Crystal Ball’s Revenge!
Some toys are I think unfairly ridiculed. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog and the misfit, and GI Joe has had its share of goofballs and weirdos. I dig them all. I really dig Crystal Ball. As a horror fan, how could I not? He looks straight out of Hollywood’s version of Transylvania.
What’s so bad about Crystal Ball, really? He’s not ridiculously designed. Okay, okay maybe he is. Despite that fact, his look is quite appropriate if you can get yourself in a horror movie state of mind. It’s hard in the midst of a military-based toy line, but give it a try.
There’s a way I think to make Crystal Ball more interesting in a more fantastical way than IDW’s recent take on the character. Bring out some of the Rasputin-like (or at least the pop culture version of the historic figure) quality of the character. Among other things, the legend is that he could (supposedly) control minds and such. If done the right way, CB could rise to the top echelon of Cobra as a real master of mind control. Check out Christopher Lee in Hammer’s film version if you can. Here’s the ridiculous US trailer. The film isn’t the kind of exploitation you’d expect from watching it, by the way. If Crystal Ball were presented in this way, I think he would make for a solid addition to the villainous ranks of Cobra, beyond the gimmick that he’s been.
As a nice little bonus, the head sculpt bears a certain resemblance to horror icon Vincent Price. Haunting.