If you were one of the first people to the Diamond Select Toys booth each day at Comic-Con this year, Shadow Merk could be yours for free. (Also, if you went to the right parties, maybe you got one there too with a side of chicken wings.) Last year we were treated to about a dozen flavors of Vorin, and this year we're getting polybagged Merks. Interestingly, the figure seems to hold together better than the painted counterpart and looks really good - I think it even made me like the previous versions more. It's a rising tide raising all the other ships.
As I love Battle Beasts, free things, and Diamond Select Toys (I work with them a bit in my day job) is always nice to me, this is pretty exciting stuff. Dark, shiny, clear purple plastic looks wonderful under bright lights and actually turned out amazingly well. The plastic is nice and rigid, and other than having to use a little force to get those knives on the front of his jacket to stay in place, it works pretty much perfectly. (This is normal for me, as I have clumsy fingers.)
I was surprised to discover the detail on the wings and all of the feathers seem to look better in clear purple - you can make them out in some of the shots, and I'm quite pleased. The range of movement is typical Minimates fare and the figure has no real problems standing in numerous poses. You get a lot of gear, a fancy hood, and a nice sculpt for the price of free.
As of now there are at least 4 Merk figures out there - the falcon comes in clear purple (SDCC Booth Giveaway), clear orange (Hot Wings Merk, SDCC party giveaway), painted (normal issue), and metallic (Toys R Us exclusive). I assume this will be the most common of them, as there's certainly a glut of them on eBay after the show.
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