(Dark Horse Comics)
Editor's Note: The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC have partnered with iconic, local comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics to create player-specific superheroes in recognition of National Superhero Day. As part of the project, comic book writer Arvid Nelson created fictionalized origin stories for each player, detailing the genesis of their individual “super-powers.
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La Sonrisa (Diego Chara)
duplication and superspeed
Quote: “Now you see me, now you see me twice!”
A runner. Diego Chara has always been a runner, rising with the sun every day in his birthplace of Cali, Colombia to sprint through the alleyways and into the lush highlands surrounding the city. In other words, he’s a born midfielder, always first choice in local pickup games, and the first to run after a stray ball that bounced off into the woods. “I never minded,” Diego says. “I never needed a rest. Everyone still had palms on knees by the time I’d come back, and I could tell what they were thinking – ‘hold on, hey, give us a few more minutes!’”
One day, Diego chased a ball that seemed to have a mind of its own, skittering into the forest “like an invisible person was trying to out-dribble me. I guess my competitive nature got the best of me.” Diego lost track of time, and, on the point of collapse, found himself in the remnants of an indigenous city, although no such ruins have ever been accounted for in his part of Colombia.
Diego shrugs when asked about this. “I know what I saw.” But what did he see? “I was told not to tell,” he says with a smile. “It was for me and me alone.” This much is clear – Diego returned from the jungle with superhuman speed and the ability to create illusory doubles of himself, allowing him to frustrate even the best-planned offensive sequences on the soccer pitch.