The Marvel Comics supervillain Batroc (or Batroc the Leaper to friends) plummeted onto the pages of Tales of Suspense #75 (1966) in a Captain America story scripted by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. A 6-feet-tall, 225-pound French mercenary, Batroc (later named Georges Batroc) specializes in a form of kickboxing known as Savate. Although he is most impressive in size and form— he is an Olympic-level weightlifter capable of bench-pressing 500 pounds and boasts acrobaticlike agility and reflexes—he lacks superpowers of any kind. Nevertheless, as a great fighter, Batroc greatly respects his number-one adversary, Captain America, as readers see in Lee and Kirby's second Batroc story (in Tales of Suspense #85), and later in writers Roger Stern's and Mark Gruenwald's Batroc appearances in Captain America. Readers have noted that the Batroc/Captain America fight scene in Tales of Suspense #85 is one of the most dynamic battle scenes that Kirby ever drew. Batroc regards “Cap” as a worthy adversary, the rare individual who can fight at his level of expertise. In part, that is why the supervillain has sometimes joined forces with Cap. The duo teamed up against Hydra in Tales of Suspense #85 (1967). Batroc was also horrified enough by Mr. Hyde's mass murder plot in Roger Stern and John Byrne's Captain America #251–#252 (1980) that he aided Cap in stopping Hyde. For his part, Cap tends to regard Batroc as a nuisance rather than as evil. One can almost envision Lee sitting in his office dreaming up character traits for this amusing super-foil: he speaks with a stereotypical French accent (“Batroc ze Leapair”) and often spouts random French phrases (such as “Sacre Bleu!” and “Zut Alors!”); his English is so garbled that Captain America once remarked, “Who gave you your English lessons? Doctor Doom?” His other physical and personality quirks—including his exaggerated Salvador Dali–like mustache—have made him a testimony to Lee's timeless sense of humor. Batroc fans still fondly recite his classic one-liners, such as, “From zis moment on, Batroc shows you no mercy, comprendez-vous?” Batroc has gone up against many a Marvel hero—he has fought Spider-Man, the Punisher, Deadpool, Hawkeye, Gambit, and Iron Fist—and the honorable rogue continues to make appearances in the twenty-first century, most notably in Captain America.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.