Rhino (comics)


The Rhino
Art by Khari Evans
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #41 (October 1966)
Created by Stan Lee
John Romita, Sr.
In-story information
Alter ego Aleksei Sytsevich
Team affiliations Sinister Syndicate
Sinister Six
Secret Defenders
Klaw's Army
Legion Accursed
Emissaries of Evil
Notable aliases Alexander O'Hirn
Abilities Superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability
Rhino armor grants:
High-level resistance to damage and extreme temperatures
Razor sharp horns
Ability to enhance his superhuman physical attributes

Rhino is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Although more than one character has assumed the identity of the Rhino, the first of these, and the one primarily associated with that identity, is Aleksei Sytsevich, who was created by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #41 (Oct. 1966).

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the Rhino has been featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series, arcade and video games, and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards.

A version of the Rhino using powered battle armor, portrayed by Paul Giamatti, appeared in the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Publication history

Described by writer Mike Conroy as "famously one of Spider-Man's dimmest villains",[1] the character debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #41 - 43 (Oct. - Dec. 1966) as a thug for hire working for an Eastern Bloc country.[2] He volunteers to participate in an experiment that bonds a super strong polymer to his skin and also augments his strength and speed. The Rhino returned in Hulk, vol. 2, #104 (June 1968), and although he dies at the end of the story, the character proved popular enough to be revived, becoming a perennial opponent for both Spider-Man and the Hulk. The character achieved significant exposure in the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in both a solo capacity and as a villain for hire in over a dozen titles. Significant appearances included starring in the limited series Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1 - 4 (May - Aug. 1991); the "Flowers for Rhino" storyline in Spider-Man's Tangled Web # 5 - 6 (Oct. - Nov. 2001), which is told from the character's perspective; and Punisher War Journal vol. 2, #13 - 15 (Jan. - Mar. 2008), in which the Rhino begins to rethink his lifestyle.

Fictional character biography

Aleksei Sytsevich was a thug who worked for Eastern Bloc scientists. The scientists subjected him to a process which gave him an artificial skin covering which granted him superhuman strength.[3] After being empowered, Aleksei Sytsevich rebels against the agents who gave him his powers and destroys their laboratory. He is subsequently hired to kidnap Colonel John Jameson in order to obtain extraterrestrial spores to which Jameson has been exposed during a space mission. Jameson is rescued and the Rhino defeated by the superhero Spider-Man. The Rhino is imprisoned and kept there with sedation but soon breaks out and continues to try to kidnap Jameson. Spider-Man uses a web imbued with a chemical developed by Curt Connors to melt off his Rhino hide and then knocks him unconscious.[4]

After serving his entire prison term, the Rhino is approached by the same scientists with a more powerful, removable suit. The Rhino agrees to find and kidnap Bruce Banner for his knowledge of gamma radiation, and trains to fight Banner in his Hulk form. However, he finds himself hopelessly overpowered by the Hulk, who shrugs off his strongest blows, pummels him to the brink of death, and leaves him in a coma.[5]

The character is brought out of his coma by the Leader months later. The Leader plans to interrupt Banner's wedding to Betty Ross using a ray to transform him into the Hulk and make him kill Ross; he revived the Rhino to protect him from the Hulk's inevitable desire for revenge. However, the Rhino betrays the Leader by attacking Banner the moment he transforms. The Rhino is still unable to harm the seemingly invulnerable Hulk, and he turns on the Leader after the Leader accidentally shoots him. Rhino is caught in the explosion of the Leader's ship and left in a coma.[6] Leader, who was paralyzed after a previous encounter with Hulk, finds and takes mental control of the still-comatose body of Rhino and attacks Hulk. The battle eventually leads to an alien world, where Leader abandons control of Rhino and flees. Bruce and an unconscious-but-now-recovered Rhino travel back to Earth via a rocket.[7]

The Rhino reappears with Abomination, and the pair activate a gamma bomb at the Hulkbuster base in an attempt to destroy Hulk. Jim Wilson deactivates the bomb, and Hulk tricks the villains during combat, forcing them to collide and knock each other unconscious.[8] Rhino reappears as a member of the supervillain team, the Emissaries of Evil (consisting also of Egghead, the Cobalt Man and Solarr), in search of a rare jewel. Opposed by superhero team, the Defenders, Rhino and Solarr initially hold their own until defeated by Doctor Strange.[9] While in hiding, Rhino is found and outwitted by scientist Doc Samson and is eventually defeated.[10]

