No one in our universe knows how or when the Negative Zone appeared or how old it is. If its aging process is similar to our universe's, it is much older: it has already begun to contract and will eventually implode (a Big Crunch as opposed to a Big Bang). At one time there were several species who had flourishing cultures and made progress in science and the arts. When the contraction began (one estimate puts it at a million years ago), their focus changed to survival. The people of Tyanna, for instance, used spores to terraform other worlds and produced many of the species now known to live there. Other species include the people of Argor, Arthros, Kestor, Krysok, Mantracora, Ootah, and Tarsuu.
The Negative Zone is an alien universe with several characteristics that distinguish it from our own. First, and most important, it is composed entirely of anti-matter. Anyone or anything that moves from one universe to the other must reverse its polarity on a molecular level or be instantly annihilated. Second, it is a mature universe that has already started to contract (ours is still expanding); eventually, it will implode. Third, time passes at a faster rate relative to ours. Fourth, a still unknown factor (possibly lack of water) makes evolution difficult, because much of the Negative Zone is still uninhabited. The best-known characters from the Zone include Annihilus and Blastaar.
Discovery: The FF and the Zone
In the early years, Reed knew little about the people and properties of the Negative Zone. In fact, he treated it as a sort of cosmic trash can, useful only as a place to send intractable foes such as the Super-Adaptoid and Galactus. He abandoned this stratagem after such foes inevitably escaped.
Most of the FF's interaction with the Negative Zone has involved attempts by Annihilus, Blastaar, or both to invade our universe. On an extended trip there, however, they encountered several of the other denizens. They discovered Ootah, a world half-covered by a city, where the control systems had driven out the citizens. Another world, Kestor, imploded when it was drawn into the center of the Zone.
Recently, Reed has returned to the idea of using the Zone as a prison, this time with an actual facility built for the purpose.
Other Heroes in the Zone
For a time, Captain Marvel and Rick Jones shared the same body, with one in our universe and the other in the Negative Zone. The one in our universe changed places voluntarily by striking the Nega-Bands together, or Jones returned involuntarily after a few hours. Captain Marvel freed Jones from this intermittent imprisonment by physically transferring him back to our universe.
Points of Interest
Annihilation Area / Crossroads of Infinity
As already noted, the Negative Zone is contracting. A black hole (at least, the Zone's version of a black hole) has formed at the center of the universe, made up of all the surplus matter. As it grows, its pull becomes stronger, thus adding more mass to itself--a vicious circle. Some call it the Annihilation Area.
In theory, entering a black hole in our universe and traveling through the singularity will send you to another universe. In the case of the Negative Zone black hole, this theory is fact. For ordinary beings, though, this trip would be fatal. The first hazard is the sheer amount of mass already on its way into the black hole, in the form of gas, rock, and debris. The second is the exponential increase in gravity as one approaches the singularity, which would exert tidal forces on the traveler (see Larry Niven's short story "Neutron Star" for a good explanation). Finally, everything that approaches the singularity is pulled toward and through a single point at faster-than-light speeds, a process that would turn normal matter into a microscopic stream of plasma. The whole process would be like going through an avalanche, an earthquake, and a flood simultaneously, all of them at literally astronomical levels. On the only known successful passage into the singularity, it took the combined forces of Doctor Doom, Annihilus, and Susan Richards to survive. 
Inside the singularity, though, is the Crossroads of Infinity, a path that branches off to many other universes. Where you step off the path determines the universe you enter. And, if you stay on the path to the end, you reach the new location of Tyanna.
A direct link between our universe and the Negative Zone would mean the end of both. Reed Richards found (or created) an energy field that serves as an insulator so that travel between the universes is possible. The Distortion Area is an energy sphere in the Zone that is normally invisible (presumably to keep people like Blastaar from noticing it). A beam of the correct wavelength will energize the sphere, making it briefly visible, and open a portal. Passing through the sphere not only takes you to the other universe, it reverses your atomic particles to match the charge of your destination. The experience is disconcerting, to say the least; nausea is the most common complaint, while others may suffer psychological effects such as anxiety or depression. In rare cases someone may enter a fugue state, a sort of waking dream. These mental problems only seem to happen when traveling into, not out of, the Negative Zone, so some property of the Zone itself may be responsible.
Reed recently invented another means of traveling to the Negative Zone--the Fold Space Transceptor--so the Distortion Area may be obsolete.
In the space-time continuum of the Negative Zone, time passes at the same rate as it does here: one second per second. When compared to each other, though, the rates differ. While one day passes in our universe, eleven months go by in the Negative Zone. Conversely, while one day passes in the Zone, only 25.7 seconds go by in our universe. This phenomenon offers amazing opportunities for research in such fields as astronomy and cosmology. So far, the difficulties of getting to the Zone and staying alive there have discouraged such research.
- The Negative Zone is not to be confused with the energy field the Inhuman Maximus created around the city of Atillan by reversing his atmo-gun. This seemingly impenetrable energy field was eventually destroyed when Black Bolt unleashed the power of his voice, shattering the field and laying to waste much of the city.
- In Ultimate Marvel, the N-Zone is another universe with a corrosive atmosphere and an insectoid villain named Nihil.
- The Negative Zone appears in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (Earth-135263). Seen inhabited by various serpent and insect like creatures. The zone is alleged to be a nexus to all other universes. Unlike it's Earth-616 counterpart the zone was not discovered by Reed Richards, Doom alleges he discovered it years before. Also the Zone does not appear to be composed of anti-matter as Johnny Storm and his girlfriend were seen entering the zone with no protection or preparations and surely would have been annihilated.
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Negative Zone
- Location Gallery: Negative Zone
- Images related to Negative Zone
- Fan Art Gallery: Negative Zone
- Marvel Staff members who were born in Negative Zone
Links and References
- Antimatter Universe for DC Comic's version of the Negative Zone.
- ↑ Fantastic Four Annual #6
- ↑ Reed Richards has mapped parts of the Negative Zone. Whenever an area in the Zone is designated as part of a sector, it refers to his mapping system. As with the inhabitants, though, the struggle for survival takes precedence over pure research.
- ↑ Fantastic Four #252
- ↑ Fantastic Four #253
- ↑ Fantastic Four: Foes #3
- ↑ Avengers #97
- ↑ Spider-Man #90; Webspinners, #s13, 14
- ↑ Thor #406
- ↑ Fantastic Four #319
- ↑ Negatory Zone Maze Page in What The--?! #7
- ↑ Fantastic Four #48
- ↑ Fantastic Four #59