Get to Know a Hero: Crystal (Inhuman Royal Family)

c. Marvel Comics

Okay, y’all. Three more to go… I present to you, she of the weird, stripey hair: Crystal.

Real Name: Crystalia Amaquelin

Alias: Crystal, Ixchel, Elementelle

Birthplace: Attilan

Relatives: Medusa (sister); Black Bolt (cousin and brother-in-law, remember I just report it); Gorgon, Karnak, Maximus, Triton (cousins), Pietro Maximoff (ex-husband), Wanda Maximoff (ex-sister in law), Luna Maximoff (daughter), Ronan the Accuser (ex-husband)

Affiliations: Inhuman Royal Family, Royal Inhuman Diplomatic Corps, Fantastic Four, Galactic Council, Avengers

Careers: adventurer, diplomat, royal advisor

Distinguishing Features: ‘Do somewhat less funky than her sister’s.

Power: Basic Inhuman enhancements, elementalists (aerokinesis, geokinesis, hydrokinesis, pyrokinesis), atomic manipulation (including electrogenesis and electrokinesis, hydrogenesis, magnokinesis, thermokinesis), elemental awareness, hand to hand combat abilities

Weaknesses: can sustain a single elemental phenomenon for only one hour before tiring; if several are used in succession, the limit is forty-five minutes (blame Lee and Kirby).

Creators: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

First AppearanceFantastic Four #45 (1965)

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c. Marvel Comics

Crystal is Medusa’s baby sister. Yeah, you thought you had it bad, how’d you like to come second to the future queen who is slated to marry your cousin and… oh, wait. You know what? Maybe coming in second in that race wasn’t so bad.

Like Medusa, Crystal was exposed to the Terrigen Mist as an infant and developed her powers early. Unlike her cousins Black Bolt and Triton, she wasn’t forced to do so in isolation, which was probably pretty nice because she wasn’t living in a soundproof bubble or a watery cave.

The first Maximus-led coup broke out while Crystal was still young and she and the rest of her family (with the exception of her sister for whom, if you’ll recall, everyone ended up looking and finding with the erstwhile, and apparently much disliked, Johnny Storm) fled, wandering the globe until they ended up in America as part of Operation: Find and de-Mind Control Medusa.

Crystal, unlike the rest of the Royals, got… erm… friendly with The Human Torch instead of trying to beat him to a pulp. Their long distance relationship lasted for a while and included Crystal’s stint as Sue Storm’s replacement while the later was pregnant with her first child.

Everything was chugging along nicely when Crystal found her health declining and realized the infirmity was related to pollutants in Earth’s atmosphere, at which point she opted to return to Attilan rather than die a slow, agonizing death. Waylaid en route by evil alchemist Diablo ; she escaped and, on her way home, happened to find an injured Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) laying there, waiting to be rescued.

Crystal brought Pietro back to Attilan and nursed him back to health (well, more likely the house staff did the heavy lifting while she swanned around whispering sweet nothings and patting Pietro’s pretty, little head). Johnny Storm wasn’t particularly pleased with the scenario as, apparently, he was under the impression he and Crystal were still A Thing; like the boneheaded bro-dudes they were, and continue to be to this day, Human Torch and Quicksilver decided to settle the matter by beating the crap out of one another rather than sitting down and discussing it with the lady in question.

Johnny lost and Pietro and Crystal got married soon thereafter (literal whirlwind romance, people). Theirs was the first marriage between an Inhuman and a human (well, mutant but also human).

Which, at the time, and given the social climate of the late 60s and early 70s, was likely an analogue to, and commentary on, interracial marriage, which was still a contentious subject in many parts of the country.

Crystal and Pietro had a daughter they named Luna (since she was born on the moon. Get it?) who, as both a mutant and an Inhuman, must have had the most fascinating genetics in history (we’ll leave last year’s reveal that the Maximoff twins aren’t mutants out of this for now). Pietro wanted to induce Terrigenesis but Crystal talked him out of it because, seriously, she’s the smart one and who knows what would have happened with all those errant proteins running around in a baby.

Eventually, there was trouble in paradise due to Quicksilver’s nasty temper (short version: always has been, always will be, a jerk); one theory posits Maximus had a hand in making things worse but given the fact Pietro has shown himself to be an enduring mysoginistic, paternalistic, abusive bag of… um, male dangly bits, this may be one Bad Thing for which Maximus is not responsible.  Crystal peaced out with the kid, returned to the Fantastic Four, found out Johnny was married to someone else, and farted around until Attilan’s stability was threatened by Medusa and Black Bolt’s child. She went back to Attilan to help her sister and reconciled with Pietro, after which she did a stint as an Avenger, died, was resurrected, and reconciled with Pietro once again.

The Inhumans decided to turn their attentions to deeper space and Crystal was with Black Bolt when he defeated Ronan the Accuser. The Inhuman population then turned on Black Bolt and deposed him, leaving the Royal Family homeless, every nation on Earth refusing to give them shelter.

Except for Latvaria.

That’s right, kids: Doctor Doom saved the Inhuman Royal Family.

Go figure.

c. Marvel Comics

Quicksilver put the final nail in the roller-coaster coffin of his marriage to Crystal when, after being depowered by his sister along with the majority of other mutants, he stole a canister of Terrigen Mist. Mayhem ensued, including Gorgon’s secondary Terrigenesis. Yeah, I don’t think I’d forgive someone who did that to my cousin either. Luna was also exposed which, you’ll remember, Crystal had explicitly not wanted.

Bye bye, Pietro. Don’t let the tuning fork hit you on the way out.

Medusa did broker her to Ronan thereafter though, so you know.

Turned out Crystal and Ronin actually liked, then grew to love one another, so at least she got that happy ending, right?

Nah.

Black Bolt ordered them to separate. Because Royal politics.

Remember when you were a little girl and you wanted to be a princess? Good news. Now you don’t have to be disappointed it never happened because the reality? It’s more Crystal or Leia than Belle or Mulan.

Medusa later assigned Crystal as emissary to Earth in the wake of the chaos wrought on the mutant community by the Terrigen Cloud Black Bolt loosed in their general direction.

It did not go well.

Which brings us to the present.

Sources:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Crystalia_Amaquelin_(Earth-616)

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Esteban_Corazón_de_Ablo_(Earth-616)

RN at the Department of Therapeutic Misadventures. Author of 'Hero Handlers.' Comics geek. Padawan. Stealthy Wookiee. Belter. Paladin of the Big Cat Robot. Ms. Doctor Strange. Non-compliant female. Herder of genetic descendants. Drinker of much coffee. Stepper-uponer of multitudinous Legos.