Esteban Corazón de Ablo was born into Spanish nobility sometime in the 9th century. During his youth he became interested in the art of alchemy. After the death of his father, de Ablo used his vast family fortune to fund his quest to master these ancient arts. Much of Esteban's accounts of these early years are rife with contradictions and conflicting accounts. He began to travel Europe to learn what he could from the ancient masters of alchemy. He eventually became a master of the craft himself. He became an expert in Scholomantics, and Corpus Heremeticum. In 1094 AD he used his talents to assist El Cid conquer the Spanish city of Valencia. Although El Cid's soldiers did not trust him, Esteban was considered a valuable asset to his conquests. El Cid suggested that de Ablo's powers rivaled God's own. Esteban disagreed, but soon became determined to attain that level of powers. Esteban continued his quest to attain godhood, obtaining the Citrinitas and Rubedo, among other artifacts but his goal continued to allude him.
Seeking immortality to continue his ends, Esteban found that Alchemy had it's limitations that the transmutative properties were only temporary. Turning to sorcery, Esteban learned the dark arts and eventually succeeded in contacting the demon Mephisto to grant his dark desires. At the cost of his immortal soul, Esteban was given the secrets of his Elixir Vitae which granted him near immortality, but he was still frustrated with the limitations of alchemy and sought to overcome it. It was about this time that Esteban began calling himself Diablo, and began terrorizing the people of his era with his abilities.
Diablo soon gained some powerful enemies during this period, including the Order of the Deacons, as well as Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. At some point during this period, Diablo briefly held and lost the Philosopher's Stone, a powerful Alchemal artifact that could transmute mater with no apparent limitations. Despite all his power, Diablo's enemies were many and he was soon forced to flee Spain, apparently losing the Philosopher's Stone in the process. Diablo then continued to travel the globe learning as much as he could about Alchemy, no longer limited by mere mortality. Sometime in the 15th Century, Diablo found himself on the island of Boriquén on the Caribbean Sea. There he was welcomed by the people there. Esteban found a brief period of peace among these people who embraced all who came to their land. He embraced the Saladoid culture, and became a member of the Taino tribe. Diablo's peace came to an end when the voyages of Christopher Columbus landed on the island sometime around the year 1498. Spanish forces committed genocide on the Boriquén people. Horrified, Diablo fought back against the invaders slaying all those who came onto the island. With the Spanish forced from the shores, Diablo appoint himself defender of the land, but resumed his travels across the world.
Diablo eventually settled in the land of Transylvania, where he continued to hone his abilities and terrorized the locals. Diablo has hinted that he had made a pact with the Vampires that lived in the region, and possibly Dracula himself, who was lord of the vampires at the time. Diablo spent the coming centuries cementing his power base here and the citizens of the land lived in fear of his power. On Halloween of the year 1810, a woman named Absynthia van Mort whose husband had just passed away, sought a means of being reunited with her husband. She took to the dark arts to try and resurrect him, but she succeeded only in summoning Diablo who had claimed to have come to aid her. Diablo provided her with the tools she thought she'd need to resurrect her husband, and also offered her what he claimed was a potion that would end her life should she failed so she could at least be with her husband in the afterlife. The woman fell for what turned out to be a trick, as Diablo intentionally set her up to fail. When Absynthia could not resurrect her husband she injected herself with the potion and was too late to learn that it instead granted her with immortality. Absynthia then watched as those she cared for died while she turned into a green skinned monstrosity that would endure for all eternity. In 1875 a woman named Lillian von Loont entered into Diablo's life after a horse carriage accident that took the life of her husband. Nursing her back to health, Diablo and Lillian fell in love and he began teaching her the art of Alchemy.
It was around this time that the villagers had enough of Diablo's reign of terror and a mob was formed to deal with him once and for all. Another account states that Diablo was tracked down by the Order of the Deacons as well. Whatever the case, the cited end result has always been the same, that Diablo was mystically sealed in his castle and trapped therein for centuries. To date there are no records of Diablo's imprisonment being disturbed until sometime in the 1970s. During that period Diablo's castle was found by the vampire known as Nocturne who sought the artifacts in Diablo's castle to reverse some of the weaknesses inherent in vampirism. He was opposed by the costumed heroes Black Fox and the Pixie as well the sorcerer Doctor Strange. During the battle Diablo reached out to the intruders in his home trying to coerce them into releasing him. Ultimately, Black Fox and Pixie defeated Nocturne, who escaped. With Diablo dangerously close to escaping himself, Doctor Strange used his mystical powers to strengthen the mystical bonds that kept Diablo a prisoner.
