This page may contain some of the same content as the DC Database article. A more complete and current article is at the DC Comics Database Private World of Negative Man.
Retells the origin of Negative Man, including how the Chief developed a bandage, spun from a plastic of his own invention, capable of blocking radiation so that Larry can live among men again. Sadly, he is still shunned, now for his freakish appearance.
Coming upon a police cordon, he learns there is a girl locked in the trunk of one of 200 cars with a time bomb. Using Neg Man to search all of the cars in an instant, he locates the girl. Using a large hammer, he frees her from the trunk. But, upon removing her blindfold, she flees in terror at the sight of him. Despondent, Larry believes he has no future.
Now living in a room in his mother's boarding house, Larry looks for work -- normal work. Visiting a "Dr. Drew" who wants to use Larry's power and his own genius, Larry rebuffs him, refusing to "exploit my strange power! I'm gonna lead a normal life using normal human talents!". Drew knows that, when Larry is crushed in his search, he will return.
Larry is offered a job, dependent on his powers, not his abilities as a pilot. His old company offers to put him on a pension, but he refuses. Returning to Dr. Drew, whom Larry secretly refers to as "Doctor Death", he is tested as Negative Man between two electrical arcs, ostensibly for protecting the Earth from alien invaders. Larry discovers they are really to destroy the planet. Death temporarily traps Larry in a lead lined room, but he escapes and finds and destroys the full-scale transmitters that Death would use to blackmail the world.
Larry is hired by Harkness, ostensibly to perform low level bombing of a volcano so the island can be mined for its rich nitrate deposits. But in discussing it with some colleagues, they tell him that four other pilots have died trying to perform the same task. Larry confronts Harkness (bursting through his bedroom door). When Harkness offers to void the contract, Larry says he's still going through with it - to prove he's still a whole man, and to show-up Harkness.
Weeks of preparation and examination of flight recordings reveals the island's secret to Larry. Preparing for his flight, Larry turns to Charlie Link, a "top grease monkey" or mechanic, as his friend Joe is out of town. In reality, Joe has been paid off to put Link on the job of servicing Larry's plane.
Discovering a radioactive bomb in his plane that was interfering with his instrumentation, Larry eventually reaches the island. His theory is that the volcano is so finely balanced that the vibrations from the other planes set it off and blasted them out of the sky with hot air. Larry plans to glide in. In doing so he was able to drop his bomb and seal of the volcano.
Returning home, Harkness greets him with delight, as he could only profit from Larry's safe return. However, Larry reasoned that "Charlie", his substitute mechanic, had the best opportunity to plant the bomb in his plane. He quickly unmasks him, revealing Charlie to be -- Dr. Death, who was intent on making sure Larry failed at eveything so he would eventually join the bad doctor.
Later, Larry thinks to himself that if he fails in his next attempt to fit back into society, he may very well need to take Dr. Death up on his offer.
Despondent over his current state, Larry contemplates giving up when a visit from an old man named Tolliver suggests an idea. Tolliver is part of a recreation center for seniors called The Sunshine Club. Tolliver has brought with him some delicious cookies made from his mother's recipe. The Club is running low on funds when Larry suggests selling the cookies, as the Girl Scouts do. A visit from Larry inspires the seniors to pitch in.
The first batch of cookies is awful, as Tolliver tried to omit a special ingredient - a rare spicy herb that only grows in Argentina. Neg Man makes a quick trip to pick some and the next batch of cookies is fine. Part of the publicity is presenting boxes of cookies to the President, Vice-President, and Speaker of the House, a Senator Sloane.
Larry discovers that "Tolliver" is, in fact, Dr. Death who quickly encases him in a lead chamber where "not a quantum of light" comes through. Dr. Death reveals that the herb contains selenium, an element capable of inducing suicidal madness. He discovered a way of stimulating that madness through radio commands. By inducing the President and Vice-President to commit suicide, the Speaker of the House takes over. Death has plans to replace Sloane with a duplicate under his control, thereby ruling the United States.
The radio signal begins its solemn function, as the men start to end their lives. At that moment, the Chief appears to "Tolliver"claiming to have left behind something when he was measuring the place for the electronic stove that was installed. Shining his flashlight on the floor he fails to find it and leaves.
Dr. Death taunts Larry in his coffin, but Neg Man is already gone, saving the men. The Chief has left his business card. After Larry turned Death over to the police he visits the Chief who explains that the flashlight was a laser, which he used to free Neg Man, presumably by creating a small hole in the lead chamber.
The Chief offers Larry and this other two guests (Rita and Cliff) to opportunity to join together in a second chance for life.
The Private World of Negative Man series:
- "The Private Life of Negative Man"
- "The Race Against Dr. Death"
- "Flight Into Fear"
- "Neg Man's Last Road!"