Little is known about who the man known only as Crystal Ball truly is, and most who've encountered him would prefer to keep it that way. Serving as Cobra's Inquisitor General and master of psychological tactics, Crystal Ball is an incredibly skilled manipulator. So skilled, in fact, that many who've seen him at work would claim that his powers of persuasion border on the supernatural. This is image of himself as some kind of sorcerer is, of course, just an example of the kinds of twisted mind games Crystal Ball plays. While he may try to confuse others as to where Crystal Ball the sadistic manipulator ends and where Crystal Ball the master of the dark arts begins, the later is clearly pure fiction. Claims that he's carried out acts of mind control or communed with dark, powerful forces beyond mortal comprehension are patently absurd. As anyone can tell you, there is clearly no such thing as magic...
Crystal Ball has given a wide variety of different, contradictory origins for himself, almost none of which have any sort of verifiable evidence to back them up. Among these backstories is that he was descended from a long line of Roma mystics, the seventh son of a seventh son who fathered him with an American woman. While the truth regarding his past, the circumstances under which he came to prominence within Cobra, gained his understanding of human psychology and (if he is indeed gifted in such a way) the mystic arts are all unknown. Crystal Ball profile What is known is that this "seventh son" at some point had a son of his own by the name of Max. Fangs It has been said that Max's father was some sort of "Eurotrash Moneyman" Eyes but it is unknown if this actually reflects the truth of Crystal Ball.
Due to his position as Inquisitor General, Crystal Ball was called upon to represent Cobra High Command in a meeting with Erika Le Tene regarding her involvement in the events that led to the destruction of Cobra's Dubai facility. After being introduced by Xamot Paoli, Crystal Ball promised Erika that there would be no place for threats or lies during their meeting as they were for lesser men. Taking her hand, Crystal Ball asked if she'd had any involvement in Chuckles managing to sabotage the Dubai facility or escape with his life. When she reluctantly said no, Crystal Ball touched her face with his clawed finger, claiming to sense fear inside her, a perpetual fear that stemmed from an emptiness inside her. Despite the fact that she'd thrown her fully loaded gun away where Chuckles could retrieve it, Crystal Ball still claimed that Erika was innocent but warned Tomax and Xamot that she was weak and that they needed to decide whether she was worth keeping around. Scales Erika's meeting with Crystal Ball left her feeling even more doubtful about her already uneasy relationship with Cobra, leading to her asking Max (who had become head of cyber banking) if her assets could be transferred to a charity. Following this, Crystal Ball had a chat with his son that was spotted by Erika, who worried that they were talking about her. Fangs When Erika chose to defect, she had Max (who was secretly working with him) take her to Chuckles. Upon hearing her actually state her intention to leave Cobra, Max seemed to fall into some kind of trance and took aim at Erika. After being stopped and killed by Chameleon, Max called out to his father, claiming that he could no longer hear his voice. Later, when Chuckles awoke in Cobra custody, Crystal Ball was there to greet him alongside Cobra Commander and Xamot. Cold-Blooded
Crystal Ball wordlessly passed a Viper and Leonard Michaels as the former was trying to break Michaels out of captivity so he could expose the truth about The Coil. Even though he didn't even seem to notice the two of them, the Viper immediately began panicking once they'd managed to get outside, committing suicide just to avoid potentially having to face Crystal Ball's wrath. Viper's Nest
Crystal Ball was calmly escorted onto a private plane evacuating Cobra Section Twenty following Chuckles going rogue, assassinating Cobra Commander, and taking steps to detonate the nuclear weapons underneath the base. King Cobra
Infestation 2: G.I. Joe issue 1 Infestation 2: G.I. Joe issue 2
Flying in a private jet alongside Rodrigo Vargas to some sort of top-secret meeting, Crystal Ball deeply unnerved the doctor with his constant talk of death being unavoidable. Dismissing Vargas' belief in medicine just as he dismissed his beliefs in mysticism, Crystal Ball warned the Vargas that destiny would play a bigger role in what was to come than his microbiotics. As they arrived and Baroness recapped the events surrounding Cobra Commander's death, Crystal Ball approached a dejected Tomax from behind and rubbed his head, "comforting" him as he informed the others who were present that Xamot had perished in the same incident as the Commander. Cobra Civil War #0 As the contest to determine the Commander's successor began, Crystal Ball allied himself with Serpentor. Cobra vol. 2 #2 Following the appointment of Krake as Commander, Crystal Ball met with Serpentor, who feared what the appointment of a far more aggressive Commander might mean for them. Crystal Ball, however, didn't share these fears, feeling that Krake was still just a man with all the weaknesses that comes with, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. Cobra vol. 2 #8