Apparently, about 20 years prior to the modern age, Diablo got involved in a New York City building project planned by businessmen Bernie Mayer and Dexter Bennett. Diablo provided Mayer with steel created through alchemy at incredibly low prices. They then took out an insurance policy on the building hoping to cash in when the alchemy solution reversed and the building would appear to collapse due to an "act of god". Unaware of this scheme, and not liking how Mayer obtained steel so cheaply, he bought himself out and backed out of the building project. How Diable managed to broker this deal while he was apparently still imprisoned has yet to be explained.
Diablo did not break free from his prison until a few years into the modern age when the Fantastic Four traveled to Transylvania on vacation. When the Four discovered Diablo's castle the locals warned them to stay away and told them the legend of the place. Reaching out to the Fantastic Four's Thing Diablo tricked the Thing into freeing him under the false promise of restoring him to human form. To "make good" on his offer, Diablo partially restored Ben's human form. When the Fantastic Four later came to return Diablo to his prison, Ben was loyal to the Alchemist and fought off his own teammates in order to attain his long sought humanity. Diablo then began offering the governments of the world Alchemy based solutions to problems like national defense, famine and drought, enslaving the people of Transylvania to create the massive amount of chemicals needed to perform these feats. When it turned out that Diablo's offerings were only temporary in nature the Fantastic Four went after him again. They were joined by the Thing, who also realized the folly of following Diablo. When the rest of the Fantastic Four were captured, the Thing broke free and battled Diablo. When the Alchemist fled into the chamber where he was trapped for centuries, Ben sealed it and destroyed the castle. In an attempt to ensure that Diablo remained trapped, the Fantastic Four's Human Torch melted the rubble into slag, seemingly trapping Diablo forever.
Unfortunately to the world at large, this imprisonment proved only temporary. Shortly thereafter the Fantastic Four's Mister Fantastic and Invisible Girl were getting married. The wedding was without conflict as the Four's arch-nemesis Doctor Doom developed an "Emotion Changer" device that manipulated an army of super-villains to attack the wedding. This device also affected Diablo, who somehow escaped his prison and attacked the wedding. The villains were pushed back by the various super-heroes who were in attendance of the wedding and Diablo was involved in the massive brawl. Ultimately, Reed Richards was given a "time displacement" device by the Watcher which sent all the villains back to where they came with no memory of their attack on the wedding. Diablo eventually freed himself from his prison and teleport himself to America in the hopes of getting revenge against the Fantastic Four. To this end he learned of Professor Gregson Gilbert's who had created an android dubbed the Dragon Man at State University. Diablo's arrival coincided with a visit to the campus by the Fantastic Four, whose member the Human Torch was joining the student body. Confronting Greigson, Diablo forced him to assist in bringing the Dragon Man into artificial life with a combination of Alchemy and science. While the creature was mostly under Diablo's control it developed an infatuation with the Invisible Girl. This proved to be Diablo's undoing and he attempted to flee across Dead Man's Lake by freezing the surface, but the added weight of Dragon Man caused the ice to break and the pair were caught in the whirlpools caused by caverns below the water. Diablo was sucked under the current and was assumed to have drowned.
Diablo easily survived and began searching for the Dragon Man again, locating it just as it was turned over to Goliath of the Avengers for study. Turning the outside of Goliath's lab into gold, Diablo was able to sneak in amid a frenzied mob and incapacitated Goliath's assistant Bill Foster, then used his skills to reactivate the Dragon Man. Goliath and his girlfriend the Wasp tried to stop him, and were later joined by the other Avengers, but ultimately Diablo gained the upper hand by taken the Wasp hostage and threatening her life. With no other choice, Goliath agreed to work for Diablo to save Jan's life and Diablo fled with the captive heroes as his prisoners. Diablo then put Goliath to work creating an army of Dragon Men while he ordered the original creature to keep Jan a prisoner. This scheme was soon foiled thanks to the arrival of the Avengers who tracked Diablo back to his hideout in Transylvania. While Hercules rescued Jan, the other Avengers -- with the sudden arrival of Captain America -- won the day. With the Dragon Man seemingly destroyed in a flow of lava, Diablo was taken prisoner and turned over to the authorities.
Diablo later began working on a formula to transform the salt of New York's salt mines into an addictive drug as it would mean having an infinite supply. Once he achieved this, he called various drug runners to the mine, explained his plan and offered them a chance to participate. However, they were interrupted by the vigilante Daredevil. After he took out the criminals, Diablo threw some salt at Daredevil, overloading his enhanced senses. Diablo then enlarged his hand and beat Daredevil before attempting to flee. However, Daredevil was able to use his overloaded radar sense to track and apprehend Diablo, leaving him tied to be found by the police.
