Characters : Hydro-Man

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Attributes
Eyes

Blue

Features

Appears to sweat profusely when he isn't concentrating on maintaining corporeal integrity.

Hair

Light Brown

Height

6 2"

Weight

190 lbs

Powers
Abilities

Can propel himself with significant force. Can assume and manipulate additional water mass. Can travel with great speed through waterways and pipes.

Limitations

Can get dried out if he does not replenish his own watery mass.

Powers

Can transform any and all of his body into water.

Strength Level

Super-Human

Weapons

Can propel forceful jets of water from himself.

Summary
Citizenship

U.S.

Created By
Current Occupation

Super-Villain and mercenary.

Dual Identity

Not generally known

Education

Presumably very limited

Former Bases

Slummy New York bars

Former Groups

Deadly Foes of Spider-Man (a.k.a. Sinister Syndicate)

Former Occupation

Ship's Labourer

Known Allies

Sandman, Deadly Foes of Spider-Man (a.k.a. Sinister Syndicate)

Known Confidants

Sadie, a female bar-fly

Legal Status

Criminal record in U.S. presumably

Major Enemies

Spider-Man, Sandman

Marital Status

Single

Place of Birth

Unknown

Real Name

Morrie Bench

Usual Bases

Slummy New York bars

Background

Morris "Morrie" Bench had always been a petty thug, starting out by getting arrested for smuggling. Eventually he found a real job on a research ship off the coast of New York. The ship was experimenting with a generator when a chord holding the device snapped and pulled Morrie underwater. The energy from the generator combined with gases from an underwater volcano and changed the unconscious Bench into a man whose body was pure liquid. He was rescued by Spider-Man, whom was on-board the ship after a fight with Namor. After he was checked out by the ship's doctor, Bench was in a violently bad mood. The fact that he couldn't seem to get himself dry frustrated him and he went on shore to find someone to fight.

He ended up at a sleazy bar and met with a lady named Sadie. He had no patience for her and turned into a puddle of liquid after she left. The puddle flowed outside and soon reconfigured itself. Morrie realized that he had become a freak and decided to take it out on other people. "They're gonna pay for this...all of 'em. Spider-Man'll be the hardest--so I'll go after him first!" he said as he disappeared down a storm drain. After he appeared in the bathroom of a patrolman that had arrested him for the smuggling offense, he decided to go from house to house looking for Spider-Man. Such an odd sight startled the citizens and news of a water man coming out of faucets and shower heads eventually made its way to the Daily Bugle.

Robbie Robertson was making the report of a Hydro-Man appearing in people's homes to J. Jonah Jameson and Peter happened to be there with Deborah Whitman. Peter had to cancel his date with her and was soon searching the area that Hydro-Man had last been seen. His spider sense led him to the office of Easton Kabosh, a millionaire in the world of economics. Bench told Spider-Man that he would never be normal again because of him and blasted him out the window. When Spidey got back, Hydro-Man had retreated down the pipes. Peter returned to the Bugle and told JJJ to print a advertisement telling Bench to meet Spider-Man at the top of the Katen Building the next day. The next day, the two met and Spider-Man led Morrie across the rooftops. Clotheslines smacked Bench, and Spidey threw old newspapers at him. Each of these things soaked up some of Hydro-Man's water, weakening him. Bench made one last lunge at Spider-Man and collapsed on the roof, evaporating into the blistering hot summer air. (Amazing Spider-Man #212)

Some time later, Spider-Man had just caught some gunmen that had tried to kill a Congressional candidate named Barney Wicker. Little did he know, but the water tower that he webbed the thugs to held Hydro-Man, whom had fallen back to earth as rain. He fled the scene, escaping down a rooftop drainage pipe. Morrie showed up back at the bar he had been at previously, looking to crash with Sadie. When he arrived, he found her flirting with Flint Marko, the Sandman. They briefly tussled over the middle aged woman, until she convinced them to play nice and take her for a walk. When Marko stole a TV set for her, Bench responded by taking a mink coat off of a woman passing by. Peter eventually heard about the fight between Sandman and Hydro-Man and tracked them down to Sadie's apartment. Hydro-Man knocked Spidey out of her window and the fight ended up at the water front, where Bench and Marko slammed into each other and fell into the water. When they emerged, they had become a mud monster. (Amazing Spider-Man #217)

