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Marvel’s Deal with Arms Manufacturer Draws Criticism

by  in Comic News Comment
Marvel’s Deal with Arms Manufacturer Draws Criticism

Marvel Comics has announced it will be teaming with Northrop Grumman for a new custom comic book series.

Avengers, Featuring N.G.E.N. – Start Your N.G.E.N.s! is written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Sean Chen. The book is being billed as an all-ages comic with heroes from the Avengers teaming up with Northrop Grumman’s own superhero team N.G.E.N.

The full solicitation was made available today on Marvel’s website:

When RED RONIN emerges from the Hudson, the Avengers assemble to stop his destructive march toward New York City. But when the mechanical behemoth proves to be a match with seriously upgraded technology, a call for assistance goes out to a new super group. Northrop Grumman’s Elite Nexus is a team of scientists who specialize in cutting edge, hi-tech adventures. The new squad of heavy hitters, known as N.G.E.N. rushes in to assist the Avengers. But who could be behind Red Ronin’s mysterious attack? less

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The announcement has been met with a wave of outrage and criticism across social media as many view it as Marvel using its characters to sell war profiteering to children. In 2013, USA Today placed Northrop Grumman sixth on its list of the top 10 companies that have profited the most from war. The company, which is responsible for the production of aircraft, electronics, missiles and ships, was reported to have earned a $2.1 billion profit on the United States’ war efforts abroad at the time.


Others are calling out Marvel for the announcement’s timing as well. Marvel and Netflix canceled a panel for The Punisher series at this year’s New York Comic Con in light of the mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip that left 59 dead. Gerry Conway, co-creator of the Punisher, took to Twitter to question how this new comic is somehow acceptable while the TV series is not.

It’s worth nothing that the publisher does these kinds of comics with different companies all the time, though none have proven to be this inflammatory among fans. The tone deafness of the announcement is only enhanced by who is depicted on the cover. Captain America is a character who is supposed to represent the ideals of the flag he wears on his uniform, while Iron Man’s origins story, in the comics and on film, depicts the central character abandoning arms manufacturing after having a change of heart. To see both characters used to represent a company whose profits are derived almost completely from war seems tone deaf, at best.

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