Spider-Man’s been my favorite super hero for as long as I can remember. Even before I starting collecting comic books at eight years old I thought Spider-Man was the best. A big part of Spidey’s appeal is his rogues gallery. Batman is the only other super hero that even comes close to having as many cool villains as Spider-Man. Most of Spidey’s core villains were created by Stan Lee back in the 60s and have stood the test of time. But I have a confession to make. I never cared much for some of the most classic Spider-Man villains. Green Goblin was always my favorite. Shocker, Mysterio, Lizard, Scorpion, Electro…all great. Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Vulture…never really did it for me. I didn’t mind reading stories featuring those villains but I didn’t exactly think they were cool characters. The Rhino fell into the latter category for me as well. He was a big dumb brute in a fairly ridiculous Rhinoceros outfit that looked like a onesie made out of animal hide. He would charge at Spidey, Spidey would leap out of the way, and that was about it; he was a one trick rhino.
A few years ago there was a story written where Rhino became super smart and a lot of people loved it. It was a decent read but it didn’t necessarily make me care for the Rhino any more than I had before. In a more recent story the Rhino, Russian thug Aleksei Sytsevich, gave up his life of crime for a woman and the tale actually did tug at my heart strings a little. Especially when some new guy in a rhino outfit shows up and kills Alexsei’s woman. Alexsei is so enraged that he puts his Rhino costume back on and kills the new poseur. Alexsei’s rehabilitation was short lived as after that he became a member of Doctor Octopus’s Sinister Six.
I was intrigued when I found out that the Rhino would be featured in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2. Maybe this would be the story that finally turned me into a big Rhino fan. Unfortunately everything I’ve seen about the film thus far has been discouraging. Paul Giamatti? Really? He’s an excellent actor (have you seen American Splendor?) but he hardly seems like a good choice to play the Rhino. And just recently images of Paul “in costume” have been released. He looks like some weird 4-legged robot and I’m just not feeling it.
This isn’t a movie-Rhino figure though, this is a comic Rhino in his classic onesie. It was released in the same wave of Marvel Universe figures that gave us Mysterio and Elektra earlier this year. When I found the wave in stores I grabbed Mysterio but intended to leave Rhino behind. Vanessa picked him up and said “Oh he’s cool. Why don’t you get him?” I told her that I’m not a big Rhino fan and that I already had a Rhino figure in the 3 3/4″ scale at home. The figure I was referring to was released a couple years ago in the MU compatible Spider-Man toy line. That figure featured Rhino in his “ultimate” outfit. The Ultimate version of Rhino had a few extra mechanical enhancements and some additional armor, such as shoulder pads and wrist guards, and I thought it was more interesting to look at than this classic version (which is rare for me as I amost always prefer the original). As far as I was concerned one Rhino was plenty. But Vanessa insisted that I should get him and I figured what the hell, it’s ten bucks.
I’m glad I picked this figure up. Not only is it a great looking classic Rhino but it’s also way better than the Ultimate Rhino I had already. I didn’t realize how much better until I got this one home and compared them. This guy is bigger, better sculpted, more articulated, and he just plain looks more like the Rhino I grew up with. He reeks of 60s Spider-Man comics and that’s a good thing. I’m almost always disappointed with skinny MU figures but the bulky ones almost always impress and Rhino follows that trend. 7 out of 10.