By 2001, I was firmly entrenched in the online GI Joe and toy geek collecting world. Instead of getting info on new releases from Stone Age places like magazines, I was going to the fan sites, message boards and Usenet (can it be considered Bronze Age?) for the latest scoop. I had been buying the Real American Hero Collection two packs, and was excited to hear online that the next assortment would include not only Serpentor, but a Tomax and Xamot set. I wasn’t too jazzed about the series not being available in stores, but I managed to find them all online eventually. The Lifeline and Sideswipe pack was a pretty cheap pickup, and though the figures weren’t superstars like the Crimson Twins, I did enjoy the set. Getting a two pack of medics was a nice departure from the norm.
Rather than Edwin Steen, the Lifeline familiar to most Joe fans from 1986, this Lifeline is Greg Scott, a completely different character. I don’t want to get into the whole renaming and rights thing, so maybe we should just pretend that this guy has a different code name. Actually, no, I would like to talk about the name in this instance, since we’ve got another bit of name sharing going on here. You see, another GI Joe shares the name Greg Scott. Anyone remember who? Anyone? You–I see your hand in the back–that’s right, Robo J.O.E.! Greg Scott was also the name of the ill-fated scientist who became the team’s most famous orange splatter painted cyborg. Surely this can’t be the same guy, unless he’s been miraculously un-grafted from his metal suit and given an entirely new body. Maybe the Joes found one of Mindbender’s simulacrums, and transplanted his head.
The only new body part is the head, with the remainder brought over from the 1994 version. I kind of dig the painted on five o’clock shadow. I’ve mentioned before that I find a lot of the 1994 series to be very good figures with unsung cool molds, and the same applies to this Lifeline. Devoid of sci-fi elements that were common to the end of the RAH period, 1994 Lifeline was a very straightforward medic figure. He seemed to me like a more combat rescue ready version of the popular medic, with his short sleeved vest festooned with pouches and medical gear. His carry case med kit has also gotten smaller than his mega-sized Samsonite number from ’86. Also, using the 1994 Lifeline lent itself better to being another character, since his original mold is one of the most easily identifiable figures of the 80’s.