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Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced “The Dreaded Diablo!” in Fantastic Four #30 (1964). “After all these decades—Diablo is free to walk the earth once more!” cackles the arrogant alchemist who is liberated from a Transylvanian crypt by none other than the FF's ever-lovin' Thing. This is Esteban Corazan Del Diablo, a ninth-century Spanish nobleman kept young by an immortality serum and imprisoned after dabbling in arcane potions. Controlling the Thing via alchemy and the promise of reverting him to his human form, Diablo divides the Fantastic Four, with the Thing serving as his aide as he amasses a fortune selling youth elixirs, plant-growth formulas, and other wonders. When Diablo's potions prove fraudulent, the Thing rejoins the FF to entomb the villain once more. The vengeful Diablo returned a mere five issues later, controlling the winged, fire-spewing beast called Dragon Man. The horned-cowled Diablo always has something up his sleeve—his paralyzing “somnambumist,” an explosive pellet, or the all-powerful Philosopher's Stone, “the quintessential catalyst of (elemental) transmutation.” He has battled the FF numerous times over the decades, including the “Diablo” episode of the original Fantastic Four animated television series (1967–1970). Diablo remains a serious threat to the FF in the twenty-first century: The alchemist infiltrated the team's headquarters in Fantastic Four #526 (2005) to commandeer Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards' time machine and return to the era of the Spanish Inquisition, with revenge on his mind. Richards outsmarted Diablo, however, allowing the unwitting villain to take charge of the FF's interdimensional portal instead.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.