ARMOURER  
  Code Name: MERCER  
 

Awful UK card art > my 'shoppingSergeant Slaughter’s Renegades were bloody awful really –a bunch of wicked extreme cool troops who signposted the next few years’ descent into football shirts and arbitrary primary colours. The line had featured both those things before (Bazooka and Airtight/Blowtorch respectively) but this was the point they stopped being the exception. On top of that their only real fictional appearance was being parachuted into the 1987 film (with the deeply irritating Slaughter, of course) for little discernible reason other than to say "Hey, we’re new toys". The film would be all but unaffected if you edited them out.

Strangely though, Mercer seems to be immune. He was the only one to get a mass release revisit (though the 1991 version was a bit weird, looking more like Joe Colton than Mercer), and he turned up a couple of times in Devil’s Due’s output – notably in a one-shot Special Missions packed with fan favourites who had not really featured much in the main book up to that point (Cover Girl, Beach Head, Tunnel Rat, Low-Light and Airtight – not bad company to keep). I suppose it’s the mix of a cool voice and the ex-Cobra factor. I'd all but given up on a G3 figure, however - briefly embarrassing myself with a Viper with a movie Duke head stuck on until the internet-exclusive Slaughter's Marauders seven-pack came along.

Given the fan-orientated nature of these sets Mercer is largely slapped together from extant parts. These are well-chosen, hitting all the key features, and the Pursuit of Cobra Alley Viper's flak vest is a good fit. It might have been nice to retain the original's shoulder holster but the knife is a passable substitute. Sadly, though, the biggest problem comes from the all-new head cast. While most of it's fine (though this really was an occasion when they could have got away with using any of the extant 'flat top' casts from a Duke or Thunder) Mercer inexplicably has a pair of earrings - not cool pirate hoops (though even a pair of these would be a bit much) but middle-aged female wedding guest earrings. It's bizarre. They're oddly influential on the look - the moulding is negligible and they're only a couple of dabs of silver paint, but they're difficult to unsee.

Another change from the original is the switch to symmetrical gloves, but this doesn't cost the look much - I could never work out why he had one black gauntlet and another bare arm anyway. The most crucial detail - the 'No Cobra' tattoo - is there and he has a decent weapon kit for this sort of thing too, including a shotgun, a Viper-style rifle, a pistol with a removable silencer and the aforementioned knife. He really is a decent figure, especially compared to the other Marauders, and I'm probably letting the head cast thing get out of proportion - he has a unique face and you could probably file the earrings off. On the whole I suppose we should be grateful we've got a G3 figure of such a semi-obscure character and that its' only real fault is easy enough to solve.

G.I. Joe Mercer
G.I. Joe Mercer
G.I. Joe Mercer
G.I. Joe Mercer