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Black Scorpion is a made-for-TV movie that first aired on Showtime in 1995. It was followed by a sequel, Black Scorpion: Aftershock (1997), and a live-action series on the Sci-Fi channel. The latter lasted a single season, running from January to June, 2001. It was very campy, almost like a live-action Silver Age comic book, using deliberately exaggerated and unrealistic characters and events to comic effect. The television series in particular was heavily influenced by the 1960s Batman series. The character was revived for a short-lived 2009 comic book from Blue Water Productions.
After her father is murdered before her eyes, police detective Darcy Walker becomes the vigilante Black Scorpion to avenge him. She is assisted in this goal by a former car thief, Argyle Sims, who turns her car into the Scorpion Mobile and acts as her confident. Other important characters include Darcy's partner, Steve Rafferty, who is determined to capture Black Scorpion (and is more than a little smitten with the crimefighter), the corrupt Mayor Worth, her comically inept fellow officers Specs and Slugger, and their idiot boss Captain Strickland.
Not to be confused with the 1957 giant monster movie of the same name.
Tropes from the films and series include:
- Action Girl: Black Scorpion, of course.
- Adam Westing: Not only did Adam West take over the role of Breathtaker for the series, but Frank Gorshin of 60's Batman fame appeared as Clockwise.
- The Alcoholic: Judge Cheetum in "Crime Time" really likes his martinis, to the point that he keeps preparing one while Black Scorpion and Clockwise battle in his office.
- All Crimes Are Equal: The attitude of a Punisher-like vigilante fittingly called the Angel of Death.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing
- Anti-Villain: Formerly heroic firefighter Inferno's desire to kill the Mayor seems pretty justified -- after slashing the fire department's budget, the Mayor hires an arsonist (his former cellmate!) to burn down numerous buildings in Angel City, which leads directly to Adam's transformation into a man with firestarting touch.
- Bachelor Auction: The episode "No Stone Unturned" features one of these, complete with the guy who thinks he's hot stuff getting a lower than starting bid (Slugger), and a straight guy being won by a gay man (Specs), however while Darcy bids on Love Interest Steve, she loses out to the vengeance-seeking Minerva Stone/Medusa.
- Badass Normal: Being a distaff Expy of Batman, Black Scorpion naturally has no superpowers. But she does have a lot of cool gadgets.
- The Bad Guy Wins: While the villain of the week, a thrash band, are defeated by Black Scorpion, the mayor's plan to use them as a way to win his reelection succeeded.
- Camp: The first film took itself a little more seriously, but the second started to take it Up to Eleven.
- Clock King: Clockwise is one of these, complete with a time-stopping stopwatch.
- Cool Car: The Scorpion Mobile, a bulletproof black Porsche kitted out with a lightning gun (the "Scorpion Sting"), gatling guns, oil slick, and can transform into Darcy's white Corvette.
- Argyle has his own cool car, a classic Cadillac painted in his namesake pattern.
- Cool Pet: Darcy keeps a emperor scorpion in her lair.
- The Cowl: Black Scorpion
Opening Narration: "In the light of day Darcy Walker is a cop, but in the dark of night she becomes Black Scorpion; doing with a mask what she can't do with a badge."
- Create Your Own Villain: Inverted as the the villain of the first film creates the hero by killing her father. Played straight with the mayor in the second film as he ends up turning Dr. Undershaft into Aftershock when his men sabotage her invention. This repeats several times in the series with the mayor's crooked schemes creating several villains.
- Flashpoint is a tabloid photographer obsessed with discovering Black Scorpion's secret identity who is blinded by her energy ring, but his eyesight was restored by advanced laser surgery, making him one of the heroine's most persistent archenemies.
- Cyborg/DarkActionGirl: Aerobicide is a physical fitness themed supervillain enhanced by cybernetics. Unsurprisingly, she's one of the more physically competent villains Black Scorpion faces.
Aerobicide: "I'm an exercise machine!"
- Darker and Edgier: The comic book adaptation is far less campy.
- Dating Catwoman: Darcy and Adam Burns/Inferno.
- Death Is Cheap: Thanks to the city's Mad Scientist odd experiments, most of Black Scorpion's Rogues Gallery don't stay down for long even if killed.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Medusa turns Steve into stone because years ago, after her face was horribly scared by acid, he let her down gently when she threw herself at him.
- Firemen Are Hot: Darcy falls for firefighter Adam Burns, making it all the more tragic when he becomes the supervillain Inferno.
- Frog And The Scorpion: The tale that inspire Darcy to become Black Scorpion.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Black Scorpion is considered a criminal vigilante by the police.
