I grew up in the 90s with Batman The Animated Series. At the time, it was not only the best iteration of the Dark Knight (even better than the original film), it was the best-animated series on television. It was dark and complex, investigating the psyche of Bruce Wayne, though in a subtle way. As a children’s cartoon, it could only go so far. They couldn’t even show Commissioner Gordan get shot in one episode, they only alluded to it. Regulations were stricter back then. Still, the show, while being a cartoon, could only truly be understood by an older audience. It was deeply layered. Up until now, it was the ultimate version of The Caped Crusader. Telltale has changed this entirely and has created the definitive version of Batman with Batman The Telltale Series and Batman: The Enemy Within. Who is the real Bruce Wayne? The Enemy Within answers this question. At E3 2016 I had the chance to interview Richard Iggo, the head of marketing at Telltale Games and see a behind-the-scenes look at the first episode of Batman The Telltale Series. He told us that their goal was to take a fresh approach to the Batman lore and give Bruce Wayne just as much screentime as Batman. This is very interesting because while the first season accomplished this in spectacular fashion, Episode 2 of The Enemy Within didn’t have Batman at all. It was all Bruce Wayne. Telltale has taken their own twist on the classic Dark Knight lore, making Thomas Wayne a heinous criminal instead of a loving father and doctor, which has actually added so much more depth to Bruce’s motivation. At first, I thought it could destroy Telltale’s version of Batman. Instead, it only enhanced it. One thing that is equally fascinating is that for The Enemy Within, several pieces of key art emulate the original animated series. It’s obvious that Telltale is taking a degree of influence from the original series. Key art for the first episode of The Enemy Within A screenshot from the opening of Batman The Animated Series While the first season of Batman from Telltale focused on Bruce and whether his true mask was that of Batman or Bruce Wayne, The Enemy Within explores his relationship with the Joker, or rather John Doe, an inmate he met at Arkham Asylum. John has no memory of who he is and is a blank slate. He’s incredibly impressionable, almost like a child. Your choices, or rather Bruce’s choices, shape who John becomes. John figures Bruce’s secret out at some point during the season, or maybe he knew since the fourth episode of season one. He constantly tells Bruce that they are made from “the same stitch”. They are two sides of the same coin. John looks up to Bruce and Batman, going as far as betraying his own comrades in order to protect him during a fight. John knows the real Bruce. While the first season explored if Bruce’s true mask was Bruce Wayne or Batman, John saw the darkness in Bruce the first time they met. Batman is his true self; Bruce Wayne is just a mask. John goes as far as telling Bruce he can’t hide who he really is from him because they are the same, made from the same stitch. If John becomes a vigilante, he will fight alongside Batman, but he doesn’t have a code. He is Batman but without the moral compass. He is a reflection of what Bruce could be if he didn’t hold himself back. Telltale’s Batman is the ultimate take on the Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight trilogy was incredible but didn’t delve into the psychological like Telltale’s iteration of Batman/Bruce Wayne. That’s more a limitation of the film medium though as opposed to roughly 20 hours of gameplay for the two seasons of Telltale’s Batman. In fact, Telltale took a lot of the Joker’s origin from The Dark Knight. In essence, there was no origin. He just appeared out of nowhere, with no memory, and no one even knows when he was admitted into Arkham. If he becomes a villain, he creates chaos, much like the Joker in The Dark Knight. The Joker, like John, admires Batman, which shows how much the film did influence the series. The Batman Animated Series is the greatest cartoon of all time but had severe limitations because of regulations. It’s still one of the defining versions of The Dark Knight and set the precedent for Telltale’s Batman. We believed Telltale’s first season of Batman captured the essence of the character. It was hard to believe it could get much better. The Enemy Within has surpassed all expectations. With the ending of the penultimate episode, the Joker either becomes your ally or your greatest adversary. The episode will essentially be two episodes in one and will not have much overlap, containing over three hours of gameplay. It is the most ambitious project Telltale has undertaken, and there’s no doubt they will deliver. Telltale has created the definitive version of Batman, drawing inspiration from the best source material and putting their own twist on it. Batman is the most interesting superhero in the DC and Marvel universes, and Telltale is giving the character the treatment he deserves. He’s the hero we deserve, and Telltale has delved into the psyche of Bruce and Batman like no one before them. Who is the true mask? This season they answered that. Now we’ll have to see how he deals with his dark reflection that he created, the Joker. They were born from the same stitch, and now we’re going to see how that stitch is broken. While several versions of Batman have been great, Telltale takes it to a brand new level and will set the precedent of Batman’s identity for years to come.