Morris Bench, also known as Hydro-Man.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (January 1981)|
|Created by||Dennis O'Neil
John Romita, Jr.
|Alter ego||Morris Bench|
|Team affiliations||Frightful Four
Masters of Evil
|This section requires expansion. (December 2012)|
Fictional character biography
Morris "Morrie" Bench gains his superpowers while as a crewman on the cargo ship the U.S.S. Bulldog, having been knocked overboard accidentally by Spider-Man (after the hero had finished a fight against Namor) while a powerful experimental generator is being tested in the ocean. The combination of unknown radiation and his immersion in a deep ocean dwelling bacteria turns him into Hydro-Man. When he realized that he had become a man-of-water, he blamed Spider-Man for his disgrace and started to hunt him (through many showers, sewers and water valves), in order to get revenge on the hero, but was defeated in combat. Soon after that, he teams up with and briefly becomes merged with the Sandman into a composite mud/quicksand-like creature called Mud-Thing. The Mud-Thing was defeated by Spider-Man and the NYPD. Sandman and Hydro-Man separated from this form after this.
Hydro-Man is a typical low rent super criminal, joining supervillain teams such as the Sinister Syndicate, including that of the Frightful Four. While working with the Sinister Syndicate, Hydro-Man demonstrates a willingness to put up with just about anything in the name of financial gain. He ignores the constant politicking of the other members and looks past the Beetle's betrayal of the group to the Kingpin in the belief that the group was economically beneficial to him.
Hydro Man was a member of Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil, and battled the Thunderbolts. After the disintegration of the group, he began to cooperate with the Shocker. He was hired by the Green Goblin to be part of his Sinister Twelve to help kill Spider-Man, but was defeated.
After Civil War, he is seen alongside Shocker and Boomerang. This group attempts to rob Baily's Auction House but are interrupted by Spider-Man and then Initiative members War Machine and Komodo. The latter are there to neutralize Spider-Man. The trio escapes, but is later defeated by the Scarlet Spiders.
When a member of Wizard's Frightful Five, Hydro-Man received a costume from Wizard that is made from the same material as the Human Torch's costume. In the Frightful Five's fight with the Fantastic Four, Hydro-Man was frozen in Titan's atmosphere.
When Spider-Man (whose mind was swapped with Doctor Octopus by a special Octobot) sends a message to various supervillains to capture Spider-Man alive and bring him to Doctor Octopus in the Raft, Hydro Man (along with Trapster and Scorpion) is among the supervillains that receives the message. He arrives at the Raft and overtakes the doctors in order to get Doctor Octopus' body out of the Raft. While in Doctor Octopus' lair, Hydro-Man suggests that Octavius lay down for a minute but Peter is hell-bent on going forward. He puts on a lab coat and prepares to go out full force to confront Peter/Octavius. Peter has a crazy plan and his first step is to infiltrate a police station. When the police are tipped off to the whereabouts of Doctor Octopus' hideout, Peter calls Scorpion and Hydro-Man to help defend the base and tells him them not to hurt them because they need them for questioning. While Scorpion and Hydro-Man duke it out outside, Peter finishes working on the Golden Octobot. Peter emerges in Octavius' submarine and Scorpion and Hydro-Man board. He tells them that Trapster had been captured and that they don't need him anyway. When Doctor Octopus in Peter's body states that the Avengers are away during Peter's infiltration of Stark Tower, Peter goes all out and in a last-ditch effort he commands Hydro-Man and Scorpion to simply attack Spider-Man. Hydro-Man finds all of Peter's colleagues, but the Horizon gang siphon him off into a tank and Max contains Hydro-Man's "soul molecule".
Powers and abilities
Hydro-Man is able to bodily transform himself into a watery liquid substance; he can access secure areas and small openings with relative ease; when his bodily mass is dispersed in this form it simply reforms, albeit slowly depending on how far apart the mass was. All of Hydro-Man's cells remain fully under his control when he is in his liquid state. Hydro-Man can also merge with and manipulate larger bodies of water when he is in his water form. He can increase his mass and cause tidal waves and tsunamis. He can turn parts of his body to liquid while retaining the rest of his human form, allowing him to slip from a foe's grasp or have projectiles like bullets harmlessly pass through him. Through great mental exertion, Hydro-Man can also turn into steam. Other examples of manipulating his watery form include firing off small streams such as a fire hose, shaping parts of his body into 'solid-water', constructs, and mixing himself with other compounds for different effects. However, this last example to defeat Hydro-Man can be using other compounds against him, since certain substances can either harden him (like cement or concrete), or make him feel sick (such as fire-extinguishers and chlorine). The Wizard enhanced his powers, through the use of sophisticated equipment.[volume & issue needed] These artificial enhancements granted him increased and more precise control over bodies of water and moisture near him, which he demonstrated by absorbing nearly all the moisture in the Trapster's body.[volume & issue needed] However, Spider-Man teamed up with Iceman and used Iceman's powers to solidify him into ice.[volume & issue needed]
Hydro-Man claims that he has not aged since he gained his powers.