- Hurricane of Puns: In each episode the villain's theme becomes a fountain head for various bad puns from the criminal or Black Scorpion.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Adam Burns/Inferno.
- In-Series Nickname: Argyle has one of these for Darcy; he calls her "Blue" (because she is a cop).
- Karmic Death: Clockwise is killed by one of his own age-inducing bombs.
- Karma Houdini: Despite being the cause of most of the city's problems and the reason for most of its super villains, Mayor Worth remains free and the mayor. It's even lampshaded.
Darcy: "Doesn't matter what happens, he (Mayor Worth) always survives."
- Kiss of Death: The method used by the Angel of Death.
- Kiss of Life: Steve gives one of these to Darcy in "No Stone Unturned."
- Leotard of Power: Black Scorpion wears this, as do all the female supervillains.
- Love Interest: Steve is this for Darcy, but (of course) Steve only has eyes for her alter ego, Black Scorpion.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Phineas Phoenix. Not evil, but certainly mad. The first time we meet him he's working on resurrecting dead supervillains in order to rehabilitate them. He gets the resurrection part right...
- Mayor Pain: Mayor Worth, natch.
- Meaningful Name: Most super villain's real names are a direct reference to their theme/power:
Darcy: A fireman named Burns?
- Minion: Almost all of the supervillains have exactly two of them.
- Most Common Superpower: Black Scorpion really fills out that suit.
- Motive Decay: Inferno's reason for being a Super villain is forgotten due to Dr. Phoenix's attempt to rehabilitate him. Needless to say it didn't work out.
- Ms. Fanservice: Black Scorpion fights crime in what is essentially a one piece bathing suit. The films even feature full frontal nudity.
- Nightmare Sequence: The episode "Out of Thin Air" is full of them, thanks to Breathtaker's plot to flood the city with fear gas.
- Darcy's personal nightmare? Being hunted by her own alter ego.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Argyle in the series. In the films he's merely a former carjacker who tricked out Darcy's car thanks to stuff that Fell Off the Back of a Truck. In the series he's able to develop counter moves to the tech of the Super Villain of the week. Oddly he says he's never been to college.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Captain Strickland is a nice guy, but he's more or less completely incompetent.
- Police Are Useless With the exception of Darcy, and to a lesser extent Steve. Captain Strickland even lampshades it:
Captain Strickland: "Now I know why the Mayor called us incompetent. Because we are!
- Powered Armor: Slapshot uses one which doubles as a Super Wheelchair.
- Psycho Electro: Stunner, formerly the mayor's deputy.
- Rogues Gallery: Naturally, though most seem to want to kill the mayor rather than Black Scorpion. Darcy even lampshades it:
Darcy: It does seem to be a favorite pastime of the super villains in this city.
- Sleazy Politician: Mayor Worth is a prime example. The series takes it even further with the comments of Darcy's coworkers:
Steve: "Who would gain from Mayor Worth's death?"
Captain Strickland: "Mrs. Worth."
Specs: "His kids."
Slugger: "His employees."
Strickland: "The taxpayers."
Slugger: "Plants and animals."
Specs: "Basically future generations."
- Special Guest: The episode "Love Burns" features Dave Mustaine (of Megadeth!) as an arsonist named Torchy Thompson.
- Stock Footage: The TV series was produced by Roger Corman and nearly every episode features stock footage from various Corman films. The car chase sequences are also always the same footage.
- Straw Feminist: Aerobicide is a man-hater with an axe to grind -- she and her minions rob men's clubs. Every male character in the series conveniently becomes a one-episode misogynist when she shows up.
- Taken for Granite: Doing this to people is Medusa's schtick.
- The City: Angel City
- Those Two Guys: Slugger and Specs
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted with Darcy due to her being a cop she is willing to kill when necessary.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Many of Black Scorpion's enemies are these.
- The cyborg Firearm seeks to punish the mayor for passing a bill that would make it easier for citizen's to get the sort of high powered guns that nearly killed - when he learns that the mayor was forced to pass the law by a gun craving public, he goes on a shooting spree to teach the citizens of Angel City that Guns Are Bad.
- Hurricane is an (completely insane) environmental activist who is willing to destroy Angel City to prevent further polluting of Angel Bay.
- Aerobicide destroyed her body trying to live up to chauvinistic beauty standards and now seeks to destroy patriarchy.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Recurring theme in the series. If any character gains a Power from an accident, then insane laughter is sure to follow.
- Yellow Peril: Red Dragon and his goons.
Black Scorpion: "The problem with fighting Chinese gangs is an hour later I wanna fight again."