Marvel's collaboration comic with Northrop Grumman may have been canceled, but that doesn't mean that we can't get a hint as to what it could have been, as the first issue of the aborted series has recently emerged online.
Last month, Marvel made headlines after they teased working with Northrop Grumman - an American global aerospace and defense technology company and one of the largest defense contractors in the world. Fans were not exactly thrilled with the collaboration and they did not hold back on making their opinions heard on social media. Following the swift and intense backlash, the comic book giant quickly pulled out of the planned partnership, leaving fans wondering just what they were up to. While the full extent of their plans might never be known, we now at least have an inkling as to what their canceled tie-in comic book run would have been about, thanks to an anonymous tipster.
Titled Avengers, Featuring N.G.E.N., the comic book features Earth’s Mightiest Heroes teaming-up with Northrop Grumman’s Elite Nexus – a team of four who specialize in “cutting edge, hi-tech adventures.” A new report from io9 gives us more information regarding the comic's story, which would have featured promotions for Northrop Grumman interwoven among the adventures of the four corporately recruited leads, who sometimes upstage the more established Marvel superheroes. Check out a gallery of images from the comic below, including appearances by Avengers members Vision, Ant-Man, Nick Fury, Captain America, and Iron Man.
[vn_gallery name="Check Out Marvel’s Canceled Northrop Grumman Tie-In Comic" id="1106669"]
Unfortunately, it seems that even without the controversy surrounding the project, the comic book run would have been doomed to fail. io9 describes it as having "a barely-there plot, and awkward and clumsy writing" - not a good way to kick-off what is planned to be a narrative series. It also doesn't help that the issue is peppered with Northrop Grumman ads. Written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Sean Chen, N.G.E.N.. basically equates working for the defense contractor to being a superhero - a weird notion given how Marvel's very own Tony Stark shut down his company's arms' manufacturing branch after realizing that war profiteering is never good.
Whatever made Marvel believe that a partnership with Northrop Grumman would be well received by the public is still a mystery. While we don't know what other projects they planned to create had their collaboration not been cut off before it even really began, in hindsight, it's definitely for the best that Marvel backed out of it after receiving some harsh criticism from fans. Doing so likely saved them from any bigger problems that this collaboration could have ultimately led to.