Aleksei Sytsevich was just another thug in the Russian Mafia, grasping at dreams of easy money, and headed for a short brutal life. Seduced by promises of wealth and power, Aleksei underwent a life-threatening series of chemical and radiation treatments to transform him after several months into the superhumanly strong agent for a collective of professional spies - in part, to support his family. Aleksei's powerful armor, permanently bonded to his form, was modeled after the hide of a rhinoceros. Two scientists named Igor and Georgi chose this form, both for its visual impact and in recognition of the fact that the rhino was the result of countless generations of evolution towards the ultimate form for armored assault. They selected Aleksei for his muscular physique and low intelligence, which they believed would insure his loyalty.
Given the code-name Rhino, his first mission was to kidnap astronaut John Jameson, son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, and sell him to the highest bidder. He received intensive sub-hypnotic training in American English and false citizenship papers bearing the name Alex O'Hirn. Feeling cocky, he turned on his benefactors, destroying their headquarters, and attempted to abduct Jameson under his own initiative. As the Rhino made his way towards New York City, Spider-Man began to formulate how to defeat this apparently unstoppable foe. His discovered two key factors: once charging, the Rhino couldn't change directions or easily halt his advance. Second, Aleksei was rather dumb. Spider-Man deduced that if he could avoid a direct hit from the Rhino's horn, his superior tactical skills and agility would always leave him the final victor in any fair fight.
Spider-Man defeated the Rhino sending the villain to a special state correctional hospital where he was kept under heavy sedation. After a few weeks, the Rhino broke out of the hospital and escaped, seeking revenge on Spider-Man. This time, Spider-Man defeated him using a specially-formulated version of his web fluid, devised with the aid of Dr. Curt Connors, that contained encapsulated acid pellets whose containers dissolved upon contact with air. The special webbing rendered the Rhino's costume weak and brittle, which deprived him of needed impact resistance. The Rhino was recaptured, tried, and convicted.
The Rhino served a commuted sentence and was discharged. When he was released, the spies who had transformed him, apparently showing no sign of malice towards his betrayal, approached him with the offer to strengthen him using a gamma-ray process. They had also devised an improved, acid-resistant material rhinoceros suit. Having no other prospects of gainful employment, the Rhino accepted the offer. The new series of radiation treatments were successful and doubled the Rhino's previous strength level. The augmented Rhino's first mission was to abduct Dr. Bruce Banner, an authority on biochemical gamma-ray experimentation, (also known as the Hulk). The spies planned to coerce Banner into developing an army of gamma-ray treated superhuman assassins. When the Rhino tried to abduct Banner, Banner transformed into the Hulk and overpowered the Rhino. Again, the Rhino was sent to a state facility under heavy sedation and high security.
The Rhino's battle with the Hulk came to the attention of the Leader, one of the Hulk's foremost enemies, who decided that further gamma-ray treatments would give the Rhino enough power to overcome the Hulk. The Leader freed the Rhino from the state facility, and further increased his strength by gamma-ray bombardments. The Leader then dispatched the Rhino to crash the wedding of Bruce Banner and Betty Ross. Succeeding in interrupting the wedding, the Rhino engaged in battle with the Hulk when the Leader accidentally shot him with a radiation blast intended for the Hulk. The Rhino turned on the Leader and caused the Leader's escape module to explode. (Banner's wedding to Ross was subsequently delayed for several years.) The Rhino was left comatose but otherwise unharmed and taken to a state hospital. The Leader used his mental energies to revive him, and reoutfitted him to battle the Hulk once again - this time with the Leader's mind controlling his every move. When the Leader released the Rhino, Aleksei was aboard a space shuttle battling the Hulk. The fight continued until the shuttle crash landed on the High Evolutionary's artificial planet on the opposite side of the sun called Counter-Earth. While the ship automatically repaired its damage, the Leader telemetrically signaled for it to return. The Hulk fought his way back on, the Rhino in tow. When the ship crash landed back on Earth, the Rhino was buried in the wreckage for some time until he revived.
The Rhino was then recruited by Egghead, as part of the criminal scientist's Emissaries of Evil. The Rhino was paired off with Solarr and sent to Dr. Strange's sanctum to fetch the Star of Capistan, a jewel of power that Egghead mistakenly thought Strange had. The mission brought the Rhino in conflict with his old nemesis, the Hulk, as well as the Defenders. The Rhino was ultimately defeated by the Red Rajah, a being in possession of Dr. Strange. He later battled and was defeated by Doc Samson, and subsequently taken for study to Project Pegasus, an enormous energy research facility in upstate, New York. After months of observations, the Rhino joined in a mass escape attempt along with fellow prisoners Moonstone, Blackout, and Electro. The escape was thwarted by the Avengers. While being transferred to another facility, the Rhino was freed by the Miracle Man who wanted the Rhino to help him regain his mystical powers. The Rhino did not wish to be freed, however, preferring to seek medical treatment to remove his costume which had affixed itself to his skin following he fiery shuttle crash. With the aid of the Thing, the Rhino opposed the Miracle Man, and accompanied the Thing back to PEGASUS where they again attempted to transfer him to the medical facility as arranged.
