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Marvel Select
by yo go re

Aleksei Sytsevich was just a low-level thug when he was offered enhanced strength, speed, stamina, and the near-indestructible Rhino armor by enemies of the United States. His attempts to capture military and scientific secrets for his masters put him into direct conflict with the Hulk and Spider-Man, and he would repeatedly clash with both heroes over the years. In that time, he has upgraded his suit numerous times, boosted his strength with gamma radiation, and even teamed up with other super-villains as part of the Emissaries of Evil, the Sinister Six and the Sinister Syndicate. Despite a short period where he gave up crime, assisting the Punisher and even stopping the new Rhino, Sytsevich still holds a grudge against Spider-Man and seems to have returned to his felonious ways.

Unlike many of the Marvel Select figures we review, who don't already have adequate action figures, there's a perfectly good Rhino out there already. It's just that he was only ever available in a rather rare box set, so most fans never got a shot at him. DST to the rescue!

The figure is definitely big. His exact height will vary depending on how you pose him, obviously, but you're looking at a figure that's about 9¼" tall, thanks to the horn on his head - that's an inch and a half bigger than the ML Rhino! And yet he's still one of figures who will be able to mix with your 6"ers - like the bio says, he was constantly subjecting himself to procedures designed to boost his power, so it would make sense that he'd be bigger than an average human by this point. He's also majorly thick, measuring 4½" across the shoulders and 2¼" from front to back. This is a big beast of a figure, and will tower over Spider-Man wonderfully.

The sculpt's a beauty, too. The only part of Aleksei we see is the skin immediately around his face - everything else is covered by his unremovable Rhino suit. The texture is a lovely mix of varying sizes of cracks. The big cracks are the easiest to see, but when you get up close to him, you see that there are thinner, shallower cracks running in between those. Mimicking a real rhino's anatomy, there are a few places where the costume has hard edges - most noteably on the chest and the outer thighs. There are three large toenails on each boot, and of course two horns on the head. The head also gets a black "rhino eye" on each side, and adorable little wrinkles on the back of neck, where the suit has bunched up.

Strictly speaking, a rhino's horn is not a horn at all - it's made of keratin, and is thus equivalent to a really large fingernail or tightly packed hair. A true horn is made of bone, and is retained for life (unlike antlers, which are regularly shed). And contrary to popular belief, rhinoceros horn is not considered an aphrodisiac in Chinese herbalism; it's actually used to reduce fevers. But again, since it's just keratin, you could get the same effect by eating your own fingernails. Go ahead, try it at home.

Rhino's articulation suits him. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, swivel/hinge hips and knees, hinged ankles, and then swivels going into the feet. It's these last swivels that really help, allowing him to remain stable-footed even when his legs are spread wide - it makes him look more powerful and threatening. We do wish that the forward-back motion on the neck and the chest were greater, so that you could actually get him bent over in half so he could properly aim his horns at someone standing in front of him. It's only his go-to fighting move, after all.

The figure doesn't include any accessories or even a base - he's large enough to crowd everything else out of the packaging. He doesn't even get the silly cardboard backdrop that Juggernaut had. What might have been cool, though? A small pile of rubble that plugged into his foot as a figure stand. Not a full display base, just a little something to spice up the environment.

Rhino is definitely one of the biggest Spider-Man villains, in every sense of the word. He's physically large, of course, but he's also important and longstanding. He hasn't been seen since his pivotal role in the "Ends of the Earth" storyline, but he's sure to be back someday - and thanks to Marvel Select, you can have him stomping Spider-Man right now!

-- 02/11/13

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