As the creature began to lumber forward, it seemed mindless and indifferent to Spider-Man...until he knocked it over the head with a barrel. The thing easily batted him aside and made its way back to Sadie's apartment. It smashed into her building but was easily appeased by her presence. Spider-Man saw that it wasn't harming her so he let them go. Later, the mud creature was represented by Matthew Murdock, who claimed that the creature, as a combination of Marko and Bench, constituted a new being. As a new being, it couldn't be held for any crimes. The judge bought it and allowed it go back back to Sadie's custody. A theater agent convinced Sadie to put the creature in show business and soon it was being seen on Broadway. The stage crew brilliantly decided to keep feeding the thing water and sand to make it bigger, until it had grown to twice its original size. This was bad, especially after it saw Sadie kissing the agent. After it got free, it grabbed Sadie and took her to the top of a building. The NYPD dropped a gas on the creature from helicopters that dried it out causing it to crumble and fall to the street. Later, the police swept up the dirt and let it be examined by researchers. (Amazing Spider-Man #218)

The next time Morrie took on Spider-Man, he had joined the Sinister Syndicate (Speed Demon, Beetle, Rhino, Boomerang and Hydro-Man) whom had been hired by the Jack O'Lantern to kill Silver Sable. The meeting between Jack O'Lantern and Sable was set to happen at an amusement park but that is where they met the Syndicate instead. (Amazing Spider-Man #280) A roller-coaster was destroyed in the brawl, which drew the attention of the Sandman, who had recently retired from crime. He showed up just in time to save Spidey and Sable from the thugs and Hydro-Man took it upon himself to personally deal with Marko. Hydro got scattered by Sandman, whom told himself that he only got involved in the fight to mess with Bench. Neither of them cared much for each other after their merging. Just before Sandman defeated Hydro-Man for good, he told him that "Seeing you again is like looking in a broken, distorted mirror. You remind me'a the way the way I used ta be...bitter, brutal, uncaring! I hate rememberin' the old me! I hate you for makin' me remember!" (Amazing Spider-Man #281)

Morrie showed up some time later while trying to rob a construction crew's payroll. Spider-Man taunted him for the stupidity of the crime, as crews get paid by check not cash. Hydro-Man got doused with concrete powder during the fight and retreated to the sewers to keep himself from hardening. (Amazing Spider-Man #315) He soon joined the Frightful Four and faced the Fantastic Four. (Fantastic Four #326 to #333) Hydro-Man, Rhino and Shocker were also defeated by the cosmically powered Spider-Man in Times Square. (Spectacular Spider-Man #160)

The Sinister Syndicate soon rejoined and were under orders from the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. Their first target was the Federal Reserve, where they defeated Spider-Man quite easily. Hydro-Man and Beetle wanted to go for the kill, but Rhino made them stop, fearing that a murder rap would reduce his chances of getting his protective hide removed. (Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1) Later, Rhino's surgeon was accidentally killed by the Syndicate, which Bench was fine with as long as he got paid. (Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #3) In the end, all of the bad guys escaped, except for the Beetle. (Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #4) he soon rejoined with a more or less re-teamed Sinister Syndicate to face Spider-Man, Firestar, Black Cat and others at the behest of Justin Hammer and The Sphinx. (Web of Spider-Man Annual #8)

Hydro-Man didn't target Spider-Man again until after Normie Osborn was kidnapped by the stand-in Green Goblin, at Norman Osborn instructions. Spidey was blamed for the kidnapping and a $5 million bounty was put on his head. Everyone in New York with a gun came out of the word work to collect on the bounty, including Morrie Bench. Hydro-Man kidnapped a busload of people and held them captive in a water tower, demanding Spider-Man. Sandman showed up before Spider-Man did, berating Hydro-Man for putting a message out to the media and only expecting Spider-Man to show up. Sand and Hydro fought it out while Spidey tried to rescue the hostages. This was made difficult by the locals taking shots at him as he tried to do it and by the bus passengers who feared he was a kidnapper. Hydro-Man was defeated by Sandman and Spidey rescued the hostages but needed a new identity if he was going to stay a crime fighter while the bounty stood. He went to Hobie Brown for help with that. (Sensational Spider-Man #26)

Hydro-Man had run ins with other vigilantes, including Cable, the Black Panther and again with the Fantastic Four.

