Matt Yglesies is deservedly getting lots of praise for his post on the Right's "Green Lantern theory of geopolitics." Whether out of ignorance or tact, Matt doesn't get into the Hal Jordan issue: Hal, the greatest of the Green Lanterns of Earth, turns into a genocidal maniac in the mid-1980s, repudiating his allies (the Guardians) and intergalactic law in the name of what he considers to be a good cause. [update - Matt has demonstrated his knowledge of the Hal Jordan saga... meaning that its exclusion was out of tact!]
But I was actually thinking that if you're looking for comic books with direct relevance to current geopolitics, you can't really avoid the Ultimates 2. For those who don't follow such things, the Ultimates 2 is one of the hottest books on the market right now, both in sales and critical acclaim. The Ultimates is part of a reimagining of the Marvel Universe, dumping decades of accumulated history in order to retell some of the great Marvel stories in contemporary ways. The Ultimates are this universe's version of the Avengers, a government-sponsored super-team under the direct control of SHIELD (American intelligence, basically) - much more clearly an American national security asset than in the traditional Marvel books.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW, SO STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.
In Ultimates 2, the President decides to deploy the super-team ("Persons of Mass Destruction") to the Middle East:
The move proves successful at winning wars, but also highly divisive, as the Ultimates project was supposed to be for domestic use only. It splits not only public opinion but also the Ultimates, as Thor leaves the team in protest.
Then an international alliance strikes back, with super-humans from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and others carrying out a stunning surprise attack on the United States. With Captain America and Thor already out of action, and Iron Man temporarily neutralized by an internal traitor, this coalition - "the Liberators", led by a Middle Eastern version of Captain America - quickly takes control of all major American cities and captures the President. With America's nuclear arsenal under their control, they are able to keep the European super-human forces on the sidelines (though there's some hint that at least some of the European states might have been involved in the plot). In less than an hour, "the Great Satan has been liberated":
Writer Mark Millar brackets this Saddam-statue scene with dialogue in which the villains explain that they were forced to act to avoid American unilateralism after the Ultimates led a pre-emptive strike against a Middle Eastern country (presumably Iran). Its planners carefully say that this was a defensive move rather than an aggressive one, and that they harbor no ill feelings towards the American people. (In other words, the logic of the comic book is Realist: the Liberators represented a balancing coalition against unchecked American unipolarity). One character wisecracks that perhaps now they can organize free elections for the Americans. As the story currently stands, the American forces (including Cap, Iron Man, and the Hulk) are rallying and no doubt will prevail in the end, but only after horrifying costs to America and the team.
As a comic book, the Ultimates 2 is dazzling - Mark Millar's writing and Bryan Hitch's art are a gold standard, the storyline is epic, the characterization top-notch, the twists and turns electrifying. As geopolitical analysis, it's pretty crude, with Millar indulging in some unnecessary cheap shots and some heavy-handed political allegory (usually subtext is better when it isn't, you know, text). But I find it fascinating as a pop culture phenomenon that a comic book with this story line is doing so well. Hard to imagine that the Ultimates 2 could have been published a year or two after 9/11, but Iraq seems to have created an appetite for a masochistic tale of America being punished for its imperial adventures. Anyway, I thought that my international politics-focused readers who don't keep
up with comic books might not even know that this is going on and might
find it interesting. I'll leave it to some enterprising journalist to explore its significance further.