by Brett White
In one of the more surprising announcements of 2013, Latino Review broke the news that UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre has been cast as Batroc the Leaper in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The announcement comes as a surprise because the sequel is already loaded up with villains like Crossbones (Frank Grillo), Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Batroc’s inclusion in addition to heavy hitters like those three leads me to believe he’ll fulfill more of a henchman role. But since he’s not exactly the most notable of Cap’s adversaries, I thought now would be as good of a time as any to get to know the character.
He’s a bona fide Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation
Yep, the guys that gave us everyone from the Fantastic Four to the X-Men, from the Hulk to Nick Fury, also gave us a French kickboxing bad guy. Batroc first squared off against Cap in “Tales of Suspense” #75 in March 1966. Like most of the Lee/Kirby creations, Batroc has maintained a consistent presence in the Marvel Universe, fighting characters like Deadpool, Hawkeye and Gambit.
Batroc’s Brigade is a thing that exists
If you think that a mustachioed kickboxer clad head-to-toe in purple isn’t intimidating, think again. Despite his appearance, Batroc has enough clout to run with a group that’s named after himself. Starting with the first lineup consisting of Batroc, Living Laser and the Swordsman, the Brigade has been causing Cap problems since 1968.
The man’s got honor
In “Tales of Suspense” #85, the Leaper briefly teamed up with Captain America against Hydra. Sure, it was after he kidnapped Sharon Carter to lure the hero into the terrorist organization’s clutches, but it’s the thought that counts. Once Hydra decided to kill Batroc alongside Captain America and Sharon, Batroc switched sides and called Hydra “men wizout honair.” His honor code came up again when he was hired by an alien named Jakar. He was fine with kidnapping children for the alien, but wasn’t too happy when he learned that their souls would be used to revive the rest of Jakar’s comatose race. Batroc helped Captain America and Falcon defeat Jakar.
He held his own against Batman…for a little while
In the Marvel and DC Comics crossover “JLA/Avengers” #4, Batroc went up against Batman and actually put up a fight. While the majority of the skirmish was depicted off-panel, Batman mentions that he only beat Batroc with great difficulty.
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