When a normal or not-as-powerful rival needs to take down someone with a super power, the attacker is commonly going to use a stun gun. Something about the shock to the nervous system renders the victim unable to access his powers long enough for the attacker to get the drop on him.
It seems especially useful on vampires.
Note: This can be inverted or subverted only if the charge is meant to incapacitate and fails somehow. Simply getting a shock that empowers or has no effect at all doesn't count as a real inversion or subversion.
Anime & Manga
- Early in Pokémon, Team Rocket often came out with Humongous Mecha, robots, etc. that generally proved explosively vulnerable to Pikachu's electricity. Eventually they got smart and started designing their machines to withstand or even be supercharged by electric attacks.
- A minor early antagonist in A Certain Scientific Railgun incapacitated powerful Espers with a stun gun. It was less than effective on Mikoto
- Blade: Used on the daywalker by Quinn and his cronies, all of whom Blade has made a hobby of thrashing.
- Inverted, played with in Crank, in which shocks are the only way the main character can continue to live or perform his fighting feats.
- Inverted in The Avengers: When Thor attempts to short circuit Iron Man's suit, it momentarily super charges it instead.
- Ancillary materials to Attack of the Clones reveal that the energy cage in which the Geonosians held Obi-wan exerts a constant low-level electrical charge on the prisoner, which has the side effect of rendering Force users unable to concentrate enough to use their powers.
- In Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, the Brethren use electric sticks to fend off the faceless nurses.
- In the movie ''Jumper, the Cape Busters Paladins use strings of high voltage wires to prevent Jumpers from using their teleportation power to escape.
- In Thor, a Brought Down to Normal Thor was ironically knocked out by Darcy's taser.
- Subverted in the New Jedi Order series. During an otherwise successful attempt to capture a Yuuzhan Vong infiltrator on Coruscant, Mara Jade Skywalker hits him with multiple stun shots from her blaster with no effect whatsoever. Medical scans of the prisoner later on reveal that redundancies in the Yuuzhan Vong nervous system render them invulnerable to stun shots
- Subverted in the first Dresden Files novel. While wizards are normally just as vulnerable to mundane weapons as any other human, being one also makes you a Walking Techbane. So when he's threatened with a stun gun by the Big Bad's untrusting wife, Harry is easily able to disable it although it would easily take him down if she managed to hit him with it.
- A variant in Charlie Stross's The Laundry Series: zombies are very difficult to bring down with gunfire, being essentially Energy Beings that have taken up residence in a human's nervous system (or the informational echo of a long-deceased human's nervous system, they're not picky). They are, however, susceptible to electrical charges: a cultist wielding a taser manages to banish a preta inhabiting a body this way. (The OCCULUS unit, Britain's elite counter-occult special forces drawn from the SAS Reserves, ups the ante with modified cattle prods hooked up to signal generators instead of delivering white-noise electric shocks.)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Initiative uses taser blasters as a standard issue weapon for it's human soldiers to capture subhumans, who would normally prey on even the strongest and most well-trained humans.
- In Heroes, agents with The Company use tasers to subdue super powereds.
- During one episode of Supernatural, one is used on Kate, a vampire.
- During the third season finale of Angel, Connor uses a taser to subdue Angel and capture him.
- Subverted with a non-plot-relevant prisoner in the opening of an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The prisoner is hopped up on PCP and breaks loose from the officers trying to restrain him. Another officer hits him with a taser; he collapses, then gets back up, and is finally subdued by half a dozen officers dogpiling him.
- A fan movie based on Batman, titled as Death of Batman. While the battle against a simple criminal started with Curb-Stomp Battle from Batman, the criminal is a Combat Pragmatist who doesn't hesitate to play dirty. He used stun-gun to taser Batman's groin! Although this isn't immediately incapacitate the dark knight, it's enough to make him let his guard down, allowing the criminal to knee him in that sensitive area. Watch!
- The Legend of Korra: The Lieutenant, who supports Amon's claim that Benders use their powers to control and frighten non-benders, uses electrified kali sticks to incapacitate said Benders.
- In the DCAU, Superman was commonly inconvenienced by being electrocuted, however since the character is a Flying Brick the only thing electricity do is stun him-and at best knock him out.