Escaping captivity, Diablo sought to enlist the aid of Doctor Doom in a bid to conquer the world. To this end, he kidnapped Doom's childhood love Valeria as a bargaining chip to convince Doom to join forces. Diablo then suggested that they use Doom's Time Platform to conquer the world in a past era, or to threaten the modern age with advanced weapons from the future. Instead Doom decided against Diablo's mad plot, and when the master Alchemist attempted to use Doom's time machine without him, he fell for Doom's trap and found himself transported to the distant future of Earth-69520 where all life on Earth had been wiped out by some long ago war, leaving Diablo ruler of a dead world.
Revenge Against Doom
Diablo was trapped in this future for months until the chance arrival of the Inhuman, and long time Fantastic Four associate, known as Crystal was teleported to this time by her dog Lockjaw. Diablo easily incapacitated Crystal and Lockjaw and made them his slaves. Forcing them to return him to the modern era, Diablo sought to get revenge against Doctor Doom for stranding him in the far future. To this end, Diablo sought to take over the nation of Terra Verde by convincing the locals that Crystal was the Ahau goddess Ixchel, and leading a revolt against the totalitarian regime in the region. The Human Torch, Crystal's boyfriend at the time, discovered where Crystal was located and came seeking her after learning that Diablo held her as his slave. Although Diablo removed Terra Verde's dictator, General Robles, thanks to the interference of the Human Torch against his armies, his plan soon began to crumble when the rest of the Fantastic Four arrived at the scene. His battle with the FF lasted too long and the potions used to enslave Crystal and Lockjaw wore off. Diablo also lost support of the people of Terra Verde when the potion that made the Ahau temples return to their ruined state. In a final struggle with General Robels, a vial of explosive liquids struck his supply of chemicals causing a massive explosion that destroyed the temple and seemingly slew Diablo.
Diablo survived the blast by transmuting his body into gas, but was disbursed in the blast. He managed to reconstitute himself months later outside a former nuclear test facility which was conveniently stocked with chemicals that Diablo could use for his schemes. As fate would have it, Diablo witnessed the planet fall of the creature known as Darkoth. Diablo used his chemical mixtures to revive the creature and make Darkoth it's slave. Learning that Doom had infiltrated NASA and altered their plans for a new solar shuttle so that he could leech the solar energy collected, Diablo decided to use this plan for his own ends. By this time, the Fantastic Four had temporarily split up and the Thing was hired by NASA to pilot the solar collector. Diablo sent Darkoth to attack the facility and tip Ben and NASA off to possible tampering, but leaving them unaware that the plans were tampered with so that they could not visibly find anything wrong and continue with the launch. Darkoth also fought against Diablo's mind control to try and warn the Thing, as Darkoth was secretly his long time friend Desmond Pitt, but the Thing was not easy to believe the warnings and went on the launch anyway. With the solar collector in space, Diablo had the energy channeled to his base of operations and trapped the Thing in the hopes he would die from the powerful energies passing through the ship to Earth. However, with some unknown help from Darkoth, Ben managed to sabotage the ship and send it on a crash landing on Earth, foiling Diablo's plans to collect solar energy to use against Doctor Doom. The Thing survived the crash and tracked Diablo down to his secret headquarters. There he was forced to battle Darkoth who managed to fight free of Diablo's control. Diablo responded by exposing Darkoth to a gas that would slowly kill him, but the repentant monster seemingly sacrificed his life to destroy the solar energy that Diablo had collected. Diablo was once again seemingly vanquished in the blast.
Back to Basics
Diablo laid low during the ensuing months and during this time the Fantastic Four got back together. Taking on the guise of "Mr. Olbaid" he rented out a room in New York City while he prepared to take revenge against his foes. While under cover, Diablo traveled the world and stole four statues representing the elements of fire, earth, wind and water. Using these tailsmen, Diablo unleashed his Elements of Doom on the Fantastic Four. Earth attacked the Invisible Girl, Water attacked the Thing, Air went against the Human Torch, and Fire opposed Mister Fantastic. The Fantastic Four defeated the Elementals by switching opponents. Reed eventually discovered Diablo's machinations and tracked him down with the help of Dr. Strange and apprehended him.
