ORDER OF DEACONS

Membership: Blanca del Hierro, others throughout history

Purpose: To stop Diablo at all costs

Affiliations: 19th Century Spanish peasants

Enemies: Diablo (Esteban Diablo)

Base of Operations: Spain (circa "one thousand years ago" through the modern day)

First Appearance: Fantastic Four III#35 (November, 2000)

 

History

(Fantastic Four III#35 (fb)) - Centuries ago, as the alchemist Diablo grew in power, a group of saintly people formed, rebelling against Diablo. Calling themselves the Order of Deacons, they fought for good and after much bloodshed and suffering, the Order of Deacons succeeded in expelling Diablo from Spain. Unable to return to Spain, Diablo traveled through Europe and settled in Transylvania, where he took up the art of scholomantics. Continuing in their efforts to defeat Diablo, the Order of Deacons made many attempts to stop the alchemist but over the years, as Diablo grew stronger, the Order of Deacons grew weaker as their numbers dwindled. In the 19th Century, one of the Deacons, together with a group of peasants, succeeded in burying Diablo within a massive rock crypt. As time marched on, the Order of Deacons became legends, their stories hidden in books that later came into the possession of Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Stephen Strange.

(Fantastic Four III#35) - A thousand years later, the last surviving Deacon, a young Spanish girl named Blanca del Hierro, learned of Diablo's recent freedom and attempted to enter the Fantastic Four's headquarters of Pier Four when Diablo surrounded it with a water elemental. Before she could do so, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman arrived. Blanca explained to them the origins of the Order of Deacons and their mission to stop Diablo. Despite warnings from the Invisible Woman, Blanca accompanied the two heroes into Pier Four, determined to put an end to Diablo's evil.

(Fantastic Four III#36) - Blanca, Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman entered the ruins of Pier Four, where Diablo had defeated the Thing and the Human Torch. Diablo quickly attacked the remaining Fantastic Four members and the Invisible Woman ordered Blanca to stand back when Diablo released elemental creatures that downed the Invisible Woman. Blanca remained nearby when Diablo pushed Mr. Fantastic against a wall with a whirlwind, defeating the Fantastic Four's leader. With the entire Fantastic Four defeated, Diablo began mocking Blanca, who announced that Diablo would not be so confident after she had read the Order of Deacons' exorcism rites. Before Blanca could do so, however, Diablo set fire to the Order of Deacons' scroll in Blanca's hands, shocking Blanca with the loss of her ancestors' legacy. Diablo then confronted Blanca up close, prompting Blanca to announce that her faith was strong enough to move mountains and begin praying. Diablo then explained to her that praying did not help him when he was expelled from Spain by the original Order of Deacons. He then tempted Blanca by creating a golden flower and explaining that he could make her just as beautiful as the flower if she would renounce her mission of his destruction. Crying, Blanca agreed to renounce her mission in exchange for beauty. Diablo then explained that her wish would be granted but not in the battleground that had become Pier Four. Diablo then led Blanca and his elementals carrying the unconscious Fantastic Four back through the mirror that had allowed his entrance into Pier Four shortly before the Pier itself collapsed. Once inside Diablo's Sanctum Sanctorum, Blanca watched as Diablo forced Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman to drink a will-sapping potion. Diablo then commented that the next step in resurrecting ancient gods was a pure soul. Diablo then motioned toward Blanca, who was transformed before everyone's eyes into a beautiful, golden woman. Diablo then beckoned to Blanca that they free her from her vows with a kiss. As Diablo kissed Blanca, the Thing broke free and disrupted Diablo's spell, causing Blanca's golden body to be transformed into lead. When the gods were not resurrected, the elementals serving Diablo turned on the alchemist and in the ensuing battle, the Invisible Woman asked Mr. Fantastic if there was any way to save Blanca, but Mr. Fantastic commented that she was caught in the clash between Diablo and the elementals. As the Fantastic Four left for the mirror, Mr. Fantastic wondered if perhaps Blanca had accomplished her mission after all.

Comments: Created by Rafael Marin, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino.

At the time the story was made, "one thousand years ago" would have been 1000 A.D. While this would most likely not be topical, as historical events are normally not part of Marvel's sliding time scale and there is nothing to say that it did not occur in 1000 A.D., the choice of wording ("one thousand years ago") could have been an exaggeration and not 100% exact. Because of this, it was difficult to determine whether the Order of Deacons were formed in the very late 10th Century or the early 11th Century.

Profile by Proto-Man.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Order of Deacons has no known connections to


Blanca del Hierro

Blanca del Hierro was the rather plain-looking last surviving member of the Order of Deacons. When Diablo was freed inside Pier Four, Blanca traveled there to find it encased within a water elemental. Preparing to venture inside and stop Diablo at any cost, Blanca was stopped when Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman arrived. Explaining her origins and mission to stop Diablo, Blanca accompanied the heroes inside Pier Four shortly before it seemingly exploded. Once inside, Blanca watched as the Fantastic Four were all defeated and when Diablo tempted her, promising to make her beautiful in exchange for giving her Order vows, Blanca accepted. She then accompanied Diablo back to his Sanctum Sanctorum, where Diablo prepared to resurrect ancient gods through the Fantastic Four's bodies and transformed Blanca into a beautiful, golden woman. Diablo then prepared to use Blanca's pure soul to resurrect the gods, sealing the spell with a kiss. As Diablo kissed Blanca, however, the Thing broke free and disrupted Diablo's spell, causing Blanca to be transformed into lead, seemingly killing her.

Blanca had no superhuman powers but had enough mystic knowledge to read from exorcism scrolls. After her transformation by Diablo, her body was composed of gold.




--Fantastic Four III#35 (#36d,


images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four III#35, p19, splash page (Order of Deacons, main image)
Fantastic Four III#35, p19, splash page (Deacon burying Diablo)
Fantastic Four III#35, p20, pan3 (Blanca del Hierro, normal)
Fantastic Four III#36, p16, pan4 (Blanca del Hierro, transformed)


Appearances:
Fantastic Four III#35 (November, 2000) - Rafael Marin (writer), Carlos Pacheco (writer, pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Fantastic Four III#36 (December, 2000) - Rafael Marin (writer), Carlos Pacheco (writer, pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)


Last updated: 07/05/14.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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