G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary - Lifeline
Yeah, yeah broken record. Yadda yadda Sci-Fi I didn't like this character, yadda yadda Airtight I didn't like this character, yadda yadda... none of these comments are truer than they are when talking about Lifeline.
I actually really liked Lifeline as a kid. Where Doc had been an established pacifist and someone who was only there to offer medical assistance, Lifeline was a breath of fresh air to my 12 year old lungs. He came with a PISTOL. Therefore, he was not just a medic, he was a soldier, too.
Then he appeared in the Sunbow animated series and not so much.
I don't want to get too down on pacifism, because I do admire that ideal, and I give all the praise in the world to people who do not believe in violence and look to solve problems in other ways, but my issue was that Sunbow seemed to take it a few steps beyond the realism point to where Lifeline simply refused to even touch a weapon, even if it meant saving his own (or someone else's life). We're not talking about firing the weapon, we're talking about simply touching one. Does that give him a nice twist to his personality? Sure. But to me as an immature 12 year old it was downright aggravating, especially since the toy came with a pistol.
When Lifeline revealed his pacifism in the Marvel Comic book (most notably Special Missions #4) my opinion on him changed somewhat. He revealed a proficiency in Aikido, which is a martial arts technique that uses your opponent's force against them, so he could actively defend himself without resorting to violence. That was an intriguing twist, but still didn't really put Lifeline very high on my desirable list.
While many folks in the fandom are angry and raging about the fact that Lifeline comes with a weapon, I'm celebrating it. I really like that he comes with such a nasty weapon as a combat medic, and the idea that Lifeline might actually be brought to use a weapon I think just showcases what is going on. I think we can qualify his use of a weapon with the fact that he's using it to fight troopers who are already technically "dead", but personally I just love the fact that we can think maybe Lifeline had such a life changing event that his pacifism has gone by the wayside and he's rethinking some of his life decisions. Am I looking too much into a 4" plastic toy? Yeah, I'm sure I am, but it helps build up some cool stories in my head about the character.
Now that I'm done rambling about this character conceptually, what about the actual figure itself?
Yeah, it's pretty awesome. Obviously he's got a new head sculpt that is pretty reminiscent of the animated version with his crazy aviator sunglasses and removable helmet. His torso looks to be some great new tooling with the pouches, a removable hypodermic needle, and tons of great detail.
He looks to be using the Shock Trooper arms, which work quite well, in spite of seeing them several times already throughout the line. The legs are reused Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes legs, like we've also seen in several places, but with some nicely applied paint, you really don't notice. I continue to be impressed how much mileage we get out of this tooling. A new head and new torso with some new weapons, and this figure is completely reinvented as an awesome new rendition of Lifeline.
As impressive as the figure itself is, the accessories only serve to compliment it perfectly. He has a stretcher, the aforementioned hypodermic needle, a terrific medical kit with IV bags, for crying out loud! He simply has it all. Almost anything you can think of that a medical trooper might need, he comes with, and it all fits so nicely in his case. Truly incredible.
And I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but thank goodness for this gun!! Not only do I love the twist of Lifeline suddenly forgoing his pacifist tendancies, but it certainly helps that the weapon he comes with is so damn cool. A terrific state-of-the-art machine gun with lots of detail...this is a weapon I want to see used throughout this line, as often as humanly possible. It's amazing.
But really, as much as I love the gun, the medical equipment is where it's at. Phenomenal. The IV bag that plugs into the stretcher is truly inspired.
Yes, Lifeline is another character that I've never been truly excited about, which managed to change my mind with a fantastic 30th Anniversary release. This figure is simply everything a modern re-issue should be. Not content to just inject the same old stuff, Hasbro redefines the figure with a removable helmet, incredibly good sculpting, and extra accessories out the whazoo. Joe fans, I hope you appreciate what we're getting here...the likes of this has never been seen before, and depending on what goes on with the movie, may not be seen again.
Get it, eat it up, appreciate it, and let Hasbro know how much you love it. You never know what you have until it's gone.