He did try to be smart and figure out the nature of his powers with help from Hammer Industries. The scientists there wanted to learn exactly how much water his body could hold. He was soon called into his boss's office, along with another Hammer employee, Herman Schultz, the Shocker. With CEO Justin Hammer no longer in charge of the company, Hammer Industries was no longer pursuing illegal means to wealth. Schultz and Bench were fired and the two went out to complain about their lives. Schultz complained that they had become nobodies and Bench convinced him that they would kill Spider-Man and gain respect. Schultz reluctantly agreed and Bench flooded the restaurant after their waitress got mouthy. (Peter Parker: Spider-Man vol. 2 #51)

Hydro-Man and Shocker soon arrived to rob a bank, with Bench flushing out the patrons and guards. He soon flooded the safety deposit boxes and Schultz shocked them, turning Bench to steam and popping the boxes open. Spider-Man had noticed the flood of water when the people were flushed out and soon faced the two crooks. Hydro-Man was again turned to steam in the course of the fight and was too weakened to continue. Shocker was turned over to the police. (Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) #52)

Morrie showed up at the auction for the Venom symbiote with his old girlfriend, Sadie. He claimed that the fur coat she was wearing came from Alyosha Kravinoff, who had killed Tigra. Morrie rubbed it in Marko's face when he saw his old rival, telling him the coat cost $100,000. He also bragged that Kraven was going to make a handbag out of the Lizard for Sadie. Sandman laughed at them both, saying that Tigra was alive and well in Los Angeles. Sadie was furious, said Morrie had made her look like a fool and that he had better buy her the symbiote. (Marvel Knights Spider-Man #6)

Norman Osborn had finally been captured and put in prison for his crimes as the Green Goblin. Osborn quickly had May Parker kidnapped by the Scorpion as leverage to break him out. Against his better judgment, Spider-Man and the Black Cat freed Osborn...but a surprise was waiting for them outside of the jail. The three escaped out of the sewer tunnels and Spidey was swept into the bay. He soon found himself caught in a vortex and slammed into a pier, courtesy of Hydro-Man. Soon the rest of the Sinister Twelve arrived. Osborn had double crossed his rescuers. (Marvel Knights Spider-Man #10) The Twelve were soon captured by the fortunate arrival of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Daredevil. (Marvel Knights Spider-Man #11)

He didn't stay in prison for long, and was soon in space with the Wizard, Titania and Trapster, who were attacking Reed and Sue Richards on their second honeymoon. They blew up Sue's ship on Saturn's moon, Titan, while Reed was working at the Baxter Building. (Fantastic Four #547) Reed, the Human Torch, the Thing, Black Panther and Storm soon arrived on Titan. Hydro-Man tried to drown the Thing by encasing his head in a water fist but it was boiled away by the Torch. When he tried to grab the Black Panther, Storm turned him into humidity. (Fantastic Four #548) He was finally defeated when Sue Richards escaped and blew him out onto the moon's surface, where he froze. (Fantastic Four #549)

Hydro-Man played a significant role in the downfall of Spider-Man. Otto Octavius was dying from years of radiation exposure and beatings from super humans but had managed to trade minds with Peter Parker. Octavius was now in Peter Parker's body and Peter was in Otto's quickly dying anatomy. Peter made one last ditch effort to save himself, by using one of Octopus's octobots to call various super criminals to free him from prison. Hydro-Man, Scorpion and Trapster answered the call and freed him. Their first order of business was to find "Spider-Man"...alive.(Amazing Spider-Man #699) "Otto" and his allies commandeered a police station and "Ock" stole the octobot that had made the mind swipe. Returning to Octavius's Staten Island hideout, the group was fired upon by the mayor's Anti-Spider-Man Squad. Hydro-Man and Scorpion held them off until "Ock" could summon his submarine to save them.

Meanwhile, "Spider-Man" had convinced his friends (Mary Jane, JJJ, Ben Urich, Aunt May, Jonah Senior, Glory Grant, Robbie Robertson, Norah Winters and the staff of Horizon labs) to go with him to a safe room to hide until it all blew over. He met "Ock" and the remaining bad guys (Trapster was left behind on Staten Island) at Avengers Tower. The security system targeted the thugs, while Spider-Man was recognized as an Avenger. When "Spidey" let loose that Jameson was in the building, Scorpion went after him and Hydro-Man followed. He flushed through the air ducts until he found the assembled hostages but was defeated by an extraction device assembled by the Horizon scientists, similar to the device that had defeated the Sandman. (Amazing Spider-Man #700)

Appears In...

Jan 1981 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #212
  Origin, apparently destroyed.
Jun 1981 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #217
  Team-up with Sandman.
Jul 1981 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #218
  Apparently destroyed.
Apr 1982 App: Marvel Two-In-One #86
Sep 1986 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #280
  Sinister Syndicate

Here is the Full Appearance List (50 Apps) for Hydro-Man.

The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.

Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.