While in the Fantastic Four's custody, Diablo attempted to escape but Doctor Strange used his powers to teleport Diablo away. The mystic then used his powers to put Diablo in the false identity of Al Bido, and placed him as a janitor working for Stark International. This proved to be only a temporary situation as "Al Bido's" memories began to return when he watched Stark scientists working with chemicals. Diablo's personality restored itself when he helped complete a complex chemical experiment. Restoring himself, Diablo then began attacking Stark International, prompting Iron Man to come to the company's aid. Diablo's power was no match for the technologically based Iron Man, who bested all of Diablo's attacks including animated forms of his previous models of armor. Diablo's attack ultimately failed when he incapacitated Iron Man in ice and attempted to remove his helmet, getting a jolt of electricity that knocked him out. Iron Man then contacted the Fantastic Four who took Diablo into custody and turned him over to the authorities. During Diablo's time in prison, the Canadian super-hero group known as Alpha Flight battled his immortal lover Lillian von Loont, now calling herself Gilded Lilly. The battle ended with the destruction of Lilli's mortal body. Alpha Flight then turned her home off the coast of British Columbia into their new headquarters, Mansion Alpha.
Not long after this, the powerful being known as the Beyonder came to Earth. This made various cosmic beings nervous including Mephisto, who had encountered the Beyonder previously. Using a portion of the Beyonder's own power Mephisto created a device called the Beyondersbane which he hoped to destroy his powerful foe. He then gathered an army of super-villains offering them their heart's desire to act as a conduit for the Beyondersbane. Diablo was one of the many villains gathered and unleashed upon the Beyonder who was spending time in isolated tranquility on a deserted island. Diablo and the others were held at bay by the Thing, the only hero approached by and agreed to help Mephisto. The Thing kept the villains at bay long enough for the Beyondersbane to hit critical mass and self-destruct ending Mephisto's plot. With the plan to slay the Beyonder foiled, Mephisto returned his Legion Accursed back to where they belong.
Eventually the spirit of Gilded Lilly returned to her home to find that Alpha Flight had taken up residence within. Wanting revenge, she used her knowledge of Alchemy to break Diablo out of prison with an elemental of electricity. Having grown tired of being constantly battling super-heroes Diablo initially refused to help Lilly until he learned that she intended to possess the body of Alpha Flight's female member Aurora. Finding her attractive, Diablo agreed to help and created the needed potion to allow Lilly to possess Aurora's body. Alpha Flight intervened and Aurora got hold of the potion, forcing Lilly to drink it destroying her spirit form. Soundly defeated, Diablo surrendered to Alpha Flight and he was turned over to the RCMP. Breaking out of prison again, Diablo focused his attentions back on the Fantastic Four. Learning that Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman were leaving the group to raise their son Franklin Richards, Diablo chose this opportunity to attack the group. He attacked the team with his recreated Elementals of Doom, but once again the Four managed to defeat these creatures. Diablo was then felled himself when the Thing's ally Ms. Marvel knocked him out with a single punch. With Diablo defeated, the Richards family left the group, leaving behind Ms. Marvel and Crystal as replacements. Diablo was hospitalized with fourteen broken bones and a ruptured spleen. However when left alone, Diablo healed himself with one of his potions and took over the hospital. The new Fantastic Four team stormed Diablo's make-shift fortress and using teamwork eventually defeated Diablo, turning him over to the authorities once again.
Diablo soon sought to take over the world by gaining control over the ozone layer. To this end, he attempted to take control of the Sky-Island of the Bird People to use it's technological marvels to first patch up the hole in the ozone layer and then enslave the world by threatening to re-open it unless he was made ruler of the Earth. When the Sub-Mariner discovered that Diablo had taken control of the city, Diablo attempted to appeal to Namor's then-current attempts to protect the environment. Namor was convinced of Diablo's deception by the Red Raven. Diablo then reanimated what he thought were the corpses of the Bird People, including the original Red Raven to defend himself. Diablo was forced to abandon his mission when Namor impaled him through the heart. Diablo had to flee and was out of commission for some time to grow a replacement heart.
