This is one of those times I’m hoping future episodes don’t go bad, so consider this a promotion of the concept and showcasing a rather good pilot that Disney Channel put on their official YouTube channel.
Lucha Libre as superheroes is nothing new. Mexican TV and cinema has used crimefighting wrestlers. Usually in US and Canadian productions the wrestler is playing a character who isn’t a wrestler and battling evil, No Holds Barred aside. Even Bodyslam was about standing up to wrestling heels. Lucha Libre, a style of wrestling almost exclusive to Mexico (some wrestlers have appeared in US organizations and it has a minor following here) in US shows is not new either. The cartoon Mucha Lucha is about a world based on Lucha. While the superheroes of El Tigre aren’t really based in Lucha Libre some of the costumes seems inspired as it’s set around Mexican culture, and boxing as well as circus performers inspired the early US superheroes. Until now the only Lucha-themed superhero show was Los Luchadores.
Now Disney Channel has brought out Ultra Violet And Black Scorpion. The latter was going to be named Black Demon but I guess (A) someone realized that for a kids show it sounded more villainous and (B) someone didn’t tell them about Roger Corman’s superheroine Black Scorpion. She’s not in this. Instead we meet Violet, a rookie luchador superhero who obviously isn’t good at coming up with a superhero name, but that’s the point of the show. Violet, chosen by pink mask to be granted super speed powers, learns that the city’s famous Mexican hero Black Scorpion is her beloved uncle Cruz, and tries to get him to join forces. Based on the pilot episode I just reached in my continued quest to get caught up on my YouTube subscription backlog Cruz needs to learn to not be too serious while Violet needs to stop being not serious enough. I also suspect a theme of family as at least a sub-theme to the show. Check out the pilot if you haven’t seen the show yet and see what you think?
I’m all for using other cultures to explore superheroing concepts, just not with tossing out what already exists. Already Ultra Violet And Black Scorpion fits that bill. Odd that the sidekick/trainee has top billing? It’s a kids show and the focal character is Violet. All the actors are of Mexican decent? Well, yeah, it’s based on luchadores and luchador masks. Of course it should be and maybe Los Luchadores having white and Argentinian actors for Lobo, Turbine, and Maria was the wrong move (Saban made the show in Canada) unless it was worked into their backstory. I’m more forgiving for this in animation than I am in live-action because in voice acting you can be anything. Then again, if you tell me Iron Fist should be played by an Asian person simply because he got his powers from an Asian “Shangra-La” type place you’re stereotyping and need to check out the source material. I take it case by case and here it’s the right move having Latino/Latina actors as they explore Mexican wrestling culture and Latino culture to begin with.
It’s a low-budget Disney Channel superhero comedy. I’m not expecting a whole lot from this production-wise. With that caveat Ultra Violet And Black Scorpion has potential and here’s hoping it lives up to it. It’s up on Disney streaming services like Disney+, Hulu, and if you have cable it’s available on demand, on Disney Channel (of course), and on Disney Now.