Alias: Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #41 (October 1966 Marvel Comics)
Created by: Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.
“And so, the world has been given its first introduction to the matchless menace of—the unstoppable Rhino!”
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will soon be released to the world in just a few months. I wish I could be more excited about the film, but I have a lot of reservations with it, including their portrayal of the Rhino. Perhaps I’m passing judgement on it to harshly considering it isn’t out yet. From the looks of things so far though, it looks like they are turning him into a transformer. Maybe the mecha suit they’ve shown in trailers won’t be that bad, but as fans, it will be our duty to inform the uniformed in the theater that this is not the Rhino we know and love. With him about to take a piece of the spotlight, it’s time to take a look back at his first appearance.
Aleksei started out as a common thug for hire he found himself front and center for an experiment that bonded a super strong polymer to his skin, aka his rhino suit. This substance substantially improved his speed and strength and of course gave him his trademark deadly horn. With the suit he is nearly unstoppable, not being unlike the Juggernaut is ways. With his new found powers, he is hired by the same men who performed the procedure to capture Colonel John Jameson for research during the space race. as he had been in contact with space spores during his trips as an astronaut that could reveal invaluable information. Here is where we enter Amazing Spider-Man #41.
Colonel Jameson is meeting with his father Jonah as they argue over whether Spider-Man is a hero or menace. Getting nowhere with that, John tells his father about the space spores he came into contact with and how scientists had been studying him because of it. With the bountiful research they gained, there is a fear other countries will want John to research as well to help their space programs. He has been given two federal agents for protection, but as he discusses this the Rhino is shown to be slowly making his way towards New York.
After crashing through a few more blockades on his way, the Rhino finally makes his way to John’s hotel suite and crashes in through the agents. He takes John and makes his getaway. Luckily Spider-Man hears the police sirens and is able to quickly track down the Rhino with John over his back. He springs in quickly to fight, but finds that the Rhino is stronger and faster than he thought. Even punches won’t faze him, only hurting Spider-Man’s hand. He decides the only way to stop him will be to tire him out. The Rhino doesn’t tire easily, but eventually Spider-Man is able to use his acrobatics enough times to dodge several charges. With the aid of his webbing, he finally is able to get the Rhino off balance. He gets on top and then uses his wait to smash the Rhino’s head into the pavement. The Rhino get’s back up one more time, but just long enough for a few steps and to crash back down to the ground.
At this point the police and Jonah finally arrive. Jonah is quick to accuse Spider-Man of having a role in the abduction, so Peter decides to quickly leave before the police start to believe the lies. The Rhino is taken into custody, but the police already worry whether or not they’ll be able to hold him since the suit is irremovable. Of course they won’t be able to hold him, but that is another issue entirely…
For a first appearance, this issue actually does a great job. The Rhino is featured throughout the entire thing when many times you can only expect a few panels. You get to see that he is nearly an unstoppable force when he gets going. While he is big and strong too, he actually takes Spider-Man by surprise several times with quick punches, and of course speedy charges. He is usually thought of as a villain of low intelligence, but that’s not surprising since Spidey probably had to give him brain damage just to take him down. He really doesn’t get a back-story here, but it is nice to see him appear in full force as a dangerous new villain that brought a tough fight to Spider-Man.
Sure, a guy in a giant Rhino suit might not be naturally made for the big screen, unless you count Ace Ventura coming out of one in When Nature Calls. I still have hope that his turn in the new movie will do this character justice, but I am worried. Even in comics he’s turned into a joke at times, becoming apart of a key chain for Deadpool at his lowest point. He might not be the brightest villain in Spidey’s Rogue gallery, but he is one of the more powerful ones. The character introduced a ways back though was a strong match for Spider-Man, and that’s how I prefer to remember him no matter what.