Diablo resurfaced a short time later, this time taking over the nation of Tierra del Maiz in yet another scheme to manipulate the world stage. This time he had offered the world's government a supply of artificially made Vibranium in order to be allowed to take over the country without any opposition from the United Nations. The only country that sought to oppose this was Canada who sent their agents, Alpha Flight, on a covert mission to expose the atrocities that Diablo was undertaking there. To this end, Alpha Flight had to take down communication jammers but ran afoul of Diablo's forces and defenders provided by the UN, including US Agent. In their attempts to take down Diablo, Alpha Flight's Vindecator and Weapon Omega were captured by Diablo. Alpha Flight eventually freed themselves and destroyed the communications relays, then attacked Diablo as he made his presentation to UN delegates who had come to make a deal. After Alpha Flight exposed that Diablo's faux Vibranium would only work temporarily, Diablo unleashed his composite creature the Elematrix, but the Alphans defeated the creature. Although Weapon Omega seriously injured Diablo with his own Alchemal pellets, Diablo still managed to escape. When Diablo learned that his long lost Diabolique Cache had been discovered and put on display at the New York Museum of Natural History, he took the place of the museum curator in order to recover it. However, his presence was detected by Spider-Man, who was at a private showing of the Cache in his civilian guise of Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker. He returned that night as Spider-Man, and had to face off against various reanimated statues that Diablo put in place to defend the Cache. Diablo recovered a sacred chalice from the cache and attempted to tempt Spider-Man into joining him by offering to use it to resurrect dead loved ones. Spider-Man refused the offer and fought Diablo until museum security arrived. With Diablo seemingly fled, Spider-Man also left the scene. However Diablo had really turned himself invisible. When he reappeared after the authorities left, he was too late to stop a alchemal process that destroyed the challis and the other artifacts after a few centuries of disuse. His plans foiled again, Diablo vowed to get revenge against Spider-Man.
Learning of the so-called Elements of Doom that battled the Avengers in a Russian nuclear reactor, Diablo freed the creatures and they joined forces with him. Diablo then traveled to the nation of Wakanda to try and secure Vibranium to create a new Elemental based on the rare metal. Although Diablo succeeded in creating a Vabranium elemental out of the Wakandan known as Baru, Diablo and the elements were ultimately stopped by the Avengers who had come to Wakanda to celebrate the anniversary of their formation. While Baru destroyed the Elements, Diablo fled the nation to scheme anew.
Learning that he could break free from Mephisto's hold on him, Diablo began setting plans in motion when he learned how Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman's son Franklin was able to defeat Mephisto with his mutant powers. However at the time that Diablo was preparing to utilize this plan, Franklin has been replaced with his Earth-6311 Counterpart, also known as Psi-Lord, who had formed his own group called the Fantastic Force. Diablo obtained the aid of a demon for this purpose, in the hopes of taking over Hell itself, unaware that the demon he was working with was secretly Mephisto himself.
In order to get at Franklin, Diablo posed as a homeless war veteran in order to get close to long time Fantastic Four associate the She-Hulk. With She-Hulk under his thrall, Diablo had her attempt to steal a statue called the Guardsman of Chthon. The Fantastic Force stopped her, and Diablo temporarily freed her from his control. The Fantastic Force erroneously believed that the Puppet Master, another long time Fantastic Four foe, was responsible for the attack. Although they were proved wrong, the group did not learn who the real mastermind was until it was too late. Diablo then began monitoring the Fantastic Force's activities through his thrall the She-Hulk in order to keep tabs on the group while preparing for the right time to strike. When the Fantastic Force appeared to be at their lowest point, Diablo had She-Hulk invite the group into their home and lit a candle that knocked them out allowing Diablo to take them prisoner. With the other members of Fantastic Force incapacitated and held prisoner, Diablo tricked Psi-Lord into the realm of Abyss using a simulacrum of his aunt Huntara to manipulate him into doing Diablo's bidding. The other members of Fantastic Force managed to free themselves and defeat Diablo, while Psi-Lord exposed the deception and returned to the Earth dimension. Seeking escape, Diablo jumped through Psi-Lord's portal and ended up trapped in the Abyss surrounded by the very demons he hoped to command.
Escape from Imprisonment
Diablo remained trapped in the Abyss for some time but eventually began to try and escape, using the Fantastic Four as a means to this end. Enthralling their mail carrier Billie Lumpkin, Diablo had a mystical mirror transported to the FF's new Pier Four headquarters. There he attacked and imprisoned the Thing and Human Torch, using a golden potion to use them in a spell that would free him, then unleashed his Elementals of Doom once more. Meanwhile, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman were approached by Blanca del Hierro, the last of the Order of Decons who was determined to stop Diablo from taking over the world. Reed, Sue, and Blanca entered Pier Four where the Diablo convinced Blanca to join his side. Reed and Sue were captured and brought into Diablo's realm, but the spell was broken thanks to the Fantastic Four's unique powers being able to fight off the effects of the spell. With his plans to rule the Earth ruined, Diablo was attacked by his own Elementals while the Fantastic Four fled back to their home dimension, shattering the mirror as they passed through, trapping Diablo once again.
