(Hydro Man's Bomb Kills Three Avengers)

Type: Divergent Earth

Environment: Earth-like

Usual means of access: Time-travel, vibrational attunement

Dominant Life Form: Humans

Representatives: Black Knight, Black Panther, Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Hydro Man (Morris Bench), Hellcat, Iron Man, Loki, Paladin, Power Man, Hank Pym, Quicksilver, She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Thor, Tigra, USAgent, Janet Van Dyne, Vision, Wonder Man

First Appearance: Avengers West Coast#59 (June, 1990)

History: (Avengers West Coast#59) - This reality diverged from Earth-616 apparently when Hydro Man pulled off an armored car heist in California. Relaxing at a club afterwards, he overheard two men in business suits discuss the heist. The two men mocked Hydro Man' s short-sighted, petty criminal ambitions and his unimaginative use of his powers. Hydro Man fumed at what they said, but did not attack them, not willing to blow his cover.

Then, one of the men approached Hydro Man and called him by his real name, Morris Bench. He approached Hydro Man and stated, "You could be much more than you are. And I--I can help you realize that potential." Suddenly, Hydro Man felt very different, and set out for a spectacular caper.

The Avengers West Coast received an emergency call. Hydro Man was holding hostages, demanding that the Avengers come battle him or he'd start killing his prisoners. Hawkeye and Wonder Man set out to defeat Hydro Man, telling Hank Pym to remain on monitor duty-they anticipated a quick defeat of Hydro Man.

At the Arnel Building in downtown Los Angeles, the corporate headquarters of the world's largest biological reagent company, Hydro Man had suspended his twelve hostages in an elevator car over the fifteen story high lobby/atrium of the building. Wonder Man and Hawkeye attacked Hydro Man, but this time, the watery felon showed much keener wits, cleverly using his powers to fend off the two Avengers. At one point, Hydro Man even entered Wonder Man through an orifice to defeat him. After only two minutes, Hydro Man defeated the two Avengers. He then used Hawkeye's communication device to contact the other Avengers, demanding they face him. Hank Pym rushed to the challenge.

Meanwhile, Hydro Man tied Wonder Man and Hawkeye to the same cord that was supporting the elevator car, knowing that Wonder Man would not dare try to snap his bonds, or else it would severe the cord, dropping the twelve hostages to their deaths. Hydro Man was about to kill a hostage when Hank Pym arrived, severed the cord holding up the elevator car, but used his powerful flying device Rover to catch the elevator car and safely bring it to the floor. Hydro Man then attacked the three Avengers, rendering them all unconscious.


Hydro Man thought of taking the three defeated Avengers as hostages to force the other Avengers to face him, but then changed his mind and decided to kill them immediately. However, the mysterious stranger who had met him at the club returned and revealed himself as Loki. Loki revealed that he did not wish the Avengers to die just then, and snapped his fingers. A strange feeling came over Hydro Man; his mind felt less sharp, his thoughts clouded, dulled. The three Avengers revived and subdued the dazed Hydro Man.

Hydro Man was placed in a containment unit. Taunting the Avengers, Hydro Man revealed that he had designed a bomb and placed it in a location where it would kill people within a square mile of it. The bomb was activated when Hydro Man was knocked unconscious. Only Hydro Man knew where the bomb was--and how to defuse it. Hydro Man demanded that they release him. They agreed to do so. Hydro Man then blurted out, "You guys are such jerks! You didn't even realize I snuck into your own compound--and planted the bomb in the pipes under yer pool!" Hydro Man immediately realized that he should not have told the Avengers this, but it was as if some sort of force had caused him to reveal this to them. The Avengers, not needing to free Hydro Man, took him with them as they left for their compound.

Hank Pym dislodged the bomb without setting it off, but could not neutralize it. Pym brought it to Hydro Man, who designed it and thus should have been able to defuse it......but mysteriously, he could no longer remember how to. Suddenly, the bomb, which had ten seconds left before detonation, jumped to one second left. It exploded, killing Wonder Man, Hank Pym, Hawkeye, and presumably Hydro Man.

Later, Janet Van Dyne, Paladin, Falcon and other members of the Avengers attended the three Avengers' funeral. A man in a black suit arrived and said, "You have my condolences, Janet Van Dyne. And my assurance that I will attempt to prevent a recurrence of such a tragic divergence as this one." Suddenly, the world blinked out as the man in the black suit revealed himself--as Immortus.

(Avengers West Coast#61) - Agatha Harkness received an image of this Earth while investigating Immortus.

Comments: Created by Danny Fingeroth, Gary Hartle and Brad Vancata.

In case it's not clear, this divergence took place during this divergent world's Acts of Vengeance, which is why Loki arranged for Hydro-Man to go after the Avengers, instead of Spider-Man, his usual foe.

Around issues#50-61of Avengers West Coast, Immortus was shown erasing various alternate timelines. Most of these timelines were shown in quick cameos of a page or two. Interestingly, they generally did not involve divergences related to usual Marvel characters, but rather historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln.

A couple of fill-in issues appeared during this time as well. Fabian Nicieza did one that had nothing to do with the Immortus storyline. However, for#59's fill-in, Danny Fingeroth made interesting use of the concept by doing a story that, until the last page, is not obviously a non-Earth-616 story. Chris Matterface points out, "It seems to me that the fact that a different artist (Brad Vancata) drew the last two pages suggests that this was a generic filler story with a new ending tacked onto it to make it fit in with the ongoing storyline..."

(A few years later DC did a similar story for Green Arrow during Zero Hour. During Zero Hour, counterparts of DC characters from alternate timelines briefly filtered into the mainstream timeline. In the Green Arrow story, which has no dialogue till the last page, we see Green Arrow pursuing a criminal and dying. On the last page, we find out this is not the mainstream timeline's Green Arrow when we see the mainstream timeline's Green Arrow observing his alternate timeline counterpart being put in a body bag.)

Incidentally, in Avengers West Coast#61, we discover that Immortus also erased a timeline in which Leonard Tippitt caused World War III in 1985.

Profile by Per Degaton

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims with info from Chris Matterface

Clarifications: Not to be confused with:

Hydro-Man should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Avengers West Coast#59, p1 (main image)
  p14, pan5 (Hydro-Man smart)

Avengers West Coast#59 (June, 1990) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Gary Hartle & Brad Vancata (pencils), Chris Ivy & Brad Vancata (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 04/29/04

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