Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Analogue Appears in ‘X-Men: Schism’ #1
This week, Jason Aaron and Carlos Pacheco’s X-Men: Schism #1 hit shelves, kicking off the big event for Marvel’s merry mutants by sending Cyclops and Wolverine to an international arms conference, and including a surprise gust appearance in the process. And as Graeme McMillan has pointed out, one of the diplomats arguing with Cyclops bears a pretty striking resemblance to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. [Edit: And appears to have six fingers.]
Even with less hair than his real-world counterpart, the diplomat who shows up in Schism is unmistakably Ahmadinejad, right down to his signature business casual attire. McMillan even goes so far as to point out that Pacheco gives him the same ring:
Whether or not this is an accurate portrayal of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s real-world views regarding mutant-killing robots remains to be seen, as I don’t think he’s ever addressed the matter with the press. Regardless, this really isn’t anything new; political figures tend to crop up in comics to lend a touch of realism to what’s going on on a pretty regular basis. In fact, while you only see his hand, it’s pretty clear that it’s President Barack Obama who put Norman Osborn, alias the Green Goblin, in charge of national security at the end of Secret Invasion. And that was only a few months after he hung out with Spider-Man and gave him a fist pound! Talk about flip-floping.
Sure, the scene goes go on have the Ahmadinejad-esque character revealed to be engaged in some pretty evil actions over the course of the issue, specifically that he’s an abusive father, when a psychic mutant shows up and uses his powers to force everyone to admit their darkest secrets live on CSPAN:
But at the same time, a) so is every other politician in the story, as the entire gathering of delegates is revealed to be a collection of equally awful people, and b) he could pretty much be shown strangling kittens on panel and still be a more positive portrayal of the country than the last time we saw an Iranian diplomat appear in comics:
Besides, the more I look at that first panel, the more I realize that the whole Ahmadinejad angle is the wrong way of looking at it. Sure, there’s a passing resemblance, but if you look beyond the appearances on the surface, it becomes obvious what’s really going on.
Going by what he says and, more importantly, how he says it, he character isn’t meant to be Ahmadinejad at all. Clearly, he’s Phoenix Wright.