Diablo sent a simulacrum of himself out to the gamma bombed crater of Middletown, Arizona to collect the T'Hehly'He, an ancient N'Garai artifact that could free him from his prison. Fearing that the Avengers might interfere with his plans, this simulacrum collected samples of gamma radiation collected from the site and use it as a distraction. The fake Diablo traveled to Kalkhimithia, Greece, where he unleashed the gamma radiation mutating the entire population into Hulks, keeping the Avengers busy there. However, the Avenger Silverclaw went to Middletown to investigate and battled "Diablo" there, prolonging his attempt to recover the T'Hehly'He. Although "Diablo" recovered the T'Hehly'He, he was stopped from escaping by the arriving Avengers, Wonder Man and Triathalon. With the Avengers in Greece stopping the army of Hulks with the real Hulk, the simulacrum revealed his deceptions and crumbled to dust.
Diablo somehow freed himself from the Abyss, and recovered the long lost Philosopher's Stone. Seeking to get revenge against the Spanish Inquisition he sought to get access to Mister Fantastic's time machine. In order to bring out the Fantastic Four, Diablo used the Stone to convert all the lead in the Chestler Hotel into gold. When Diablo proposed his idea to the Fantastic Four, they refused to alter the course of history as Diablo likely only wished to do so to conquer the world. Diablo warned the Fantastic Four to comply with his wishes within 24 hours or he would change other objects into gold to incite mobs of fortune seekers to ravage New York. Unknown to Diablo at the time he contracted a dream swapping virus that the Fantastic Four unintentionally brought back with them from the Microverse and he was soon plagued by the bad dreams of others who were also infected. When Diablo turned the Baxter Building into gold to force the Fantastic Four to comply, they warned him of the danger from the virus. Diablo then used the healing properties of the Philosopher's Stone to cure himself, but the Fantastic Four managed to steal it from him and use it to heal all those infected. However, by bringing the Stone into their headquarters, Diablo was able to breach their defenses by travelling through the Stone. Diablo then mistook a dimensional transporter for Reed' time machine and defeated himself when he unintentionally transported himself to lifeless dimension.
Diablo remained trapped in this dimension until the Fantastic Four stumbled upon a plot by the sorcerer Nicholas Scratch and the Salem's Seven to unleash the demon Shuma-Gorath on Earth. Suspecting that Scratch was manipulating the Fantastic Four to assist in this plot, Reed Richards sought out Diablo and offer him his freedom in exchange for help, an offer that Diablo agreed. To this end, Diablo was sent to Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum and freed him from a mirror which Nicholas Scratch trapped him within. Diablo then gathered Reed and Sue's children, Franklin and Valeria, as they were pure of heart enough to cast a spell to cast Scratch to Hell. Eventually Doctor Strange banished Shuma-Gorath back to his dimension. Richards honored his deal by allowing Diablo to go free.
Diablo's freedom proved to be short lived, as he was summoned by the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker along with other Fantastic Four villains to join a coalition to destroy their mutual foes together. As the Puppet Master and Thinker expected, Diablo and the others had no interest in a union and departed, unaware that they left DNA samples that allowed the Puppet Master to control them. These samples were later recovered by the Fantastic Four, who captured the Puppet Master and Thinker, and were shocked to learn that data compiled by the Thinker revealed that their current lifestyle would lead to the entire team's destruction within the next two years. Reed, with the assistance of security consultant, Andrew Lewis, constructed a new Vault prison in the Negative Zone. With the captured DNA samples the Fantastic Four then began tracking down their foes and incarcerating them, including Diablo. When the captured villains staged a break out, it was forced back by the Fantastic Four, She-Hulk and Hercules. Finding himself outclassed, Diablo and a number of the other prisoners willingly returned to their cells. Diablo eventually escaped and battled the Fantastic Four again, briefly taking control of the Odin-Force in the process. Although the Fantastic Four defeated Diablo once again, the details of this battle are unrecorded.
Diablo retreated to a castle in Mexico, unaware that he was being watched by Midnight's Fire on a mission for the New Warriors' leader Night Thrasher. When Diablo's guard was down, Midnight's Fire stole the Book of Shades from Diablo's possession.
Encounters with Spider-Man
Later the Human Torch and Spider-Man came seeking the aid of Diablo to defend the island of Boriquén which was being terrorized by a mutated creature called Luminestro. Diablo came to the aid of the island that he pledged his life to defend, however instead of destroying the creature he secretly shrunk it in size and took it for later use.
