Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Water Boy just didn’t have the right ring to it, so instead he’s: Hydro-Man
Appearances in Heroclix: Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing, Fantastic Four, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Sinister
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (January 1981)
Team Affiliations: Sinister Six, Frightful Four, Maggia, Masters of Evil, Sinister Syndicate, Sinister Twelve
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength and durability; Hydrokinesis; Expert street fighter
Created by: Dennis O’Neil – John Romita Jr.
Morris Bench is a normal crewman on the cargo ship the USS Bulldog until the fateful day that Spider-Man battles Namor. After the battle, Spider-Man accidentally knocks Morris overboard. Unfortunately for Morris, a powerful experimental generator is being tested in the waters nearby. The resulting chaos leads to Morris being reborn as Hydro-Man with the ability to transform into and control water. Blaming Spider-Man, Morris hunts the wall-crawler down but is ultimately defeated.
Some time later, Hydro-Man returns and is briefly merged with Sandman into a creature that calls itself Mud-Thing. The merging seems to have a massive impact on the men’s intelligence as well as personalities as the creature shows little to no evidence of either. It also is not as skilled in shape-shifting as either men are individually. Through a convoluted series of events, Mud-Thing stars in a show with Sadie Frickett (the love interest of both Hydro-Man and Sandman). The show goes well until Sadie kisses another man in excitement, which sends the dim-witted Mud-Thing into a rage. It carries Sadie to the top of a skyscraper before eventually being dried out and defeated by Spider-Man. The remains of Mud-Thing manage to separate back into Hydro-Man and Sandman.
Hydro-Man goes on to join teams such as the Sinister Syndicate, Masters of Evil, and Frightful Four. Unlike the other members, Hydro-Man is just looking to make money and does not engage in the politics and delusions of grandeur that many of the other members do. When Sauron breaks Electro out of the Raft, Hydro-Man escapes and tries to drown Jessica Drew, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson and Luke Cage on his way out. After the Superhuman Civil War, Hydro-Man encounters the Scarlet Spiders and joins the Frightful Five, only to be defeated by the Fantastic Four.
He has several encounters to Spider-Man after this only to be defeated each time. Hydro-Man is eventually hired by Oasis Spring water to help drain an underground reservoir on the Sweet Medcine Indian Reservation. He is defeated by Hawkeye and an alternate reality Red Wolf.
Hydro-Man is almost cured by Dr. Rachna Koul, only for the situation to be spoiled by the unfortunate arrival of the Human Torch and the Thing. Hydro-Man later goes spelunking in an abandoned AIM base in New York City where he is enthralled by Nakia to guard the base in order to protect her. He battles and is swiftly defeated by Okoye. Hydro-Man later has his power over water stolen from him by Namor.
With his powers returned, he aids Boomerang, Overdrive, Shocker and Speed Demon during the Sinister War.