Aleksei Sytsevich was born in Moscow, Russia on October, 14th 1966. A thug who worked for Eastern Bloc scientists. The scientists subjected him to a process that gave him an artificial skin covering, which granted him superhuman strength. 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 Rhino defeated by the superhero Spider-Man. 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.
After serving his entire prison term, Rhino is approached by the same scientists, who bombard him with gamma radiation (exposure to which granted the character The Incredible Hulk his super-powers) to increase the Rhino's strength. The scientists also equip him with a more durable, acid-proof suit that "compliments" the gamma-ray procedure, granting the Rhino even more strength while he wears it.