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Rambo has no actual super powers, but he has great strength, as he was in the Special Forces in Vietnam. He was awarded two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, one Distinguished Service Cross, and one Medal of Honor for all of his duties.
John James Rambo was born on June 7, 1947 in Bowie, Arizona. After graduating from high school, Rambo enlisted himself in the U.S. Army on June 8, 1964 at age 17. In September 1966, he was deployed into South Vietnam.
Rambo returned to the U.S. in 1967, when he began training in the Special Forces at Fort Bragg. Rambo was re-deployed to Vietnam in late 1969. He was captured by North Vietnamese in November 1971 and held at POW camp. Here, Rambo and other prisoners were reportedly tortured. He escaped captivity in May 1972, but was re-deployed shortly shortly afterward.
When Rambo returned to the U.S., he learned that many civilians hated the returning soldiers. He was subjected to the humiliation of having garbage thrown at him and being called a "baby killer" by hippies. These bad experiences at home combined with those in Vietnam triggered a bad case of post-traumatic stress disorder. After having difficulties adjusting to civilian life (and losing a valet parking job), Rambo becomes a drifter and wanders the country.
By December 1982, he is still a drifter, now arriving at the [fictional] town of Hope, Washington to find an old Army buddy of his, Delmore Barry. He visits his house, only to discover from Barry's widow that Barry has died from exposure to Agent Orange back in Vietnam. He is left with survivor's guilt, as he is the last member alive from his Special Forces unit.
Rambo then wanders into downtown Hope. The town's sheriff, the over-confident Will Teasle, judges Rambo negatively over his scruffy looks. Teasle drives Rambo out of town and leaves him, warning him not to come back. Knowing that he has done nothing wrong, Rambo returns to town. Teasle then arrests him for vagrancy, resisting arrest, and carrying a concealed weapon.
At the sheriff's office, Rambo is treated brutally by some of the officers. This triggers Rambo's bad memories, which causes him to snap and fight his way out of the police department. He escapes into the Washington wilderness via a stolen motorcycle. After Rambo accidently kills an officer, the Washington State Police and about 200 members of the Washington National Guard are called in to assist in the manhunt.
By now, Colonel Samuel Trautman (Rambo's former commanding officer in the Special Forces) has arrived in Hope. He warns Teasle that continuing the hunt for Rambo would be dangerous to the authorities because he is too experienced to be captured by them in the wilderness in which he thrives. However, Teasle and company reject Trautman's warnings and keep tracking Rambo down. This leads to Rambo returning to town and blowing up various establishments on the main street. Poised to to kill Teasle, Rambo is confronted by Trautman, who convinces him to surrender to the authorities.
After the incident in Hope, Rambo is convicted and sent to a maximum-security prison. Even though he is jail, Rambo is able to find peace, since the heavy duty labor and prison life reminds him of the Army.
Rambo remains in prison until 1985, about three years after he unleashed his fury in the Pacific Northwest. Colonel Trautman approaches Rambo at a worksite and asks him to return to Vietnam for a mission to find American POWs still in captivity. Rambo agrees, and he is released from prison to go a base in Thailand.
After arriving in Thailand, Rambo meets Marshall Murdock, the official in charge of the mission. He tells Rambo that he is not allowed to engage the enemy. He is only to take photographs to prove that there are no POWs in Vietnam, although Murdock knows there still are.
Rambo parachutes into the a part of the jungle where Murdock receives info that no POWs were being held at the time. He works with an anti-communist Vietnamese woman named Co Bao, who serves as his intelligence agent. They discover that there is a camp near where Rambo landed (the POWs are routinely rotated from camp to camp, and there are coincidently some at this camp now). He breaks one POW out of the camp and they make their way to the mission extraction point. The helicopter almost there, Murdock aborts the mission, leaving Rambo and the POW to be captured by the Vietnamese.
Rambo is taken back to the camp, where he is immobilized in a pit of sewage and leeches. Later, he is electrically tortured by Soviet soldiers, mainly by the Lt. Col. Podovsky (the Soviets had been training and aiding the Vietnamese soliders).
In the guise of a prostitute, Co enters the camp, and then helps Rambo make an escape. After escaping, Rambo expresses his gratitude for her help, and they then share a kiss. Co then implores him to take her back to the U.S. with him. Shortly afterward, as they prepare to move on, Co is gunned down by a Vietnamese soldier.
Enraged, Rambo begins a one-man rescue mission. He steals a Soviet helicopter and breaks all of the POWs at the camp out of captivity. While flying back to Thailand, Rambo is engaged by a helicopter piloted by Podovsky. After a short skirmish, Rambo blows up Podovsky's helicopter.
Afterward, Rambo and the POWs land at the Thailand base. Angered by the government's actions, Rambo threatens Murdock, and tells him to find more POWs, or "he'll find him."
Trautman then approaches Rambo, telling him that he will receive another Medal of Honor for his actions. Rambo declines, saying that it should go to he POWs. For these actions, Rambo is granted a presidential pardon, and he remains in Thailand.
Rambo then takes up residence near a Buddhist monastery, attempting to find inner peace. Even though he believes that his soldiering days are over, he partakes in violent stickfighting matches, donating his winnings to the monks.
By 1988, Col. Trautman has begun seeking out Rambo again. He finds him during one of his stickfighting matches. After the fight, Trautman approaches Rambo about aiding him on a mission in Afghanistan, where they would supply weapons to Afghan freedom fighters who were defending themselves from the invading Soviet forces. Rambo refuses, and Trautman goes without him.
In Afghanistan, Trautman's troops are ambushed by the Soviets. He is taken to a Russian outpost, where he is tortured by the Commander Zaysen. When Rambo learns of the incident, he immediately flies to Afghanistan.
Created by David Morrell for his 1972 novel "First Blood." Sylvester Stallone portrayed the charcter in the novel's 1982 film adaptation, as well as its sequels: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rambo III." Rambo appeared in a few comic books published by Blackthorne Publishing in the late 1980s. In addition to the novel, films, and comics, the character was also in some video games and a short-lived animated series titled "Rambo and the Force of Freedom." Stallone starred as Rambo again in the most recent installment of the film series: "Rambo." For further information on the franchise itself, go to Wikipedia and look for the article called "Rambo."
First Appearance: None listed.
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Blackthorne 3-D Series (1985)
#49 Rambo (1989)
- 'Rambo III in 3-D #1'
Rambo 3.5 (2010)
Rambo III (1988)
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