The Rhino was hired by the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) hoping to earn cash to return to his homeland and convince his family to return back to America with him. Hired to scare Peter Parker, the Rhino was severely beaten by a furious Spider-Man. The Rhino's family was disgusted to learn the means Aleksei was using to gather funds.
When the treatments failed to restore him to normal, the Rhino escaped and joined the Beetle's Sinister Syndicate to earn money to finance further operations. With teammates Speed Demon, Hydro-Man, and the Boomerang, the Syndicate nearly overpowered Spider-Man until the timely rescue of the then-reformed Sandman working for Silver Sable.
The Syndicate reunited again, though soon fell apart due to the machinations of Leila Davis seeking revenge against the Beetle, whom she held partly responsible for the death of her husband, the Ringer. Rhino hoped again to use earnings in the Syndicate to remove his suit. The team fell apart and the Rhino, working for the Kingpin, was double-crossed. Rhino, overhearing the scientists who were instructed not to remove the suit, kidnapped one of the scientist's children, and had his suit finally removed. The Kingpin, not one to be outdone, sent a fake-explosive package to the now more vulnerable Aleksei, letting him know he could always kill him if need be. Rhino, missing the excitement in life, requested Justin Hammer to make him a new removable suit.
Rhino later found himself broke and alone during the holiday season. He stole a Santa Claus costume and made people "give" him money. He agreed to be a mall Santa, but became volatile when the kids did not get along with him. The Hulk was there, and a fight ensued in which the Rhino gored the Hulk. However, with a little girl crying, the Rhino spent the next few hours at the mall as Santa on much better behavior.
The Rhino even joined a minor league baseball team, wearing a suit of "Mecha-Rhino" armor, resulting in two clashes with the Hulk.
In the Great Game, a gambling operation run by a group of wealthy individuals who wager on the outcome of battles between their sponsored super-powered contestants, sponsor James Johnsmeyer sent the Rhino to pressure the deformed Spider-Man clone, Kaine, into becoming a contestant. Joystick and Polestar joined the fight while the sponsors wagered on who would draw first blood. Double points were offered for Spider-Man as a wildcard while he tried to defend Kaine. Uninterested in joining the Game, Kaine seriously battered the Rhino while Spider-Man tackled Polestar and Joystick.
In another scientific experiment, the Rhino attempted to enhance his limited intelligence. The experiment was too successful, rendering him too smart for his own good. His new intellect ruined a romance, and he became suicidal. However, instead of giving up on life, he reversed the procedure and returned back to his former IQ.
The Rhino battled Hammerhead's gang but was taken down again by Spider-Man. In Canada, the Rhino became subject to experimentation whereupon he was mutated into a half-man / half-rhino creature temporarily. The Juggernaut, attempting to reform his life, stopped the bestial Rhino, rejecting an opportunity to escape his own sentencing. The Rhino was reverted back to his previous superpowered self, whereupon he abducted and proposed to a French female singer/songwriter. Subsequently, after Spider-Man apprehended him, he was jailed in a special section of Ryker's Island prison for superpowered criminals at the same time as the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn). The Rhino was last seen free from jail, whereupon Colleen Wing knocked him down and apprehended him after she crashed Misty Knight's Jaguar XK8 straight into him.
When the Superhuman Registration Act came into effect, Rhino was among the villains that saw Spider-Man unmasking himself on television.
After he recently helped Punisher, The Rhino decided to give up his life entirely. He surrendered to the police, and pled guilty to all charges against him. S.H.I.E.L.D. (painfully) removed his Rhino costume, and he was sentenced to twenty-five years in Ryker's Island. The Russian Mafia and other criminal gangs tried to recruit him, but he denied them all, even going so far as to completely avoid a break-out at one point. For his good behavior and cooperation, he was released early on parole, "in order to make room for worse guys". His first stop after getting off the bus was a diner, where the waitress, Oksana was somewhat mean/nice to him because she knew he was an ex-con as that's all that ever comes in. He paid for his meal and left. He rents a room at Vasili's, and is met by a Doctor Trama, who wants to re-invent him as an all-new and improved Rhino. When he noticed Oksana in Vasili's restaraunt crying, he walked over to her to talk to her and discovered she had been fired for being mean to the customers. Aleksei declined Doctor Trama's offer, and asked Oksana to have dinner with him. They eventually got married and live in a small apartment in Yonkers.
Doctor Trama eventually found someone else, and a new and improved Rhino came after Aleksei, feeling that he had to destroy the old Rhino if he was going to ascend. Spider-Man helped Aleksei keep his new life by defeating the new Rhino, however he once again retured and murdered his wife. Aleksei donned the Rhino suit again and easily defeated and killed the New Rhino.