The Rhino battles Doc Samson and Spider-Man.[11] The Rhino teams up with Moonstone; Blackout and Electro in an unsuccessful attempt to escape the research complex Project: Pegasus.[12] Rhino also battles Fantastic Four member, the Thing, during an attempt to remove his body suit.[13]

The Rhino joins the criminal group the Sinister Syndicate to battle Spider-Man.[14] Rhino also battles Iron Man in the city of Los Angeles.[15] Rhino and accomplice Blacklash, in the employ of criminal mastermind Justin Hammer, also hunt and capture a fellow villain Scorpion, who has absconded with advanced weaponry.[16]

The Rhino teams with other villains in two unsuccessful attempts to kill Spider-Man.[17][18] Rhino receives an intelligence boost via surgery and becomes a genius, eventually undergoing surgery again to reverse the process when life becomes dull.[19]

The Rhino is defeated by a diminutive Deadpool (courtesy of the Pym Particles);[20] Rhino appears during the Civil War storyline where he assists the Chameleon in attacking Spider-Man.[21]

When Rhino robs a bank and a security guard is accidentally killed, he is humiliated by the Punisher and saved by Spider-Man before being killed. Rhino is then captured by Alyosha Kravinoff (the son of Kraven the Hunter). Kravinoff, who is collecting a zoo of animal-themed superhumans, is defeated by Punisher, with a despondent Rhino and other villains being freed.[22] Feeling remorse from the accidental killing, Rhino sends a letter and money to the security guard's widow. Rhino decides to make amends and repay the Punisher for the previous rescue by aiding him on a case. At the conclusion of the story, Rhino is allowed to leave and is told to "be good",[23] eventually returning to aid the vigilante.[24] Rhino later persuades Punisher to not kill Michael Watts, the third Stilt-Man.[25]

During The Gauntlet storyline, Rhino decides to give up his life of crime entirely. He surrenders to the police and pleads guilty to all charges against him. S.H.I.E.L.D. removes his Rhino costume, and he is sentenced to 25 years in Ryker's Island. The Russian Mafia and other criminal gangs try to recruit him, but he denies them, even going so far as to completely avoid a breakout at one point. For his good behavior and cooperation, he is released early on parole. Upon release, he is met by Doctor Tramma, who wants to re-invent the Rhino. Sytsevich declines Doctor Tramma's offer and tries to begin a new life, dating (and eventually marrying) a waitress and residing in a small apartment in Yonkers. Doctor Tramma eventually uses someone else to create a new and improved Rhino. Sytsevich feels he needs to face and kill the new Rhino to get rid of him, but Spider-Man convinces him to promise otherwise and helps Sytsevich keep his new life by defeating the new Rhino.[26] The new Rhino attacks Sytsevich at one of J. Jonah Jameson's press meetings. Feeling he could not break his promise to Spider-Man, Sytsevich lies to the new Rhino, telling him he will agree to fight him in his suit, but he instead goes into hiding with his wife Oksana. Before they arrive at their safehouse, the new Rhino attacks again, and Oksana dies as a result. Sytsevich redons his old Rhino suit and attacks the new Rhino. With one hit, Sytsevich completely destroys the new Rhino's suit. Spider-Man begs Sytsevich to stop, but the grief-stricken Rhino disregards him and kills the new Rhino.[27]

Rhino is invited by Doctor Octopus to join his supervillain team where he becomes involved in securing some specific items for him. He shows up after Spider-Man makes Freak collide with Vulture. Spider-Man talks him down from a fight.[28] Rhino is later seen as a member of Doctor Octopus' Sinister Six.[29]

During the Ends of the Earth storyline, Rhino is among the Sinister Six when Spider-Man and the Avengers engage them on the Mediterranean coasts. Rhino defeats Thor after Thor sends Electro into the atmosphere.[30] Rhino is seen guarding one of Doctor Octopus' facilities in Korea. He fights Spider-Man, Black Widow and Silver Sable and is defeated by Spider-Man's electrical webbing.[31] Rhino reveals he wanted to watch the world burn, stating that the loss of his wife had changed him, and that he is prepared to die. When Doctor Octopus self-destructs his own lair, Rhino pins Silver Sable to the floor in a flooding corridor, telling Spider-Man he will remain there, taking Silver Sable with him to death. Knowing Spider-Man will blame himself for his fellow hero's death, Rhino sees it as an opportunity for revenge. Rhino and Silver Sable are apparently drowned, despite Spider-Man's defeating Doctor Octopus.[32]

