Marvel Just Changed A Spider-Man Villain’s Entire Origin Story


Among Marvel’s rogues, Spider-Man villains have had some of the most memorable backstories, but Mister Negative will have his origin rewritten.

Warning! Spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #59

Among Marvel’s vast rogues’ gallery, Spider-Man villains such as the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Mysterio have had some of the most iconic costumes and backstories. However, one of Marvel’s most infamous crime bosses, Mister Negative, will soon have his entire origin story rewritten.

Over the years, the crime boss Martin Li has become a recognizable and powerful foe, appearing in several Spider-Man stories and even having a prominent role in the 2018 video game. Originally a Chinese gangster and smuggler, he experimented with a synthetic drug which soon gave him powers. Enabled by the “lightforce” and “darkforce,” Mister Negative was given mind control powers and could heal quickly, along with a few other abilities. Similar to Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, his personality was split, causing Martin to be normal with no awareness of his alter ego. Recently in Amazing Spider-Man #58 written by Nick Spencer with art by Marcelo Ferreira, Li suffered an attack that separated Mister Negative from his body.

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In a recently released preview for Amazing Spider-Man #59, the man that readers have come to know as Mister Negative recounts his familiar origin story. However, it’s revealed that the name “Martin Li” had been stolen from a man he killed years before, meaning that his true identity has never actually been known. Without Negative’s spirit inside of him, he is tormented by his life of crime, admitting that even he was complicit. The mastermind has always had a sense of mystery, but this emphasis on his remorse further complicates the character readers assumed they knew. “I was a smuggler. A human trafficker. And a cruel one. The real Martin Li was killed because of my greed and selfishness. Martin Li is a dead man. I stole his name. The good man I became was a charade, a pretense. So, who am I now, then?”


  • Cover by MARK BAGLEY
  • Variant Cover by MARCELO FERREIRA
  • Mr. Negative is back and wants only one thing – Martin Li. But how is that possible?
  • Spider-Man is still reeling from the Kindred affair and Peter will not stand for anything else to be taken away from him.
  • 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Mister Negative’s ordinary persona treats the exorcised spirit similarly to Venom’s symbiote, although it’s never been treated this way before. Without the being inside of him, he’s just a regular guy. For a long time, his civilian identity wasn’t aware of his other villainous side, but now he’s able to renounce the actions of his other life. This change to Mister Negative’s backstory sets the stage for a potential redemption arc, now that he has come clean to an extent he never had up until now.

Since Mister Negative’s reintroduction has been such a subversion of expectations, it’s becoming increasingly unclear where his story is headed. If Spider-Man’s past symbiote encounters are any indication, Negative could take over another vessel. With the man who isn’t Martin Li condemning his past violence and greed, it would be extremely tragic to see him consumed by the force again. Look for Amazing Spider-Man #59 when it releases on February 10.

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