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|First appearance||Millennium #2 (January 1988)|
Steve Englehart (writer)|
Joe Staton (artist)
|Alter ego||Gregorio De La Vega|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||New Guardians|
Extraño (Spanish for "Strange" or "Queer") is a fictional superhero magician published by DC Comics. Created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Joe Staton, he first appeared in Millennium #2 (January 1988).
Fictional character biography
During the 1988 "Millennium" storyline, Extraño was part of a group selected by the Guardians of the Universe to take part in an experiment in human evolution. Extraño was a Peruvian man named Gregorio De La Vega, from Trujillo City, South America. As a minor magician, his magical powers were heightened by the procedure, and his fellow participants gained new abilities as well. Together, they formed the superhero team New Guardians, and took it upon themselves to fight evil wherever it lurked on Earth.
Extraño initially wore loose colorful garments and refers to himself as "Auntie", usually imparts parental advice to his teammates. Serving as the team's resident magician, he could fire blasts of energy from his hands, levitate, and perform a large number of "stage tricks, including ping-pong 'balls'" to outwit his foes. He had an earnest sense of justice and love of life that made him popular with his teammates. During The New Guardians' short run, Extraño acquired a powerful crystal skull (which seemed to greatly amplify his abilities) and a more traditional, "masculine" superhero costume, perhaps as a reaction to the comments of readers.
In The New Guardians, Extraño helped his team defeat a number of supervillains while trying his best to assist them with personal problems. On one mission in particular, he was attacked by an "AIDS vampire" called the Hemo-Goblin. He was subsequently confirmed to be HIV-positive but it is unclear whether he was infected by Hemo-Goblin or had already been infected prior to his introduction. Though he showed no outward signs of the disease, his infection remained a somewhat unorthodox plot point. Although the Guardians continued to fight evildoers behind the scenes even after their comic ended, their island base was attacked and swallowed up by the villain Entropy in the pages of Green Lantern. For a time it was assumed Extraño died during this incident, but the subsequent reappearance of other New Guardians throws this into doubt.
After the timeline-altering events of the 2016 DC Rebirth relaunch, Henry Bendix tries to recruit Extraño against Midnighter and Apollo, but Gregorio De La Vega now shuns his previous persona, and refuses. Midnighter subsequently journeys to Gregorio's Lima, Peru home, The Sacrarium, that Gregorio shares with a man named Hugh and an adopted girl with wings named Suri. Gregorio agrees to help Midnighter, and locates Apollo's soul in Hell, where it was relegated after Apollo's encounter with Mawzir. Writer Steve Orlando, who is bisexual, explains his decision to reintroduce the character, saying, "With a book like Midnighter & Apollo, which from cover to cover is a love letter to queer characters and our struggle to live, be visible and love, it felt right to return to one of the first and reintroduce Gregorio to a new generation."
Powers and abilities
Being a magician, Extraño has a number of abilities linked to his trade. Unlike stage parlor tricks, these spells rely on real sorcery and can be used for a variety of effects.[volume & issue needed]