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By Marc Strom
The new Captain America should consider brushing up on his French
With CAPTAIN AMERICA #43 on October 22, series writer Ed Brubaker, joined by guest artist Luke Ross, brings a villain near and dear to many fans' hearts across the new Cap's path: Batroc the Leaper.
Brubaker says the villainous Frenchman's encounter with Cap comes about as the result of one thing: "Work, plain and simple. Batroc is a mercenary and that's what has always been so cool about him. He's a suave guy with a sense of style, who will kick your teeth in for five thousand bucks."
For the last year-and-a-half, Cap has fought a prolonged battle against the Red Skull and his cohorts. With that war on hold for the time being, Brubaker had to find the next nemesis for Cap to face, and he says picking Batroc proved easy.
"I would have used Batroc before, but all the Pepe le Pew dialogue he's spouted over the years scared me off," the writer explains. "I've always thought he was a cool Cap rogue, though, and I like his emergence from that early Cap history, when they were very much using Cap the way I do, as a pseudo-espionage book. That's why Batroc was a merc."
After he decided upon Batroc, however, Brubaker still had to figure out how he would portray the character, who has previously had more of a comedic bent at times.
"The challenge that [series editor] Tom Brevoort gave me when he found out that I'd been wanting to use Batroc all this time but steered clear was to do a story that redefines him a bit, that makes people take him seriously," Brubaker remembers.
"I thought on that for a while and came up with what I thought was a way to do that, and Luke redesigned his outfit a bit, keeping the basic design—and pink/purple is a hard color to be taken seriously in, by the way—and making it a bit more military-
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looking. It's similar to what [Steve] Epting did with Crossbones."
Since his first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE #75, Batroc has maintained a cult following of sorts, something which Brubaker ascribes to one simple reason:
"He's a cool character. He just is. But he's also got that cult following because of the goofy elements, too. You don't know how hard it's been not to have him call himself 'Batroc Ze Leap-air!' in every scene he's in."
And while the upcoming story-arc will feature Batroc, Brubaker teases that he isn't the only villain in the story.
"I will say that Batroc isn't the big bad guy in this story—but I won't say who is."
Check out CAPTAIN AMERICA #43 when it leaps into stores on October 22 and read Batroc's first appearance right now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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