Appearing in "Rhino Plastered"
- Hulk (Only in flashback)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Rhino Plastered"
While Doc Samson is treating Bruce Banner's affliction, Rick Jones pays a visit to the children's ward of the hospital. There he breaks up a fight between two children and offers to tell them a story about his friend the Hulk...
Rick explains that this was during a time that he, Clay Quartermain, and the Hulk were traveling across the country. At that time, the Hulk's old villain, the Rhino, had hit a low point. Homeless and without friends, he frightens everybody away because he cannot take off his costume. Fed up, the Rhino decides to hold up a bank when suddenly he spots the Hulk getting into a van and instantly cowers, as the Hulk has defeated him so many times in the past. Deciding to do something low key, the Rhino gets the idea to steal the Santa costume from someone collecting donations from the poor. Later in the day, Bruce Banner, Clay Quartermain and Rick Jones passes by the Rhino without recognizing him. He then uses his clout to convince them to give money.
Soon, the Rhino is approached by the owner of a mall who needs a replacement Santa after the man they hired fell down drunk. The Rhino is reluctant but is brought to tears when he hears the children cheering for him, the first time people wanted him in his entire life. Those cheers turn into laughter when the Rhino sits in the Santa chair and it breaks under his weight. Soon a makeshift chair is made and the Rhino begins seeing the children. When one particularly greedy child realizes he's talking to the real Rhino, the villain warns the boy to keep his mouth shut. However, as the boy's father pulls the boy away he tries to tell her that "Santa" is really the Rhino. This is overheard by Bruce, Rick and Clay who are shocked to hear it. Eventually, the demands of the children causes the Rhino to lose his temper and shout at the children. At that point, Bruce had slipped away to the bathroom as it is getting close to sunset.
By the time the Hulk comes out of the bathroom, the Rhino's cover is blown by a kid who yanks his beard off. The Hulk catches the boy when the Rhino throws him across the mall. The two come to blows, trashing the various stores. They are briefly stopped when a woman offers them cookies, but the Rhino hates the fact that they have macadamia nuts in them and the fight continues. The fight suddenly comes to a halt when a little girls asks "Santa" why he is fighting, fearing that Santa might be fake considering this man is acting naughty. Seeing the girl is almost in tears, the Rhino and the Hulk both decide to stop fighting and start working the Santa booth so the little girl can have a happy Christmas....
... When Rick finishes his story he asks the kids what they think. One of the boys thinks the story was stupid and kicks Rick in the shin. As he limps away, Rick wonders why he even bothers.
- In the present, Rick states that this story takes place "about a year ago", per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, the flashback of this story takes place between publications published in 1988 or "Year 7" and the "present" in this story, in a publication in 1991 takes place in "Year 8" of the Modern Age. Technically, this story would actually be less than a year between the two events. How it can be around Christmas during the present day and the flashback is a matter of interpretation.
The flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- This issue contains a letters page, Gray Matters. Letters are published from Bob Schmitt, Pedrum Razi, Dr. P.A. Dating, Chris Connelly, DeMarco Wynne, Rex Howard and Gary D. Robinson.
- Kurt Busiek is credited as "Santa's Helper" on page one.
- In the first panel of page 17, two patrons of Page After Page Comics discuss the cover of DC's Star Trek Vol 2 15, which was co-written by Peter David and Bill Mumy, as part of a tribute to the show Mumy starred in during his childhood, Lost in Space, with one of the patrons mentioning that the title of that show is hidden on the cover.
- In reference to the continuity notes above, Star Trek Vol 2 15 is cover-dated February 1990, exactly one year before the cover date of this issue.
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- 2 Images from Incredible Hulk Vol 1 378
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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