|Sketch Up for Malignobot based on Agent Wraith's prop|
|Malignobot is Active|
|Benign Snake found in Auto Port. Taken to a field and released. (They eat mice)|
|Another Failed Attempt to Achieve A Perfect Steak. The Secret WILL be Mine!|
|Proposed Color Palette for "Embrace the Malignance" - based on LM Color Scheme|
An appreciation for Ridiculous Villains
One of the more interesting Villains in comics is Batroc the Leaper, or in Comic Hackneyed French/Engrish "Batrac Ze Lepair". He's been silly, but dependable throughout his appearances, always good for a fight and some scheme or another to vex the hero. But if you think lightly on Batroc, you are missing a fun contextual message.
America has always loved, and I mean truly loved the French, despite how we like to complain about them. One does too! But we never forget that without the French, there would be no America. Our history and theirs are intertwined as we both are with the British. So while we do love the French as our brother nation, - it is this familial relationship that keeps the French reminding us of our hubris sometimes. And because the French know our shared history better it seems than we sometimes do (and will remind us of it at inconvenient moments), we as Americans choose to enjoy some humor at our brother's expense. This is the case with Batroc, and One is sure, somewhere in France there are some ignoble characters of American origin that play out France's love and fascination with America, just as we do with our love and fascination with France. Such is Life!
With Batroc though, we see a little bit of this too. Captain America is the brash and headstrong hero, and would pretty much get away with anything he wanted - Secret Wars - against Galactus, a demigod who eats freaking planets? Ultron - a superintelligent robot encased in indestructible adamantium who shoots lasers from his eyes? Captain America - a guy with no more than a shield leads the charge.
So it's refreshing, that against this squared-jaw paragon of invincibility, that it's the Frenchman Georges Batroc who keeps reminding Captain America just how ridiculous he is;
(the following text is a preview of a comic book series)
When compared to other Captain America villains like the Red Skull, Batroc, with his over exaggerated French accent and obscure martial arts knowledge might come off as a little underwhelming. However, Gillen finds Batroc to be a fun and fascinating member of Cap's rogues gallery. "I like the leaping. The leaping is all right and the man is sporting one hell of a mustache. He's funny too," Gillen remarked. "The way I try to examine his ridiculous French accent is he's almost kind of like Spider-
The majority of Batroc's clashes with Captain America usually end in a painful defeat for the Leaper. Despite this, Batroc keeps coming back for more and still believes his fighting skills are more than a match for Captain America. Gillen finds that confidence to be refreshing. "He's a guy who fights superhumans and knows an obscure French martial art that he's pretty good at. It's given him decent thigh muscles. He gets up in the morning though and says, 'I think I'll fight Captain America today'. He's not like Iron Fist. He wasn't trained by mystical monks. He's a guy who fights at a level where he's out of his league and he stays there. That's what I find interesting about him. You wonder what makes a guy do that," the writer explained. "One of the elements that gets the story moving is that people hire Batroc to fight Captain America because not many people can. He's a guy with a track record. Yes, he may not be able to beat him, but he can fight him. In fact the best you're going to get is somebody who could fight him; because if somebody could actually beat Captain America, there wouldn't be a Captain America."
Batroc is a master of Savate, a French form of kick boxing. In "Captain America and Batroc" Gillen adds another unique French art to the Leaper's bag of tricks, the discipline of Parkour. "The idea of Batroc and Parkour has never been touched on before, but you think a French guy who's famous for his leaps would really be into the whole Parkour thing. That's why the title of this story is called 'Traceur.' A traceur is what a Parkour practitioner would call themselves. I thought about the philosophy of Parkour. It's not a competition. It's not structured in that way. It's about being the best you can be and that's kind of what Batroc is trying to live up to," Gillen said. "He has this moment very early on in the comic where he realizes he's always been a traceur. He thinks, 'It's not about the competition with the guy I'm fighting. It's about physical excellence and living up to it.' That's the stuff that's brewing in his mind as we work to a conclusion. Now despite having said that he is a very arrogant man. He is a guy who chooses to go and fight superhumans."
The superhuman Batroc chooses to fight the most is Captain America and, unlike most villain-hero relationships, Gillen doesn't feel the dynamic between Batroc and the Sentinel of Liberty is one defined by hatred. "He doesn't really hate Captain America. He kind of views himself as better than Cap anyway. He looks at him as sort of a prize," Gillen stated. "It's kind of like going to a gym and seeing how big of a weight you can lift. You think, 'That's a really big weight. I'd like to be able to lift that.' When Captain America is involved Batroc sees a mountain, a challenge. There's that documentary about a French guy who climbs skyscrapers. That guy has a bit of Batroc in him."
While he's had many clashes with Steve Rogers, Batroc has only gone up against the new Captain America, Bucky Barnes, once before. That encounter only reinforced Batroc's desire to fight and eventually take down the symbol that is Captain America. "He knew Steve Rogers and what to expect. This new guy is still a bit of an unknown quality. When this story is set is a little ambiguous because Bucky is on trial right now in 'Captain America.' When I wrote it Batroc didn't know the new Cap was Bucky and was kind of speculating over who this new guy is," Gillen explained. "He knows that it may not be Steve Rogers, but this new Captain America is still somewhat of a Super Soldier. He's not going to be a normal guy like Batroc. There's got to be something else involved like cybernetics, or cloning. He knows that's how they do things with Captain America. They don't just give the title to a guy like Batroc -- who is in his view better than Captain America because he never had to have any artificial help."
Since Gillen's story is told from Batroc's point of view, Captain America will be playing the role of antagonist. "Cap is Apollo Creed in 'Rocky'. You can almost view this story as 'Batrocky.' You get to see him training for the big fight despite not quite being in the world champion's league. That's the shape of the story. Every time Batroc goes to fight Captain America he's sort of like Rocky," Gillen stated. "Plus, I always like it in Marvel Comics when you viewed the heroes from outside. In this situation you'd wonder, how do people feel about fighting Captain America? Scared is the main reaction you'd get. He's Captain America, he's been kicking ass since the 1940s. His antagonists would probably think that their side is going to lose because Cap has beaten up people like them before. Even arrogant people sort of have that feeling. So you get to see how Batroc views Captain America's actions. That will be quite interesting I think."
Portions Shamelessly Screen Clawed courtesy of Comic Book Resources, and written by by Dave Richards, Staff Writer