batroc ze lepair

Tales of Suspense #75
By Stan Lee and Dick Ayers (Layouts by Jack Kirby)
March 1966

A shadowy cabal demonstrates the city-destroying power of an element known as Inferno 42, cackling over the fact that their operative, a man known only as Batroc, will soon procure a cylinder of it for them to… er… destroy the city.

(Side Note: They demonstrate this by building a scale model of Manhattan in an aquarium-sized box, then constructing a miniature hot air balloon to float down upon the city with a sub-microscopic quantity of the Inferno 42. If you think that sounds like a lot of work to prove a point, then you’re not alone.)

Meanwhile, having been rescued from the Atlantic by a fishing boat after taking out the Sleepers, Steve Rogers sulks around Avengers HQ, bemoaning the loss of people from his past. He decides to walk amongst the public to keep from feeling alone.

While walking in the city, he bumps into a woman he thinks he recognizes carrying a cylinder. She’s “accidentally” bumped into by another man (lots of bumping this issue) who switches cylinders. The man runs off, only to be accosted by Batroc The Leaper!

Batroc does his whole kick-people-repeatedly-in-the-face thing, Cap sorta fights him a bit, the phrases “Zut Alors!” and “Sacre Bleu!” make their expected appearances, and they both find out the man’s cylinder is a fake. Batroc warns Cap that the woman he bumped into earlier is carrying the real Inferno 42, and that she’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D! The two then run off to find her.

Sensational Character Find Alert: Yep, folks, this is the first appearance of the oft-mocked Batroc The Leaper, correctly pronounced as Batroc Ze Lepair. Master of “La Savatte, the French art of boxing with the feet”, he’s a mercenary with a ridiculous moustache, outfit, and accent.

Sensational Character Find Alert 2: I do believe that the woman in question in this issue will turn out to be Sharon Carter in her first appearance, a relative of Cap’s long-lost love Peggy Carter.

Goldbrickin’ Yardbird Alert: Folks, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t smile when an entire panel was devoted to Cap remembering good ol’ Sergeant Duffy, “the wonderful wild noncom who swore that Steve Rogers was the most fouled up G.I. of all time”.