Friday, November 7, 2014

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Goat Man from Mattel

I was really into cryptozoology when I was a kid. I checked out every single book on the subject that my elementary school had available. There were ones devoted to the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Yeti, and aliens. But there were also larger volumes with multiple entries to include the lesser-known cryptids – the Jersey Devil, the monster of Lake Champlain, the Moth Man, and of course the Goat Man.

Side Note: Now thanks to the internet and the SyFy Channel there are no such things as lesser-known cryptids. But this was the 80s and back then if you weren’t a Scottish dinosaur or a giant ape you were definitely relegated to obscurity to the general public.

Aliens are my own personal hell. But as often happens I realize that this is a subject worthy of its own post, so I’ll get back to that. For the purposes of today’s creepy toy review I am referencing another creature that made young Phantom more than a little uneasy – Goat Man.

Not everybody knows about Goat Man. I read about him in one of those larger books that featured an assortment of creatures. I don’t remember the locational specifics, but Goat Man is a humanoid with the head and legs of a goat and the body and arms of a human. He hangs around heavily-wooded, rural roads and jumps onto passing cars, attacking them with an axe.

I don’t know what about this struck a chord with me, but Goat Man was one of the cryptids that really freaked me out (not nearly as much as aliens, but enough). We used to drive up to North Carolina on a pretty regular basis and we would often still be on the roads at night. My dad liked to vary our routes because the drive was long and kind of boring and a change of scenery helped keep things interesting.

This meant we were often on heavily-wooded, rural roads.

I have a very specific memory of cowering in the back seat of our full-size van as we made our way down a dark road. Trees were thick on either side of the thoroughfare, to the point that the branches touched overhead, creating a canopy. It was the exact kind of road that Goat Man hung around. I do believe that the tales of Goat Man originated in the Northeast or Midwest – somewhere far from the hills of North Carolina – but young Phantom had no problem believing that Goat Man could travel. Or, even worse, that there might be more than one Goat Man.

I think once we got to my grandparents’ house I asked my mom if we could avoid back roads and stick to highways in the future. I never would have asked my dad about this. But I’m pretty sure that after that trip we took the highway. I think Mom had a little Goat Man anxiety, too.

Goat Man was Mattycollector’s touring Exclusive for 2014, like Strobo and the Temple of Darkness Sorceress before him. Goat Man is from a Masters of the Universe Golden Book, yet another continuity that has nothing to do with the other Masters continuities of the 80s. I have never read this book and until the lunatics that inhabit the MattyCollector forums started talking about Goat Man I had never heard of the character.

Once I heard that there was a Goat Man in MOTU I was excited. To have an action figure that is representative of my childhood fears would be awesome! I love it when my toys have specific personal attachment beyond just looking cool or being a character I like. There is a deep, visceral connection to the concept of Goat Man. Except that the Masters Goat Man looks absolutely nothing like Goat Man. Or a goat man. Or anything having to do with goats whatsoever except that maybe he might eat goats, I guess?

I mean, those aren’t even goat horns.

Until I had this guy in hand I wouldn’t have classified him as a particularly creepy toy. But as soon as I saw him up close I knew he would be perfect for 31 Days of Halloween. Goat Man is creepy as fuck. Despite being not the least bit goat-ish.

Oh, and nowadays I have a lot more sheep anxiety than goat fear. Sheep are fucking creepy, man.

FIRST GLANCE

I think the fact that the rest of the figure is kind of stupid looking makes his evil demon devil head even creepier, somehow.

PACKAGING

There simply isn’t anything more to be said about the MOTUC packaging. I love it. I’m glad they never changed it.

This biography is equal parts depressing and bugfuck crazy.

First of all, the name “Klacky” is stupid. The real names seem to be getting worse as the line goes on. I’m glad it’s ending next year before we can get to anything mortally embarrassing like “Booby Sugar” or “Yim Yab”.

Goat Man’s story is just awful because he’s a slave that never gets redemption. Just as it looks like he might finally escape Beast Man’s rule (by dying), he falls through an inconveniently located time portal (because apparently those things are just carelessly scattered across Eternia) into the future where Old Man Beast Man enslaves him again.

LOOKS

For a sad sack character, Goat Man has a terrifying evil devil face. This guy does not look like somebody who would be easily subjugated.

The head sculpt is very good, but the left horn on mine is warped out of place because Mattel used soft plastic. The depth of the rings on the horns gives them a lot of character. The heavy brow looks good. The severe underbite looks great. And I love the black eyes with red irises.

Goat Man has new thighs, forearms, and torso armor. The strap things on the thighs are extremely weird. I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on there. They are sculpted well and match the design on the torso armor which is, of course, poorly designed and makes the figure look fat. And also render him unable to put his arms down by his sides. Of all the ongoing sins that Matty has committed in the line, this is one of the worst. 

The new forearms have sort of technological looking wristbands, which don’t really make sense but have a nice coat of metallic paint to compliment the shoulders of the armor. The studs on the strap portion of the armor also have a metallic hue and stand out nicely.

The rest of Goat Man is purely standard issue. If the 4 Horsemen hadn’t been beholden to such a stupid design this character could have been really awesome. I would’ve put this head on the Beast Man body and made the whole thing either off white or maybe even black. 
 
ACCESSORIES

Goat Man comes with a big-ass hammer and the mini comic version of the Staff of Avion.

The hammer is awesome. It’s sturdy plastic and has great paint. Not only is the wrapping on the haft painted, but all of the metal parts have a wash that suggests wear. This is honestly one of the best looking accessories from the whole line. The sculpt is so clean and angular. It just looks awesome. I’m pretty sure somebody else is going to end up with this thing.

The Staff of Avion is also awesome. Obviously I love the green translucent parts, but it has a nice bit of paint as well. And Mattel – bless them – realized this time that we might actually want to have Stratos hold the staff instead of just leaning it into his hand. So it has a handle built onto it. Granted, this handle looks stupid, but at least the bird man can hold the thing. 

Not that you’d want him to because it doesn’t match his deco at all
 
FUN

I had a little more fun with Goat Man than I have with some other recent figures. The hammer is awesome and I enjoyed looking for poses to distinguish him from the rest of the humanoids and make him a bit more animalistic. I ended up sticking with pretty much the same pose that I used for Beast Man at first, but that’s okay because Beast Man is riding the Griffin now.

OVERALL

I dunno. I was really excited about Goat Man because of all the stuff I said in the intro, but now that I’ve got him he’s pretty lame. I might try to find an alternate body for him. If somehow we end up getting the red Beast Man I will definitely put this head on that body.

I can’t really recommend this guy. Not for the price. If you find him for ten bucks somewhere he might be worth having as a novelty, but compared to the rest of the Masters Classics he’s a bit of a turd. He isn’t done poorly, he’s just a bad design. Or cool elements saddled with bad design choices, which is sort of even worse.

3 out of 5

Preferably go and find one on Amazon and help ol’ Phantom pay the bills around this joint:


 
Of course, that's a lot of money for a figure I don't recommend buying. I dunno.

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