Multiple times in DC Comics' currently unfolding "Dark Knight III: The Master Race," an unnamed but obvious representation of Donald Trump has appeared as a talking head in the story's narrative, including this week's issue #7. It's not surprising, given the politically inspired nature of Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" stories, dating back to 1986's "The Dark Knight Returns" -- yet when "Dark Knight III" started in November 2015, a Trump presidency seemed like a long shot, and the controversial billionaire is now the President Elect of the United States.
In an interview with CBR on "Dark Knight III" #7, the first issue released since the 2016 United States presidential election, Miller and "Dark Knight III" co-writer Brian Azzarello discussed whether or not recent events have made it feel that the world might be a little closer to the often bleak near-future of the "Dark Knight" books.
"It's never been far," Miller said. "When I did the first 'Dark Knight,' it was called a 'dystopia,' which means it wasn't exactly the news. So I guess as long as the news is bad, there's a place for Batman stories."
For Miller and Azzarello, the news has been stranger than fiction as of late.
"Let me put it this way: I don't think I could have dreamt of a story where the United States president was best friends with a member of the KGB," Miller told CBR, referring to the ties between the Trump administration and the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was a KGB intelligence officer for 16 years (both Trump and Vice President Elect Mike Pence have praised Putin in public statements, and Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick for Secretary of State, received Russia's Order of Friendship from Putin in 2013).
"And you know what?" Azzarello added. "If he would have come up with that, I would have said, 'Come on! Too far-fetched. Nobody would buy that!'"
Though Miller is frequently perceived as politically conservative given both his work and public statements -- in 2011, he called those participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement "thieves and rapists," the same year Legendary Comics published "Holy Terror," his widely criticized graphic novel where a superhero named The Fixer fought Islamic terrorists -- he's made it clear before that he isn't a fan of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in March 2016, he's quoted, "You can't come up with a greater buffoon than Donald Trump. The fact that he thinks he can be president of the United States is one the best jokes I've read in a long time. At least I hope."
"Dark Knight III: The Master Race" #7 is on sale now.