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Ultimate Rhino

Spider-Man Classic
by Rustin Parr

This may sound familiar, but the only way to begin this is: Holy crap! I can't believe they made a figure of Ultimate Rhino!

His only appearance was in Ultimate Spider-Man #28, and even then he was just a throwaway gag to get Spidey shown-up by the Ultimates (particularly my beloved Ultimate Iron-Man). As a general fan of Rhino toys and lover of his costume, I really liked the new mecha/cyborg look he was given and immediately wanted a figure. However, since Diamond Select Toys has the rights to the "Ultimate" universe and they seem more interested in regular characters, I figured I had no chance of getting him. DST has seemingly though given up exclusive rights to "Ultimate" characters (what with not only this but the upcoming/recently postponed Marvel Legends Ultimate Cap) and we luck out here.

The sculpting on this figure is really good, if not great. They could have used some more mecha stuff on the torso, but you don't hear me not complaining! The detailing on the gray "hide" is really good, but would really benefit from some paint washes or drybrushing to bring it out (see my review of the MTV Lizard for a great example of how paint improves sculpt). The paint of the face and mouth is pretty good too. The size is decent, but he needs to be bulkier or at least an inch taller to be more book accurate (he certainly doesn't work with the mediocrity that is the Marvel Select Ultimate Iron Man).

The amount of articulation on this guy is almost sickening: we have pivot toes, rocking feet, ankles, double-jointed knees, hips, waist, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, elbows, swivel forearms, wrists, thumbs, forefingers, fingers; a total of 30 points (counting head). The head is entirely cast out of rubber to make the horns "safe" and only moves as part of the play feature. Yep, this is one of those figures ruined by play features.

Squeeze his legs together (actually, just his left leg inward) and the Rhino turns at the waist to the left, his right arm "slams" down and his head "throws" back. Thanks to that, the left leg hangs out awkwardly, the waist articulation is useless for displaying, and the head can't be positioned. I really wish the play feature could have been dropped, the head put on a balljoint and the torso given ML-style articulation. Plus, when you move the left leg forward, the "squeezy" gimick means the leg flops around loosely. This really could have been done a lot better.

Also, I see no reason at all for the finger articulation - and the sheer volume of it. The only reason I see any need of finger articulation is if you want him to hold Spidey, which could work (but why separate forefinger articulation?) but it looks odd since the fingers are sculpted to be all scrunched inward. I ain't complainin', I just don't really see the point of it - but since it doesn't increase the price, I'll take it.

The base is just a simple repaint of one from the Hulk movie line. I'll always prefer new sculpts to reused ones, but the base works fine with this figure, so there's no problem. The only thing is that there is a sculpted newspaper on it with a headline of "Incredible Hulk Rampages City." Either one can take this as just cheap and dumb, or a cool little "connected universe" thing, especially since that's the whole first Ultimates storyline.

All in all, this is a really cool figure and a must-have for Ultimate or villain fans. The amount of articulation is a little bizarre and the play feature really knocks this figure down a couple pegs because of what could have been. Buy it if you can find it!

-- 06/28/04

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