||Thank you! Hydroman doesn't get enough love as a Golden Age Hero.
||This collection is a must read, for the most part. The Bill Everett stuff, which is over 70 pages out of 100, is gold. True, the plot does end up going all over the place, and gives you the feeling Everett is just making up as it goes along, and he doesn't even get to finish it before he leaves, but the fact that there's actually a long running multi-issue story arc in that time and era is still a wonder. The story itself, again, is messy and doesn't really end, but it's still exciting&entertaining, and drags you along. The characterization, per Everett's standard, is also a step above many other writers of the Golden Age, with simple-yet-distinct personalities. Hydroman himself is pretty likeable; he's usually pretty serious and focused on the case at hand, but can still crack a smile and lighten the mood every now and then. The dialogue still isn't completely realistic, but like everything else, it's a step above most other comic writers of that time; characters talk a lot more like actual people, and so are more realistic and believable. And the art still holds up to this day in some way, with the highlight being Hydroman and his watery transformations; it's a marvel to behold. Of course, it's not perfect; Hydroman can be pretty clever one moment, but can act like a complete moron and get his head bashed in the next. (More then once.) Still, for the Golden Age, while it isn't as good as Everett's greatest creation, (that would be Namor the Sub-Mariner,) his Hydroman run is still a real treat, and definitely work checking out.
I wish I could say the same about what comes after him. The next writer just handwaves the previous storyline as 'And then the 5th Columnists were defeated', and goes on to a tell a short standalone story like nearly every other Golden Age comic. The writing and characterization went down a notch too; usually, you can accept the stilted dialogue and wooden dialogue of the comics of the era because that's just how they were usually done, but here, you actually have a previous high-quality run to compare to, and in that comparison, the stuff that comes after Everett's run just falls flat. You can read the rest if you're curious or just really like Hydroman, but personally, I'd stop after Everett's run.