|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (April 2016)|
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
|Abilities||Expert street fighter
Superhuman strength and durability
Hydro-Man (Morris Bench) is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (January 1981) and was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist John Romita, Jr..
Fictional character biography
Morris "Morrie" Bench gained his superpowers while working as a crewman on the cargo ship the U.S.S. Bulldog, having been knocked overboard accidentally by Spider-Man (right after the hero 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 accident 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, in the story arc "Eye of the Beholder", he teams up with and briefly becomes merged with the Sandman into a composite mud/quicksand-like creature called Mud-Thing. In this form, Hydro-Man and Sandman had limited intelligence, and they did not have the ability to use their shape-shifting abilities as well as before. Although it was composed of the two aforementioned villains, it showed no indication of either villain's persona, outside of an infatuation with Sadie Frickett, the current love interest of both villains. Soon after, a theater agent named Travis Rave proposed that Sadie and Mud-Thing be in a show, which Sadie gladly accepted at the prospect of stardom. Unfortunately, when the show proved to be a huge success, Sadie accidentally kissed Travis out of excitement, thereby enraging the jealous Mud-Thing. Mud-Thing ended up going on a rampage and carried Sadie with him to the top a sky-scraper. The creature was eventually defeated with a special gas that dried it out and caused it to crumble apart. Spider-Man managed to save Sadie from her plummet, but she ended up being genuinely upset over the loss of Mud-Thing, knowing that all it had ever done wrong was simply love her. After its defeat by Spider-Man and the police, Sandman and Hydro-Man separated from this form when the police were cleaning up Mud-Thing's remains.
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 he was defeated again. He was also recruited by the Wizard to be a member of a new Frightful Four, the Wizard enhancing his powers while also implanting various security protocols that would allow the Wizard to trap Hydro-Man in a liquid-but-conscious state if he did anything that the Wizard disapproved of.
After the Civil War storyline, 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 they are 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, his mind swapped with Doctor Octopus, sends a message to various supervillains to capture "Spider-Man" alive and bring him to "Doctor Octopus" in the Raft, Hydro Man is among the supervillains that receives the message. He is defeated and captured by employees of Horizon Labs.
Following Spider-Man's fight with Goblin King, it was revealed that Roderick Kingsley sold one of Hydro-Man's costumes to an unnamed criminal as he was seen with the other former Hobgoblin minions at the Bar with No Name where they have an encounter with Electro.
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 Watson's love. Morris Bench once dated Mary Jane in high school, but she broke up with him after realizing she had made a big mistake. Soon after, Morrie was expelled from school and his parents enlisted him in the navy, thinking it would keep him out of trouble. While in the special research unit working as a crewman he was knocked overboard into the ocean where his body was covered by a strange chemical which changed his cellular structure, allowing him to control any liquid at will, and turn into water. 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 robbing a museum and stashing 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, due to his being separated from the water that feeds him. 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, a rich industrialist. 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 appeared in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Forces of Nature", voiced by James Arnold Taylor. When Spider-Man, Kid Arachnid, Iron Spider, and Scarlet Spider answer a distress signal at an abandoned mall in Queens, they find a vacuum-sealed room where Hydro-Man was being held. Hydro-Man claimed that Nick Fury was keeping him in this hideout for his own protection, and they decide to bring him to the Triskelion. However, when Iron Spider looked up Hydro-Man's criminal record and found out that he is villain, Hydro-Man sheds his charade and attacks the group, causing Iron Spider to do an emergency landing in the Queens neighborhood where Aunt May resides. In order combat Hydro-Man, Spider-Man, Kid Arachnid, Iron Spider, and Scarlet Spider had to use freeze webs until they ran out. As a final plan, Spider-Man had his fellow spiders throw their web cartridges into Hydro-Man, which caused the released webbing to absorb Hydro-Man. Back at the Triskelion, Spider-Man receives word that the jet carrying Hydro-Man back to his prison got intercepted. This causes Spider-Man to suspect that Doctor Octopus was behind it and now has a possible candidate for the Sinister Six. This was confirmed in the episode "The New Sinister 6" Pt. 1 where Hydro-Man appears as a member of Doctor Octopus' Sinister Six. He is shown sporting a new outfit (similar to the second outfit from the comics). During the attack on the Triskelion, Cloak uses his abilities to send Hydro-Man to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hydro-Man returns where he causes a tidal wave on the Triskelion and then forms a waterspout around it. In the episode "The New Sinister 6" Pt. 2, Doctor Octopus has Hydro-Man destroy the Triskelion as he heads out to claim the key to Dr. Curt Connors' latest device. This causes Spider-Man to awaken Sandman in order to fight Hydro-Man. After Doctor Octopus' Octopus Island crashes into the sea, Sandman catches the escape pod that Spider-Man and Aunt May are in and then defeats Hydro-Man.
- Hydro-Man appears in the Spider-Man Questprobe game, as well as in the Spider-Man Animated Series game for Super NES.
- Hydro-Man is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Hydro-Man has been featured as a mid-level boss in the mobile game Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Matthew Mercer.
- 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.
Toys and collectibles
- In 2012 Bowen Designs released a bust sculpture of Hydro Man sculpted and designed by the Kucharek Brothers.
- 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
- Fantastic Four #514
- 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
- The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 3 #1
- 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.