When the 25th Anniversary line gave way to Rise of Cobra, I was crushed. So many of my childhood favorites hadn’t received an update. Some I’m still waiting on: Iceberg, Keel-Haul, Dress Marine Gung Ho. The short-lived 30th Anniversary ran into its movie roadblock, but at least they got to Lifeline.
Lifeline is one of my all-time favorite Joes. I don’t remember when I got him or who bought him for me, but after I had him, he was a constant in my Joe adventures. Looking back, I can’t tell you why – I didn’t read the comics and the only cartoon appearance I really remember about him was when he told some kids to eat fruit instead of candy (unfortunately, that’s one PSA I never took to heart…).
I’m not even that fond of the color red, but none of that mattered. Lifeline was awesome. I did know that he would go to any lengths to recue someone (says so right on the pants) and that he was a pacifist – he won’t use a gun (despite usually getting one as an accessory and carrying one on his classic card art, oops!).
In my young Joe-playin’ days, my Lifeline followed those two principles to the letter. He didn’t use the provided gun; the holster on his chest was molded empty after all. And he’d fly in on the Tomahawk or go in solo on the Recon Sled and pull any fallen troop to safety. No matter the danger, the Joes could be fending off the Inhumanoids, fighting the Horde, or protecting Electronic Alphie from Cobra – it didn’t matter. Lifeline would ride in to save the wounded.
He was also one of the Joes lost in the Great Flood™. When my parents set out to replace my lost figures, Lifeline was nowhere to be found. I was fortunate though. A few years later, Lifeline was offered as a cereal mail-in and it proved to not only be a great way to replace my lost figure, but Kellogg’s inadvertently managed to improve the figure. The story goes that they wanted a figure without a weapon – Lifeline was a good choice, but he did have a gun molded to his thigh. Hasbro part swapped in some plain legs, Kellogg’s Lifeline figure ended up a better match for the character, and I got one of my favorite Joe’s back. Wins all around.
When Lifeline wasn’t updated in the 25th line, I was really disappointed. I bought an extra 25th Anniversary Hard Master (his colors matched) to figure out a custom, but I never got around to it. Five years later, Hasbro would finally have my back.
When the last wave of 30th Anniversary was announced, there were some great figures in that wave. It makes me kinda wonder if the folks at Hasbro wanted to go out without a bang and make sure we’d be desperate for more updated Joes when they finally get back to non-movie product (btw, Hasbro, I’m ready whenever you are…). Like most of the figures in this last wave, Lifeline is one of the best updates to a classic Joe yet.
There is some part re-use here, Shock Trooper arms and the Snake Eyes v54 legs (I think everyone’s got those lately), but they supplement the new pieces just fine. The only complaint is that the kneepad on the left leg blocks his classic “RESCUE” tag on his pants, but props to Hasbro for at least having the bottom of the “E” peak out from the bottom of the pad. I think other companies would’ve overlooked that.
The new torso and head sculpt are both fantastic. I love that they retained the chest pouches and the mid-torso articulation without having to resort to clunky webgear. And they finally made that molded-empty holster usable. The head sculpt is another favorite. I love when figures get removable helmets and it’s even better when the non-helmeted head still looks sharp, as Lifeline does, right down to the great aviator shades. Continue to Page 2…