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Let's Discuss: Hasbro Marvel Legends Spider-Man Retro VHS Series: Hydro-Man

Welcome to Dan's ToyBox! Today we're breaking out the Hydro-Man figure from the Hasbro Marvel Legends Spider-Man Retro Series VHS Two Pack! Like pretty much everyone else, I was kind of surprised by the choice of package partners, given that Hydro-Man and Daredevil never faced each other in the Spider-Man Animated series. Of course, the truth is, most everybody wants Daredevil, so why not "two pack" him, slap a higher price on it and force people to get a figure they really don't want with it. A funny thing happened though... while this isn't the greatest offering ever from Hasbro, I find myself kind of liking it. Sure, there are some issues, but as an oddity on my shelf, it's actually pretty cool.

Morris Bench was an ordinary guy, serving aboard the cargo ship U.S.S. Bulldog, until the day he found himself in the middle of a battle between Spider-Man and Namor. Bench was accidentally knocked overboard and fell into the ocean, where a powerful experimental generator was being tested. This led to his transformation into Hydro-Man who, blaming Spider-Man for what happened to him, turned to a life of crime while seeking revenge against the web-slinger. Over the years, Bench has been a consistent thorn in the web slinger's side, whether attacking him through sewers, fire hydrants, water valves, and even through shower pipes, but always ends up being mopped up by our hero. (Ugh... sorry, little Spidey humor there!) Hydro-Man first appeared in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, January 1981, issue number 212. He was created by Dennis O'Neil and John Romita Jr.

Accessories: 6/10

Hydro-Man kind of gets the short end of the stick in the accessory department. He comes with a pair of fists, one relaxed hand, and one open/action hand. He also comes with the water splash effect pieces that fit over his feet. We've seen these effect pieces before with the Hydro-Man figure from the "Far From Home": Molten Man BAF wave. I do like the white paint, designed to give the water a foamy/splashy appearance. I think that Hasbro missed out though, by not including bigger water hands/effects for the arms. The original version conveyed his water-based powers a bit more effectively with the arms than this does. I'm thinking of giving that other version some accent paint to try and match up more with this one. Overall, though, there's not much to write home about with these accessories other than the better paint detail.

Appearance: 7/10

The hardest part about discussing his appearance is that I both like it and yet, have some issues with it. When I initially opened the package, I was immediately reminded of the old Tron movie figures from the 80's as they were also molded in translucent colored plastic. This is a figure though, that needs to be displayed with a solid, dark background behind him. When light is allowed to pass through, it's easy to see the inner mechanisms, which detracts from the "illusion" of a being made of water. Yes, I get that this is a toy, but still, suspension of disbelief and use of imagination is a requisite and it's hard to get to those points when you can see what makes the figure "tick" so to speak. Aside from that, which is really my only major gripe, I actually do like the figure. It looks to use the previous mold for the basic body, but the head sculpt does appear to be new. At first, I thought it might be a repaint of the Arcade head sculpt, but I don't believe it is. I will say that what impresses me is the use of white highlights to simulate waves and ripples. However, his facial features are actually very creepy. The painted eyes and teeth make his face look almost skull-like. Without the hair, I feel this could easily be repainted red and used on your Red Skull figures. While I also know that less is more, sometimes, this figure would have benefitted from having some white highlight paint on the back. I think, had Hasbro used the white to highlight more of the wrinkles in his clothes and extended those highlights all around the figure, it would help to draw the eye away from the relatively visible internal joints. I'm actually reaching by giving him a seven, when he probably deserves a bit lower, however, when you put the water effect on each of his feet, it really does enhance the appearance. That's how he'll be displayed on my shelf and for me, it does make quite a difference.

Articulation: 6.5/10

As this is an older body mold, he doesn't have butterfly joints at the shoulders which is ok. My biggest issue is the stiffness of the ball hinge at his head and the ankle joints. His head turns side to side easily enough, but the hinge itself is rather tight, He can look up and down good enough, but it takes some work to move his head. I've had to heat it up a couple of times. The shoulders raise out to almost a full T pose and can rotate a full 360 degrees. His bicep swivel works fine and the elbows, which do have pins, can bend in fully. Both sets of hands hinge and rotate without any issues. Hydro-Man has the old upper torso/diaphragm hinge which allows for forward crunch and back bends. However, neither is terribly deep. He has a good waist swivel, and the design of the figure hides the flat top which we normally see when pivoting a waist. His ability to do a split is nothing special as he can maybe hit about 45 degrees, at most. The legs do kick forward nicely, which is good, and the thigh cuts work just fine. His knees also have pins but can bend in as well as the elbows. The ankles are tough to work with. They'll hinge decently, in spite of the sculpt, but the pivot, which is usually a Legends highlight is very tight. I really don't want to be overly harsh, because this is an older buck and the newer bodies have their own share of issues, so I'm comfortable with this score.

Affordability: 8/10

Previously, I've paid anywhere from $52.99 to $59.99 for a VHS two pack. You can imagine my genuine surprise when I paid only $49.99 for this on Hasbro Pulse. It is still available so if you're hunting for the new Daredevil and don't mind adding another Spidey villain to your display, it's a decent price.

Overall, while I'm not the biggest fan of the character and prefer the previous offering, I am pleasantly surprised with this Hydro-Man. As I do try to be objective, I feel that this figure, while not spectacular isn't awful either. So, I'm content to give him a slightly above average:

6.5 out of 10 ToyBoxes

Truth be told, yes, I bought this two-pack for Daredevil, but I am appreciative of having this Hydro-Man as well. He brings possibilities for photos and playtime, which is always a great thing! Thank you, as always, for stopping by and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!


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