Last week I reviewed Roadpig who was included in the recently released Dreadnok 7 pack. That set was made up of 7 previously unreleased versions of the mercenary biker gang who are often in the employ of Cobra. The companion pack to that was a Slaughter’s Marauders set which consisted of 7 Joes all of who operate under the command of Sgt. Slaughter. Slaughter, who is a real life guy was integrated into the Joe mythos in 1987 when they included him in the animated movie. In the film Duke’s cocky younger brother Lt. Falcon is punished for abandoning his post (and a slew of other charges) by being sent to serve under the hard nosed Slaughter in the middle of nowhere. When we meet Slaughter for the first time he is accompanied by his squad of renegades which included Taurus, Red Dog and Mercer. Mercer was the most interesting of the lot by far. He was a former Cobra-Viper who had defected from Cobra and joined the Joe team. How cool is that? The introduction of Mercer made me realize that all those masked Cobra troopers were actually people with back stories of their own. It made me ponder what led these guys down this evil path to join a ruthless terrorist organization and fight against their own country. These weren’t crazies from the middle east, Cobra troopers were always white and spoke in American accents. I thought it was a very cool concept to have a character that was won over by Cobra’s propaganda but then became disillusioned with their philosophy and jumped ship. Not only jumped ship but took up arms with G.I. Joe the task force who’s primary purpose was thwarting Cobra. It opened up my eyes to all kinds of possible story lines. Unfortunately they never really ran with the concept and Mercer didn’t do much in the cartoons or the comics after 87 so the movie remains his most significant appearance in the world of Joe. Slaughter himself carried on as a popular character in the later seasons of Joe and the concept of his Marauder team was introduced. Well established Joes like Low-Light, Barbeque, and Spirit were repainted in unifying colors and put together as a team. This 7 pack is rounded out by those 3 as well as Lt. Falcon. No Slaughter though, damn likeness rights.
The Mercer figure itself is pretty great and Hasbro does exactly what I want them to do with these modern era figures; make it look like the figure I loved as a kid so it’s immediately recognizable as Mercer but then improve on it. Like the original this Mercer still has his flat top haircut, his red vest, blue pants, black boots and probably the coolest thing about the original: the “no cobra” tattoo on his left arm. It’s a cobra tattoo as I imagine many Cobra troopers would have gotten as an initiation but Mercer’s has a circle and slash over it. It might be a little over the top in establishing this guy as a former Cobra but I think it’s a cool and believable little detail. The face sculpt on this guy is great and has a ton of personality. He’s got pursed lips and a arched eyebrow and earrings in both ears. He looks badass and is my favorite figure of the set. 9 out of 10.