While in Doctor Octopus' dying body, Spider-Man meets him and Oksana in the afterlife during a post-mortem experience.[33]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Rhino resurfaces months later having survived his apparent demise. He has remained in hiding in Tahuexco, Guatemala. A mysterious red-suited man approaches Aleksei and persuades him to do the red-suited man's bidding. Although Rhino was not up to it at first, he takes up the red-suited man's offer when he has a somehow-revived Oksana by his side.[34] The red-suited man later has Rhino spring Lizard and a depowered Electro from Andry Corrections Facility.[35]

Powers and abilities

Mutagenic chemical and radiation treatments, including gamma ray bombardment, provides Rhino with superhuman strength, heightened levels of speed and stamina and a high degree of durability. The Rhino's superhuman speed allows him to run and/or exercise at high velocities, especially over short distances. He frequently "charges" his opponents in this manner, enabling him to cause great harm to most enemies and the surrounding area. Rhino is notorious, however, for his lack of agility and slow reaction time. This makes it nearly impossible for him to change direction when running at such high speeds and causes him to miss his target and collide with the wrong object.

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.

The Rhino has some experience in hand-to-hand combat, though he is generally much more of a brawler. Even so, his extreme levels of strength, stamina and resistance to injury make him a formidable opponent regardless of a foe's superior fighting skills.

The Rhino possesses a thick polymer mat suit that resembles the physique of a rhinoceros and covers his entire body except for his face. The suit is highly resistant to damage and extreme temperatures, and it is also equipped with two horns, designed to mimic the general shape and function of actual rhinoceros horns, capable of penetrating two-inch plate steel. His first suit, more crude in overall design, was originally bonded to his skin, and he was unable to remove it. This suit was eventually destroyed and a second, removable suit, more form-fitting in its design, was created by Justin Hammer. This suit was given to Rhino after he underwent additional gamma ray treatments that further heightened his powers. The new suit was also designed to enhance some of his powers, using gamma ray treatments. Without the suit, Rhino still possesses great superhuman strength and is highly resistant to conventional physical injury, such as most high-caliber bullets, extreme temperatures and impact forces. While wearing the suit, his strength is slightly increased, while his durability is enhanced to a much more significant degree. The suit also allows him to withstand high-caliber bullets, exposure to temperature extremes of cold and heat without the suit cracking or melting or his own bodily tissues suffering damage, falls from great heights, light anti-tank weaponry, explosive concussions and potent acids without sustaining injury.

Other characters named Rhino

Doctor Tramma's Rhino

When Aleksei Sytsevich declines Doctor Tramma's offer to be upgraded, Doctor Tramma finds another subject and equips him with a high-tech rhino suit that was supposed to be given to Aleksei Sytsevich. The second Rhino comes after Aleksei, feeling that he had to destroy the original Rhino if he was going to ascend. Spider-Man defeats the second Rhino who then escapes.[26]

While lifting a makeshift dumbbell made out of a pole and two trucks, the second Rhino is called up by a mysterious person telling him where he can find Aleksei. The Rhino attacks Aleksei at one of J. Jonah Jameson's press meetings. Aleksei lies to the second Rhino, agreeing to fight him in his suit but instead going into hiding with Oksana. However, before they arrive at their safehouse, the second Rhino attacks again and Oksana dies as a result. Aleksei dons his old Rhino suit, totals the new Rhino's suit as his suit was stronger, and kills the unnamed wearer.[27]

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the alternate reality seen in the Age of Apocalypse storyline, Rhino was one of Death's soldiers on the Moon at Apocalypse's recovery base the Ship. Death captured superhumans and brought them to the Ship and used the Terrigen Mist to turn them into warped powerful monsters for him to control. Rhino was one of the super humans that were captured. He joined Death and other of his henchmen and fought Magneto and the X-Men on the moon. He ends up fighting Rogue but is defeated easily by one punch.[36]


Rhino was seen as a member of the Avengers who travelled through time to stop Charnel, an entity that had been ravaging his future-Earth for decades. He had been partnered with She-Hulk for twenty years. He was killed in action.[37]


Rhino is among the villains enthralled by Krona in the last issue to defend his stronghold. He is shown defeating Triathlon.[38]

House of M

In the alternate reality seen in the House of M storyline, Rhino is the bodyguard of Peter Parker. When Parker sends Rhino to question Crusher Hogan, wrestling under the alias "Green Goblin", Rhino injures Hogan, hospitalizing him. Now in hiding from the authorities, Rhino is approached by the Green Goblin looking for aid in defeating Parker. Rhino betrays the Green Goblin enlisting his friends Electro, Ox and Vulture to attack the Green Goblin, unmasking him to reveal Peter Parker.[39]

Marvel Zombies

Rhino was among the zombified villains that attempted to devour Galactus and joined the undead Sinister Six. When the other zombies were done eating Galactus, Zombie Hulk and Zombie Spider-Man tore off Rhino's head and body and both each eating it, also both stating that it did not taste good.[40]


