I’ve mentioned before that I think the Joe line needs to inject new characters into the mythos every now and then or the brand will stagnate. That’s what was so great about some of the later waves of Rise of Cobra figures. There were some modern remakes of less appreciated Joes like Charbroil and Kamakura but there were also some brand new characters introduced that I was eager to add to my display. Agent Helix was definitely high on the list of new Joes I wanted and she does not disappoint. While I’ve not read the miniseries IDW did about her or played the Rise of Cobra video game, which I understand is both awful and something she plays a big role in, I still find myself enjoying Agent Helix. It’s nice to have a relatively blank slate to work with and find out what the character is like for myself without having decades of backstory to influence what I think of her and how I incorporate her into my Joeverse.
Since Agent Helix is a brand new character, she also gets all new molds. Agent Helix definitely looks right at home alongside the Rise of Cobra figures, but she doesn’t feel overly tied to them like the Reactive Armor figures do. Overall, Agent Helix looks very sleek. It fits in well with my concept of her being a covert operative assigned to sabotage Cobra facilities. Honestly, I almost see her as a female version of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. She’s the agent the Joe team calls in when they need something done and they need it done without anyone knowing the Joe team is involved. Agent Helix’s body is slender and appropriately feminine but she still looks like someone who could throw down and kick some ass when she needs to. She’s wearing boots that reach up to about her mid calf with some knee wraps and a couple of ammo pouches strapped to her left leg. She’s got a rather pouchy belt but thankfully it feels more Batman than Deadpool, so it’s not just pouches for the sake of pouches. Her upper body is the one area that I have a little problem with the design. Agent Helix is wearing, for lack of a better term, an armored corset. Her stomach and back are protected, but the straps that come around to her front make it pretty clear that the rest of her chest is pretty much unarmored. That seems like an odd battlefield choice. Seriously, Hasbro, you’ve been making kickass female characters since 1982 and the first new one you made since Vypra is armored everywhere but her boobs? You’re better than that, guys. Her shirt reminds me of the shirts the Joes wore in training in the PIT but it works as something that would be fine to wear in the field as well. Agent Helix has three-quarters sleeves on her shirt and it’s a good look. I’m hard pressed to think of any Joes that go with that rather modern fashion. On her right arm, there’s a bandage molded in. From what I gather from other reviews, they explained what it signified in the IDW miniseries, but having not read that yet, it just seems a little odd to me. Agent Helix’s head also has a lot of character and I’m very happy about that. She has a rather stern gaze and I don’t know why, but with the angular face, I almost feel like I hear a little bit of a British accent when she’s making sarcastic quips during battle. Despite my issue with her impractical armor, Agent Helix does look impressive and she definitely exudes character just standing on my shelf. Plus, like the other Rise of Cobra figures, she’s designed well enough that she can take some pretty extreme poses and still look good doing it so she’s a very playable figure.
If there’s one thing that leaves me a little conflicted with Agent Helix, it’s her color scheme. From her armored corset down, she’s wearing a nice stealthy combination of black and gray. However, the yellow shirt really throws me off. I like the color they used, but it just doesn’t seem to fit terribly well with the rest of the figure’s stealthy look. It’s not neon by any means, but it’s still a bit brighter than I’d prefer. Aside from the yellow just not quite fitting with the overall vibe of the figure, though, Agent Helix looks great. The paint is applied cleanly and that’s good because yellow slop is rather unforgiving. Her hair is interesting as well. We’ve never had a female Joe with such a hair style or a hair color. I’d say Agent Helix dyes her hair platinum blonde and then dyes in some black stripes. It’s not a bad look by any means, but it’s just a little strange for someone I see as being a covert operative. The last thing she’d want is a unique hair color. If she needs to disappear into a crowd, it’s going to be a problem. While her overall look doesn’t necessarily fit with what I see her as, Agent Helix is a sharp-looking figure and it was definitely nice to get that little splash of yellow on my shelves after all the black Rise of Cobra figures I bought.
The one area Agent Helix succeeds without any caveats is her gear. Agent Helix’s weapons are all great. Agent Helix’s filecard lists her primary weapon as a pair of 10mm pistols and they look really cool. They’re a bit futuristic, but they’re close enough to reality that they look fine in her hands. Once again, movies and a misspent youth playing GoldenEye on the N64 have tricked me. It’s nearly impossible to fire two pistols at the same time accurately, yet I still think Agent Helix looks amazingly badass dual wielding her pistols. I can see Agent Helix running and gunning her way out of a facility after a mission gone bad and taking out nameless Cobra guards left and right. Agent Helix’s other two weapons are also nice pieces, but they do lack a little bit of the iconic punch that her pistols have. Agent Helix has a boxy, futuristic rifle. From what I’ve read from other reviews, it is based on a real world weapon, but it’s not one I’m familiar with. That said, though, it’s still pretty cool. The boxy design almost makes it feel like a prototype of the Rise of Cobra pulse rifle. It’s not quite as sleek as the main production model but it still packs the same punch. I can see Agent Helix being tasked with sneaking into a M.A.R.S. facility to get some intel on the new weapons being developed for Cobra and deciding to snag one for the Joe tech guys to tinker around with in order to get even more information on it. Her final weapon is a funky combat blade. Once again, I’ve seen something similar to this in the real world, but it’s not standard military issue yet, so it makes sense for it to be in theJoes’ hands. I’ve always kind of thought the Joes are the ones that get the new tech first and this new knife is part of that. It looks great in Agent Helix’s hands and I can see her using it very effectively to silently dispatch a Cobra sentry.
From what I’ve gathered, Agent Helix is another Joe with a bit more of a sci-fi bent. Apparently she has adaptive photographic reflexes. For those of you who are comic literate, think Taskmaster. For those of you that aren’t, simply put, if Agent Helix watches you do something, she can do it. I’ve always thought that was a cool superpower and while I’m not sure I like seeing such a powerful super ability in my Joe universe, I love the idea of Agent Helix being able to do it. The figure is just so fun and playable that I love the idea that the character has been trained so extensively that she literally can do anything as long as she sees someone else do it first. While I’m not wild about it, I don’t mind the Joe brand dabbling in super soldiers a little. After all, the original Cobra Neo-Viper was a pretty nasty brute that I’d bet even the Joes would have trouble standing up to. The movie Neo-Vipers were also pretty though to take down. It makes sense that the United States government might start looking at their own ways to counter it. Plus, I like the idea of a new Joe being a bit super instead of them taking an existing Joe and turning them into a superhero, and as I’ve always said, the beauty of the Joe brand is that if you don’t like something that Hasbro has established, you don’t have to use it. However, while I’m reluctant to bring in super soldiers into my Joe universe, the adaptive photographic reflexes just fit so well with Agent Helix’s figure that it’s hard to resist bringing it in. Agent Helix is another one of those great Rise of Cobra figures that just sent my inner kid brain racing when I first got her. I was coming up with all sorts of cool adventures for her and that’s definitely something the 25th Anniversary line lacked.