Rejoining the Sinister Six
Some time later, Doctor Octopus, in his plan to be remembered as the man who saved Earth, offered the chance to stop the Greenhouse Effect, as well as speed it up, using a special device connected with different satellites in orbit.
Disguised as Al Gore, Chameleon tried to accelerate the decision of world's leaders about the matter, but was uncovered by Spider-Man, who irrupted the scene along the Avengers. When the Chameleon was freed, he arrived in the Mediterranean on a meeting with the rest of the team. The Avengers followed them and arrived, fighting the Sinister Six, but they where all defeated by the villains, the price of the battle was Electro, who was sent to space by Thor.
Using an explosion as a distraction, Silver Sable saved Spider-Man and Black Widow. When they tried to get to one of Octavius manufacturing plants of satellites, they defeated Sandman, but Octavius asked for help to all nations, due his position in the matter, to capture Spider-Man.
While Spider-Man and his allies continue to disarm Doc Ock's bases, defeating Rhino in the process, they are attacked by S.H.I.E.L.D. forces before they can capture him and are forced to flee. After Spider-Man and Silver Sable arrived to Octavius underwater base, Rhino faced them while the base started to flood, he trapped Sable and left Spider-Man with two choices, to continue to fight him in order to save Sable from drowning (but the Octavius would activate the lenses) or let him drown himself and Sable but stop Octopus. After leaving Sable to her death at her request, Spidey managed to destroy Octavius's arms and equipment before taking his foe away to a doctor. The last image of Aleksei before his apparent death was a smile in his face.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Gamma Ray Bombardment: All of Rhino's superhuman attributes are the result of treatments involving gamma radiation. The controlled bombardment fortified his cellular structure and added several hundred pounds of muscle and bone tissue to his body. Over the years, he has repeated the procedure for the purpose of increasing his powers and there has been a dramatic increase in his strength when compared to his initial gamma ray treatment.
Superhuman Strength: The Rhino possesses extreme superhuman strength. The Rhino is able to lift more than 75 tons and up to 100 tons with his suit on .
Superhuman Speed: The Rhino can, despite his large complexion size, run and or exercise at top-notch speeds hence he can, while charging or ramming, appear at his destination rather quickly although he can't move nearly as fast as speedsters.
Superhuman Stamina: The Rhino's enhanced musculature is much more efficient than that of a normal human and generates considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity. At his peak, he can exert himself physically for up to 24 hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood starts to impair him.
Superhuman Durability: Even without his suit, the Rhino's body is highly resistant to physical injury. He can withstand high caliber bullets, exposure to temperature extremes, falls from great heights and even light anti-tank weaponry without sustaining injury. The Rhino's costume grants him a high degree of resistance to physical injury. It is highly impervious to damage, able to resist explosions equivalent to 1 ton of TNT, the impact of small anti-tank weaponry, and temperature extremes between -50˚ and 1,000˚ F without cracking or melting. It is acid resistant and removable. The suit boosts his strength, features a bulletproof polymer mat rhino-like hide and two horns capable of penetrating 2-inch plate steel.
|Power Grid |
|* His suit is designed to work with and somewhat enhance his superhuman strength and durability gained through gamma treatments.|
AbilitiesThough he has had little formal training, the Rhino's sheer strength and resistance to injury render him a formidable hand to hand combatant. He uses street fighting techniques that allow him to make full use of those attributes.
Once charging,he cannot change direction or easily halt his advance. The Rhino also possesses below average intelligence.
EquipmentRhino Suit: The Rhino wears a special suit modularly aligned and composed of a thick polymer mat similar in appearance to the skin of an actual rhino. The suit works in conjunction with his gamma based powers and increases his strength and durability beyond their original gamma induced levels. The Rhino's costume grants him a high degree of resistance to physical injury. It is highly impervious to damage, able to resist explosions equivalent to 1 ton of TNT, the impact of small anti-tank weaponry, and temperature extremes between -50˚ and 1,000˚ F without cracking or melting. It is acid resistant and removable. The suit boosts his strength, features a bulletproof polymer mat rhino-like hide and two horns capable of penetrating 2-inch plate steel.
No known transportation
The Rhino was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.
- The Rhino was one of the characters featured in the series of Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970's.
- Amazing Spider-Man #41, 42, & 43 - First appearances
- Incredible Hulk #104 - Fights Hulk.
- Amazing Spider-Man #280-281 - The Rhino joins the Sinister Syndicate.
- Iron Man #238 - Revealed as working for Justin Hammer.
- Amazing Spider-Man #318-319 - The Rhino continues working for Hammer.
- 241 Appearances of Aleksei Sytsevich (Earth-616)
- 52 Images featuring Aleksei Sytsevich (Earth-616)
- 11 Quotations by or about Aleksei Sytsevich (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Aleksei Sytsevich (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Aleksei Sytsevich (Earth-616)
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 2 #10
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