Mercer is an interesting character who’s been sadly underused in the GI Joe comics and cartoons. The idea of a Cobra defector could make for a lot of intriguing story possibilities. He showed up in a few issues of the Devil’s Due comic, the animated movie, and two episodes of the DIC cartoon, and that’s pretty much been it.
This Mercer also hails from 1991, a year notable for main line redesigns of no less than seven Joe team members and three Cobras. This version strays from the 1987 original’s Viper-esque style and goes for a more individualized look, complete with a chainmail adorned right arm. He also seemed to be operating under an alias at this time, as the 1991 version’s file card lists a different name. He also had some kind of promotion along the way, as he went from an E-5 to a Sergeant Major. Impressive. Considering all this, are we sure this is really the same guy, and not some super secret double agent kind of thing?
While I enjoy the new look for the figure, the backpack is a unique and fun accessory. A lot of collectors (myself included) complain about the missile firing weapons of the era and their bulkiness. I find this particular weapon very cool because it’s mounted on the backpack and swivels around for the figure to hold. It also clips back onto the backpack for storage. It’s a really nice and original concept that was used again to great effect for Star Brigade Duke. The launcher is bulky, but not as bad as some of the others of the time.
Overall, Mercer is a nifty concept as a character and the look is a cool redesign. He definitely deserved more exposure.