Comic Book / Le Scorpion

Le Scorpion (2000-) is a Franco-Belgian comics series written by Stephen Desberg, illustrated by Enrico Marini and published by Dargaud in French and Cinebook in English as The Scorpion.

The story takes place in Rome during the second half of the eighteenth century. Cardinal Trebaldi decides to reinstate the power of the nine families, based on papacy. Armando Catalano, also known as The Scorpion, is a holy relics dealer. He is the son of a heretic who was burnt alive for misdirecting a priest from the church and Christian beliefs. Armando, the bearer the “mark of the devil”, a birthmark in the shape of a scorpion, will challenge the cardinal’s authority. The cardinal, who seems to be filled with hatred for The Scorpion, sends a young gypsy specialized in poisons to kill him.

The adventures of the Scorpion lead him to the treasure of the Templars and to discover an interpretation of what might have happened to it.

Le Scorpion contains examples of:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Armando is more of an adventurer tomb robber, but the science of archaeology hasn't been invented yet.
  • Agent Peacock: The foppish and vain Neoli Trebaldi is a deadly swordsman with few equals.
  • Bar Brawl: Armando starts one between the warrior monks and the Swiss Guard in In the Name of the Father so he and his allies can slip out of the bar without being seen by the monks.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Armando has a scorpion-shaped mark on his back. It's actually a scar.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The title of the third French album, "La croix de Pierre" has been translated as "The Stone Cross", where it's pretty clear that the original title refers to the upside-down cross of St. Peter (Pierre meaning both "stone" or "rock" and Peter, which you know, make sense since Peter was given that name since he would be the Rock upon which the Church would be built...) and finding the original Cross of Saint Peter is what the whole album was about The Scorpion needs to find the original to prove that the upside-down cross Trebaldi is using to establish his claim to the Papacy is a forgery. Adding insult to injury, the word "Pierre" in the original title is capitalized, which given French title capitalization conventions means it's a proper name and a lot of the titles are explicitly religious, like "Au Nom du pere"... "In the name of the father."
  • Burn the Witch!: Armando's mother was burnt as a witch by the Inquisition for misdirecting a priest from the church and his Christian duties.
  • Cain and Abel and Seth: late in the series it is revealed that Trebaldi and Neoli may have an illegitimate half-sibling.
  • Carnival of Killers: In The Mask of Truth, Cardinal Trebaldi puts a 1,000 gold coin price of the Scorpion's head. Every assassin in Rome tries to claim it.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Armando experiences one at the beginning of The Stone Cross.
  • The Charmer: Armando. He could easily be The Casanova but sex is not his primary goal. It's just another weapon in his arsenal.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Done twice The Angel's Shadow. First Armando disguises himself as a warrior monk as part of a Trojan Prisoner gambit to gain access to the Vatican dungeons. Later, he and Hussar disguise themselves as Warrior Monks to steal a shipment of gold.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Hussar's first name is Aristotle. His father thought it would help him become a great philosopher.
  • The Faceless: Rochnan's face is not revealed until The Treasure of the Templars; his face being concealed by his armoured helmet before this. And he falls to death not long after the reveal.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Scorpion sometimes uses a grappling hook crossbow.
  • Handy Cuffs: In The Mask of Truth, Neoli Trebaldi uses the shackles around his wrists to strangle the warrior monk who is guarding him.
  • High Dive Escape: The Scorpion does it to escape from Trebaldi's castle in The Stone Cross.
  • Human Notepad: In The Treasure of the Templars, it is revealed that Rochnan was punished for pretending to convert to Islam by having the 99 names of Allah tattooed over his body.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Scorpion eventually learns that Trebaldi is his father.
    • Which in turn is subverted and becomes a case of Luke, I Might Be Your Father... at the end of one volume, it would appear that actually, Trebaldi is not his father, and the Scorpion is being led away to meet his true father. Maybe he is the Devil's son after all?
    • And now it's revealed Trebaldi, Nelio and Armando are all half-brothers, after Trebaldi senior raped Trebaldi's girl.
  • The Murder After: In In the Name of the Father, Neoli Trebaldi wakes up to find his lover lying dead next to him. This is not an attempt to frame him for murder, but a warning from his father that he can get to him anywhere.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: Several of Mejai's poisons are shown to be acidic. Armando uses one to burn through the ropes holding him at one point.
  • Red Baron: Armando is universally known as 'the Scorpion'.
  • Scars Are Forever: The scorpion mark is actually a scar from when the main character was a baby.
  • Slave Brand / Mark of Shame: All of the prostitutes in Armando's hometown were branded with a 'P' by order of the local bishop.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In The Angel's Shadow, Armando and Mejai pull this stunt (with Armando dressed as a Warrior Monk) to gain access to the Vatican dungeons to rescue Hussar.
  • Wall Bang Her: Armando takes Ansea like this when she offers herself to him in In the Name of The Son.