Real Name: Esteban Corazan del Diablo
AKA: Mr. Oblaid and Al Bido. Easy to remember, huh?
First Appearance: Fantastic Four 30
What's His Problem? Born of Spanish nobility in the ninth century, Esteban Diablo travelled Europe learning the alchemist's trade well beyond changing lead into gold. He eventually discovered how to ward off aging, immensely helping his nine-hundred year reign over a Transylvanian village until the angry locals sealed him in a stone tomb with (snicker) a giant plug. A century later, he coaxed a vacationing Benjamin J. Grimm into releasing him so he could conquer with a vengeance, said vengeance often reserved for a ticked-off Grimm and his Fantastic Friends.
Abilities: In a nutshell, Diablo is a master of the semi-mystical but thankfully-temporary chemistry called alchemy. He has personally used numerous concoctions to prolong his life, disguise himself, or drastically alter his body (for instance, by changing into gas). He also coats his mustache with a fast-healing Elixir of Rejuvenation to suck on. Ewwww, yeck! editor that's-the-most-disgusting-thing-I've-ever-heard-of Jeanne.
Weapons: He has many trick capsules hidden in his costume to be thrown at his enemies. When released, some of the potions within alter matter to make "vines" or monsters out of metal or concrete; Diablo has summoned semi-sentient servants made of the alchemical elements (air, earth, fire and water) and even turned a hospital into his kind of castle. He has also used knock-out and tear gases, solidifying air, explosives, paralytic agents, freezing potions and hypnotic drugs.
Favorite Quote: "You are new to this team. I'd sooner surrender to Power Pack!" (Said to Weapon Omega in Alpha Flight 103, after the team puts the kibosh on some shady international dealing Diablo was trying to finalize in Tierra del Maiz, one of a few troubled Latin American countries he showed interest in.)
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: The Fantastic Four rankle Diablo's mustache to the point where he's vented his anger on Doctor Doom (who banished him to a desolate future) and later She Hulk and the Fantastic Force. After helping the FF capture him, Doctor Strange made the rather lame-brained decision of clouding Diablo's mind and making him a janitor at Stark International, where he later gave Iron Man a workout. There has also been a clash or two with the Avengers and, yes, Alpha Flight.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Amazingly, major governments have been repeatedly suckered by the Spaniard's promises, despite what should be a lousy reputation. (Art imitates life and all.) He has made the Thing, Dragon Man, Crystal and her pet Lockjaw, natives of Terra Verde and Darkoth the Death Demon part of his short-lived fan club through various means. Over a century ago he came to love the one person who truly cared for him, the Englishwoman later called Gilded Lily. Sadly, they broke up after she broke Esteban out of jail only to put him right in front of an angry Alpha Flight; then she disintegrated again. So much for true love running smooth...
Most Despicable Act: When Canada's visiting super-group opposed his latest equatorial endeavor, Diablo took the opportunity to put Heather Hudson's shrunken body in a beaker with her normal-sized head sticking, calling it "Better Dieting through Alchemy." Years before, he healed the dying man-monster Darkoth (once Ben Grimm's good friend Desmond Pitt) to the point where he needed Diablo's special elixir to stay alive, a method that smacks of drug-dealing.
And Now, From The Can't-Win-'Em-All Department: "But I couldn't think of anything to do with Diablo... I don't even remember what the story was now, but I know I hated it. Diablo was the one character I felt I had totally and completely failed. If anybody mentions Diablo I have absolutely no remembrance... I don't know who he was or where he came from or what he was trying to do or why he was trying to do it, and I couldn't care less. He was a character I had made up and I was totally uninterested in him, and I think that is when the character, villain or hero, fails." Stan Lee -- Wizard's The Dark Book (vol. 1), 1994. You might think this kind of blows the whole bio out of the water, but considering how the closest thing to a parent just gave up on him like that, is it any wonder poor Esteban went bad?
by Ray Schaff
Fantastic Four 223
Iron Man 159