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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Most unexpected Marvel Legend of 2024? Most unexpected Marvel Legend of 2024!

Crystar, Prince of Crystalium, leads an elite team of Crystal Warriors against the threat of Chaos.

Back in the early '80s, everybody wanted a piece of that sweet, sweet, He-Man pie. Masters of the Universe was the first toyline to benefit from Ronald's Reagan's weakening of the regulations designed to protect children, and so with a half-hour commercial on TV every weekday, the toys became a massive hit. Apparently a lot of people missed the first half of that equation, and just assumed any techno-fantasy property would resonate with kids. If that were the case, Thundarr the Barbarian would have taken the world by storm in 1980, but it didn't stop people from trying. Since DC was already publishing MotU comics, Marvel needed an answer, and that answer was Crystar, the Crystal Warrior.

There was a Crystar toyline from Remco, and a Saga of Crystar comic from Marvel, and therefore many of us just took that as being another licensed title from them, like Micronauts or GI Joe. But actually, Crystar was Marvel's creation, and Remco was licensing him from Marvel to make toys. The property never really caught on, and then Marvel proceeded to never do anything with the character ever again until the 2015 Secret Wars event. Way to let your fields lie fallow, Marvel! Dude's made of living gemstone - do you know how key he could have been in any number of Infinity Gauntlet stories?

The gimmick of the Crystar toys was that the good guys were molded from translucent plastic, and this modern version keeps that trend alive. It's a bit like the various Icemen they've done in the X-Men lines, but even paler so more light shines through. That does mean it's easier to see the internal structures that hold the piece of the toy together than it is to see the details sculpted on the surface. On the plus side, Crystar is a very blocky, angular character, and so that kind of visibility works better on him than it would on someone who was supposed to be smooth - it just looks like internal crystaline structures, so it doesn't detract from the final product.

This isn't some weird one-off release, it's an official part of the Marvel Legends line, and so it moves like a Marvel Legends toy: swivel/hinge ankles, no shin swivels because this is a Marvel Legend released in 2024 and Hasbro is doing everything it can to reach Mattel levels of ineptitude, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/​hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/​hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, and balljointed head. His helmet keeps the head from tipping back all the way, but it goes far enough. The translucent blue diamond on his belt, which I always took to be simply a cutout in the trunks, rather than something above them, is soft enough that even over-hanging the waist joint doesn't impede the range of motion in any significant way.

Crystar includes two accessories, both made from the same light blue translucent plastic as himself: his sword and his shield. The He-Man influence is incredibly blatant in the case of the sword, which is shaped almost exactly like the Power Sword, just with the ends of the hilt snapped off. The shield has ridges on the front but is smooth in the back, and has a handle for the toy to grip. For times when you don't want him holding his weapons, the set also includes a closed fist and a fully open hand, painted solid red like the rest of his gloves, as well as his boots, trunks, and the crest and wings on his helmet.

While an oddity like Crystar may well have sold by himself, just based on the novelty of being an old toy given a current update, he includes a Build-A-Figure part regardless. Multiple parts, in fact. His are more of the creepy insect limbs for The Void, matching what Justice included. Just for the other side.

One of the earliest toy Kickstarters, years ago, was an unlicensed Crystar knockoff. Though the project successfully met its goal, it doesn't seem the figure ever came out - certainly nobody ever talked about receiving it, and researching now the only things that turn up are people asking whatever happened to it. The creator has a page on his site showing in-process shots and what is supposedly the "final Prince of Crystal action figure sent to Kickstarter backers," but if it was, no one ever mentioned it, and no one's ever tried to sell theirs after the fact. So it seems this was just another project that couldn't meet its own goals and ended up kind of quietly slinking away, hoping everyone would forget. And honestly, they have. But thanks to Marvel remembering they owned the character and Hasbro being willing to take a chance, we finally have a modern action figure of this nearly forgotten character.

Now, Hasbro: do a Rom.

-- 07/08/24

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