I’ve always been a fan of Mutt and Junkyard—so much so that I used to regard Law & Order as “those knock-offs”. (I’ve since revised my opinion.) I was happy to see the original K-9 trooper included in the Anti-Venom Task Force and I was even more excited when rumors surfaced that he’d finally be getting the “new sculpt” treatment. So, after a three-week wait on my order from HasbroToyShop.com I finally have Mutt in my hands. Does he live up to expectations? Well… sort of.
Let’s start off with Mutt’s sculpt—which is clearly based on the Spy Troops Roadblock sculpt. His uniform is amazingly Spartan; Mutt is wearing a green t-shirt, a padded orange vest, olive pants, and brown boots. His gloves are gray and one is the more heavily padded glove of an animal handler. His vest is adorned with a brown combat harness, a molded pistol-in-holster, and a single grenade. He is also wearing a removable silver muzzle. If I sound rather blasé about this sculpt it’s because I am. While there is nothing really wrong with this character design there is also nothing very “stand out” about it either. It’s just extremely plain—functional but plain. The padded glove on the right arm is a nice homage to the original, as is the nightstick accessory. However, I’m just not getting the “Mutt vibe” from this one.
Mutt’s head sculpt, much like his uniform, is also extremely plain. It is important to note that Stanley Perlmutter seems to be living the good life as this figure is not only clean-shaven but also appears to be several years younger than previous versions of the character. I think it is this disparity that really hurts this figure in my eyes. Previous versions of Mutt all sported extremely similar head sculpts, making the figure easy to recognize. This figure, however, could easily be an entirely new character as he bears little resemblance to the original. Sure, his hair color is the same but that’s about it. Gone is the facial scar and gone is the familiar snarling visage that greeted many children in the 80’s. I always Mutt as a character akin to Mick Belker from “Hill Street Blues”—a bit of an animal himself. His original file card supports that notion with the statement: “If you’re sitting next to Mutt in the mess hall, don’t try filching anything from his tray. He’ll bite your leg off.” While this is a nice figure, it’s just not the Mutt I grew up with.
I’m thinking that in the intervening years, Dr. Mindbender went to work for Ralston Purina, helping to develop hyper-nutritious pet food formulas. This is the only way I can rationalize steroid-pumped Junkyard that comes packaged with Mutt. Maybe the original Junkyard was under-sized and we’ve lived all of these years in ignorant bliss. However, when you place the new Junkyard next to the original he stands out like the Hound of the Baskervilles next to that talking Chihuahua from Taco Bell. This dog is massive in the same that Godzilla could be considered “a bit tall for his age”. This is the kind of dog that would have Destro considering surrender as a perfectly acceptable option when cornered. In fact, the new Mutt figure doesn’t look like he could even control this massive “canine-o-death”. I’ll be darned if the old dog hasn’t grown up a bit over the years.
Mutt is a mixed bag for me. He’s got a decent albeit bland sculpt. He’s got some interesting accessories, including his new sculpt rifle, and he comes with the nastiest looking dog I’ve ever seen in plastic form. (This includes those ridiculous “Hulk Dogs” from the Hulk movie a few years ago.) If he were any other character other than Mutt I’d be okay with him but as the original Joe K-9 officer he leaves me a bit cold. So, if you’re looking save some cash with the new DTC figs and you need a figure to skip, this is the one. He’s not awful by any means but he’s just not that interesting either.