With the 20 year time frame on the faulty steel that he had sold to Bernie Mayer about to elapse, Diablo sought to claim the insurance policy all for himself. To this end, he murdered Meyer, turning his intestines to stone and stashed his body in the wall safe belonging to Dexter Bennett. This plan was nearly foolproof until the thief known as the Black Cat broke in to steal valuables from Bennett's home. With her sometimes ally Spider-Man in tow, they uncovered the body. When the traps set by Diablo failed to slay the pair, Diablo attacked them directly but was forced to flee the scene. Investigating the deal, Spider-Man and the Black Cat battled Diablo at one of Mayer's warehouses and when he caught them in gold he bragged about his plans, leaving subtle hints as to what he was up to. When the two heroes escaped, the pieced the mystery together and uncovered the insurance fraud scheme, and also evacuated the building before it could collapse. Diablo was furious that his scheme failed, but he was given an opportunity to get revenge against Spider-Man when Anna Kravinoff approached him with the opportunity to do so. During the Kravinoff family's Grim Hunt against Spider-Man, Diablo and Electro were used in a ritual to resurrect the Grim Hunter. While Diablo provided the ceremonial knife, Electro provided the electricity needed to finish the spell by sacrificing the life of Spider-Woman. Eventually, Spider-Man and his allies defeated the Kravinoff family.
Diablo was later one of the many villains gathered by Doctor Octopus who sought to capture the unborn son of Harry Osborn and Lily Hollister, telling them that the child could provide whatever they required due to the fact that it had an untainted version of the Goblin Formula within it passed down from both of his parents. However, when Doctor Octopus led Spider-Man to believe that the child was dead, the hero went on a rampage capturing all the villains out on the look out for the child. Diablo was captured and turned over to the authorities along with the Spot and Overdrive. Eventually Spider-Man learned the child was alive and recovered it from the Lizard.
Attempt at Godhood
Diablo soon began working with the High Evolutionary to try and evolve a human into the first of a new pantheon of gods, as the Evolutionary believed that the old gods had become weak and redundant. To this end, they sent their agents the Rock Troll Ulik and the Crimson Dynamo to collect artifacts that they needed. While Ulik gathered the various mystical artifacts, the Dynamo captured Iron Man to be their test subject. Diablo then went to capture the Destroyer armor from the ruins of Asgard, battling the Asgardian thunder god Thor in the process. Thor tracked Diablo and his confederates who were hidden in the Hermetica dimension hidden within an ancient Alchemy book stored at the Smithsonian Institute. The High Evolutionary and Diablo then tricked Thor and Iron Man into fighting each other, but the battle damaged important components needed to complete the creation of a new god. With the heroes incapacitated, Diablo convinced the High Evolutionary to use the two heroes as raw material and select another candidate for the transformation. Although the High Evolutionary chose himself for the task, Diablo used deceptions to trick the Evolutionary into putting himself in the machine. Diablo was merged with the Destroyer armor and with the combined energies of Thor and Iron Man attained godhood.
Realizing his error, the High Evolutionary freed Iron Man and Thor, while Diablo secured the loyalty of Ulik and the Dynamo while also leeching the energies of all the gods of the universe. Realizing that Diablo still believed himself to have human limitations, the High Evolutionary ordered Thor and Iron Man to attack. The pair realized that the only way to defeat Diablo was with a fusion of science and magic. Thor then channeled the lightning of his hammer Mjolnir through Iron Man's armor. The power of the blast separated Diablo from the armor, reversing the power drain. With Diablo defeated, the heroes returned back to Earth with the destroyer armor, leaving Diablo trapped within the Hermetica.
Diablo eventually freed himself and returned to his hideout the Rubedo. During his absence the Fantastic Four disbanded following the apparent death of the Human Torch and they created the Future Foundation in it's place. Seeking to stop members of the Interdimensional Council of Reeds from running amok in their native reality, the Foundation sent their latest member Spider-Man to recruit Diablo as part of a symposium of villains being asked by Reed Richards to advise on a way to defeat his alternate selves. Diablo joined Doctor Doom, Nathaniel Richards, the Wizard, the Mad Thinker, and the High Evolutionary for this very purpose. While Diablo and his erstwhile allies discussed matters, the Council of Reeds made their move attacking the Future City of the High Evolutionary, which soon was under siege by the Inhumans as well.
Although Diablo and his confederates dawned the Future Foundations colors, during the thick of the battle Diablo and the Mad Thinker attempted to betray Doctor Doom to the evil Reed Richards of Earth-12498. Their attempt to kill Doom failed, as they were knocked out, but Richards-12498 managed to enslaved Doom and flee the scene. Meanwhile, the FF and the Inhumans managed to quell the violence in the region. Diablo and the Thinker were imprisoned by the Inhumans, but they eventually managed to break out.