Hydro-Man possesses a certain degree of superhuman strength, and has been shown to be an exceptionally skilled fighter, and adept at using his powers for that purpose. In some incarnations, depending on the writer, Hydro-Man can form his forearms into weapons such as Sandman does, except that Bench's weapons are made of water.[volume & issue needed]
Bench has extensive experience in street-fighting techniques due to his experience as a criminal before his transformation. Though cunning, he has been consistently depicted by writers as a low tier henchman with little formal education and is often tricked into using his powers in ways that incapacitate him (as explained above). His normal attire consists of a black shirt and blue/or green pants, as well as a costume invented by the Wizard.
Hydro-Man appears in Spider-Man: Reign as a member of the Sinner Six. They are in the control of the tyrannical mayor of New York. Hydro-Man dies when he comes into contact with Electro during an attempt to kill Spider-Man.
In other media
- Hydro-Man first appears in the 1990s Spider-Man episode "Hydro-Man", voiced by Rob Paulsen. This version is portrayed as Mary Jane Watson's former boyfriend who has returned to reclaim Mary Jane's love, while retaining the origin as his comics counterpart. However, as M.J. repeatedly rejects Bench's advances, Hydro-Man becomes even more desperate in his attempts and incensed against Spider-Man as a competitor. After having robbed a museum and stashed untold amounts of riches inside a water filtration plant, Hydro-Man kidnaps Mary Jane and keeps her inside the plant. Upon an eventual discovery of the plant, Spider-Man and Hydro-Man fight it out over Mary Jane, which eventually evolves into a battle on a high-rise rooftop away from the water. He attempts to attack Spider-Man physically only to end up evaporated. Hydro-Man again appears in a two-part Season 5 episode, "The Return of Hydro-Man." However, Hydro-Man was really a clone of the original Hydro-Man created by Professor Miles Warren. He kidnaps Mary Jane again, which leads to the final encounter in the underwater base, where Miles works. After Miles explained his story of how he cloned Hydro-Man and Mary Jane to Spider-Man, the clones dissolve into water and evaporate. Hydro-Man was utilized in place of the Sandman, who was unavailable for use in the show due to being considered as one of the villains in James Cameron's attempted Spider-Man film.
- Hydro-Man appears in the Fantastic Four episode "And the Wind Cries Medusa", voiced by Brad Garrett. In this appearance, he is a member of the Wizard's Frightful Four. On a related note, this episode aired one week from Hydro-Man's debut appearance in Spider-Man.
- Morris Bench appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Shear Strength," voiced by Bill Fagerbakke. He appears as a demolition expert for Norman Osborn. When the bomb has countdown was accidentally activated by the Master Planner, Bench was unable to fix it and there would not be enough time for Norman, Donald Menken, and him to escape. However, Spider-Man arrived and saved them from getting killed.
- Hydro-Man appears in the Spider-Man Questprobe game, and in the Spider-Man Animated Series game for Super Nintendo while in the Sewer Level.
- Hydro-Man can be seen in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Orlando Resort voiced by Bill Fagerbakke. He appears as a member of the Sinister Syndicate. He uses his abilities at one point to throw water at guests and Spider-Man, before knocking them away. Later, during the climax on the roofs of New York, he attacked Spider-Man yet again, before Electro collided with him, seemingly destroying him, as he is not seen with the rest of the Syndicate during the final scene.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1980s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 118. ISBN 978-0756692360. "In this issue, award-winning writer Denny O'Neil, with collaborator John Romita, Jr., introduced Hydro-Man."
- The Amazing Spider-Man #212
- The Amazing Spider-Man #217-218
- The Amazing Spider-Man #280-281
- Thunderbolts Annual 1997
- Thunderbolts #67
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #51-52
- Marvel Knights Spider-Man #10-11
- New Avengers vol. 1 #1-4
- Avengers: The Initiative #3
- Fantastic Four #547-549
- New Avengers vol. 1 #35
- The Amazing Spider-Man #666
- Amazing Spider-Man #699
- Amazing Spider-Man #700
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #51
- Spider-Man: Reign #1-4 (December 2006 - March 2007)
- "Jim Krieg Talks Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Marvel Animation Age. Retrieved 2008-08-30.