Real Name: Dr. Herman Frayne
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: Would-be world conqueror (savior in his mind); former teacher and student of Ecology
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Maelstrom, Phaeder; Gremlin and Lazard (agents);
the Hydro-Men/Hydrobase Amphibians (Dr. Henry Croft, Betty Dean Prentiss)-creations
Enemies: Atlanteans, Namor, Namorita, Tamara Rahn
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Hydro-Base, floating in the Atlantic Ocean, outside the U. S. Territorial waters
First Appearance: Sub-Mariner I#61 (May, 1973)
Powers: Dr. Hydro could transform himself into water vapor. He was amphibious, able to breathe on land or underwater. He does not possess gills, but rather is able to extract dissolved oxygen from water via specially adapted pores in his skin.
He used a variety of weapons utilizing "Hydrocules", which were some type of enlarged water molecules, or condensed water, or something. He had lots of other Kirbytech™ weapons, such as a high pressure gun able to fire condensed water spheres; a giant atom, which could serve as an energy prison that turned its prisoners force into resistance right back at them.
He had access to a mutagenic compound with which he could mutate others into amphibious humanoids.
Hydro-Base was equipped as a military fortress and had many advanced weapons, including force fields. His soldiers were armed with conventional weaponry (as well as some more a that danged Hydrocule technology) enabling them to form dense nets and whatnot.
History: Dr. Herman Frayne was once a normal man--a student and teacher of ecology. Somehow, he got the idea that the only way for man to survive was to return to the sea.
BTS - Dr. Hydro was supplied with a compound derived from the Terrigen Mist (the compound responsible for the mutation of the Inhumans) by Maelstrom and Phaeder. Hydro used this compound to mutate himself into an amphibian, began the construction of Hydro-Base, and hired a number of agents to assist/serve him. He presumably gained his additional powers via similar means.
Dr. Hydro initially dreamed of building a city beneath the waves, but later decided it would be easier to take Atlantis for himself.
Dr. Hydro's men began hijacking airplanes and forcing them to land on Hydro-Base. Once there, the passengers were taken into a chamber, where Hydro exposed them to the Terrigen derivative, mutating them into amphibians as well. Many of these people, seeing the futility in returning to the surface world, apparently joined Hydro's mission.
(Sub-M#61-62) - Namor's allies Namorita and Betty Dean Prentiss were on one of these flights. Namorita, unsure what to expect, and not wanting to reveal her presence too soon, waited until the other passengers had already been mutated.
Namor learned that his friends' plane had been hijacked, and since he lacked any means to locate Hydro, he stowed away on a plane, which fortunately was hijacked. Upon arriving on Hydro-Base, Namor attacked Hydro and his agents. However, the winds from the flight had dehydrated him, and he was captured. With Namor imprisoned, but within view of Hydro's submarine's monitor screen, Hydro began his assault on Atlantis.
Namorita broke free from her prison and freed Namor. Meanwhile, Tamara rallied the Atlanteans to fight back against Hydro's men. When Namor and Namorita arrived and joined the fight, Hydro's forces were swiftly routed. Hydro challenged Namor to single combat, but was smashed from behind by an out of control submarine. He was beleived to have been killed, although his body was not recovered.
BTS - Agents of Hydro recovered him and brought him back to another submarine, where he was revived. He began a new plot to take Atlantis, by generating intense heat from a nearby crater in the ocean floor.
(Sub-M#63) - As the Atlanteans began to feel the heat (in more ways than one), Namor investigated, was caught in a Hydrocule net, and brought before Hydro. He broke free and attacked, but Hydro turned to mist and escaped. Namor returned to Atlantis and used one of his water/steam-propelled jets to confront Hydro again. This time, when Hydro turned to mist, Namor used the jet's intake system to draw his gaseous form into a containment tank. Namor then sealed the "indestructible" tank and placed it into a torpedo tube and launched it back to the surface.
Comments: Created by Steve Gerber, Bill Everett, and Winslow Mortimer.
Namor intended for Dr. Hydro to remain trapped in the containment tank until the end of time, and thought it was quite likely that he would starve to death within it. That is a pretty flimsy defintive end to a character. There's no reason to assume his gas form would need food or energy. The tank could have shattered on impact, or it could have been found and opened by anyone with the means to do so. The only reason that Hydro hasn't returned is that he's such a lemon of a character.
The Hydro-Men (@ 500 of them) were eventually returned to human form in Marvel Two-In-One#71, 72 by the Anti-Terrigen Compund.
Hydrobase has an entry in the OHoTMU, Deluxe Edition#6.
It's unclear (and moot as moot can be!) if Hydro was independently wealthy, or if not, from where he gained all of the funding to build Hydrobase, pay his agents, etc. Perhaps that, too, came from Phaeder and Maelstrom.
--Dr. Hydro's connection to Maelstrom is revealed in MTIO#72.
The Hydro-Men, aka the Hydrobase Amphibians, the mutations of Dr. Hydro, have no known connection to:
Hydrobase is indeed the same base later used by Stingray and the Avengers until it was sunk during the Acts of Vengeance.
Gremlin has no known connection to:
Gremlin was one of Dr. Hydro's agents, as well as one of the Hydro-Men. It was he who hijacked the airplane containing Namorita and Betty Dean Prentiss. He used a disc with which he could hypnotize others.
--Sub-Mariner I#61 (possibly BTS in 62+63)
Lazard was another of Hydro's agents. He hijacked the plane on which Namor was stowing away. He had a similar hypno-disc as Gremlin.
--Sub-Mariner I#61 (possibly BTS in 62+63)
Sub-Mariner I#62-63 (June-July, 1973)
Last updated: 08/02/02
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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