Masters of Evil
Diablo was later seen on the nation of Bagalia where the Life-Model Decoy known as Max Fury was gathering new Masters of Evil, featuring a membership in the hundreds. When the Super-Soldier known as John Steele attempted to smuggle out evidence that Max Fury was attempting to collect the Serpent, Wolf and Thorned Crowns he attempted to flee Bagalia to warn the Secret Avengers. Diablo was one of the members of the Masters of Evil who accompanied Max Fury in capturing him. Although Steele was later murdered, it was not before the Secret Avengers were alerted. Diablo was in Arcade's bar when the Secret Avenger known as Venom attempted to obtain the Crown of Wolves from the Taskmaster. Ultimately the Avengers failed to prevent Max Fury from collecting all three crowns and merging them together. Although Fury could not use the crown, it was taken by the Taskmaster who began channeling the powers of the Abyss to take over the world. Diablo was one of the many villains put into the thrall of the Abyss. Diablo became one of the Taskmaster's elite guards and was used to destroy the Max Fury LMD. Ultimately, the Taskmaster was defeated when Venom used his Symbiote to cut off the connection between the Taskmaster and his crowns, rendering them powerless, freeing everyone from the thrall of the Abyss. The Crowns were then contained, but the Avengers were forced to flee, leaving Baglia in a state of chaos.
After spending a long time under the radar, Diablo discovered that other villains had pushed him to the sidelines, for which he devised a plan to step into the limelight once more. He kidnapped S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill and planned to use a truth serum to force her to reveal the security codes for every active S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and the Triskelion. The recently reformed Victor von Doom stepped in to stop Diablo's plan, and following a brief battle, Esteban was seemingly desintegrated by an energy blast.
Due to his use of alchemy potions, Diablo is apparently immortal, or at least does not age. He also has a greater stamina than could be expected, and has shown some kind of telepathic hypnosis.
Alchemy. Fluent in Spanish and English languages. He has a genius intelligence and probably is a gifted hypnotist (although this could be one of his powers).
Diablo always carries an arsenal of alchemy potions and pills he discovered or invented, in the hidden pockets of his suit. Although the range of his power is wide, all of the feats are temporary unless Diablo provides a second dose. The only exceptions are the elixir he used on Dragon Man and his longevity serum.
- Diablo can affect his own body by changing his appearance to look like a different person, or by becoming a nerveless protoplasm blob, which protects him from certain forms of damage.
- Diablo can control other people with gas pills, including nervous gas or hypnotic gas, or even a pill to resist death through cell morphing. Some potions knock down people by reducing their body temperatures, and of course he has pills to increase the susceptibility of people to his hypnotic orders.
- He can also perform temporal molecular transmutation (stones to feathers), modeling surface features and cause explosions equivalent to 56 pounds of TNT. He can create objects from nothing or transform an object from one state to another (water to ice, for instance) He can also animate inanimate matter and control items and beings formed from alchemy elements (earth, air, water and fire).
- Diablo is the Spanish translation for "devil".
- Originally, Diablo's real name was "Esteban Diablo". In Spain, it would have been impossible to have a surname such as Diablo - even more in the 9th century, when religion was so powerful - and anyhow he could not belong to any noble family with such a surname. Thus, his real name was recently retconned to "Esteban Corazón del Diablo" (literally Esteban Heart of the Devil), which was not really a great progress. More recently, Diablo has been treated by Spanish artists such as Carlos Pacheco and his surname has been readapted as de Ablo: Prefix "De" was a sign of nobility in Spain, and "Ablo" is not an existing word, but could be a perturbation of Pablo, the Spanish name of apostle Paul.
- It is still unclear whether Corazón is Diablo's first surname (being de Ablo his second surname, or his mother's surname) or, alternatively, Corazón is his second name. Anyhow, Corazón is not common as a first name or as a surname in Spain.
- Originally, Diablo's place of birth was listed as Saragossa in sources such as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3. Currently, the proper name in English for this place is Zaragoza (same pronunciation).
- The Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe (and related publications) list Diablo's Legal Status as "Spanish citizen with a criminal record in the United States", which is extraordinary considering that citizens older than 1000 are usually legally deceased.
- Cartoon Network TV series Dexter's Lab feature a character called "Dr. Diablos", an enemy of the Justice Friends. Dr. Diablos is an amalgam of Diablo, Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin. The word "diablos" is the plural form in Spanish for "diablo".
- 81 appearance(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 9 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 18 mention(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 10 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 63 image(s) of Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 11 quotation(s) by or about Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Esteban Corazón de Ablo (Earth-616)