Rhino appeared within the MC2 Universe in the pages of Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man. Whilst visiting the hospital with his sick aunt, Rhino briefly loses his temper as he is told to fill in his forms in order for his aunt to receive her meds, before calming down. Waiting in line, he once again comes face to face with Peter Parker, who is with his own family. Remembering that he once threatened Peter under the orders of Harry Osborn, Rhino assures Peter what he did was simply business, and the two call a truce. They spend the remainder of Peter's visit exchanging stories of their lifestyle choices, and part with a better understanding of each other.[41]

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel version is Alex O'Hirn who uses a suit of armor known as R.H.I.N.O. (Robotism Heuristic Intelligence Navigable Operative) that he stole from the U.S. Military.[42] Using the R.H.I.N.O. armor's incredible strength, he robbed a Manhattan bank, charging the vault head-first, destroying it. He then rampaged through a busy street to make his escape, destroying anything in his path, including police cars, with ease. The original Spider-Man tries to escape school in order to confront him but is stopped by various incidents. Iron Man arrives, stops the R.H.I.N.O. assault and captures him by the time Spider-Man catches up. R.H.I.N.O. was then taken into military custody.[43] R.H.I.N.O. was later seen being soundly defeated by Spider-Man.[44] During the "Divided We Fall" storyline, R.H.I.N.O. faces off against Captain America and the U.S. Army. The new Spider-Man uses his venom blasts to create a shortcut into the R.H.I.N.O. armor and defeat him.[45]


In the Spider-Verse storyline, the Earth-001 version of Rhino appears as a member of Verna's Hounds. He accompanied Verna and the Earth-001 version of Scorpion to Earth-21205 to hunt the Hobgoblin (who was the identity of this world's Peter Parker). Rhino, Verna, and Scorpion were stopped by the Spider-Woman of Earth-65.[46] He later helps Verna and the Earth-001 versions of Hammerhead and Ox attack the Spider-Totems on Earth-8847.[47] He is killed by Superior Spiderman, Assassin Spiderman, and Spider Punk.

Marvel Mangaverse

Rhino was part of the Kishi Kuri clan.[48] Think was present when Venom usurped Kingpin. Rhino was seen battling the Shadow Clan.


On Earth-65, Aleksei Sytsevich is a mercenary who was hired by Kingpin and Matt Murdock to kill George Stacy. Though he doesn't appear as the Rhino, Aleksei is depicted as large, having gray skin, and sporting blue hair. He was stopped by Spider-Woman. Officer Frank Castle later interrogated him on who ordered the hit on George Stacy. Castle beat out of Aleksei that Kingpin was the one who ordered the hit.[49]

In other media


Rhino as he appears in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.


Video games



Toys and collectibles


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  2. Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 36. ISBN 978-0756692360. Now it was time for [John Romita, Sr.] to introduce a new Spidey villain with the help of [Stan] Lee. Out of their pooled creative energies was born the Rhino, a monstrous behemoth trapped in a durable rhinoceros suit.
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man #43
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  12. Avengers #236–237 (Oct. – Nov. 1983)
  13. Thing #24 (June 1985)
  14. Amazing Spider-Man#280–281 (Sep. – Oct. 1986)
  15. Iron Man #238 (Jan. 1989)
  16. Amazing Spider-Man #319 (Sep. 1989)
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  18. Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1–4 (May – Aug. 1991)
  19. Spider-Man's Tangled Web #5–6 (Oct. – Nov. 2001)
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  27. 1 2 The Amazing Spider-Man #625 (March 2010)
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  52. Nealey, Joshua (February 5, 2013). "'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' synopsis revealed, Paul Giamatti and Colm Feore officially join cast". Hypable.
  53. Labrecque, Jeff (May 8, 2014). "'Spider-Man 2': How did they create Rhino and destroy Times Square? -- EXCLUSIVE GIFs". Entertainment Weekly.
  54. Weintraub, Steve (October 2, 2013). "Paul Giamatti Talks PARKLAND, DOWNTON ABBEY, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and 3, the Sinister Six, and More". Collider.
  55. Maane Khatchatourian. "'Spider-Man': New Movie Stars Teen Peter Parker - Variety". Variety. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  56. Lang, Brent (February 10, 2015). "Spider-Man: How Sony, Marvel Will Benefit from Unique Deal (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
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  58. Webb, Charles (February 24, 2012). "The Rhino Crashes Into Activision's Upcoming 'The Amazing Spider-Man'". MTV.
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External links

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