Monday, July 18, 2011

The Legend of El Dorado

This was originally the introduction to my review of the El Dorado figure from DC Universe Classics Series 18. I have this tendency to not read the bios printed on the back of the figures. Sometimes this leads to minor mistakes in my reviews; sometimes it just means I’ve missed out on a neat little bit of trivia. Either way it’s an oversight I need to correct. The bios are part of the toy that somebody, somewhere spent time on.

            When I was a kid I adored those things. I cut out and pored over every filecard, stat sheet or blueprint I got. I was of the opinion that toy lines that didn’t include such narrative information were inferior. Now I just don’t have the extra ten seconds it takes to sit down and look at those things before ripping the toys open and taking pictures. Now that Lil’ Troublemaker has started helping me with that whole process I think I’m going to start reading them to him before we open stuff up.
Anyway, the whole point is that not only did I not know El Dorado’s history, I didn’t even remember him form Super Friends. And I spent a lot of time watching cartoons in the early eighties. And late eighties. And nineties. Okay – I’ve always spent a lot of time watching cartoons. And I didn’t know El Dorado even once I saw the figure. So I made up this backstory as an introduction and ended up liking it so much I thought it warranted its own post. I hope you guys agree.
Esteban Guerra knew his time was limited. He had been living a dream for over a decade now, but his time was approaching. The expiration date on this particular life came at the age of eighteen and Esteban’s birthday was mere days away.
He had joined Mexican singing supergroup Menudo at the tender age of six as “The Young One”. But instead of leaving the group when he became too old for the slot, the band’s manager – Ricardo Montenegro – told him he was too talented to go work the Menudo Chicken Farm like the rest of the former members. No, Mr. Montenegro moved young Esteban to the position of “The Slightly Older One”.
It went on like this for many years. Esteban saw the world and changed positions many times over. He learned the ways of the world from the back of a tour bus, the aisles of planes and – most of all – from the stage. Esteban witnessed the heights of wealth and the depths of poverty in his travels. He experienced the very best and worst that mankind had to offer. Two years previous Esteban Guerra had become the only young man to ever hold all five spots in Menudo. He was “The Oldest” now and along with the benevolent Mr. Montenegro had led the Latino sensations to their greatest success ever.
But ancient tradition stated that if “The Oldest” member of Menudo ever reaches the age of eighteen while still a part of the group, then the skies will darken and the crops will die and no young Mexican man will ever sing again.
So Esteban had no choice but to part ways with the only life he had ever known.
He was wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, but Esteban knew he was just starting his life. He had learned much in his travels and knew there were many evils in this world. Inspired by the heroes he had heard of all over the world – America’s Batman and Superman, England’s Knight and Squire, Germany’s Wild Huntsman, New Zealand’s Tuatara – Esteban determined that he wanted to help people. He would become… a superhero.
But his knowledge and singing ability would not be enough. Esteban knew there would be times when he would have to be able to physically confront the evil beings he was to face. He would have to learn to defend himself. Esteban would have to be able to conquer evil with not only his mind but his body as well. He would have to learn the ways of the luchadores.
Esteban’s training with the famed Campeones de Justicios is a tale unto itself, but sadly one we do not have time for today. Just know that El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, Reyo De Jalisco and Tinieblas admired the young man’s determination and – over the course of the strangest and most difficult year of Esteban’s life – taught him everything they knew of the life of the warrior. Lucha libre. On the young man’s final day of training, El Santo and the others presented him with the sacred accoutrements of the true luchador - his own boots, tights, cape and mask. After an elaborate ceremony involving fire, whirling blades, Mexico City’s finest exotic dancers and eighteen dozen wild gallos performing an intricate dance influenced by ancient mysticism; Blue Demon drew Esteban aside.
Esteban my young student. You are now prepared to face many evils of this world. But you must also be ready for the threats from outside of this world. For this, you have one more stop in your journey. You must find the Lost City.”
And so Esteban set forth on a quest to conquer the mysteries of the Lost City.
And that, too is a tale that will need its own day.
Suffice it to say Esteban discovered the Lost City and emerged with the powers he needed to fight evil in the way that he wanted. As a superhero. Esteban now had the powers of super-strength, super-agility, super-sight, super-jumping and nigh-invulnerability. He could also generate a golden glow around his fists that would blind his enemies long enough for him to run up and dropkick them in the face.
Thusly fortified, Esteban went to don his mask and take his new name. But just then, his old manager and friend, Ricardo Montenegro ran up.
Esteban. I am so proud of you for your new life as a superhero, but you must never cover your beautiful face. Also, I’m your father.”
With those words fresh in his mind, Esteban took his new superhero name. The name of the Lost City that had granted his powers and fulfilled all of his dreams.
El Dorado.
Of course, that’s all a big pack of lies. But I bet El Dorado’s real story isn’t nearly as good. DC – call me.
Guys – let me know if you want more of this. I’m now thoroughly enamored with this story of El Dorado, but I’m going to have to unabashedly request encouragement to pursue it any further. I have ideas percolating about his training with the Campeones, the quest for the Lost City and even how he met up with the Justice League. This kind of creative writing is going to require a lot more time and effort than a review or a “Top Ten Racks at Dragon*Con” list, not to mention what kind of media I’m going to have to come across or produce to accompany the posts. So let me know.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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