then escaped. Tyrone and Tandy eventually became the vigilantes Cloak and Dagger, while the snakehead adopted the identity of Martin Li and found anonymous work at a garment factory in Chinatown. He became Mister Negative, determined to become a crime lord and take revenge on the Maggia.