Stripping down and sealing himself in some sort of cyber-orb filled with water and the raw data stream of the internet, Crystal Ball updated Mad Monk on how his plan of distributing Cobra training manuals to smaller scale criminals and terrorists was unfolding. With three of 139 different training manual influenced plans nearing completion, Crystal Ball subtly leaked hints of them into the broader internet so that they would be picked up the NSA and passed along to G.I. Joe. Threat Matrix 2
Erika Le Tene theorized that if anybody in Cobra knew about the previous Commander hiding a data drive filled with detailed information on all of the organization's illegal doings inside a pin used to repair his son's broken leg, it was Crystal Ball. The Silent Warrior
Following the dissolution of Cobra, Crystal Ball fell in with the Dreadnoks, establishing himself as a sort of spiritual leader for the motorcycle gang. Crystal Ball profile With them as muscle, Crystal Ball traveled to Hohhot and used his powers of persuasion to convince the local populace that only he could protect them from the kinds of monsters that were encroaching upon the world and that their governments would once again fail to protect them from. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #1
As the newly international G.I. Joe team arrived at his palace to take him down at the behest of the Chinese government, Crystal Ball greeted the Joes and ordered the Dreadnoks to attack them. As the Joes slowly but surely managed to fight back against the bikers, Crystal Ball denounced their short-sightedness and again insisted that only he could protect the world from the horrors that laid below the Earth's surface before having Burn Out unleash several seemingly mind controlled members of the Mongolian populace on their foes. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #2 Theorizing that getting Crystal Ball away from the civilians would break whatever hold he seemed to have on them, Rock 'n Roll jumped off of Roadblock's back to grab Crystal Ball off of the balcony. As he was grabbed by the Joe, Crystal Ball put his fingers to Rock's forehead, allowing him to sense a lust for destruction and a powerful guilt that filled the Joe that he encouraged him to embrace. This only momentarily dazed the Joe though and he soon through Crystal Ball over his shoulders, carried him down the stairs, and eventually threw him in the back of the beat up 4x4 Cover Girl had managed to procure. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #3 As the Dreadnoks gave the Joes chase, Crystal Ball continued to rave about the coming horrors from down below until he noticed Doc shoot some kind of energy blast from her hands, the realization that she didn't know what she really was causing him to cackle with laughter. With their transportation on it's last legs, the Joes were forced to abandon the jeep along with their prisoner. It was here that Crystal Ball cackled that the true, ancient gods of the Earth had finally awakened just as a gigantic monster burst from beneath the Dreadnoks' feet and dragged them back underground with it! G.I. Joe vol. 5 #4
Now a prisoner aboard G.I. Joe's underwater headquarters Lemuria, Crystal Ball meditated surrounded by a circle of various pieces of garbage. When Rock 'n Roll came down to give him his lunch, he answered his question about his circle by claiming it was allowing him to see both of their futures before again putting his fingers to the Joe's forehead, this time giving Rock a vision of himself as a monster similar to the one in Hohot. Imploring Rock to embrace the fundamental chaos of his soul, Crystal Ball agreed with the Joe that they were far from done with one another. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #5
With the two of them being held aboard the Lemuria without trial, Duke arrived to G.I. Joe's base to take both Crystal Ball and the Baroness into custody so they could be tried for their crimes in Geneva. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #7 While they were en route though, the prison transport suddenly came under attack from Cobranarchists and the amazingly still living Dreadnoks who were aiming to free both of them. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #8 As Buzzer and Torch released both of them, Crystal Ball suddenly sensed the destruction of the hatchery from which the subterranean monsters were being born, meaning only the two progenitors of the race still lived. Summoning those two remaining monsters to cover their escape, Crystal Ball stood alongside Destro, Dr. Mindbender, a hooded Dire Wraith, and Baroness as she addressed the crowd of Cobranarchists inside a serpentine temple, declaring herself Commander of a new Cobra! G.I. Joe vol. 5 #9
Admiring the snake shaped dagger and bowl Firefly had procured for him, Crystal Ball assured his new Commander that these artifacts were worth the trouble it took to acquire them and that all they needed for the coming ritual was to find the right location. M.A.S.K." First Strike
Working alongside their Dire Wraith allies, Crystal Ball oversaw the ritual to open up the portal to Cobra-La. Once it was open and several unwilling Cobranarchists were forced inside and turned into Vipers, Crystal Ball informed his Commander that the Dire Wraiths had served their purpose and that the hungry Vipers could feast upon them. At the Commander's command, Crystal Ball began overseeing the transformation of the rest of the Cobranarchists. Scarlett's Strike Force #1
- Whether it was intentional is unknown, but Antonio Fuso's redesign of Crystal Ball bears a resemblance to acclaimed writer and known occultist Alan Moore.
- Crystal Ball at YoJoe.com
- Crystal Ball at TFWiki.net