Suicide Squad has arrived after what feels like a decade of hype, and with it comes a whole new crop of previously obscure comic book characters thrust into the mainstream. There's Enchantress, Slipknot, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Rick Flag — characters that casual comic book fans probably aren't terribly familiar with. And perhaps the most obscure is El Diablo, the former gang member with distinctive facial tattoos and powerful pyrokinetic abilities. He's the most formidable member of the squad, without a doubt, but how did El Diablo get his powers?
In the comics, El Diablo, whose real name is Chato Santana, is a reformed Los Angeles gang leader. During an altercation with police, he is shot and sent to the hospital to treat his wounds. While there, near death, he has a chance encounter with a man named Lazarus Lane. Lane is the original El Diablo from the DC Universe. He was a bank teller in the old west who was struck by lightning, putting him into a coma. His friend, an Apache Shaman named Wise Owl, found him and nursed him back to health using magic. Without Lane's knowledge, Wise Owl made him a host of a spirit of vengeance; which became the source of his fire-controlling abilities.
Many years after gaining his powers, Lane was on the verge of death in the hospital when Santana arrived. Lane could sense the gang leader's presence, and something about him told Lane that he would make an ideal host for the spirit of vengeance. Lane transferred the spirit to Santana as he gave his last breath, and the specter inhabited its new host, saving his life and granting him the power to create and control fire as the new El Diablo.
So there was no radioactive flame to burn him; no origin from a mysterious fire planet; and no government experiment to create a soldier of fire. El Diablo got his powers thanks to a chance encounter with a dying man who already had the same abilities thanks to a magical spirit. But don't get it wrong. Even though his powers are secondhand, El Diablo is still a force to be reckoned with.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures